Vegan Suggestions

Aug 8, 2010

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Dear Steph!
Hi! First let me introduce myself, my name is Matic and I am 28 years old climber from Slovenia. Small country between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia.
If you heard about Tomaža Humar the best climber you know.

I am writing to you because I am a veg. for few years now, and I still didn’t found the best thing to take with me in a back-country.
Our mountains are 2500m high or more, and when I go climbing I need good food for my body to regeneration. What tipe of food can I bring along.
I cant put fire and I can’t cook cos of the terrain.

Many times I take nuts and all other nutrition food, energy table bars and so on… But is there anything else to take for example: cheese or vegetables or fruit. Everything I took before wasn’t good. My climbing takes around 4 to 5 days and there are lodges to buy food, but they don’t make any of veg.

I’ve been on Nepal twice and I am going this year again and there they make good food for veg. so there I don’t have any problem.

I must say for my organism I feel much better veg. than before when I was meat eater, my body can regenerate faster and it is stronger, but still I am searching new ways and tips for making my daily meal better.

So please if you have any idea let me know!
Thank you in advance , with best regards Matic

Steph,
Do you have any advice/good reads for someone who is interested in becoming a vegetarian? I’m a person who loves to cook and grill out. I’m also an animal lover who feels bad about what I eat. Do most people just quit cold turkey, or would it be easier to cut out a certain food first? I am just trying to make the transition as smooth as possible… Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated.
~Cheers~
Matt

hey Steph, I was just wondering if you know a good place to find vegan recipies and whether you have any tips on how to eat vegan. I’m moving to San Francisco in the fall to start grad school and I thought that it would be a good point in my life to try and change my eating habits. The big thing that I want to change is how much beef I eat. I’ve tried to cut down on eating beef in the past but haven’t had much luck because it is such a family staple and it’s part of the routine that’s hard to break. I feel it’s important not to eat beef for both health and ethical reasons. I’ve been to other countries, like Guatemala, where I’ve seen the devastation to the land and rain forests that has resulted from the mass cattle farming. I feel that it’s my personal duty to cut down on the impact caused by my eating habits. I would appreciate any tips that you have for me. Thanks a ton.
Sincerely,
Nate

Dear Nate, Matt and Matic,
Thanks for writing to me. (I know all about Slovenia! That’s where Phoenix Fly wingsuits come from!) I couldn’t agree more with all of your reasons for going vegan/vegetarian–compassion, love and respect of animals, environmentalism, and better health and performance. I don’t know if you have watched the film Earthlings. A lot of people have told me that after seeing it, it was no longer even an option for them to eat animal products.

Recently I came across a very good website called nomeatathlete.com, by Matt Frazier who is a vegan ultrarunner. I think you will find a lot of interesting information on the links on protein and nutrition. He has a lot of very thorough research, for those who like to analyze things in exhaustive detail. His blog and recipes are excellent too, so this will be a great place to go to learn and get ideas.

There are also two recipes that could be really good for days out in the mountains, if you like to bake. They are unique in that they both have beans in the recipe. So I think you might want to try baking these up and taking them with you for long days:
Vegan Energy Bars
Black Bean Brownies

Another thing I really like to take with me if I want lots of energy is vegan jerky, and small tupperware tubs of almond butter (to dip Mojo bars into). Dried figs and dried bananas have a lot of calories also. Usually for me, that’s plenty, along with Clif Blocks and Mojo bars, and maybe nuts.

For Nate and Matt, it couldn’t be easier to cut down on beef….just don’t eat it anymore :) I agree with you, the environmental impact of eating beef is significant. Especially living in the Bay area, you have access to some fantastic food options. I would recommend that you start eating more beans and legumes, and also wild fish (avoid “Atlantic” salmon). If you make a point of eating whole foods, and avoiding white flour, white sugar, and white rice, you will find that you very quickly feel more energetic and satisfied from your meals. Quinoa is also an incredibly easy, nutritious and delicious staple that is good for breakfast (with raisins and fruit), lunch (as a pilaf) and dinner (as a bed for vegetables and greens). Remember, you can do whatever you want. If you don’t want to eat beef, or any animal products for that matter, you don’t have to. It’s that simple. You can be and do whatever you choose.

When I found myself eating a vegan diet about 8 years ago, I really liked putting half and half in my coffee. I had been strongly attached to that in the morning, for years. After I realized that the rest of my diet appeared to be vegan (my eating change was more accidental than intentional, at first), and after I learned about factory farming, I felt bad about buying half and half, because dairy farming is not consistently humane to cows. But I really didn’t like soymilk in my coffee, or those vegan half and half substitutes which are full of sugar, because they change the taste of the coffee. So I made a point of buying organic half and half, which advertised itself as being humanely produced. I did that for several years, and made fun of myself for being a “half and half” vegan–vegan except for the half and half in my morning coffee. Funny enough, after a few years, one day I suddenly didn’t want it anymore, and that day I switched to soymilk….which I used to think tasted so bad in coffee.

So take the steps that work for you, try to make purchasing decisions that are in line with your philosophy, do the best you can, and never underestimate your ability to change completely. :)

More suggestions from others would be great too.
Thanks for being compassionate and mindful athletes,
Steph

  • CarlosFromPhilly

    ) Hummus and pretzels go a really long way. You can make them as spicy or garlic-y or peppery as you want; it keeps for a few days without refrigeration, tastes great, offers lots of protein (and the pretzels offer lots of yummy carbs).

    2) Healthy cereal and a small container of soymilk. Cereal packs light and is versatile (munch on it dry or pour it w/ soymilk for breakfast on mornings at camp); Soymilk also goes for days without spoilage, tastes great and is a quick way to add a bunch of protein to the carbs we need for climbing trips.

  • Steph Davis

    yum :) thanks for the ideas Carlos!

  • chipF
  • Steph Davis

    oops, i forgot one suggestion….but i don’t know if they have it in slovenia? they sell something here called “tasty bites.” it is indian food (imported from India, even) that comes in a foil bag. It is a little heavy, because it has all of its water in it, but if you have to carry water anyway, it is great to have a pack or two of these. they have all the good things: dal, kidney bean things, etc. they also mark the packages well to tell you if it is vegan vs vegetarian, and you can eat it straight out of the package. I hope i’m not just torturing you Matic, if they don’t have tasty bites in Slovenia :) but maybe you can buy some to take back with you, if you visit the states, they always have them in the grocery stores.

  • Nataly

    When I’m going in the mountain for several days I always have in my pack nuts,dried fruits(figs,prunes,apricots,apples-they sell ready-packed dried fruits in the stores),pretzels,cereals and quinoa (it has to be cooked-http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/basic-quinoa.php).Quinoa is healthy,tasty,I like it very much.And I just forgot coffee.That’s why I need to have primus and gas.All food I carry in my pack is about 2-3kg and it is enough for me for 6-7 days.