Will Hike for Food

So you have some outdoor adventures coming up this summer?! …

Have you thought about what you will do for food??

Too often this question is left unanswered, until you’re packing to leave. The default is a drop in at the grocery store on your way out of town for a handful of protein bars, trail mix, Gatorade and maybe a bag of chips for the ride. Sub-par nutrition for the activity you about to embark on.

With this food approach, at the minimum you are gone half a day hiking moderate terrain in moderate conditions and it’s no big deal; other times you are gone for one or more days of high exertion in variable weather and find yourself dehydrated, fatigued, and in the long run malnourished or sick in the days to follow.

My advice is to BE PREPARED for all outdoor adventure occasions with nourishing food to maximize your experience and come back home refreshed from the experience.

camp food

Here are some tips on where to start. Also check out my past article Camping Fare for more ideas.

Day adventures

Outdoor activity is best fueled with low fiber, high nutrient and energy dense food with adequate water content. Preparing your own food is the best way to accomplish this.

Example meals/snacks

  • boiled eggs
  • ants on a log (celery and peanut butter with raisins)
  • nut butter and banana sandwich, maybe with some honey?!
  • cheese sandwich
  • smoked salmon wrap
  • homemade energy bites or granola bars
  • dried fruit
  • nut mix

Camping adventures

Camping for multiple days of daily activity, with a cold food storage available to you.

Prep ahead

  • Cut veggies and fruit
  • Cut cheese or meats into slices
  • Put bulk items into smaller containers: nuts/seeds, crackers, granola, jerky, cheese, hummus, condiments, etc.

Make ahead, with option to freeze in advance (and double as ice packs in the cooler!) These heat up great as one pot meals on stove top or over fire.

  • Examples:
    • Chili, stews, soups
    • Pasta and sauce
    • Pancakes/waffles
    • Burritos
    • Rice and beans
    • Sausage and potatoes (add veggies for stir-fry in camp)
    • Tuna/salmon/egg salad or dip
    • Lasagna
    • Enchiladas
    • Casseroles



Bring plenty; carry more than you think you will need when you are out and about, or know there is an alternative source available to you.

Know before you go:

  1. Is there somewhere to fill up drinkable water? At your camp? On the trail?
  2. Should you carry a water filter or iodine tablets when away from camp?
  3. How will you carry water during activity?

Best rule is to drink water every 20 minutes, with food every hour

Fluid sources besides water:

  • Cooked meals
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Coffee or tea
  • (dry bars and trim mixes will require more fluid intake)

Get out there and enjoy the outdoors!


Learn the Language of Labels

This article is brought to you by the High Desert Food and Farm Directory 2017 Check out the full directory here! 


On average, supermarkets are filled with 42,000 different products – and what can feel like almost that many labels.  Each of us has our own priorities for what we feel is important.  It can be confusing to figure out what’s true and verified, or what’s unregulated or a gimmick. Understanding the basics of  labels can help you decide what works best for you and fits your values.

While some labels are legally defined, others are not. To help you navigate, the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance put together tips and information about some of the more common labels so you know what you’re buying.

First Tip: Differentiating between the label and the actual farming practice or animal’s welfare is important. For example, chicken that is labeled “organic” does not necessarily mean that the hens were raised in a humane manner.

  • A label is a claim – or a value statement – made on a product which may or may not be certified or verified by the government or another agency
  • A regulation is a rule or definition that is maintained by an authority
  • Certification means the product is verified to meet regulations set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), or go beyond government standards

More tips to help you shop smart:

  1. Look for a recognized symbol
  2. Look for a definition of the word
  3. Ask your farmer



HDFFA defines local as the tri-county region of Central Oregon.  Ask around and you’ll probably find that everyone has a different definition.

Free Roaming/Pasture Fed/Meadow Raised

These labels refer to the environments in which animals are raised and must either be connected to a certified symbol or have a definition on the product to verify the claim.

Grass-Fed/Grain-Finished/Vegetarian Fed

Labels referring to an animal’s diet clarifies what they  have been fed throughout their lives, and requires that they have only eaten the diet claimed on the label.


This term has USDA guidelines, but no regulation, and suggests that a product does not contain artificial ingredients or colors and is only minimally processed.  Individual companies can, and do, make up their own definitions for their products.

Cage-Free Chicken

This is not a regulated label since conventionally grown meat birds are typically not grown in cages, but rather large open structures.

USDA-Regulated Labels

Cage-Free Eggs

Hens must be housed in a way gives them unlimited access to food and water, and freedom to roam during the laying cycle.  This doesn’t mean they aren’t in cages at some point during their lives, or that they have access to the outdoors. Look for egg cartons with the US Grademark seal to verify USDA certification.

Shell Egg Grade ATriShield

Free-Range Poultry

This label is for poultry only and means that the birds must have access the outdoors.  However, this may only be a “pop-hole” with no full-body access.  There is no definition for non-poultry animals.

Raised without Hormones

Hormones are only approved for use in beef-cattle and sheep – they are not allowed with hogs or poultry (including laying hens).  If you see the claim on beef, it is valid if sufficient documentation shows no hormones have been used to raise the animal.  Look for the USDA Process Verified Seal.


Raised without Antibiotics

Producers must provide sufficient documentation showing that no antibiotics were used in the feed, water or injections when raising the animal.  Look for the USDA Process Verified Seal.

USDA Organic

Farms must meet approved methods to protect natural resources and conserve biodiversity, and are only allowed to use approved substances.



GMO-Free. This label is verified by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit, and is not government regulated. This label verifies that a product does not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).


If you see these logos on your products, you know that your food has been certified and meets or exceeds USDA standards: the Oregon Tilth® logo tells you the product is organic, and the American Humane® or Processed and Certified Humane® logos ensure that animals are treated humanely in the way they are raised, fed and processed.

Animal Welfare Approved is based in Terrebonne and is a HDFFA Sponsor.  They certify that animals are raised following the highest standards. Only family farms are approved. Standards are unique to each type of animal and are very comprehensive.


Sources: Consumer Reports, Greener Choices, USDA Labeling Guideline and USDA FSIS Compliance Guidance for Label Approval

What is the Meaning of Life?

Has this question ever be asked to you? Do you have an answer?

During the troublesome times of my youth— you know, tragic things like when homework got in the way of a friend’s party invite or I missed the winning point at a sport tournament— I would express my upset in spins of emotion from rage to depression. Instead of getting angry back at the insensible reactions to my teenage turmoil, in the mist of my verbal objections my father would ask:

“Is this the meaning of life?”

It would stop me in my tracks every time. Never once did I find that whatever ailed me was worth my whole life.

As I grew older (dare I say wiser) I once asked my father what should have been the obvious question: “If this (insert singular petty event) isn’t the meaning of life, what is?”. His response was even more insightful than his original statement: “I don’t know, but when you find out I would like to know as well!”


I recently attended a conference, the Art & Science of Health Promotions, in which I was asked to articulate my purpose in life. The question brought tears to my eyes as I recalled the above childhood memories of my father. The context of this discussion at the conference was to explain, articulate and theorize on spiritual wellbeing and how this broader picture of how we each fit into the world triggers our thoughts, emotions, actions and overall health.

Spiritual wellbeing, the untouchable and often unthinkable pillar to holistic wellness! Defined by Brian Luke Seaward as the accumulation of our relationships, values and a meaningful purpose in life. The piece of the wellness puzzle that is easy to loose. Without it, can we truly be whole?

A few days later in this same conference one of our keynote speakers, Victor Strecher, spoke on his extensive research around what having a purpose in life does for our physical, mental and emotional health, and how you can not weed out one from the other. In a nutshell, having a purpose in life IS the meaning of life and the key to health and happiness. Plus, he had studies to prove it.

If you are interested in learning more on this topic and the evidence, I encourage you to read Victor’s book, “Life On Purpose”; I admittedly have not yet read it, as I have just returned from the above mentioned conference, however I have no doubt I, or you, will not be disappointed.


Our ability to dream and rationalize, to create and control, to stay our course when the outside world wants to tempt us into regret, stems not from pure willpower, but from purpose.

As intuitive as it sounds, articulating your purpose is not always easy. What is important to you? What are your morals and values? These are big questions. But as you think about them, discuss them with friends and family, and apply skills and knowledge as necessary to enhance them, your path in life will form in front of you. I have no guarantees it will be a straight path, but it will not be a wall of resistance.

As Victor states, it is important to distinguish a purpose in every aspect of your life, and keep a balance in each; too much focus in any one direction can lead to burnout or regression. For instance, what is your purpose in living a meaningful life for you as an individual? For you as a friend and family member? For you as a co-worker? For you in your community at large?

I encourage you to think on this question— what is your meaning(s) of life; keep them near, refer back to them often and live your life by them to your best ability. It is important to note that this is not a box to put yourself in or a label to stamp on your forehead, but a fluid exercise that should not restrain but expand.

Grandma Flower Love

In this stage of my life I have the courage to state my meaning of life, and it goes something like this:

Be a loving daughter, cousin, niece, aunt and wife. Do onto thy neighbor as you would do unto those you love. Take time for adventure and enjoy the outdoors. Support wellbeing in all those I meet. 

I have yet to ask my father what his meaning of life is, but I look forward to the conversation, as he continues to be a huge inspiration and drive for my purpose on this earth.


What Does it Mean to be at Your Ideal Body Weight?

How much should you weigh? Who decides? How do you know? Why does it matter? …

Siltez Bay 2014
Here is a little secret about your body weight:

No one can predict what weight your body is healthiest at. You are unique in your physical make-up.

Here is another secret about your body weight:

If you physically, mentally and emotionally feel and act as healthy as you can be then your weight does not matter. When you are at this point, you ARE at your ideal weight at that stage in your life.

Let’s say that again… at THAT stage in your life. Any other time in your life may result in a different weight to best support the healthiest you then.

So what does it feel like to be the healthiest you?
What qualifies as the healthiest you?

Only YOU can answer these questions.

Does volunteering in your community bring you satisfaction; does walking to work bring you clarity; does your bed time routine bring you peaceful sleep; does cooking for your family bring you happiness?

No one can put a weight to these health markers.

I encourage you to spend some time determining what your personal health markers are. Think quality over quantity; subjective over objective.

What are the next best steps for you now?

Keep track of your progress in terms of these intangible markers, not the number on a scale. FEEL the positive impact and KNOW you are succeeding in your ideal body, whatever the weight may be.


The pictures included in this post are a random assortment of what makes ME the healthiest and happiest me. Thank you for letting me share the joys in my life 🙂


All the Love in Your Heart

“Alas! There is no instinct like the heart” –Lord Byron

The heart, as in the organ in our body that controls our circulatory system, distributes oxygen and nutrients to other tissues to keep us alive. Outside of this crucial mechanical role of the heart there is much more to be desired…

Like love, and happiness.

You know, as in the simplistic drawing of two humps with a pointed tail mimicking the heart as a symbol of affection. But how, you might ask, does a group of tissues become a nationally recognized, commercially exploited, pictogram of emotion?

Within our personal relationships we talk about broken hearts, giving our heart away and being cold-hearted… this poetic language stems from the biological truth that the heart, beating inside our chest day in and day out, has much control over our emotional experiences.


Twenty-first century science has shown the connection between our physical body, our mind and our emotions. These are not separate systems but work together so that our physical bodies are at their peak shape when our mind and emotions are aligned.

The most influential physical organ on our emotions is the heart. The heart beat is the most responsive body system to how we feel. Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that simply listening to a heartbeat triggers centers of the brain responsible for emotional outputs (Yuri).

The heart has its own set of neurons that send more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. Rhythms of the heart are recognized by the brain and influence our feelings. Irregular heartbeats resonate with negative emotions while consistent heartbeats resonate with positive emotions.

Interoception is the perception of what is happening in your own body. Being physically aware of our body can lead to better control of our emotional state. In kind, being aware of how are feeling can help us have better control of our physical health.


Does your heart lead you to love? Does it help form your experiences? Your behaviors? Your health?

The heart is wise and has a lot to tell us if we listen.



Jamil Zaki et al. 2012. “Overlapping Activity in Anterior Insula During Interoception and Emotional Experience”. NeuroImage 62(1); 493-499.

Yuri T. et al. 2011. “How does Interoceptive Awareness Interact with the Subjective Experience of Emotions? An fMRI study”. Human Brain Mapping 34(3); 598-612.

Deborah Razman, “Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart”. Online at: https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/connecting-with-the-intuitive-guidance-of-the-heart-deborah-rozman/

Heartmath.org, 2015. “The Making of Emotions”. Online at: https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/making-emotions/

Heartmath.org, 2015. “Article Explains Importance of Heart Rate Variability for your Health”. Online at: https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/article-explains-importance-of-heart-rate-variability-for-your-health/

David Malone, “Of Heart and Mind” documentary. View online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwx5fbElMfk

Dr. Mercola, 2016. “Modern Research Reveals Your Heart Does have a Mind of its Own”. Online at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/05/brain-heart-emotion.aspx

Why Buy in Bulk?

Bulk as in bins, not COSTCO size packaging…

The first most obvious reason to buy in bulk is it gives you the ability to purchase as much or as little as you need.

It also ensures you are only paying for the food, not unnecessary packing, which usually means a better price AND less waste, saving valuable resources.

So that’s four reasons…!


What Can You Buy in Bulk?

Glad you asked! There are many healthy, whole food options in bulk.

All of these should be stored in a dry, cool place in airtight jars or other containers. Properly stored they will maintain their quality for up to six month.

Dry Beans

Dry beans should be soaked in water for 8 hours or boiled in water for 3 minutes then left to soak for 2-4 hours before fully cooking. Soak 1 cup of dry beans in 4-5 cups of water. Soaking before cooking helps with the digestibility of the beans. Make sure and drain the soaking water and use fresh water before cooking.

To ensure proper cooking, avoid adding salt, sugar, tomatoes, wine, lemon, or soy sauce until after the beans are fully cooked. You may preseason with garlic, onion, bay leaves, or cumin.

Dried Fruits

If you have a choice, choose those that have no added sulfur. Sulfur is often added to preserve the color of the fruit, but it can also have some not-so colorful side-effects. So don’t be turned off by pale colors of dried fruit that does not contain sulfur- it will taste just as good!

Grains and Flours

Each grain and flour may have unique or multiple methods of preparation. Since there is no packaging to supply cooking instructions in bulk, you might need to follow a recipe, or consult with google for directions.

Nuts and Seeds

I love to make my own trail mix in the bulk section. This way I only have in it what I want and only in the amounts I want them. No need to just pick one nut or seed, and have a lot of it until the container runs out, but have a variety of several to play with in dishes and as snacks.


Oils, vinegar, various kinds of honey or syrups are used often and in many ways in the kitchen. They can also be quite spendy. Bulk purchase of these liquids allows you to try just a little bit of a larger variety rather than to spend a large amount on a large container.

You can also re-use glass containers by purchasing in bulk- reduce, reuse and recycle!


I hope this overview of why (what and how) to buy in bulk proves helpful in all your future cooking endeavors!



High Desert Food and Farm Alliance

Ever heard of them?


Well, you should. If you live in Central Oregon and you eat food, then you should know, and care, about this organization.hdffa_color_logo2_vert

In short, the HDFFA improves access and education for food grown in Central Oregon, to ensure a healthy and sustainable community.

They are a highly passionate, relatively new non-profit group with only one full time employee and a volunteer board. Their funds come mainly from grants with high hopes of becoming more self-sufficient as programs grow and more individuals, like YOU, realize their important role in your community and get involved.

Here are several reasons I am involved and invested in the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance.

I hope you will explore more reasons for yourself as well!

  1. Information on where to buy Central Oregon food and where to find it on the menu.

  2. A healthier dinner plate for those who might not be so fortunate to purchase fresh food on a regular basis.

  3. A healthier dinner plate for those who might not have previously known how to prepare fresh food.

  4. Less travel of food from farm to your plate means less carbon emissions.

  5. Less travel of food from farm to your plate means better quality and taste.

  6. Decreased food waste with gleaning efforts.

  7. Developing a culture of not only eating, but savoring.

  8. Developing a culture of not only eating, but of health and well-being.

All of these efforts help Central Oregon’s ability to self-sustain our food supply in light of an ever growing industrial nation.

This is so very important for our future, and the future of our children’s children, to have healthy food, a healthy environment and a healthy economy.

I encourage you to GET INVOLVED! with HDFFA.

-Like and tag them on social media.

-Sign up for their newsletter.


-Attend an event.

-Donate money.

-Spread the word to your friends.

Read more about HDFFA at their website, link here. #hdffa