The tricky question of nutrition, taste and weight!

It all started with a clear instruction from Clara: on the trail you better cook some bloody healthy and tasty food! Knowing little about nutrition and being new to multiple-day hikes my first reaction was to do what any good technical corporate employee would do: create a new excel spreadsheet, a sign that something big is about to happen. Spreadsheet means data so I had to find a way to feed the beast. I searched the Internet for nutritional information of food we like and/or is edible (not clear yet whether yeast extract spread is classified as edible) and “key-ed” nutrient after nutrient into this new database. I spent hours on this (read “days”) and even created three different databases (with Clara clearly wondering what was going on) until I found out that all data had the same source: the USDA nutrient database, which can be downloaded to Excel. With millions of data to play with, the analysis finally got going when key ratios were calculated to identify the food with the highest calories, vitamins and minerals per 100g. With a few additional Google searches I then got the whole range of nutrients that we would need on a daily basis and combined this with the excel database results to create what we call our Base Menu. It weighs 462g (not exactly prize-winning for its lightness) and provides 1,288cal. The FoundationThe energy level is way below our daily targets but this keeps all options open for the Variable Menu, which can include anything (ie whatever we will find in the small towns around NZ, and especially fish & chips!) and is needed to keep us sane, as eating the same thing over and over would drive us bananas. The picture here shows what the Base Menu will bring (tested at and how important food is to our life. Come join us for a hike and see what’s on the menu! Caveat: at the time of writing, the Base Menu was yet to be tested and approved by Clara -Daniel

Like most couples, one room in the house has been more important than others in the development of our relationship … Yes that’s right, it’s been the kitchen!
The only time I set foot in there is to wash the dishes, which is exactly how I like it (and exactly how the master chef likes it too!). Meanwhile I am daily served an assortment of delicious, nutritious meals. So to say I was anxious about the outcome of his food research is an understatement!
So far, as part of his practice menus, I have been served one random grain after another seasoned with a cube of veggie stock and dehydrated onions (think sodden, gloupy, over salted, disgusting mixes of various shades of brown). My protestations that we’ll have enough days in the bush where we have to eat that by necessity, without choosing to eat it now, have fallen on deaf ears. I fear things are only going to get worse as he announced today that we need to test our wood stove. So, next Saturday while most of HK will be brunching at the city’s many cafes, we’ll be picnicking on plain rice (possibly only half-cooked if we don’t manage to forage enough dry wood)! Will I have enough goodwill left over to wash the dishes after? Can the relationship survive this test? … We’ll have to wait and see! -Clara


3 thoughts on “The tricky question of nutrition, taste and weight!

  1. I had a good laugh when I read the comment about the Excel spreedsheet. Many times I have opened a new sheet at work with the same thoughts in my head 1. Whatever the question is – I can solve it with Excel, and 2. “This is going to be an epic spreadsheet”.

    Id be interested in having a look at the excel behemoth sometime if you dont mind 🙂 Patrick


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