Foods For Backcountry Recovery

Our medicine man gives his food suggestions for recovering in the backcountry.

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For fast muscle recovery, the magic formula is:

1 gram of protein for every 2 to 4 grams of carbohydrates.

Dietitian Belinda Jenks says soy is the best source of protein for muscle recovery. Some other suggestions:

  • Honey mixed with a powdered protein supplement (available in health-food stores): A recent study presented at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s annual meeting showed that consuming honey and a protein supplement resulted in a quick postworkout recovery. Slurp down a big, gooey spoonful of honey sprinkled with powdered supplement.
  • Bagel: The average bagel contains 5 to 7 grams of wheat protein and about 38 grams of carbos. Add half a tablespoon of peanut butter, an ounce of cream cheese, or a slice of bologna or salami to get the optimal ratio of protein to carbos.
  • Granola and powdered milk: The protein in either cow or soy powdered milk will properly balance the carbo-rich granola.
  • Gorp: It should be heavy on the carbo-rich ingredients, so use a recipe that’s loaded with raisins, sesame sticks, or crackers. Go easy on protein-rich items like peanuts to maintain the magic ratio. (See “The Great Gorp Contest” on page 84 for suggestions.)
  • Personal Edge Recovery Bar: This snack’s made of soy protein, corn syrup, and sugar. The chocolaty flavor is quite tasty. Contact: Protein Technologies International, (877) 982-3343; Reader service #116. (Note: Some energy bars don’t satisfy the 1:4 ratio. If you already have a favorite, check the label; to determine the ratio, divide grams of protein by grams of carbos—results between .25 and .50 are ideal.)