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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive
Fortify your immune system (and avoid GI distress) in the backcountry with these tasty powder mixes.
The problem for backpackers, of course, is that one classic source of probiotics—yogurt—doesn’t keep in the backcountry. The solution: new GoodBelly ToGo Probiotic Fruit Drink Mix powder ($12.50 for eight packets; goodbelly.com), which deliver live active bacteria in the form of Lactobacillus plantarum299v (Lp299v), plus a healthy whallop of vitamin C. These travel-friendly packets join GoodBelly’s juice-drinks line, and I tested them on a recent climbing expedition to India (the Zanskar Odyssey) to see if they'd actually make a difference.
They did, a big one—
They did, a big one—not so much in what happened as in what DIDN’T happen. By and large, we were spared the indignity, discomfort, crud, and exploding bowels that, after a dozen South Asian expeditions I'd grown to dread. Dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan, the ToGos mixed well with water (no annoying clumping) and tasted yummy (flavors include Mango and Blueberry Acai). Side benefit: When we mixed the powder with a little water, the paste worked like duct tape for blisters.
Probiotics aren’t just relevant to exotic destinations. Even domestic travel exposes your digestive system to all manner of ungodly jive, the worst of which are the bacteria that thrive in the absence of a strong population of good bacteria. So I’ve made these a staple in my kit and bring extra for my teammates. Trust me, your bellies will thank you. —Pete Takeda