On July 31th 2015 my wife at the time, Maria, and I left Riksgränsen (a small tourist station along the road from Kiruna to Narvik) for a 4 week hike. Early on we decided to bring provisions for the entire trip with us from the start which, needless to say, was challenging.
As stated earlier I’m rather fat adapted and enhanced that by cutting out all sugars and most starches a good week before we started the trip. Maria, on the other hand, was mainly eating a vegetarian diet based on fruits and veggies with some nuts, seeds and the occasional cheese.
I thought she was planning too little food and during the last week before departure I persuaded her to dehydrate some beetroot and sweet potatoes, just to have some denser carbohydrates available.
Starting out we were both carrying way to heavy loads and the first few days were slow and tedious though we managed to motor along pretty well for the first two weeks. Then came the point when we ran out of beetroot and sweet potatoes and initially this could be managed by stocking up on milk chocolate every time we passed by a cabin selling provisions.
As You probably already know the nutritional value of chocolate doesn’t even come close that of good starchy tubers and You might already have guessed how this ended… Right, the simple sugars and fast carbs in the chocolate couldn’t sustain the energy output for long, I managed to get my hands on some butter and could give Maria my remaining coconut oil and still it didn’t suffice.
A few days into week four her energy levels were plummeting just 90 min after we started in the morning and besides physical hunger and lack of energy it affected her emotionally as well. In the end we cut the tour short a couple of nights and went down to Abisko early.
I, on the other hand, had a totally different experience – I usually eat beef jerky with butter/coconut oil and some nuts for breakfast and when the energy from that meal has been used, my body just continues burning fat from the storages of my body and I didn’t even notice the difference and frankly never got any dips or hunger pangs.
In 2016 I was out there for 16 days and actually had one third of the beef jerky and about the same of the coconut left over at the end of the hike. Out of the 16 days I only had three meals on three days, two days I ate once and the rest I had two meals. Always eating when hungry and never experiencing a dip in energy!
So, these experiences inspired me to go full keto this year and see what that feels like – stay tuned!