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Why You Might Become Dehydrated While on the Trail and the Importance of Proper Hydration

hydrate with electrolytes

You’ve probably heard that hydration can be more important than the food you eat during a challenging day in the outdoors. That’s why we asked Liquid I.V. to write this guest blog post about how to prevent dehydration. We were impressed with their Hydration Multiplier, which is why we included it in the August Trailfoody.

By Liquid I.V.

“Drink more water!” You hear and read about this all the time. And you know you are guilty of not hydrating properly from time to time (most of the time for some of us). Sounds so simple, but it’s honestly tough to be consistent about. It can be hard to remember to hydrate. And let’s face it… drinking plain water gets pretty boring after a while. We are human beings, and we demand excitement and instant gratification!

We force ourselves to drink whatever because we know we need it. Our bodies tell us we need it when we feel thirsty, but as we get older that sensation for thirst fades away. Plus, when given the choice, many of us gravitate to drinking something significantly less healthy and slightly sweeter (think soda, juice or artificial sports drinks).

hydration during trail runningMaintaining proper hydration levels is critical when exploring the great outdoors. A beautiful day can quickly turn into a bad day and hospital visit for an iv drip if you aren’t careful. Maintaining adequate fluid levels and replacing electrolytes serves a wide range of purposes in our bodies such as removing waste through urine; controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Your body will begin to shut down without water. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, confusion, fatigue, and even loss of consciousness.

Here are a few reasons you might become dehydrated while out on the trail:

Caffeinated soda or coffee. Consuming relatively small amounts of soda or coffee can lead to dehydration. These drinks are considered diuretics that can cause an increase in the excretion of water from the body. Try to keep these to a minimum before going on a long hike or trail run.

Sweat. Sweat is the moisture that comes through your pores as a result of physical exertion, heat or even fever. Getting a good sweat on from your workout is one of the key ingredients to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. An hour long run, bike ride, or hike up your favorite peak can cause your body to lose a great deal of its precious water and vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium. When you sweat, you can put yourself at risk of dehydration if you don’t replace what you’ve lost. A simple rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of sweat you lose.

hydration during climbing and trail runningHigh altitude. There are decreased oxygen levels in the atmosphere at high altitude and therefore athletes gravitate to working out there for the benefits of improving their fitness. Your body acclimates instinctively when you go up to high altitude by speeding up breathing and increasing urine output. These are both necessary changes for your body to make in order to adjust to the elevation gain. Going to the bathroom and breathing harder – which forces you to exhale more water vapor – both cause dehydration.

Sleep. Sleep is an important element of human survival. Our brains are designed in a way that requires them to receive rest so they can process and store thoughts from the previous day. When you sleep, your body doesn’t receive any water. Going 6+ hours without any form of hydration causes dehydration. This is why you may wake up feeling parched in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Your body loses carbon and water with every breath you take while you are asleep.

Stress. Stress is something that we all deal with, and some manage it better than others. Surprisingly enough, keeping stress in check is important in order to maintain a healthy balance of hydration in our system. When you stress your body releases a stress hormone from your adrenal gland, which can exhaust the gland and result in adrenal insufficiency. The problem is that your adrenal gland is also responsible for regulating the level of your body’s fluids and electrolytes with the production of the aldosterone hormone. When the adrenal gland becomes fatigued, it fails to produce aldosterone, which leads to dehydration.

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier

So what can you do to stay hydrated out on the trail besides just downing more water?

Drink something with an optimal ratio of electrolytes, glucose, and water that your body can absorb quickly and efficiently. The key to hydration is uptake, not intake.

Stay away from traditional sports drinks, which contain too much sugar and not enough electrolytes. Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier contains 3x the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks with less than ½ the sugar and calories. The great-tasting electrolyte drink mix utilizes the breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), a precise ratio of sodium, potassium, and glucose, to deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. Drinking 1 Liquid I.V. can result in the same hydration as drinking 2-3 bottles of water. Plus it contains B vitamins, which help your body quickly break down carbohydrates and turn them into fuel.

Look for Liquid I.V. in your August Trailfoody bag!

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This is Why Refueling Throughout the Day is Better

fueling your body for performance hikning

You’ve finally made it to the trail. After a busy morning of packing, preparing a big breakfast, and traveling up to Colorado’s Four Pass Loop, you’ve found yourself eager to begin your family’s latest hiking adventure.

You know the day will be tough, but you can’t wait to experience the Maroon Bells wilderness for yourself. With numerous waterfalls, impressive mountain lakes, and fields of wildflowers, you know it’s going to be a trip well worth the challenge.

But there’s a problem. How do you squeeze out the best performance possible so that you can feel incredible with energy to spare? It’s a long journey, and you know you’re gonna need the right food.

So how do you do it?

keep your energy levels highKeep Your Energy Stores Primed

Think of your energy-producing body as a fire. You can add a lot of fuel at once, making the fire burn super hot, but then it’ll die down quickly as the fuel is depleted. Or, you can feed it a log or two at a time, making the fire hum consistently with strength and energy.

The same is true with how you fuel your body. Keep your fire burning at a consistent rate to be sure that you’ll have enough energy for a big hike or adventure.

Glycogen is your body’s stored energy, but it doesn’t last forever. According to sports medicine expert Elizabeth Quinn, glycogen can get used up in as little as 30 minutes. You’ll need more than that for most outdoor adventures.

And as we’ve mentioned before, refilling that tank of energy depends upon consumption. The sooner and more often you refuel, the faster you’ll regain the energy that’s been lost.

Fueling Through Small Breaks is the Way to Go

Fueling throughout the day is the best way to keep you moving and maximize your performance. That way, energy will be readily available as you go and can be burned once it’s needed.

Thus, it’s incredibly important to choose the right foods to snack on that will provide you with the constant flow of energy necessary for ongoing physical activity.

But how do you know what to bring with you?

high energy fuel for the trailYour Day Food May Be More Important Than Your Dehydrated Dinner

It’s important to bring adequate food with you out on the trail.

As we’ve mentioned before, a large portion of your calories should come from carbohydrates since these convert more quickly into readily available energy. The sooner and more often you refuel, the faster you’ll recover and regain the energy that’s been lost.

And, as noted by Sally Hara, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and owner of ProActive Nutrition, carrying high energy/high carbohydrate snacks and sport supplements that you can eat along the trail is essential. Foods like energy bars, dried fruit, and mixed nuts can all work to keep you adequately fueled between formal stops and are relatively convenient to eat as you hike.

While you’ll definitely need to consume some fats, (which contain a lot of calories per ounce of food) Hara also mentions that it’s advisable to steer clear from foods with high amounts of fat while hiking, since they are difficult to digest and take longer for the body to process. These foods should be consumed during formal breaks like breakfast and dinner and not while you’re out and about.

Clearly, snack foods are essential. Not only do they provide the energy necessary for ongoing activity, they also serve to make the whole process much easier and worry-free.

But, What If I Prefer a Longer Lunch Break?

If you’re like us, you go on adventures because you want to have fun. So, it’s important to do what you enjoy. If you decide you’d rather have a longer sit-down lunch, then go for it. Just follow these tips:

  • Choose foods you don’t have to cook. Otherwise, you have to break out the camp stove, carry extra water for boiling, and deal with a clean-up effort after you eat (not fun).
  • Make the lunch a little smaller than you would normally eat so you don’t direct too much of your body’s energy to digestion. Supplement that with a few smaller breaks with good energy food to keep your energy levels high.
  • Opt for “shelf stable” foods that don’t need refrigeration. Or, store the food along with some freezer packs. Most sandwiches can last unless it’s really hot, but be careful of ingredients that are likely to spoil, such as mayonnaise.

Trailfoody’s Goal

Our aim is to get you out on the trail much faster, without any hassle, and with the best food for the job.

We’re dedicated to bringing you new, healthy trailfoods each month that are packed with nutrition. And while they can be eaten separately as snacks throughout the day, our trailfood is hand-picked so that they can go together as a meal if you choose to eat them in one sitting!

Learn more here about how you can sign up for Trailfoody today.

Will You Like Trailfoody?

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Trailfood Review: Health Warrior Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bar

Looking for a rich and tasty treat that’ll keep you on the move? Try Health Warrior’s Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed bar!

This delectable energy bar is packed with both flavor and nutrition. The dark chocolate and organic wildflower honey blends perfectly with the pumpkin seeds to create a rich and crunchy goodness that’s truly irresistible.

And while splendidly crunchy, the dark chocolate adds just the right amount of soft chewiness to the mix.

Nutrition-wise, this bar provides 2g of fiber, 8g of protein, 13g of fat, 6g of sugar, 15% iron, and 35% magnesium. Oh, and it’s completely non-GMO and gluten, dairy, and soy free!

Each of Health Warrior’s bars are made with you in mind: they all contain a superfood as a main ingredient. This particular bar features pumpkin seeds, a plant-based superfood that’s one of the best natural sources of protein on the planet!

If you’re a lover of dark chocolate, you’ve gotta try this bar. It’ls crunchy sweetness will surely hit the spot.

Health Warrior’s Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed bar is featured in the August 2017 Trailfoody.

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Trailfood Review: Allgood Organic Trail Mix

Calling all trail mix lovers!

Are you looking for a trail mix that differs from the pack? If so, you’ve gotta try Allgood’s Organic Trail Mix. It’s a tasty blend of fruits and nuts that’ll leave you craving more!

Allgood’s unique mix features organic raisins, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, goji berries, cranberries, and mulberries. It isn’t filled with the traditional peanuts and bits of chocolate that can be found in many trail mixes.

This particular combination of berries and nuts provides the perfect balance between sweet and salty. We especially liked how the saltiness of the pumpkin seeds so perfectly offset the sweetness of the cranberries and mulberries, making this mix truly pop with flavor!

Just be sure to save some of that goodness for later. We ate ours far too quickly.

It’s Allgood

Every one of Allgood’s products are certified organic and free from harmful pesticides, growth hormones, and synthetic fertilizers. They each go through a rigorous certification process in accordance to the standards put forth by the USDA and the National Organic Program.  

They also contain rich vitamins and minerals that are important to a healthy diet. This particular trail mix contains 15% Vitamin A, 6% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, and 8% Iron. And it only has 140 calories and 6g of total fat!

What’s more, Allgood is committed to protecting the earth. They are continually looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint and operate in an earth-friendly manner, and we think that’s pretty awesome.

Allgood’s Organic Trail Mix was selected to be a part of the August 2017 Trailfoody.

Here’s what our tasters had to say:

“The berries really put the pep in your step while the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts give a crunch worth climbing for.”

Grif Steele
World Class Snacker

“With a flavor that’s both salty and sweet, this trail mix teases your taste buds in the best way possible. If only I had some more…”

Britt Foodlove
Berry and Nut Connoisseur

“Yeah, I didn’t get any. It was gone before I could even see it.”

Gracie
Man’s Hungry Friend

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Trailfood Review: Sweetwood’s Hot Beef Jerky

A spice that’s just right.

If you’re looking for some jerky with an added kick, give Sweetwood’s hot flavored beef jerky a try! Take it from us, this delectable cut of beef provides just the right amount of spicy and savory.

Upon biting into this jerky, you immediately notice the chili peppers blended with brown sugar. They work together perfectly to create a unique, heated flavor that grows in intensity with every bite. Even spice lovers will be surprised by the after-kick!

Sweetwood’s jerky is chewy, yet tender. The whole muscle cut, premium beef retains moistness over time and is always grass-fed. What’s more, it’s homemade and entirely natural.

The jerky is also nitrate free, gluten free, has no added MSG, and contains only natural herbs and spices. Now that’s impressive!

Why We Love Sweetwood’s Mission

Based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Sweetwood promises to “give you only what [they] would feed [their] own families.” That way, you can be confident that their meat is naturally raised and delicious every time.

We love that Sweetwood stands by this motto and is dedicated to bringing you only the best jerky. We also love that they actively promote American agriculture and the Western way of life. How cool is that?

Sweetwood’s hot flavored beef jerky is featured in the August 2017 Trailfoody.

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The Surprising Reason This Energy Bar Contains Sweet Potatoes

energy bar with sweet potato

Ally Stacher, former professional cyclist and founder of Ally’s Bar, writes this guest blog post about how she got the clever idea to make energy bars out of sweet potatoes and why that’s the ultimate fuel for your body. Ally’s Bar Original was selected to be included in the August 2017 Trailfoody.

Knowing Where Your Food Comes From

I grew up in the wild and rugged mountains of far northern California. My family always hunted, fished and grew a garden. When I was 11, I worked on a watermelon farm with my twin sister. We picked watermelons in the summer mornings then worked in an ice cream shop in the afternoons. At 12 I killed my first buck, making my Dad so proud; it was a rite of passage in my family.

My Grandparents were also big influencers in my early years. They owned a large pond filled with bass, catfish, blue gale, ducks and other critters. That’s where we spent a lot of time fishing. I remember Grandpa fueling us up for a day of adventure with left-over potatoes and beer in our pancakes for breakfast. It was delicious.

Falling in Love with Cycling

I fell in love with the sport of cycling when I was a senior in high school. I did a research project on endurance sports with an emphasis on bike racing. I found people that rode bikes and learned everything I could. While I wrestled during my first year of college, I still rode my bike for fun. Eventually I jumped into a couple local bike races and was hooked.

Ally Stacher (Specialized – lululemon)

My timing with getting into the sport was perfect. At that time a small North Carolina college was growing their cycling program and was offering cycling scholarships. They had sent out a letter to almost every racer under 23 years old. I got the letter, made the trip to check out the campus and happily accepted a small scholarship and moved to the mountains of North Carolina.

I went from never racing on the track or cyclocross to being a part of a national championship team. Cycling became my obsession. In 2009 I was invited to race with the US National Team and signed for my first professional cycling team in 2010. In 2011, I got an offer to race for one of the top international racing teams in the world.

Cycling–The Proving Ground for Fueling the Body

I was eager and willing to work hard to be my very best. I made sure that all aspects of my life were dialed. My boyfriend (now my husband) was racing as well so we both knew the value of nutrition. I honed in on our diets and made everything from scratch. I made sure all of my ingredients had a purpose. I was making home made bars in my kitchen because I wanted to know exactly what was in the food we were eating. I wanted our fuel for our bodies for maximum performance.

The Inspiration for Using Sweet Potatoes

The idea of adding sweet potatoes to the bar came from two inspirations. One from my Grandpa who put potatoes in our pancakes. But the other inspiration came from our soigneur when she gave me a cup of food to eat on my way to a race. It was a longer day with challenging hills and wind. Beth was like “Ally eat this for your race”. I literally had one of my best days ever. I think my performance was owed to the sweet potato goodness before the race.

In December of 2012 I took a bag full of my sweet potato bars to a 2-week team training camp in Portugal. The bars were a huge success. This is where the idea to launch Ally’s Bar was born.

I went from making bars in my kitchen, then moved into a commercial kitchen. Demand continued to grow, but I was racing full time as well. For us to hit our goals we needed to move to a manufacturer. We launched our Original Sweet Potato Bar in October of 2014. We added 2 new flavors in the summer of 2016 increase our shelf presence by 200%. Our growths have been exciting and we’re just getting started. My husband John is still a pro cyclist and I’m a new Mom. We’re eager and excited to spread the love our delicious sweet potato bars. Coming soon to a store near you AND available today online at allysbar.com.

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Energy Bar Review: Fourpoints Downslope Dark Chocolate Coconut

Four Points Bar Downslope

If you’re a lover of dark chocolate and coconut, you must give this bar a try. Fourpoints’s Downslope Dark Chocolate Coconut bar is quite literally packed with the stuff!

Chewy with a slight crunch, the dark chocolate and dried plums mix well with the raw cashews and almonds to create the perfect texture and taste. And with just a hint of toasted coconut, the dark chocolate truly makes this bar’s rich and chewy goodness pop.

Added bonus: it’s made to stay soft even in cold temperatures, so it’s equally perfect for winter or summer!

Based out of Colorado, Fourpoints stands by its mission to bring you energy bars that are nutritious and delicious. Each of their bars contain raw ingredients that ensure sustained energy and are non-GMO, gluten free, and completely natural.

This particular bar provides 11 grams of protein, 6 grams of dietary fiber, and 31 grams of total carbs, making it a good choice for when you’ve been working hard.

It’s a great bar to snack on when hiking, backpacking, and bike riding!

Fourpoints’s Downslope Dark Chocolate Coconut bar is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Drink Mix Review: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder

Ultima hydration mix

Looking to mix adventure with some serious flavor? Try Ultima’s new Cherry Pomegranate Electrolyte Powder during your next water break!

With bold hints of cherry, citrus, and pomegranate, this unique mix blends tangy and sweet to create a refreshing flavor that’s worth taking a break for. We simply couldn’t resist stopping for a few sips while out on the trail.

“Most importantly, though, this incredibly clean drink mix contains no high fructose corn syrup!”

Each of Ultima’s mixes contain the perfect blend of all six electrolytes and have zero calories, carbs, or sugars. They’re also non-GMO, gluten free, and contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Most importantly, though, this incredibly clean drink mix contains no high fructose corn syrup! It’s sweetened naturally with Stevia leaf instead of sugar.

On the Go Hydration

Simply add one packet to 16 fluid ounces of water depending on your taste preference, shake well, and enjoy! We were impressed with how quickly Ultima’s mix dissolved, providing a flavorful drink that was easy and ready to go!

We recommend trying your first sip today!

Ultima’s Cherry Pomegranate Electrolyte Powder is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Energy Bar Review: Probar Meal Superberry & Greens

Probar Superberry & Greens energy bar

With a whopping 360 calories, this “meal” bar lives up to its name. Just tear open the wrapper and enjoy this nutty, fruity bar for a fast, convenient way to refuel your engine.

Nutritionally, this ProBar has 50g of carbohydrates (WOW!) to quickly give you the energy you need for strenuous, outdoor activity, and it will keep your motor humming for sure. Plus, it has 8g of protein to help repair muscles.

Fruity and Nutty

We love the taste, too. Its sweetness comes from a medley of fruits, with notes of raisins, dates, blueberries and pineapple being the most prominent fruity flavors. Combined with that is the satisfying richness of cashew butter and sunflower seeds.

And the texture of the bar is soft and chewy—a plus.

ProBar Superberry & Greens energy barHealthy, Too

The real bonus here is the healthy greens and fiber. These ingredients read like they came from a must-have list of items you might find in the healthy aisle at the health food store:  spinach, broccoli, carrot, green tea, rose hips, maca root, spirulina (a superfood full of anitoxidants and vitamins), and alfalfa. On top of that, this bar is filled with both pre- and pro-biotics to keep your digestive system working at its best.

It’s also vegan and gluten-free.

The ProBar Superberry & Greens Meal bar was featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Trail Mix Review: Happy Healthy Human’s “Motivation”

Happy Healthy Human Motivation trail mix

There’s a saying that you are what you eat. But, with Happy Healthy Human’s trail mixes, your mood is what you eat. Nutritionist Samantha Attard, founder of Happy Healthy Human, designed a family of healthy, tasty snack mixes that can influence your mood.

Choose Your Own Adventure Mood

There are four to choose from:  Calm, Balance, Relief, and Motivation. The Trailfoody Fam can always use an extra kick to battle the switchbacks on the way to the summit, so naturally, we opted to feature Motivation in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

“Goodbye sluggish, hello excitement,” is what it says on the front of the bag, and we agree. After munching on this mix, we did notice a get-up-and-go feeling.

Healthy Ingredients

What’s the secret to this Motivation mix? Roasted, organic chickpeas; organic pumpkin seeds; organic, dried cranberries; plus, a little salt; olive oil; and smoked pimentón. Pimentón, or paprika, is made from ground red chile peppers, and is what gives this mix such a rich, robust flavor.

What did the Trailfoody Tasters say about Motivation?

“I like to save this stuff for the crux of the climb when I need to be in the right frame of mind. Ultralighters will appreciate that it’s calorie dense, with 200 calories in only 1.5 ounces.”

Grif Steele
Super Famous Outdoor Guy

“The subtle smokiness from the pimentón gives a rich depth to the flavor. You’ll get a small kick of spiciness that’s well balanced with the nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds and the crisp sweetness of the dried cranberries.”

Britt Foodlove
Trailmix Mix Master

“[Whines]” Translation:  I’m jealous that I didn’t get any.

Gracie
Wannabe Taster