by Heather Mundt
As a collegiate rower at Western Washington University, Heather Kelly struggled to find a healthy diet that fulfilled her demanding athletic needs. And after lots of research, she had an epiphany.
?I came across the paleo diet for athletes, and it all made sense,? says Kelly, evolutionary sports nutritionist, certified psychology of eating coach and owner of Heather?s Choice, a line of healthy dehydrated meals and snacks she manages from her home near Anchorage, Alaska.
Not only did the diet rich in meat, fish, vegetables and healthy oils (minus dairy or grain products, and processed food) help her as an athlete, she says, her skin also cleared up and her sugar crashes stopped. So by the time she embarked as a boat captain on a 25-day raft trip down the Colorado River in 2010, she was invested enough to bring 50 pounds of her own dehydrated paleo food, like moose jerky and dried fruit.
?It was awesome to be on the river and have nutritious food with me along the way,? Kelly says.
After the trip, she continued dehydrating foods and developing recipes, sparking the idea for ?meals for adventuring,? Heather?s Choice.
The line of meals and snacks?free of dairy, soy and gluten, and made from sustainable, high-quality ingredients?were created with backcountry enthusiasts in mind. But Kelly says they?re suited for anyone in the ?front country? who wants quick, non-perishable nourishment.
So whether you?re a kid or an adult who?s dancing, hiking or studying, eating these nutrient-dense options?including Buckwheat Breakfast, Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder and Packaroons (a macaroon variation)?can help boost endurance and focus.
?If nothing else, you?ll immediately notice a difference in cognition, attention span and energy levels,? Kelly says.
Now working on an e-cookbook set to publish in June 2016, she gives a sneak peek of one of her new recipes, Heather?s Portable Pumpkin Pie.
Heather?s Portable Pumpkin Pie
This recipe calls for a food dehydrator and fruit-leather sheets, which are paraflex sheets fitted to dehydrator trays. (Click here to see Heather’s preferred brand.)
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups applesauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dried shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped raisins
1. Mix all ingredients together in a blender of food processor.
2. Spread mixture on fruit-leather sheets lightly sprayed with coconut oil. You want it to be spread about 1/4-inch thick evenly, making the edges a smidge thicker since they will dry the fastest.
3. Dry at 135 for about 8 hours, or until there are no soft spots and it feels tacky to the touch.
4. Once your leathers are dry, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in a bag until your next trip, assuming you don?t eat them all right away.
Freelance writer and Outdoor Families Magazine contributing editor Heather Mundt lives in Longmont, Colo., with her husband and two boys. She writes about traveling with kids on her site, Momfari.com, inspiring parents to get out and discover the world with their children.