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  1. #1
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    how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    my rides are getting longer to about 4 hours now. I also started to use C4 preworkout from costco and my special k cereal isn't cutting it anymore as Im feeling hypoglycemic in the middle of my rides . Southern California trails so lots of climbing with some sporadic descents.

    what should i be eating before my ride (more protein?). and/or what should i bring along with me that's cheap (no fancy schmancy expensive stuff pls) and won't make me put on weight...lol. 5'9" 185 lbs and i'm trying to lose weight

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    Pre-ride I recommend just eating what you normally eat with maybe some extra carbs. I wouldn't eat right before a ride and definitely not large amounts of protein because it will be hard to digest while riding. Usually 1-2hr before a ride is optimal time to eat. During the ride if you're not interested in chews or drink mixes then I would recommend fruit such as apples slices or bananas. Post ride is when I usually try to get protein in via either a protein shake or by eating nuts. Everyone is different some like to pound a beer mid ride and I've seen some people fill camelbaks with coke during a race. To others just thinking about those types of things makes them want to vomit so experiment and find what works for you.

  3. #3
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    Before: Carbs (toast, pancakes, french toast, cereal, potatoes), proteins (eggs, ham) and potasium (banana) a couple hours before the ride

    During: Cliff Bars, Cliff Blocks, Coke if available

    After: Beer, chocolate milk, burger, pizza or burrito with more beer or coke; actually anything with a some fat

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    I have had a good response from slow release complex carbs/protein from a mix of precooked rices/beans/peas/millet/barley/quinoa. 15 different components made up in 90 minutes once every 2 months. Add fat from olive oil/butter and heat a portion of 4 TB in micro for 45 seconds and mix in some peanut butter. Quick and always readily available with extra in the freezer. It totally eliminates sore muscles.

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    I bring a clif bar along on my rides with me. I eat 1/2 of the bar every 90 minutes for rides over 2.5 hrs. Under 2.5 hrs and am fine most days, bit still keep the bar in my pack just incase. At 3hrs to 4hrs that clif bar is what I need to keep me going. I am 5'7" and 153lbs and ride hard. I push myself to the max on every climb.

    As for the cost. I think they are reasonable at about $1 per bar. I can go the supermarket and buy 10 for 10. The reason I used them is that they preserver well. I always ride with on in my pack and I can leave it there in head or cold and consume as I need it. Once I use it put the next one in my pack. Fresh food is better, but it will go bad if you don't eat it. I never eat these bars unless I am on the trail. I will however eat 1/2 a bar 30 min before race to get an extra boost and then got to my 90 min feed schedule for longer races. Then again for a race I am not looking to lose weight, but stay strong for the entire distance. For normal rides I will just have solid, but light breakfast.
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  6. #6
    JDM
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    Potatoes are cheap, tasty, and easy to digest.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDM View Post
    Potatoes are cheap, tasty, and easy to digest.
    This. On a budget sweet potatoes are hard to beat for carb to $ ratio. Make some sweet potato hash browns for breakfast or sweet potato casserole. Bulk granola is cheap and great to eat on a ride if you dont mind stopping. Energy bars are really easy to make on your own and work out to $0.25-0.50 per bar depending on the recipe but there is normally a $30-40 up front charge to buy the materials to do so.

    Buy some bulk dates and eat them in place of fancy shotblocks/gels. These are especially good if you're hypoglycemic as they wont spike your blood sugar the way processed sugars will.

    For protein, beans and lentils provide an awesome ROI for the cost. If you soak in one batch of water and cook in another clean batch of water, along with rinsing the beans after they're done cooking, you'll minimize all of the gassy side effects. Canned beans are garbage, just make them in a crockpot so they can sit and simmer all day while you're at work - highly recommend a cheap pressure cooker though so you can cook them without soaking and go from cheapass dried beans to cooked beans in less than an hour.

  8. #8
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    Re: how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    Before a ride I'll eat a bacon, egg and cheese on a nature's own (I think) thin whole grain sandwich. It doesn't make you feel bloated but leaves you full enough that water doesn't slosh around in your belly. I'll also eat a granola bar and a gel pack halfway through my ride. It's also VERY important to hydrate the day before or even 2 days before.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL View Post
    Before: Carbs (toast, pancakes, french toast, cereal, potatoes), proteins (eggs, ham) and potasium (banana) a couple hours before the ride

    During: Cliff Bars, Cliff Blocks, Coke if available

    After: Beer, chocolate milk, burger, pizza or burrito with more beer or coke; actually anything with a some fat
    Pretty sure the OP is trying to loose weight. Not have a coronary.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Pretty sure the OP is trying to loose weight. Not have a coronary.
    And this is labeled as mis-advice why??

  11. #11
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    Re: how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    Potatoes, oatmeal (I mix steel cut oats with Quaker) eggs, toast

    Those are my favorite cheap pre ride meals. So basically what I eat everyday. Combine it with apples, bananas, blueberries, raspberries-you should be set. Seems to work for me. I definitely mix up the egg mess with peppers, onions, garlic, the mix. Do it again for lunch. And dinner.

    Burritos, bikes, beer, coffee, other great things that start with a B.

  12. #12
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    Wow some good stuff on here.
    Think it's also a matter of eating well more often, not just pre ride. The more complex the carb the longer it lasts. So choose sweet potato instead of regular, whole wheat instead of white etc. After a few hours or so your foods gonna start to run out no matter what you ate so start to replenish before that happens to avoid hitting a wall. During a ride pbj and bananas are some of my favs, as well as ripe fruit.
    Post ride or after any exercise is probably the only good time to eat simpler carbs because they get delivered, or should I say help deliver faster. IMO and what works for me is to eat around 4:1 carb/protien ratio all the time if I want my diet to support my efforts and vise verse.
    Most people find they have to eat around an hour before a serious ride but for me, as long as it's not a thanksgiving sized meal, I can and do eat 30 min before without issue.
    Start to hydrate way before a ride and keep at it throughout. Some people can do fine being semi dehydrated, but once you get too far behind it's harder to get back up to snuf.
    Last edited by theMeat; 06-15-2013 at 05:46 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Oh, don't know much about c4 workout but many pre work out mixes are loaded with sugar, creatine, and caffeine which might give you an added boost for a while, but will send your energy off a cliff when used up. I've tried a few, and don't like em, but have no problem with having a whey protein shake right after to help build and recover.
    Round and round we go

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt farmer View Post
    And this is labeled as mis-advice why??
    Because, riding isn't an excuse to load a bunch of crap into your body. The only thing on your list that's remotely healthy is the banana and eggs, chocolate milk debatable. The rest is junk. Especially for someone trying to loose weight. Riding and eating healthy is a double win.

  15. #15
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    Some awesome advise here, dont need to repost the obvious good ones. Again with the eat 1hr plus before long ride. Stay natural foods, not processed junk!!!

    Breakfast it ranges heavily. Simple breakfast type bar with protein if not going on a heavy ride, or"breakfast burrito" consisting of 1.5 eggs (make for me and wife/son so thats about portion size) mixed/cooked with seasonings (little salt, much more on pepper, garlic, cilantro) and chopped spinach, onions, mushrooms, green pepper, tomato cooked in small amount of olive oil, and sprinkled with A LITTLE cheese (for flavor).

    STAY AWAY FROM FRIED FOODS, especially anything cooked in vegetable type oils or butter type crap made with vegatable type oils. If needing oil, use olive oil and minimal amounts. Pure natural butter is ok too, but gotta be real, natural butter, and use minimally.

    For mid ride munchies I actually mix up some trailmix myself being is stupidly cheap per serving that way. Dried fruits (INCLUDING BANANA CHIPS!) like peaches, pinapple, apple etc, some nuts (dont go nuts with them, like posted, protein can get harsh if you eat too much during a ride) like sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, some granola, and some busted up pretzels. I make a huge plastic tub of this for like $20-$30 (depends on sales) and it goes A LONG WAY!

    Also I will through a cliff bar in my pack sometimes or some sliced fruit and granola bar.

    After long rides, I actually eat pretty normal. Much on some trailmix again but with more of the nuts, as long as its not too hot out, normal sized glass of chocolate milk (I drink it almost every decent ride, found recovery to be much better for me when I do) and then normal dinner with 6-8oz of meat. Fish chicken, or turkey mostly occasion lean steak or burger (yes even a hot dog or brat once in a great while) with a spinach based salad and whatever fruit/veggie side the wife makes.

    Experience: 85 lbs lost and counting in a year with december to feb being almost unrideable and still very much pigging out on the holidays (have freeweights, work out mat, and punching bag in basement to keep from gaining when mother nature and holiday food slows me down hehe)
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  16. #16
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    Staying hydrated is just as important as eating right, nt only for exercising but for losing weight as well.

    I like to have a greek yogurt as an after ride food. Before ride I try to keep it light. Egg on whole wheat wrap maybe 2 hours before ride. Then a granola bar or apple right before ride. If its a long ride, an orange and maybe another granola bar during ride. I find the apples right before the ride help keep me from feeling hungry, and the orange during the ride helps with some sugar. I have tried a lot of combinations and bars and chews, blah blah blah, and find this is what works for ME.

    Just try some different things and see what works for you. But I do agree with no junk, no fried, best to eat whole natural foods.
    I would rather walk my bike through the woods, than sit on the couch doing nothing.
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    Thanks for all the advice everyone.

    It definitely looks like i need to eat earlier to allow time to digest. I wasn't eating too much before my ride because i hate the feeling of too much food in the stomach when riding. Now that our rides are getting pushed earlier and earlier due to hot weather, that's gonna suck...lol

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    I am and have been on a caloric deficit for the past year. When I plan a ride, I eat four scrambled eggs and one slice of cheese. If I'm not satiated with that, I'll eat .5 cup of cottage cheese with .5 cup of fruit. That is enough for me to last 90 minutes on a trail. A meal high in protein works better for me than a meal high in carbs (oatmeal).

  19. #19
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    how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Because, riding isn't an excuse to load a bunch of crap into your body.
    This.

  20. #20
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    I make my own bars and eat one on the way to a morning ride and one during the ride along with a banana and FRS.

    I also just bought a cookbook called The Feed Zone Cookbook. Fast and Flavorful Food For Athletes. I saw it in Dirtrag or Bike. I just finished looking through it and I'm very excited to try some of the meals and some of the bars.
    Might be just what you need.
    I like turtles

  21. #21
    IoC
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I also just bought a cookbook called The Feed Zone Cookbook. Fast and Flavorful Food For Athletes.
    This.

    They've got a second (awesome) one out called Feed Zone Portables (Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes (The Feed Zone): Biju K. Thomas, Allen Lim PhD, Taylor Phinney, Tim Johnson: 9781937715007: Amazon.com: Books).

    It's got a bunch of recipes for food that's good Clif/Powerbar/Shot replacements. I've been eating the rice bars during recent 6- and 12-hour races. There's been none of the indigestion/bloating I'd get from either cheap (Gatorade) or expensive (Hammer) products.

    The book starts with a pretty long-worded chapter on the science of digestion, liquid vs. solid calories, and estimating your real caloric need. It's not thrilling reading, but a real help in understanding what your body's doing and why we're all a little different.

  22. #22
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    Thanks, IoC...
    I like that book even better.
    I like turtles

  23. #23
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    OP- I'd skip the C4 before a ride. I take similar stuff before the gym, but it raises your heart rate and body temperature too much for riding. If you need a little jolt before a ride, use coffee or 5 hour energy. I stopped doing that, though. I save it for DH days when I don't have to climb. 1 or 2 scrambled eggs, bread, and banana 2 hours before provide fuel and are easy to digest.

    During the ride, you should be good with a gel every hour or so. I have one about a half hour before the start of the ride, too. I prefer Hammer gels, but try a few different brands. If you want real food, take a PB&J or wrap a turkey sandwich in aluminum foil.
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    You guys suck im all bummed now

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    Re: how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    Before, a balanced meal. Cereal is not a complete breakfast. Scrambled egg whites with 1 yolk, whole wheat toast or bread. Or lean protein like chicken breast or tilapia.

    During ride, nuts or get those cheapy energy bars at Costco. Peanut butter sandwiches.

    If you want to cut fat, take a page out of body builder forums. Cut your sugar out of diet.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Because, riding isn't an excuse to load a bunch of crap into your body.
    Speak for yourself.

    1 beer/ride-hour will get you through most trails. Tough to find good brew in cans, so you may need to go to a bigger backpack to carry enough bottles, depending on your tastes and the length of your rides. Current personal faves are Wachusett Country Ale in the heat, Guiness in the cold. Also, never underestimate the power of Sour Gummy Crawlers and beef jerky. Nothing better in a pinch.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Speak for yourself.

    1 beer/ride-hour will get you through most trails. Tough to find good brew in cans, so you may need to go to a bigger backpack to carry enough bottles, depending on your tastes and the length of your rides. Current personal faves are Wachusett Country Ale in the heat, Guiness in the cold. Also, never underestimate the power of Sour Gummy Crawlers and beef jerky. Nothing better in a pinch.
    You can do what you like but I hope you're joking, because this is such bad advice on so many levels it's funny.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    You can do what you like but I hope you're joking, because this is such bad advice on so many levels it's funny.
    Beats the hell out making a science experiment out of something simple like a trail-side snacks though, doesn't it?

    Take the hours you save in the kitchen and trying to become an internet-forum-trained psuedo-dietician and just ride your bike more, and crack a beer about it too. Unless your doing epic long-distance riding (or are a 'serious' racer-type), you are very likely over-thinking this stuff. Sweaty, dizzy, and a slightly confused near the end of a 4 hour rip is a feeling that should be embraced, not 'cured' through denying yourself tasty treats.


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    Wow, you ^ seem like a nice guy, and smart too. If you consider pbj a science experiment, and this is the kind of posts you put out to share, there's no need to insult your lack of intelligence, you got that covered.
    Round and round we go

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Wow, you ^ seem like a nice guy, and smart too. If you consider pbj a science experiment, and this is the kind of posts you put out to share, there's no need to insult your lack of intelligence, you got that covered.
    I see that you are not only an internet chat over-achiever, but also a therious thycltht. It's guys like you that that suck the fun out of the game. Don't you have some grams to count, obvious emoticons to misunderstand, or crushed bananas to clean out of your pack or something? Jeezusss...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Beats the hell out making a science experiment out of something simple like a trail-side snacks though, doesn't it?

    Take the hours you save in the kitchen and trying to become an internet-forum-trained psuedo-dietician and just ride your bike more, and crack a beer about it too. Unless your doing epic long-distance riding (or are a 'serious' racer-type), you are very likely over-thinking this stuff. Sweaty, dizzy, and a slightly confused near the end of a 4 hour rip is a feeling that should be embraced, not 'cured' through denying yourself tasty treats.

    If I rode with you, I'd preemptively dial 9-1 and the other 1 when you hit the turf.

  31. #31
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    how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    You can do what you like but I hope you're joking, because this is such bad advice on so many levels it's funny.
    Naw. Not bad advice. Bad advice for beginners, perhaps.

    The advice is actually a better practice than some (most) decisions I've made around beers and riding.

    Okay, I meant all. All decisions.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Speak for yourself.

    1 beer/ride-hour will get you through most trails. Tough to find good brew in cans, so you may need to go to a bigger backpack to carry enough bottles, depending on your tastes and the length of your rides. Current personal faves are Wachusett Country Ale in the heat, Guiness in the cold. Also, never underestimate the power of Sour Gummy Crawlers and beef jerky. Nothing better in a pinch.
    Hey, whatever works for you, go for it. I'm all for a beer or two after a ride, not sure I could do it during though. My only issue was that the OP is trying to loose weight and eating a bunch of junk even when riding is a bit counter productive. Riding + quality food = healthy weight loss. I've lost nearly 50 pounds since Christmas using the same formula. But hey, everyone is different. If beer and sour gummies are your thing...more power to ya...lol

  33. #33
    dru
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    OP, you need carbs during that ride. I've tried lots of things but I'm also a twig. I'd suggest power bars, rice crispy squares, carb drinks from a body building supplies place, heck, even a sandwich. A bit of fat won't hurt either as your body will definitely use it for fuel.

    I used to go out on 2 1/2 hour rides charged up with only coffee and breakfast and would bonk bad right at the end of the ride. I now always eat or (mostly) drink some type of energy product and feel awesome throughout the whole ride.

    If you are doing 4+ hour rides you need to eat, and quite a bit more than you'd think you'll actually need.

    Your pre-ride meals should be light and at least an hour (more is better) before the ride, especially if you are pushing any kind of hard pace.

    Drew
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    You don't need carbs. There's lots of folks, myself included, that eat and ride Paleo or similar like CKD or Adkins and do just fine. By carbs I mean sugar, grains, processed crap like pasta and bread.

    You do need calories though. If you want to go the carb route, there's not much out there that will beat the ease and effectiveness of a pb sandwich, except maybe a pb & banana sammich.

  35. #35
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    You don't need carbs. There's lots of folks, myself included, that eat and ride Paleo or similar like CKD or Adkins and do just fine.
    Yes, I agree with this too, although I don't subscribe to any type of diet and actually eat a lot of things that are bad for my health.

    Funny, one of my very strongest rides was fueled by two Big Macs, large fries, and a pop!

    Drew
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    I am still learning.

    Thoughts on Naked Protein Smoothies? I know it's kind of a calorie/sugar BOMB but it's sustained me pretty well on long rides lol.

    peanut-butter is really good? I like peanut-butter.

    I had also used something called CHOMPS but I'm not sure I'd ever rely on them. Nuts and berries are great.

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    Re: how to eat for the beginner (cheaply)

    It depends how strict you want to be on your diet. It you want to cut weight Hard core like a body builder check out the diet section of body builder forums. Lean protein, no sugar, eat 6x time a day bla bla. Post pics of yourself and keep journal to help key in track.

    Want something simpler, the common mistake is too much sugar and processed foods, our bodies have evolved to overemphasize sweet, nothing sweet is toxic. And exercise regularly.

    Don't go crazy diet IMHO as you are more likely to break it.
    Last edited by bob13bob; 06-18-2013 at 12:22 AM.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Hey, whatever works for you, go for it. I'm all for a beer or two after a ride, not sure I could do it during though. My only issue was that the OP is trying to loose weight and eating a bunch of junk even when riding is a bit counter productive. Riding + quality food = healthy weight loss. I've lost nearly 50 pounds since Christmas using the same formula. But hey, everyone is different. If beer and sour gummies are your thing...more power to ya...lol
    Alright, probably not the best plan for weight loss. Or as daily staples. But man, junk food tastes good trailside, and I've never 'bonked'. If it's gonna be a longish ride, I'll throw in an apple, Clif bar, maybe some starbursts and nuts, Rice Krispy bar, etc. Pretty much anything I eat seems to keep me going.

    Mid ride brews might be a little more of an advanced technique, but could definitely be pulled off by an determined beginner. Obviously best enjoyed with company, but sometimes it's nice to take in the scenery and chill out with a pop all by your lonesome. There is no strict separation of bikes and beer in the mtb constitution; exercise your rights!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    You don't need carbs. There's lots of folks, myself included, that eat and ride Paleo or similar like CKD or Adkins and do just fine. By carbs I mean sugar, grains, processed crap like pasta and bread.

    You do need calories though. If you want to go the carb route, there's not much out there that will beat the ease and effectiveness of a pb sandwich, except maybe a pb & banana sammich.
    Yeah ya do. There's carbs in lotsa stuff and you need them, especially if you have an active lifestyle. Your brain is a muscle and needs them too. Have personally witnessed carb rage by people that didn't have enough carbs for too long. If you eat fruits and veggies you're eating carbs.
    You also need fats, and fats of all kinds. Cut out too many and over time your body will just get better at storing whatever and whenever fats it can. Have enough often enough and over time your body will learn it doesn't have to store as much for times of need because there aren't any.
    Sure everyone is different so of coarse ymmv.
    Round and round we go

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Mid ride brews might be a little more of an advanced technique, but could definitely be pulled off by an determined beginner.
    I'm exercising my right to LOL
    Round and round we go

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    If you eat fruits and veggies you're eating carbs.
    Right. Notice I said sugar, grains, and other processed carbs like pasta and bread. That's the stuff you don't need.

  42. #42
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    Nice read. I'll have the "Feed Zone Portables" book soon.

    Since the end of last year, I have been on a quest to make up some healthy, shelf stable, backpacking meals. Looking at what the Grandkids wanted/did/do pack has driven me to try and home package something that is not "junk". I think I have all the tools, (dehydrator, vacuum sealer etc.) but feel I still lack in knowledge and skill.


    Something that has helped me incredibly is using the Free Diet Plans at SparkPeople page. It lets you track macros (protein, fats, carbs) and a slew of micros and minerals as well as cals out from activities. It's a balanced approach where nothing is necessarily off limits, but can help show where you may be out of bounds. You can even customize those bounds if you desire.

  43. #43
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    Buy the little half-size sandwich bags, put in a couple of scoops of creamy peanut butter and pour real some honey in. Mix it in the bag. When ready, bite the corner offer the bag and squeeze. Works nicely.

  44. #44
    IoC
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    Quote Originally Posted by intothenew View Post
    Looking at what the Grandkids wanted/did/do pack has driven me to try and home package something that is not "junk".
    Homemade Lara bars (date bars, basically) may go over well. Ten minutes with a food processor for a batch.

    Whole slew of recipes that clone the commercial ones at Rawified: Raw Lärabars

  45. #45
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    Oatmeal with nuts, dates, dried cranberries for breakfast, and a banana with Peanut Butter.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by daves4mtb View Post
    Attachment 811263

    Don't try this at home...

    WHOAH! Careful there fella!

    Good form.


  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by daves4mtb View Post
    Attachment 811263

    Don't try this at home...
    haha that is something i would love to be indulging in right about now!

  48. #48
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    You don't need carbs. There's lots of folks, myself included, that eat and ride Paleo or similar like CKD or Adkins and do just fine.
    Since when does "you" (in the OP operative sense of the word) = "you" (in the "this is what I do" sense of the word)

  49. #49
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    Let me get this straight, filling my camel back with beer and or bourbon and ginger ale is not a good idea?

    Obviously, the OP is concerned about his caloric intake so probably not the advice he is looking for to put beer in his pack. PB&J never hurts before a ride. After a ride, I would imagine protein and light cards would maximize your weight loss goals.

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