Currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand (06/12/2013) - 31200km cycled

22 Apr 2012

What am I eating?

Posted by Will

It may interest some people to know what I am eating to keep myself going. A few quick internet searches suggest I should eat roughly 5000 calories a day and keep a balanced diet across the core food groups (carbohydrate, protein, fat). I’m not doing particularly well at supplying my body with vitamins and minerals so all I can do is hope the multi-vitamins I chew on every night are playing their part. Scrutizing the information on the back of food boxes has become a guilty pleasure and is especially satisfying as I am trying to find the highest calorie items. Low-fat yoghurt? Zero-calorie Coke? Light hot chocolate? No, thank you.

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I start every day with a mountain of yoghurt-soaked muesli in my Trangia bowl. The variation comes in the flavour of yoghurt applied – strawberry and blueberry are my favourite. I won’t settle for any yoghurt lower than 2.5% fat and the carton (usually 1L) must have a screw cap so it doesn’t leak in my panniers. The best type of muesli is the crunchy sort that doesn’t go soggy. If I’ve had the foresight to buy bananas the day before then I’ll add these into the mix. This simple meal has proved effective and so long as I cram enough of it into my system (500g) I won’t be hungry for the next 3-4 hours. Also, the fibre in the muesli does a good job on my digestive system.

After the first couple of hours on the bike I’ll try to find a supermarket to buy supplies. Lunch is then taken outside the supermarket, usually on the floor. This meal consists of a loaf of bread (350-500g), a packet of cheese or ham as a filling (100-200g), some yoghurt to drink (the rest is saved for the next day’s breakfast), some kind of cake (100-200g), several handfuls of peanuts, 2-3 bananas and a 100g bar of chocolate. The bread may be replaced by tortilla wraps if I’m feeling adventurous and sometimes I’ll get some kind of ‘special treat’ item’ (pastry, ice cream) if I think I deserve it. I went through a phase of eating tinned makarel with tortilla wraps but soon stopped as they made my gloves smell very nasty. Several days later I was still catching the occasional whiff of fish eminating from objects I’d touched after these lunches.

A few hours before camping is snack-time where I’ll have a breather over nuts, chocolate and a banana or two. If the weather’s nice this is always a glorious half-an-hour sitting in the sun. I’ll have a look at the map while eating and watch the world go by.

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Every night I make sure I set-up camp next to a stream so I can cook and wash-up easily. Dinner is the most complex and potentially most exciting meal of the day. So far, cous-cous has formed the base of every dinner (500g). It is the perfect camp-stove food because it takes up minimal space in the panniers, cooks in about 3 minutes and tends to be more nutritious than pasta and rice (back-of-the-box knowledge kicking in). I heat up water over my Trangia stove and 15 minutes later I’m munching. Sometimes I eat the cous-cous plain, sometimes I add chopped tomatoes or cheese and other times I add salami or another pre-cooked meat. I’m confident enough now to get experimental with cous-cous, hence some of my recent concoctions: cous-cous with peanuts, cous-cous with chocolate, cous-cous with blueberry yoghurt. Those were the days when my cupboard was otherwise bare.

English Breakfast Tea brews in the background while I eat dinner so that when I get into the tent after the cold and unpleasant washing-up there’s a cuppa waiting to warm me up. Snuggling down in the sleeping bag reading a book over a hot cup of tea, usually while it’s snowing outside, is one of my favourite parts of the day.

That’s pretty much explained my food-routine. So perhaps you can understand how it feels to have really tasty food at someone’s house every now and again. In Copenhagen I ate ‘fagadellas’ (fried balls of mince) and potatoes in a cream sauce with Andreas who described it as the traditional Danish meal your grandparents might cook you. In Stockholm, I rustled up a chilli con carne with Andrew, Jan and Wilma and the next night Andrew and I consumed an enormous meal of suckling-pig, chips and a chocolate truffle (and a large number of beers from the local micro-brewery) in the pub. In Umea, Martin and Linda treated me to several delicious meals including a noodle fry-up, pancakes, a traditional cheese and wafer-bread combination, and best of all a prime fillet of roe deer killed by Martin himself. A big thank you to all of them.

So there you have it. If you’ve got something to say about my diet, can relate to stories of incongruous cous-cous creations or (even better) are a nutritionist, please let me know.

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3 Comments already on “What am I eating?”
  1. 12:29 pmpermalink
    22 Apr 2012

    Mumsy

    Wow! The snow pictures are so COOL! Food looks and sounds delicious, will get out
    the cook books to find more cous cous recipes although I think you just might be able to write a book of your own!
    Hope weather improves although you sound on great form
    xx

  2. 5:42 pmpermalink
    22 Apr 2012

    Wayne Coomer

    Hey there William

    Have been enjoying following your posts and seeing how you are getting on!! Love the photos too, some really creative angles :-))
    I see that your spirits are still very high William and it can be seen by your posts that you are having the time of your life, that is so amazing and I am so proud of what you are achieving !!
    All the best for what is still to come and I look forward to reading your next post.
    Please take care and look after yourself William. Be safe!!!!

    Wayne

  3. 11:46 ampermalink
    25 Apr 2012

    Kirsi

    Hi Will,

    Hope you have enjoyed beautiful Tallinn Old Town and everything keeps on going well for you! Once more, it was a real pleasure to have you here in Helsinki, with our family. It is nice that you could see some sunshine and a bit of Helsinki (maybe some photos to come later on?) after the days of snow and bad weather in other parts of Finland :)

    And this is for Will’s mother: it was so nice to make delicious meals for your great son and yes, he did wash the dishes ;)

    So Torres did it finally yesterday! Maybe the result means even more intense feeling for us to see at Stamford Bridge on 13th of May :)

    All the best,
    Kirsi + Antero, Maija and Salli