The last few days I have been spending quite a bit of time packing my food for the expedition. So what do I eat on the expedition...?
Those that followed my 2010 North Pole expedition, will now all about it, and the dreaded Pemmican, yeah it's virtually the same for this expedition:
Thanks to Richard Weber, I managed to get on the back of his (Ruth's) expedition food preparation and I am really priveledged to have the wonderful Weber Arctic diet every day. Josee Auclair, Richard's amazing wife, is the person behind all the sourcing of ingredients and preparation, and for their help I am truly lucky. The diet has been developed over the years of Richard's many North Pole expeditions, and has a lot of science and specific raw ingredient sourcing expertise behind it.
Essentially the deal is that I need calories, and huge amounts every day, to firstly fuel the warming fires within my body that keep my body temeperature stable. This, I think amounts to about 60 % of the calorie usage. The other 40% is to provide the energy to enable me to pull my sled and move me over the ice day after day, without losing body weight. All in all this amounts to about 1.2 kg of food a day, and 7200 calories a day. Now for the real nice part...
I know many of you will be envious of what I'll be eating! And this is not a choice, I HAVE to eat predominantely fat, becuase the warming fires only use fat fuel, if i tried to take on carbohydrates my body would go on strike and tell me it can't keep me warm anymore! Even the exercise energy, is fat fuelled. This is mainly because I will be working at low heart rate, this being critical so I don't sweat and then have freezing and frostbite problems.
So my diet consists of lots of chocolates, cheese, butter, bacon, etc....
The 'dreaded Pemmican is the central ingredient of the main course for breakfast and dinner. Pemmican, originally an Inuit food, being a delightful concoction of ground dried meat (preferably reindeer), like jerky or biltong, mixed with animal or goose fat, and then a few cranberries added, supposedly to make it look more appetising. (For those who want to perfect the art, I'm sure Josee will be running a gourmet Pemmican making course in Canada next year! Maybe even at their wonderful lodge right on the Arctic Ocean: www.arcticwatch.ca) The Pemmican is mixed with cheese and spread over either a rice or noodle base. Now as I was sorting out my Pemmican, I can honestly say my subconcious mind and stomache connected to the packed portions, and I felt this strong desire to get out on the ice and start devouring this wonder energy food. It was quite surreal.... Believe it or not I can't wait to get back into the full swing of my polar diet!
Here is a photo of my daily lunch portion:
Going clockwise and starting on the extreme left with my real favourite, the fruitcake: really the carrier for the butter, but a real rich and wholesome slice of cake. next round is my bag of nuts. Mixed nuts, with my favourite Macadamia and Brazils, being picked out first! Next around is the portion of thick slices of real fatty smoked bacon...Just delicious, but one must keep it close to one's body to defrost it from the ambient temperature, that way the smoked taste really comes through. Last around and between the bacon and the cake are three very rich and wicked chocolate truffles...apparently with a dasdh of my home country Amurula liquer added. These are amazing, and I know each day I will wish I had brought a few more, but weight is an issue: more on that later!
Lastly in the centre is my portion of real butter...Yeah you just eat it like that on the cake. At Antarctic temperatures its rock hard, and I have tricked myself into believing it's more chocolate, white milky bar, and so slowly let it melt in my mouth!
Hey, and that's just lunch I have described, and it's all eaten on the run! Stopping to eat makes one really cold, as the high fat injection almost instantly clogs the veins and circulation slows!
Now for Dinner and Breakfast:
This time I'll start in the bottom centre with the vitamin / supplement pack. This is designed to keep one optimal given the fairly narrow diet, lack of vegatables, and also to counteract the effect of endurance stress on the body. 10 tablets every day.
Moving clockwise, the next ingredient is shaved roasted coconut, to go with the pemmican. This is my treat that I added for variety. Some days it's shaved almonds. Next is a portion of rice. and then further around is dehydrated cheddar cheese, very sharp and tangy, goes with the pemmican...hmm, I can't wait! Top in the middle is the delicious breakfast sandwich: The dried bread / toast is meely a carrier for huge amounts of penut butter, nutella and honey. Two sandwiches per day. Next to the sandwich is the pemican portion, half for breakfast, half for dinner. Down fro that is the portion of noodles that carries the pemican, cheese, coconut meat source. Finally in the centre is powedered milk and maple sugar which makes the welcome home drink every night once the tent is built and I can start to relax, and get into the pleasures of a creating a 'Romantic Dinner for One', out in the wondeful Ice desert of Antarctica. . I'm hopeful that for many of the day a tot of 'the finest Scotch Whisky' will be added to this warm drink mix as celebration of a good day's work! I have to deserve it though!
So, as I have been writing this I have got pretty excited about the culinary adventure ahead.......
All this food, and I know I'll probably still lose a fair bit of weight...Lucky boy hey!
Lastly as far as food and weight goes..... Although this diet may seem extravagant, it is worked out on the basis of minimising the weight f food for the calories I need. Weight to be carried in the sled is a serious issue for these expeditions and I'll be trying to minimise the weight iof my sled at all costs...Only the essentials to go. With this mindset, there is a fine balance between taking too little food and having a lighter sled, but then not being able to perform on the ice, versus a excessive food, a heavy sled, which makes for slow progress, requiring more days and even more food! This is one of the games of the polar expedition, and one has to manage one's own strategy, and then mange oneself within it while on the ice!