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Food for desert runners: a recipe to prepare it at home and some advice to optimize the dry freeze meals.

Food for desert runners: a recipe to prepare it at home and some advice to optimize the dry freeze meals.

Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of self supported races. When the race is in the desert it becomes even more important. Food has two functions: to support us during the effort and also give us some psychological confort and support after following big fatigue.
Every desert runner has his own formula and feeding strategy. Some elements can be simplified as a generic scheme, but the ideal balance of them is very subjective and needs ‘in the field’ experience.

The first thing to take in consideration is that protein and fats are our best friends. Unlike short and one day races where carbohydrates are the major source of energy, on long and multiday races we need to increase the amount of proteins and fat. This will assure more constant and long term energy production.

Morning and evening are important meals: we need to increase our daily caloric intake and try to have a balanced meal, with protein, fats and carbohydrates. The longest stage of Oman Desert Marathon is 42 km, the rest of the stages are always below this length, so we don’t need to increase excessively our caloric intake. Consider adding between 20% to 30% more than in your regular diet.

During the day, for most runners, there is no opportunity to have a complete meal because the race is on. The only solution is to take regularly dry fruits (figues, dates) alternated with gels and bars. Don’t overdo the gels and bars and remember that doctors advice is not to go over 3 gels a day. Mixing real food with bars and gels helps also to reduce the sense of nausea that can come from excessive use of these supplements. My favourite bars and supplements are from Isostar as they are vey light in flavor and  easy to digest.
Don’t forget to keep on drinking all the time small amounts of water, which is better than a big quantity in one single time. This seems easy to do, but is not as easy as one imagines!

Another thing to remember is that caffeine has a very good effect giving us sprint and energy, but on the other side, increases the dehydration speed. Don’t overdo it.

Oman Desert Marathon is located in a part of the desert where wood can be easily found, so you don’t need to buy a stove, just make sure to you have a pot and a lighter to warm the water and prepare your meal. Oman Desert Marathon organization will provide hot water every evening but we strongly suggest to remain independent, this will allow you to eat your meal when you really need it and not to have to wait until evening time.

Raidlight offers a very wide variety of deydratated foods and the adverage amount of calories per meal is about 500 kcal. This, in addition to dry fruits, gels and bars will satisfy most of runners.
See Raidlight food catalog here
This will offer you a wide range of solutions. If Oman Desert Marathon is your first experience trust the suggestions they give on the website: maybe they are not the best solution for you but they are a good compromise for a wide range of users. Don’t forget to take a pencil and paper to the desert with you, write down your impressions and remarks, this will help you to choose your meals next time.

For runners that need more calories they can choose dry freeze Expedition Foods High energy rations, that are about 800 kcal per meal.
They can be found here

General advice and practice of most desert runners is to open all the packages just before the race, transfer the contents in zip-lock bags and keep just one the original packages for cooking. This allows one to compact the volume of food and dramatically reduce the weight.

I you want to create you own desert food you can try my recipe, but before taking it to the desert make sure you have tested it at home.
This will give you the highest caloric intake with the lowest weight and volume.

What you need
150 gr parmesan cheese grated superfine (580 kcal)
100 gr wholemeal crackers (480 kcal)
22 table spoons of extra vergin olive oil (2370 kcal) – Don’t use other fats!
This will give you 3.430 Kcal ready in only 650 gr immediately ready to be eaten.
This formula will last for at least 20 days in the desert, with no refrigeration and vacuum only.

how to prepare:

Fase 2: Process the crackers and reduce them to powder

Fase 2: Process the crackers and reduce them to powder

Fase 4: add parmesan and keep on mixing

Fase 4: add parmesan and keep on mixing

Fase 5: Leave this mixture rest at least 1 hour. It has to be not homogeneous and not liquid.

Fase 5: Leave this mixture rest at least 1 hour. It has to be not homogeneous and not liquid.

Fase 6: Vacuum package your food in small rations suited for your needs.

Fase 6: Vacuum package your food in small rations suited for your needs.

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this can be eaten “as is” or with warm or cold water.

Jolly:
– add chocolate and milk powder with hot water to make and extra caloric and protein breakfast
– add dried soups of past you can find at the supermarket to increase the taste and the calories of those meals.

TEST THIS FORMULA AND SOLUTIONS BEFORE TAKING IT TO THE DESERT!

original article from sentierouno.it

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