Trail Nutrition Secrets: Expert Tips from Backcountry Foodie

Tayson Whittaker: Everybody. Welcome back to the live ultra light podcast powered by Outdoor Vitals. Today, I had a special guest. This is Aaron Owens Mayhew, who is the owner and founder of Backcountry Foodie. This is a phenomenal podcast that covered a ton of really interesting aspects of eating and fueling on trail. I know I personally learned some things which I hope means that you guys will learn some things as well. We talked about everything from easy ways to boost calories, to easy ways to do some meal prepping before. How often you should be eating, eating and, and hiking and high elevation and cold weather and, and differences there. And I mean, we covered, we covered so much in this podcast that was so good, easy ways to cook, you know, like I think that a lot of us if you, if you, you may resonate with this, a lot of us out there, you know, we love backpacking, but maybe we don't love the prep work of it. Maybe you're not one who loves to spend a lot of time figuring out food such as me. In fact I'm leaving this afternoon to take my kids on a backpacking trip and I have not figured out what I'm gonna be eating. I literally just went in and sort of grabbed things off of the shelf and I know that that experience could be so much better. And that's a lot of what we talk about, in this episode. So I got a lot of good takeaways from it and I'm sure you will as well. But let me introduce you really quick to Aaron. So you know who she is and what she does. And then we'll go ahead and roll this interview. So Aaron Owens Owens Mayhew is a registered dietician and avid backpacker who made a significant career shift in 2017 after setting out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail motivated, motivated by her journey. She recognized the need for specialized nutrition in a world of backpacking. This realization led her to establish Backcountry Foodie, a business focused on providing Backpackers with nutrition, nutritious meal plans. Erin definitely had some, some obstacles to overcome where she knew that most people going out on hikes were planning on losing 10 lbs, 20, 30 and she felt like she did not have that weight to lose. And so she looked at nutrition a little bit differently and it spurred off this whole business now that she's running from resupply to this really awesome membership which we get into in this episode. So if you guys want to learn how to eat better or just how to eat, period on the trail, Make sure to listen to this episode. I'll go ahead and roll it right now.

Tayson Whittaker: All right, Aaron, how are you doing today?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I'm good, thanks.

Tayson Whittaker: You mentioned already off air here, but you've got a pretty slick uniform on.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Yeah, this is my new uniform. This is my chef's coat. like I was telling you before. Actually, I just replaced my hair and net with a ball cap. So, no, I started a resupply business for three hikers this season. So I've been really busy in the kitchen making meals. so I got a couple of orders going out to the right wod and I would say this week or actually tomorrow.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, you when we are just scheduling this up, it sounded like your schedule is insane right now. like walk me through. How many, how many people are you resupplying? And how does that work?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Actually I'm, I'm only resupplying 16 people. so there's actually eight hikers considering how many thousands of hikers are out there. I'm helping 16, 8, regularly order every single week. So the others kind of order sporadically based on, if there's like absolutely nothing there, then I send the box, others have, you know, one has Celiac, one has another peanut allergy, you know, all those kinds of things. So they actually need boxes every single week and on a busy day I'm making 100 meals, so I underestimated how much work it's gonna be. so I'm actually hiring a business manager for the membership side of things so I can focus on this 100% of the time because it's turning into something massive that I really enjoy doing. Especially being a dietician. I prefer to be in the kitchen than behind my computer. so it's something that's growing a lot faster than I thought it would.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, that's, that's actually super interesting. So you're saying you got eight, like every week and then, let's say half of the other ones are ordering every week. So you're only, you're only making meals for 12 people per week, per week, let's say so. And that's, I mean, how much time does that take to do that?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I thought it would be 15 hours a week, but it's closer to 40 because I didn't take into account the amount of my poor postal carrier. I didn't take into account all the shipments coming in. you know, just opening up things, putting away inventory. you know, breaking down boxes, all those kinds of things I didn't take into account. And then also my particular style of meal planning. I make everything from freezer bags. So I do them individually. I forgot the dishes. You know, I did take into account actually doing dishes. so I've learned a lot of tricks throughout the course of being more time efficient, but it's not just my meals, essentially, I'm doing everything that you would do for yourself. So, I'm ordering bars. I'm shipping puffy coats, you know, micro spikes back and forth. So anything that needs to go out resupply box and essentially it's a resupply coordination. I do everything that you need. so I've got quite a few international hikers that don't have one, someone here locally. So I'm getting a lot of gear back and forth and that kind of thing. So it just is a lot more than I anticipated, but I love it. So I'm actually excited to get away from the computer.

Tayson Whittaker: Are there people out there providing a service like this? Like is, or is this, are you like the one and only,

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I'm the one and only that I know about doing the full service. There are other food companies that do kind of pre-made resupply boxes. But the reason why I was interested in this is it's a pay as you go. So if I can buy it, you can have it. So like I was saying that if you've got some kind of food allergy or those kinds of things I buy specifically for you, which is another reason why it takes time, every single box is unique. So every hiker has their own unique order form that they can order separately. Whereas other companies, you order a single box. You may not, like the three bars are in it, but that's what you get. Just a limited variety. But there's somebody else doing all the other shipping gear and that kind of thing.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, I, we're, we're, we're a little bit different, because when you're talking about, like, membership site versus, like, in the kitchen, like, my first thought was like, oh, yeah, work on the membership side. You're like, I want to be in the kitchen.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I want to be in the kitchen

Tayson Whittaker: And then you're talking about like all this coordination and like that is probably my biggest obstacle when it comes to just, just trip trips in general is like getting into the nitty gritty of the details. I don't like getting into the nitty gritty. I get overwhelmed, and the timing of the supply box. I don't even have a thorough hike on my radar right now. That would need resupplies. And that already is like, that's, I don't know, I don't know if I could handle like resupply boxes and trying to time resupply like, like that is to me like this logistical and detailed nightmare and, and that's like your wheelhouse. And it's, it's super fascinating because I think that there are a lot of things that I miss out on because I'm not good at those details. Like I'll get on trail and I'll be like, I hate this food and I packed it again. Like why did I do that or, you know, fill in the blank and, and actually on a recent, live stream we are doing with our, with our 100 mile challenge group. I had just mentioned that I bring about 3500 calories per day to eat because usually I don't want to eat any more calories than that. Even though I'm, I'm a 200 lbs 6 foot two guy. Like, and I probably could, I'm sure I'm burning more than 3500 calories on some of these days. But it's just like, I just don't want to eat it and then, and also the weight of my food gets too high and, and you're like, oh, you could do better than that. You could be in a, you know, special.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: This is what I'm good at.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. So I want to be the guinea pig here and I hope everyone else learns from this. But, but like, what am I doing wrong? And how, how should I be approaching this to, to get more calories in my bag and not be at a penalty of either taste or weight. Because that's the big thing, some of the things that happened is I was packing 4500 calories and the, like, last 1000 calories or whatever. Actually, not even that it was just, I was packing things that were very high in calories per ounce. and I'd get out on the trail and I'd be like, I don't want to eat that. Like, yeah, it's nutritionally, it's good. But it's, you know, I'm, I'm 10 hours into this day of hiking and that just looks horrible. Right. So, then I dialed back. I'm like, you know what, as long as I want to eat it, I'm more happy with what I bring. And so then I, I basically kept the same weight of, of, of how much food I'm bringing on trail and just reduced the amount of calories in, in the name of taste and things that I'd want to eat. So I personally take about, I would say an average of like 1.7-1.8 pounds of food per day. And I'm usually at about 3500 calorie per ounce or 3500 calories, per day worth of food. So, so what am I, what am I doing wrong here? Where, where can I improve? What do I need to be looking at?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Well, there's two things I can talk about. So the first one is a super easy thing to do as I've been in a long distance psyche for a while. Now, I hate bars. I just can't eat them anymore. So, what I've done is made meal replacement drinks. So it's a full meal and eight ounces of water. and that's actually one of the things I'm making so much of that's actually what I'm doing in the kitchen right now is I made 25 different greens. , as you can get an entire meal with carbs, protein, fiber, fat, everything in it. And just, I actually keep them in my hip hop pocket now to where I pull it out, add some water in, shake it up in the bag, you drink and I keep moving. So if you've gotten to where you just don't want to eat the food anymore, especially if you're at altitude. When I did the Colorado trail, I lost my appetite completely for over 200 miles and I love to eat. This is what I do for a living. So it was really kind of worrisome. I was like, wow, like I had zero interest in food. So that's what I lived off of. I had one solid meal per day and the rest of all my meal replacement drinks, I never hit the wall. I didn't lose weight. I ended up dehydrated because I was sick. but it could have been so much worse. Had I not done that? So that's one easy thing to do is kind of thinking about shakes. and they're all just powder. You add it in a baggie and I mean, you're done in a couple of minutes to make them. so that's looking at that.

Tayson Whittaker: I was looking at that on your website last night, in like the ultra running world. What I found on my, when I ran my first ultra last year was that the liquid calories did go down the easiest and best. And they use this product called Cluster Dextrin. It's basically just a carbohydrate. That's super easy to digest but it, it, I don't think it's very good like calorie per ounce or anything like that. And then when you said green drinks or is that? I thought you said, yeah,

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I'm working on a green smoothie right now for today.

Tayson Whittaker: Like greens typically aren't high calorie per ounce. So how are you, how are you working in that? Because when I was looking on your website, I saw like a breakfast, what is it called? Breakfast carnation or something? Yeah, the chocolate milk that you were, you were anyway, that one like I could see like, ok, but when you talk about greens, like how are you getting calories into like greens very well.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: So this is where the next part is, if I look at them and chili Backpackers like you guys. So looking at a combination of foods is what I really focus on. And what I mean by that is each gram of the food has carbs, protein and fat in every single bite. So you're really maximizing the amount of food that's going in. So that's where I've developed what I call ultra light meal planning. I made it up and So, but essentially that's ultra light meal planning. So essentially what it is is by maximizing every single bite, you ultimately carry a lower volume of food because it's more calorically dense. You carry lower weight because it's dense. But you're also getting your carbs and your protein all you think for recovery and, you know, keeping your glycogen stores up all those things. So that's where, like you're saying, you're 3500 calories, you might be doing high calorie dense foods, but you may be missing out on the carbs and the protein you need that kind of thing. So it's more than just clo dense things, especially some of those are really oily and they just don't taste very good. So that's one of the things I really focus on too is taking what I eat normally at home and turning that into backpacking food instead of going from eating normal food to now you're eating this food, you would never ever eat at home because you're like, well, pop, I know the traditional hiker foods are like pop tarts, you know, honey buns, that kind of stuff. So sure they might be clerically dense, but they're not going to do what they need to traditionally or nutritionally rather. so that's what I call is the combination of food. So something like one of my examples is kind of like a typical hiker lunch, you know, tuna, a tortilla cheese stick or something like that, and making a wrap out of it. So your tuna is primarily your protein. There's no fat, no carbs. So now to get those, you have to have the tortilla and then to get some fat, maybe have some cheese or maybe a packet or that kind of thing. So those you have to eat separately. But if you eat something in like a hummus, it has carbs protein and fat all together so I actually did some math and I teach a class like milk in a class and if you were to do tuna for five days in a row, hummus for five days in a row, you actually save the weight of a beer can just because it's so much lower volume because hummus has all those in it. It's glor dense and nutritionally dense that I was shocked by. It was like, oh my gosh, like this really makes a big difference so that's where going back to my green smoothie as I use just enough of the greens, the spinach and the mint to give it flavor. But the majority of the calories are coming from the whole milk powder chia seeds, which are carbs, protein and fat. I've got some bananas in there and some pineapple to kind of give it a punch, but those are just enough to give flavor. They're not really where the nutrition is coming from. So that's how I'm able to do it.

Tayson Whittaker: Ok. So two things when I have gone into, you know, these, these hikes where we're doing 20 to 25 miles a day at altitude. One of the things that I start to crave is mayonnaise. Like that's, yeah. So like, and, and the first time I, I definitely was experiencing some elevation sickness and so I like, wasn't eating at all or very, I was, there's like, almost nothing I could eat. I got off the mountain. The only thing I wanted was a subway sandwich with extra mayonnaise on it. I don't know why. And then, and then, so then I was like, ok, there's something to this. So I started to bring mayonnaise packets and a wrap, like a tortilla, some kind of meat in it, some cheese and mayonnaise is like heaven on earth for me for some reason. But I think, I think what it kind of comes back to is, yeah, maybe what I'm experiencing is just this, this la or this deficit of having anything with fats in it or something. I don't, I don't know, maybe, or maybe I just need more calories, period and my body knows that's, that's a great way to get calories. I'm not, I'm not totally sure. but I crave it.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: You might just be craving calories and that's where you're getting calories now.

Tayson Whittaker: Just, yeah, because I don't have calories, but it's like, I don't want sugar. It's like, I don't want carbs and sugar. The last trip that we did where I was really, I, I, I had not done enough meal planning and I just went down and I have like a ton of food at like bars essentially and, and sugary stuff in my closet that I've been using for ultra running and training all summer. And so I just started grabbing and, and going and when I got out on trail, I was like, I don't want any more gummies and I don't want another Honey Stinger waffle and I don't want another bar, but like some of these other things I was really craving. And so I think, I think that speaks to what you're saying with trying to match what you eat at home. Like, I'm not eating a bar or gummies all day long at home but you brought up another, another food that I'm interested in. That's like, because I think there's, there's things that people try to boost calories with, right. There's like olive oil that people just add to everything. Right? Like, that's like the default, like they're all. Yeah. But, powdered milk, it seems like powdered milk is kind of a staple in quite a few of your recipes. What's the benefit there? I mean, why should people be looking at that as a, as a supplemental, piece to their, to their diet?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: For my reason why I use it so much is that it's like my ultimate combination food. As you get carbs protein fat, you actually get a lot of electrolytes. You'd be surprised how much sodium is in milk powder. You also get some potassium in there. So it just has all those things in it. It actually tastes good too. So you can use it in a lot of things just to kind of, here's the dietitian, I mean, getting a creamy texture to things or use it as a thickener so you can sneak it into things without having like, you know, a significant change in the flavor. So that's why I use it a lot and soy milk for the vegan people, you could do soy milk pow almond milk powder too. Unfortunately, they're not as clerically dense, but they also give you protein and those kinds of things. So that's an alternative. But that's the reason why it's one of those combination foods that I love.

Tayson Whittaker: Is there certain milk powder that's better than others? And like, are you biased towards anything?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I just like the Nido or need to do the Nestle? The big yellow can I just like the flavor of it? It's easy to obtain. It's inexpensive. There's another brand, is it Pete? I wanna say I can't remember the other brand. There's another brand that might be organic that people really love, but I go through so much of it that it's easy for me to run to the grocery store and pick it up off the shelf and use it that way. but if you don't need the calories, you can use the non-fat milk powder and still, again, get the carbs protein. but you're just not gonna get the high calories. Is the whole milk powder.

Tayson Whittaker: Are there any other types of food like this that could be supplemented or added into things that are just super helpful like that?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I like to use nuts. I grind up again with my smoothies. I grind up nuts and my coffee grinder and you never know they're in there. And again, you're getting carbs, protein and fat. So I usually use a tablespoon, maybe even a quarter cup of nuts and powder them. so that's another way of sneaking an end to where you're not like having to chew on nuts because I love nuts at home. But when I'm on trail, I can't stand them. So I don't know what it is about them, but I just can't eat them. So that's another way to add on.

Tayson Whittaker: I think I get fatigued with nuts. Like it's like I'll start eating them and it's good. Like I, I experienced this with trail mix where it was like, ok, a little bit of trail mix is awesome and it's so Cali calorically dense that I'm going to just double the amount of trail mix. I got out on trail. And I'm like, I was, like, shocked. I was like, I can't finish this trail mix today and then the next day came and I was like, I can't finish it again. Like, what's going on? I've never had a problem with that, but I get very fatigued from eating nuts, I think. And especially if I'm eating them, like, in one meal because I think, like, with what you're saying, like, you're probably breaking that up into a lot of meals throughout the day too. Right.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Right. That's what I was gonna say. I use them in my smoothie, but I also sneak them into oatmeal. I sneak them into c meals. I sneak them and I chop them up super fine. So you don't actually really notice that they're in there but they're giving you the nutrition. so I use them all over the place. I don't necessarily always use macadamia nuts even though they're the most calorically dense. but I use a ton of pecans and almonds and walnuts. Again, it gives your flavor a little texture because everyone gets tired of Cocos too. Even though it's so easy and, you know, hiker friendly, that's just another way to boost the meal by adding in a few nuts.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. So we've got oil milk nuts. Anything else to consider like that?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I love chia seeds. so not everybody likes the texture of them. So I've actually started grinding those, my coffee grinder gets so much use. I'm gonna have to get an industrial one because right now each drink I have to do individually in my little coffee grinder and it's not working. It's not efficient with the volume that I'm making. but I'll grind those up too and it is almost like a thickener for drinks or oatmeals and those things. So, if you don't like the gooeyness of a, then you can do that, you won't even know it.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, those are, those are some really good options that I just

Aaron Owens Mayhew: my other one that's my other go to is I never use white rice, instant rice. I feel like it's just like zero nutrition in it. So I'll use quinoa instead because again, combination food, it has all the things in it. Program food that you would have to have white rice and tuna. You know, all these other things when you could have so much more and just a smaller amount. And that's part of the ultra light meal planning too if you don't feel like you're eating these huge volumes all the time because it's so nutritionally dense that my black bean. Sorry, I hope you can't hear my dog. my black bean dip is only half a cup a dip but you'd have to eat. I did a comparison to the entire Backpackers pantry chana masala to get the same amount of nutrition as to what the black bean dip is that I do.

Tayson Whittaker: So, with a lot of the food processing and stuff you're doing at home, are you really like reducing the footprint of the amount of space and, and things like that? I mean, it sounds like you're, you're really condensing everything down by the processing you're doing in the kitchen.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Right. And I can easily get in 5 to 7 days like the regular beer bag. And one of them, I forget what they're called. I bought it so long ago. but I can easily get that many days. Whereas if you're maybe doing what you're doing, how many days of food can you usually get in like a beer bag? 3-4, maybe for the most part,

Tayson Whittaker: I've, I've avoided beer bags. yeah, I, I don't, I don't know, probably, probably more like three would be my guess. Like, I definitely am not, making a big conscious effort of, like, compacting everything down because that's kind of like the, the thing was, you're saying that I'm like, well, would feel full, like, right? Like, as Americans, like a lot of things we eat is just to, to gain a sensation of, of getting full. Right? Like a lot of the carbs we eat has a lot to do with that. Right. So, I'd be almost a little concerned if I, if all of my food could be this condensed, like, am I gonna feel hungry on the days, or

Aaron Owens Mayhew: You'd be surprised because fats are so satiating that you're gonna feel full. So, the other part slows down. So if we actually slowed down and took our time to eat, then you're gonna get full faster, you're gonna feel more full. But what I was gonna say about the beer can actually, one of my hikers, I did a test because I was making it. She's in this era as she was. She's out now. But she needs to, she's like Aaron, I've got seven days and my beer can like help me out. So I did a test here and sure enough, I was able to cram, I crammed it in, but I was able to get seven days worth of food in her beer can. So she ended up, it worked out really well.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, that's super, super impressive. You mentioned that you make these smoothies, right? And that's a great way to, to, to get calories and whatnot. But you said you put them in your hip pocket? What do you mean by that? Like, how are you, how are you, are you like, how are you mixing those? How are you, how are you doing that?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I thought I had a baggie here that I use. I actually use compostable bags because I've used so many plastic baggies that environmentally it bothers me. But my compostable bags are almost like a paper sack. So they're rigid. so I just put them in there. They're zipper topped and they're small enough to where they actually will fit in my hip out pocket. So I just literally pull it out when I, especially if I'm getting ready to do a climb. And I had, it's not quite time for lunch or it's three o'clock in the afternoon. It's really not time for dinner. That kind of thing is when I'll, I'll pop one, I guess you could say so I'll pull it out and I keep my water bottles on the outside of my pack. so then I just literally dump it in while I'm still walking, zip it up and shake. Then I also keep a little smell proof, Ziploc baggie that I put my trash in, in my hip ball pocket. So then I just put it in there and I keep going.

Tayson Whittaker: How are you, how are you drinking out of a zip lock? Do you buy a hole in the corner or and funnel it in?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: just strip it down it up

Tayson Whittaker: Ok. Yeah. No, that's, that's super interesting. I'll have to look for those, those baggies. That sound pretty interesting too

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Well, being an ultralight backpacker, I don't like carrying extra cups or water bottles and those things and I don't like doing dishes. So that's the other reason why I just drink right out of the baggie.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. Well, I mean, on that note how many, how much of the time are you cooking in, like a pot that you'd have to wash after? Versus, like, for me, I, I, I'm, I'm fairly lucky in the sense that I, I eat a lot of, like for every meal that I'm cooking with my pot, I'm just heating up water. Like, I'm just making a peak redfield meal or something like that. So,, when I see people that are like, actually cooking in their pot a lot, I'm like, I don't know how much I want to do that. So I am never curious how much of the time you're saying?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Never, never again, I'm a lazy hiker. I don't like doing dishes. So it's all freezer bed cooking and I've got nowhere. I either don't cook or cold soak a lot of things. So I may use my pot just to eat up some water once a day, you know, for dinner time or if I really want something warm in the morning. But the other thing being a lazy hiker is I don't like to sit and boil things for 20 minutes, you know, and cook pasta. And that kind of thing is that my meals are specifically designed just to need warm water. It doesn't even have to be boiling. So warm it up a little bit as it starts to bubble, put it in the baggie, let it sit for five minutes again. I'm impatient when I'm hungry. I'm a very type, a personality. So this is actually a good thing when it comes to the work that I do, it actually translates well. but when I'm hungry I wanna eat, I don't want to sit around for 15, 20 minutes. Wait for it. This. So, they're specifically designed to be ready in five minutes or less.

Tayson Whittaker: oh, man, it's so funny because you kind of, you, you are like a, you're saying I'm a lazy hiker and I don't want to do all this. But then at the same time, like you're investing hours in the kitchen. So I'm lazy in the kitchen and lazy on the trail.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: That's why I do all the work for you. So it's very scientific. Like me, everything goes into my, I have software like professional grade nutrition software. So the recipes actually go in the software and manipulate everything, make sure the numbers do what I want and then I go into the kitchen and then, I mean, I do like to make it taste good in the kitchen. Then I go back to my software, make sure the numbers work. So it's not something I'm just in the kitchen kind of do, do, do, do, do mixing things up. It's very scientific the way I'm doing it. So I have them designed where they're also the perfect carb of protein ratio for recovery. So all that's done for you is sodium in there for the right amount. All those things, proteins in there for endurance athletes. So I've done all that work for you. You just have to put it in a baggie and hit the road.

Tayson Whittaker: All right. So now I gotta ask, I feel like that's how a lot of meal companies started. Like, so you're doing all of this individual, like recipes and stuff like that? What's keeping you from just commercializing more of this?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I have zero interest in it. It won't be fun anymore. So I like continuing to come up with new ideas, new recipes and I listen to my customers. So if there's things like I really missed this or this is what's happening in the economy right now, this is too expensive, you know, this kind of thing or you're too busy. So I really focus on grocery friendly recipes. So you just go to the grocery, pick up things. but with my resupply business making 25 servings at a time is like the max, I just don't enjoy doing more than that. I enjoy helping individual hackers versus just the masses. and there's so much competition out there already that it's just not something that sounds fun to me.
Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, I mean, there is a lot of competition but there's not a lot of competition in certain ways. like once you start backpacking a lot you get fatigued of what is available. Pretty fast. Like which is why to me, I'm like, man, even if you just did small batch stuff, it'd be pretty interesting, you know what I mean? Like, I'm just gonna go see what random meals Aaron's made this week and pick up a few or something like that.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Talking about. Maybe doing that. You can give me some feedback. I don't know if it would be frustrating but if I make like 30 servings of this, but my hikers only order 15 that week, then I could put the 15 on my website. It's like, this is what's available this week. It may not be available next week. that kind of thing. So, but I would be fearful that people would say, like, oh, my gosh, I love this but she hasn't made any more of it. So,, what's going on here? You know, that kind of thing. I'm kind of, yeah, I'm envisioning like, having an email list to, like, here's what's available, like, you know, log on, get it while it lasts. I think that would be the most that I'd really be interested in making bulk kinds of things.

Tayson Whittaker: Well, and, and I think the big issue or hard part with that would be, like if I like, I like, if I'm going to order food, like, I'm gonna want to order a handful of meals at one time so that I, I don't know. So shipping's worthwhile or something like that. So I think my question to you would be, would there just be like one type of meal at a time there? because if there is, then that might be a little bit less attractive, but maybe, maybe we need to talk off air and maybe you just ship us the 15 meals and then we just put them, we put them for our members and they can order them with, with their other stuff that they're ordering from us, you know, and kind of batch everything together. Then it's simple for you. Right.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: But, what I'm envisioning is whatever I'm making that week because the hikers, as soon as I make extras, then they change their mind and they want something else because they're like, I've already eaten three of these. I want to do something else this week. So what I'm kind of envisioning is like I make it then whatever's left over, then put that online. So it'll probably change every single week because what I'm making, I'm offering 60 recipes. That probably was a mistake because there's so much variety in it. But everybody seems to be happy

Tayson Whittaker: The person in me is just cringing. It's just, I'm just cringing. but I love it. I love how creative you're being and it's such a unique offering. Like I wouldn't, I wouldn't say ever to change, but it's, it's wild what you're doing. Like I, their goal would just be just don't, don't burn yourself out. Right. Because

Aaron Owens Mayhew: That's why I'm, so, I'm actually, I'm actually, right now it's just a cottage food, permit. So I'm actually applying for a commercial food license so I can hire help. and I'm gonna be moving into a commercial kitchen so I can increase the volume to help more hikers and that kind of thing. But that will take it away from me. If I hire three food helpers, then they'd actually be making all the food and I could do all the coordination is what I really enjoy. So that way we would probably be able to have a lot more extra leftovers just because other people are making the food for me.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. Yeah. Let's, we'll have to talk because if there's like any shelf life to that, that could be just kind of a cool little way to, to do things and, and, you know, make it a little bit easier for you. So you're not having to coordinate one-off meals or, I don't know, you probably get sick if I, oh, I made 10 extra of these and now I'm gonna eat 10 extra of these this week.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Like, I've never made so many smoothies in my life. I wasn't expecting that at all. It was like, I mean, I, I actually just counted up the volume and since March, middle of March I've made 1100 meals myself. and we're only in June, so we're actually at the beginning of June. So I'm kind of curious to see how many meals I end up making by the end of the season.

Tayson Whittaker: That's, yeah. So, like, like you've, you've made so many smoothies, what is it about specifically? A smoothie? Let's just, let's just kind of pick on that for just a second. It seems like that's a, that seems to be something that you kind of keep referencing going back to. It seems like a great way to, as you say, sneak in calories. like is that kind of some of the lowest hanging fruit you see, for people an opportunity to increase their, their on trail nutrition and caloric intake is that,

Aaron Owens Mayhew: That's why they're loving them because they're just like, I can't eat at another bar, you know, or I'm sick of my stomach, you know, kind of a typical hiker thing until you really get in the grooves. Then a lot of people will lose their appetite at the beginning. So it's an easy way you're drinking water anyway. So why not throw some nutrition in it? So I've had a hiker specifically say to Aaron, like, cancel my order, just send me your smoothies this week because I'm not feeling very good, but I know I'm gonna hit the wall if I don't do something. so it's kind of where they order three per day. He was like, oh my gosh.

Tayson Whittaker: Your hikers are ordering 3 smoothies per day. Yeah. And are they still eating meals? Like, are those just taking, are those taking over, like snacks or are those taking over meals?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: It depends on the hiker? Some of them take over their lunch because they want to keep moving. If they're pooling, like, you know, already 30 mile days, they're not wanting to stop for lunch. So they're using it as lunch. others are ordering snacks anymore. They're using those, instead and still ordering their solid food, I guess you could say for meals. So it just really depends on the hiker what they're using them for. And the other thing for the reason why I was able to do this for my sierra growl is that they're powder. So in a beer can they smash really well around things. So, we did very little bars and those kinds of things because they're not as space efficient as a powder is.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, you're, you're out in the water and volumizing them on trails. So it's, it's a win, win. yeah, that's super interesting. What? Ok. So what is it? What do you think about this? Like if I'm the kind of guy that, like, I'm, I just don't have the time. you know, running a company, having small kids at home, et cetera to like, do the preparation. Do you think that there would be benefits to me? Just getting powdered milk ground up? Nuts, you know, things like that and just bringing them on trail and trying to Sprinkle them in like, is that, I don't know, I'm just trying to apply this. I'm trying to think of how to apply this in a way that I know that I might actually do versus be like, that's an amazing idea and then just not, not execute.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Well, one of the things I think about, I'm not sure. Where do you live? Do you have an off season or do you hike your round? No, not.

Tayson Whittaker: I mean, so I live in southern Utah. So we can go to the desert like, like literally 45 minutes from the office. I can be at 3000 ft in the desert or I can be at 11,000 ft on a summit. So, I have a lot of options close to home, right? And then from there, we just pick and choose where we're going to go. So, so usually though I'm hiking at least somewhat year round.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Ok. So I was thinking when we lived in the Pacific Northwest, there's that off season where it's just raining all the time and it's miserable or you can't get to the mountains. I would prep volumes of stuff in the off season then that way it was already done. But again, the recipes being Taipei impatient is that they're designed to be super duper easy. I even have in the, there's a filter of four ingredients or less. So some of the smoothies, my favorite one that I've been drinking since 2016, are milk powder, peanut butter powder and carnation and super. You can get them all at the grocery store if you want to. You don't have to do it individually. Just dump it all in a gallon baggie and then you can just, you know, dish it out on the trail. So it's super easy and it's shelf stable. So if just one day that you have a few extra minutes, dump it all in a gallon sized baggie, put it in your backpacking bin and then it's there for when you need it. So you don't have to get all fancy. Like some of my friends, the green smoothie has quite a few ingredients. It takes some extra time to put all that together. But a lot of them, I think you were looking at the chi breakfast one which is milk powder, vanilla carnation breakfast and some like cinnamon and some other things. Coffee, instant coffee. Again. It's super easy. I threw it in a baggie. It's shelf stable for a whole season.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, that's, and both of those actually sound really good, really good. It's lunch time here. If you can't tell no, that's, that's super awesome. So, one of the things that you do is you create master classes where you take people through and educate you, you alluded to one of them that I saw which is like ultra light meal planning. one of them that is going to be coming up, it looks like, I don't think it's live yet. From what I could see are things to consider at altitude and cold weather. I'd love just a high level overview of your thoughts on what starts to change when you go into high altitude or cold weather.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Well, high altitude, your, your basic metabolic rate, just the calories you burn to, you know, breathe, use your muscles, digest your food actually increases by 30% just by being at altitude. So you haven't even done anything yet.

Tayson Whittaker: That's really interesting because like, I, I track my heart rate a lot and that's one of the ways that I try to, you know, take pulse. If I'm having effects from high elevation. If my resting heart rate at night isn't getting low enough, then I know I'm at risk. Maybe I need to take it easier the next day or try to hydrate earlier on in the day. but it does make sense, right. My heart is beating at 70 beats per minute instead of 44 like it does in my bed at home. So,, but 30% that's gotta be as much as

Aaron Owens Mayhew: as much as 15 to 30%. So it's like if you want a weight loss plan, just go hang out at high altitude for a few weeks and eat the same

Tayson Whittaker: You're speaking my language. Yeah, I'll just go hang out in the mountains, just go camp for a couple of weeks.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: But, yeah, that's something that most people don't realize. So they continue and also they continue to pack the same, like summertime food. , when you're at altitude it tends to be colder. So you're carrying more, it just depends on where you are. But if it's colder you're carrying more gear, you're, you know, maybe you're even snowshoeing or doing those kinds of things or carrying ice. So you're actually heavier than you would be in the summer at lower altitude. So that's another increased energy expenditure. cold weather wise, being cold doesn't necessarily in the cold temperature doesn't necessarily really increase your energy needs. But the shivering, you can burn up to 400 calories per hour just by shivering. So if you're oscillating from being hot and cold, you know, you stop and you start shimmering because you're sweaty and then you go back to normal temperature with all your clothes on your jacket and gloves and all those kinds of things. Just that oscillating back and forth actually increases your energy needs. Again, if you're pulse tolling, you're on snow, you're using as sacks, that's all just increased energy that you don't normally do on a summer trail when you're on dirt and you're just motoring, you know, that kind of thing. So,, and then 2, 1 of the tricks when you're in cold weather is eating protein at the end of the day because I'm gonna get nerdy, the thermic effect of food. Protein has the highest thermic effect. So when it's being metabolized, it actually produces heat as a byproduct. So I know a lot of people say eat fat at the end of the day, but because it's a slow burning fuel, which it is, but it's thermic effect, the actual heat produced from metabolism is very, very low. So you can actually get a better benefit of eating some protein at the end of the day and it increases it. So if you can at least get your sleep system right, then your body's poor temperatures go up and then you're going to stay warm. And that's the other thing too is if you don't sleep well, then you're not resting, you're not recovering. So that kind of sets you up for disaster the next day too.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. One of my favorite drinks that I've been able to purchase has been one from scratch labs. It's a Horchata and so it's, like a milk based. So it's got protein in there. They call it like a recovery drink and that's been one of my favorite end of day things to mix up and drink. But this last winter we went up and just kind of for fun, did a video about this. So we, but it was more on the fat side, not the protein side because that's, that's actually news to me that the protein off or puts off more heat, so I, I, I basically took a full stick of butter and I was just putting in everything that I was like eating. And, I mean, some of it was really good. I put some butter in your instant brownies like the Graham Cracker bears in there and the butter was that, you know, it's good. They were really good and then I put it in like hot chocolate and it was phenomenal. Like I was actually, I don't know why I've never done this, but that was like the biggest takeaway I had was like, whenever I make hot chocolate at home, I'm like adding a little bit of milk and trying to make it creamy, just add butter. That was the best hot chocolate. I mean, it made it creamy, made it better, you know, just, just quadrupled the calories. No big deal. But yeah, I mean, like, but, but eating, I think before bed and, you know, obviously mixing in more protein, I think does make a big difference because even like that night, it was just a, I slept great. I mean, obviously you could overdo it. But it was like, I think that's something to consider at altitude or in cold weather is to just get calories in period.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: But even just like a peanut butter pack before you go to bed. You don't have to eat a massive meal or anything. Just a little bit of something.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's, that's super interesting. and those master classes looked really, really cool though. So if, if, if anyone listening to this does want to go check those out, you have, I think five out already, some of them are really specific to types of people and, and whatnot. But, like that ultra light one, ultra light food planning looked, looked really interesting

Aaron Owens Mayhew: and they build upon each other. If you're a fairly new backpacker, have the backpacking food one on one which is people that are wanting to transition from just like mountain house Backpackers pantry into like homemade food. Then the next one is my, don't just eat, eat well. So that's now ok, you figure that out, but you're not running out of energy at the end of the day, like you're not recovering well. So that one's really fun focused on recovery and staying fueled. And then the next one is for like the more advanced hikers. The ultra light meal planning is like, hey, now I figured this out now I'm feeling well, but now how do I get my food weight down? So they really do. I wouldn't jump right into the ultra light meal planning one if you're a new hiker. because it is quite a bit more advanced. And then the other is we have one for diabetes and one for bariatric Backpackers and then the high altitude one.

Tayson Whittaker: So how do people go about figuring out how much food they should be carrying to begin with? like I know that, you know, there's all sorts of tech now that kind of enables that. Like, my watch will give me an estimate of calories burned and, you know, and they say it's a pretty hard estimate. It's not, it's not crazy scientific, but I'm just curious if there's any high level rules that people should be paying attention to for how much food they should be considering. you know, based on their size or anything like that.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Well, I call backpacking a complex sport because what other sport are you wearing a backpack? You know, what other sport are you out for? 12 hours at a time? Sleeping poorly. You're not able to recover. You're not going home and having a hot meal. you're carrying a lot of gear, you know, you're going up and down elevation. So, the closest I did a lot of research on all this because I was like, ok, how do you, this is back in 2016 when I panicked for my PCT attempt because I'd only ever hike three days. And I was like, oh, like, this isn't gonna work

Tayson Whittaker: You have a running background too right?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Yeah, I was an ultra runner. Back then and I was super skinny. Like I had a hard time keeping weight on. So, like, if I'm having a hard time running 6 to 8 hours at a time, what am I gonna do with hiking for 12 hours at a time? You know, that kind of thing? So that's when I panicked. That's how back country foodie came about. But yeah, so what I really encourage people to do and I found this with my coaching clients is that people don't know how much they eat at home. So if you don't know how much you eat at home, then you can't plan well for a backpacking trip. So I really encourage people to just sit down, take a day, write down everything you eat and drink. I mean, there's all those apps online, the calorie calculator things. Just get a feel for what you eat at a baseline, then, you know, at least to start there and then build upon because what I was finding with my coaching clients is that they were eating less when they were hiking than they did at home. So they were hitting the wall all the time. So once we kind of figured out like, ok, you at least need this much, let's ramp it up to this. Then they started working a lot better. So then the next level I really recommend doing is keeping just a food journal for your backpacking trips. so keep one for a summer hike. Keep one for a winter hike, keep one for snowshoeing. And then that way you can refer back to it because we're forgetful. We forget like, oh gosh, what did I pack last time? You know, that kind of thing. just a simple journal. This is what I packed. This is what I ate. This is what I didn't eat. Did I feel good? Was I tired? And then you can use that for your next trip and make adjustments. And actually I'm super excited. I just built a calorie calculator that I spent over a year building because again, I looked at all the research, we combined like all their algorithms and calculations into one because what I was frustrated is that the calorie calculators online for hikers are inadequate because most of them don't take in your BMR. They only really tell you how many calories you're burning while you're actively hiking. So people will, will like, oh, it says 3500 calories. So they'll pack that. But your body needs at least 1500 to 1700 just to be still, you know, just to breathe and that kind of thing. So that, and then they don't take into account things like your backpack weight, elevation, change the terrain, all those things. So ours, I wanna say it probably has 15 different variables. It would take me a half an hour to do it by hand. I mean, it's pretty complex. so I've been using that and comparing it to my hikes that I've done and it's pretty darn accurate. So, right now it's behind the membership paywall, but we are gonna make it public soon. , so once it is public that'll be a good tool to be able to use. But until then just keep your food journals just to kind of remember what worked and what didn't work. They're different trips.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, I, I think that would be super, super valuable and, and,, one of my least favorite lessons to learn in life is a lesson that I've already learned twice. And I've had, I've done that. I mean, I've done that absolutely with food on trail where it's like I knew better than this. I knew I should have spent more time, you know, prepping or getting this at the store. And, and you, you pay for it. It's not fun. Right. So, I think that's a really smart concept for sure.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: That's a little bit of work up front. But once you do the initial work, then you just repeat that over and over because you learn like a 10 mile day in the summer. This is what I feel good on, you know, 10 mile day in the winter climbing elevation. This is what I feel. So once you kind of get those different scenarios and you just repeat that over and over again.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. What's your philosophy for the percentage of calories you're trying to replace? Right. So, like, you know, coming in, coming back into, like, if you're doing an endurance sporting event, they might recommend that you are, putting back in 50% of the calories you're burning and you let your body burn the other 50% of fats or, or, or metabolize it, right. So, is there a sweet spot that you're trying to aim for? Is it 100% replacement or is it like, you know, if you can get up to 80 you're probably feeling good on trail.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I try to do it. I, I've never thought about percentages but I try to do 100% of what my body is actually needing because that way, and I think the big thing about backpacking too is eating constantly throughout the day is not necessarily having like a huge breakfast and then not eating snacks and having lunch, not eating snacks, you know, that kind of thing. So you gotta have these energy highs and lows. Is that also that way? You're not feeling like, oh, gosh, I had turkey dinner, you know, now I'm miserable that you're just eating small amounts of food all day long. So if you do, I know people are like, oh, I've got plenty of like, I'm overweight. I've got plenty of fat to, you know, maintain myself. But the problem with that is your glycogen stores are being depleted, which is your carb store. Especially at high altitude, carbs are actually better metabolized. They don't require as much oxygen as fat. So that's another reason for thinking about high altitude. I didn't mention that it is to be really carb heavy when you're at altitude because it's already lower oxygen, you know, that kind of thing. So carbs actually work better at altitude, but I try to eat just as regularly as I can. What's going in is what I'm burning and that kind of thing,

Tayson Whittaker: right. You can store roughly 2000 calories in Glycogen. Right? And so, and maybe I'd love to know if you know this, like if you're camping at altitude or, or out there on trail, you're maybe not getting the quality of sleep. Is your body going to be able to replenish the 2000 calories throughout the night or are you not getting fully reset? Like, do you, do you have any idea on that?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: on your own? Naturally, it takes 24 hours for you to replenish your own Glycogen. So, unless you're refueling with food and replenishing it, then you're not, we don't have enough time as Backpackers. So that's another thing is like other athletes, you get to go home, maybe you're having a day off from your runs, you know, that kind of thing you're naturally replenishing. , so we typically would go to bed at nine. We might get up at three for a summit attempt. So you're not getting that time to be able to replenish. So that's what's super important, especially at the end of the day if you haven't been snacking and staying on top of it to really make sure you have some carbs and again, the protein, all that kind of goes together. So your body is replenishing over the night.

Tayson Whittaker: So if I'm just doing some quick math in my head, if I'm sleeping, let's say, eight hours of the 24 hour day, you know, I'm, I'm hopefully getting like, what, 700 calories back in my system throughout a night of sleep right into my glycogen stores. Which, yeah, I mean, that's far from 2000 calories that you might be the next day, the next morning.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: You're already starting behind the ball unless you really made a good effort to replenish via food.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, which then means that, that basically you have to keep that calorie drip going and, and I think that's a really important part too is, is kind of looking at it like a calorie drip because, yeah, I've, I've seen it all the time where people, I mean, even that they might even just go two hours or three hours without eating, but when you're already, your Glycogen stores are already at zero, let's say, and then you, you push like you're gonna feel it and that to me, that's all, all. Usually when I start to get sick to my stomach, I feel like when my body is really pushing for calories or I hit a calorie wall, the first thing I'll notice besides just lack of energy is stomach discomfort. Right. , see, I, I mean, personally I really love to look at it like it, like it's this calorie drip where I'm just constantly trying to, you know, not, not go much more than an hour without having something. Right.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Right. It only takes up to, well, depending on the intensity of the hike, it can only take an hour. So if it's a lower intensity hike, it can take up to three hours to burn through all your glycogen stores, which isn't long when you're out backpacking. But what's funny is back when I first started backpacking, I didn't know any different. I was actually a dietician in the hospital which is very different from the nutrition I do now. I thought backpacking just sucked. You know, I just thought you're supposed to be tired and cranky and hungry all the time. And I was like, I'm gonna do it because it's beautiful. But like, this is no fun. And once I've since fine tuned my nutrition and all that, but I feel awesome. Like then I can retire. I'm 46 now and I can keep up with the 20 year olds because I'm taking care of my body. Staying fueled and my energy is fairly consistent now. So it's just food. I mean, it's really not magic, but food does a lot for your body. So you actually, I love the calorie drip idea. I'm gonna start using that.

Tayson Whittaker: I mean, and, and yeah, that's trademarked by the, something I've been, that's been on my mind lately is like injury and, and fatigue, not necessarily just I, and I'm not saying, I mean, I am saying like, true injury, but I'm also saying like lingering fatigue, like real muscle soreness and stuff like that. I've been noticing from like, I've read a little bit about it, but I've personally been noticing when I under eat or I don't eat right after a big effort and kind of try to replenish those things faster. I mean, I feel severe fatigue and sometimes I can even, it seems as if it can cause soreness like for longer periods of time. Like, like it, like I might have, I might be able to get a hard reset in 24 hours. But if I'm not feeling right during the activity and I'm not feeling right after the activity that soreness can last longer too. Does that, does that, do you have anything to say on that?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Well, and that's how I've learned that I'm hitting rock bottom. If I get jello legs like my leg when you're talking about injury, I'm so fatigued that actually I've fallen a couple of times because I'm just not feeling and my legs are getting weak and that kind of thing. So that's when I know, like I need to stop and eat and I'm guilty of it. It's like I can see the car, you know, it's like over there. But then by the time I get to the car, then you drive another hour to go get lunch somewhere, then you're just falling further and further behind. So that's something I notice when you feel that fatigue immediately eating something before you get to that point. because then again, you're just gonna have to be catching up over and over and over again once you get into that cycle.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. Yeah, I think, I think it's really big, like if you're going out there on multi day efforts, right on day one actually is going to affect you on day five, like in, at a pretty significant level I, I think, and, it's definitely an area that i it is, it's hard,

Aaron Owens Mayhew: It's hard to catch up.

Tayson Whittaker: But like, I think there's an element of, yeah, well, especially at altitude, like you're a lot of times, especially at altitude if you're pushing your limits too, like you're riding this, this razor's edge and you start to slide off of it and without stopping or completely derailing your plans, it's, it's staying near impossible to ever catch back up in those studios from my experience. So having that nailed and just, just hitting it right on from day one on is your absolute best chance to feel good on day five or to finish the trail at the time that you thought you were going to finish it. And,

Aaron Owens Mayhew: But I think that the reason why people have a hard time eating enough when they're backpacking is so different from eating at home is that we don't snack all the time. And at least typically I don't snack all the time. I'm not hungry in between. So it's like I have to really shift my mind. This isn't a typical eating pattern. This is specifically for performance. Like I need to feel my body if I'm gonna feel good and two, if I feel better, I'm not cranky. So I actually enjoy the hike a lot more. and my husband loves me more because I'm not cranky. So he's like you need to eat.

Tayson Whittaker: I've had people like big distance hikers say that they need to train their gut. So like if you're eating two meals a day, like you're some crazy person who only eats two meals a day. like, and then you go out there and start eating constantly and that can be a big disruptor to your gut.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Exactly.

Tayson Whittaker: Have you, have you?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: That's one of the things I talked to my coaching clients about is instead of going from this way to the through hike is actually start transitioning into eating a little bit more and more and more frequently before you start your hike. because then that way you got on day one. Like, whoa, like, what are you doing? To me, that kind of thing. Especially increasing fat.
Yeah. slowly start increasing the fat in your diet because you could actually, I mean, again, I'm a dietitian. I talk about poop. You can get really loose stools going from a relatively low fat diet if that's what you practice at home to a higher, more locally dense diet on trail. And that's the last thing you want, you know, to stools. Yeah, on trail. So, especially if you're at altitude and snow and there are trees that die behind.

Tayson Whittaker: So how, how long ahead of time would you want to start increasing your fat consumption? You know, like a week?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Yeah, just start, I would think a week just starts transitioning into that. So, and people know, they're gonna be like, oh my gosh, I'm gonna gain weight. I'm like, you're not, you may gain a pound or two but you're gonna burn it off so fast. I, you know, that kind of thing. So I think training your gut before you go is just going to be more beneficial than going from one diet to the next.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. No, I think that's, that's super, super smart. I wanted to ask you really quickly about your membership. So you talked about, you have some classes, you do these meal planning boxes, but you've also got a membership. That's really, really interesting. And I mean, from, from my side of things, what I thought was crazy, interesting was that you actually, you can pick meals and then it will spit you out a, a go buy list, essentially the shopping list

Aaron Owens Mayhew: the shopping list?

Tayson Whittaker: But, but maybe give a high level overview of what your membership is and what it could, how it could help people.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: So we have three tiers. So if you're just interested in recipes, you're not doing a lot of long distance or multi day hikes, then you just want better food that we have our recipe membership, which right now have over 200. It's probably close to 250 recipes in there. and being a dietician, I really take into account all the different dietary needs. So, you know, we've got the bariatric, low sugar, Reflux friendly. I mean, we've got all these different dietary needs and then also I use all my trips as experiments. So I've done entire trips in the cold. So then I've done entire trips and drinking things. So there's all those in there. It's all trail tested. So if I haven't taken it on trail, it's not in the system, I've made sure it all works. so that's the recipe level. Then the next level is our meal planner. So you get the same recipes, but now you get the meal planner. And it's so amazing because it's just you drag and drop, you're just like, I want this for breakfast and we have almost 1000 commercial foods in there too. So, if you don't necessarily want to make the meals, then you could add in the commercial meals that you want and at the bottom, once you add them in it automatically tallies up what your calories are, what your carbs are, your protein. So if you're really dialing in all those, it weighs it for you. So, you know, exactly. You hit that 2 lb mark or you're like, whoa, wait a minute, like I gotta adjust this a little bit. It even tells you how much water to pack. So if you're on a trail that has low water, you're not camping, it's a dry camp, that kind of thing, that kind of does it all for you and it generates a shopping list. That's the only way I can do my resupply business right now because it makes the shopping list for me. I go through and I click, I need 12 of these, 15 of these, you know, da, da, da, da da. And that generates a shopping list and like one week I went through 74 cups of milk powder. But how much milk powder and I never could have done that by hand. So it literally spits it all out. So that's the meal planner part. And then the next tier includes all of our master classes in it. So they're all on demand. So you watch them when you want. We have tons of tips sheets because I talk really fast. So it might be hard to follow me during the class, I admit. So we have tips sheets. So you can refer back to sample recipes in there that are related to the class. You can also ask questions. So even though it's on demand, you can still reach me or the other die, they're all dietician taught classes. So you can reach out to the dietician and ask class questions if you do. So those are the three levels kind of depending upon where you are in your backpacking food journey, I guess you could say.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. No, those are, those are super awesome. I think that shopping list and the ability to pull things in is just genius. What does that, what does that tier cost or, or what are any of these tiers cost?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: So right now our lowest tier of the recipes is $36 a year and the middle one is $48 a year. And then the upper tier is $72 a year.

Tayson Whittaker: Ok.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: And then I have tons of coupon codes and sales all the time. So you can usually get it for less than that. But that's what it is. Right. Now. Yeah.

Tayson Whittaker: And maybe I'll have to talk with you and see if I can get a discount code for some of our live chili members. But with the, with the, I mean, to me 48 bucks, if you're doing a lot of hiking, hey, I think you're gonna save that much money pretty quickly. If you're making 10 meals, even, even, just, even, just 10 meals. Right.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: The headache could be all planning because it does it all for you. You're not, you're not having to do the spreadsheets anymore. You're literally like, oh, this sounds good. I want to eat this. I wanna eat this. I want to eat this and it does all the math for you. You're not having to have an Excel or Google Sheet that does it all. and again, to me, the shopping list is worth every bit of $48. So, yes.

Tayson Whittaker: Yes, it really is. But I mean, it just, I'm just saying it doesn't take that many meals to like per meal that starts to really play out and, and from a financial perspective even and even work. So it's a really, really cool thing. Go check it out, guys, I've got two other quick questions for you and then I'll let you go because I know you're on a tight, a tight schedule here. I mean, I'm just lucky to have you for an hour, with all of the meals you're making. question number one, you mentioned cold soaking a few times. I will be honest, I've just never cold soaked. Why should I consider cold soaking?

Aaron Owens Mayhew: The trick I've found with cold soaking is cold, soaking. Things that are meant to be eaten cold. So it tastes the same as what it would if you were to like it, especially like belly pasta. Salads are really good cold, you know, bean dips are good cold. those kinds of things that with chia puddings or instant pudding, those kinds of things that you would normally eat cold don't expect like a beef struggle off to taste very good cold. because you would never eat it that way. So I think that's the key. , and it's one of those things if you're not, especially if you're a freezer, bag cooker like I am and you're an ultra light backpack. You don't want to carry a stove. There's no pot, there's no stove, there's no canister. Just add a little bit of water in the baggie. Let it sit in your, like, again, I sit at my side pouch or my back pouch, let it sit for an hour or so. And then it's done. So, all you really need is a spoon. but the real key I think is just choosing foods that are actually meant to be eating cold naturally.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. I would totally agree. I think that's the secret. Right.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: There and there's even, I've gotten to where I even call it no cook. So, one of the things I do is cold breakfast cereal. I don't know how many people think that is like, take some brand flakes again. This is where I sneak in my nuts. So whole milk powder brand flakes, some, you know, apricots, cherries, cranberries, some kind of fruit, or even shredded coconut and you can get a ton of nutrition and like a cup of food and just add water, stirred up or granola with berries. Super duper easy. So you don't even have to wait and then let it soak. You just, it's ready within a matter of seconds.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. All right. Last question. you're, let's say you're, you're up to like 3500 calories in your pack. You've got a little bit of weight you can still add and you want to add more calories. What's like quick hit food? maybe you're just grabbing off the shelf too, to throw in your pack. Like, what are you doing to just boost some calories? Something you like really, really quickly. Like me, I'll go first. Peanut M and M's probably is what I'm thinking right now.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: It's like I'm getting hungry right now. Snickers sounds really good and I never eat Snickers. That's what's so funny. I never eat Snickers on a regular basis, but they are amazing when you're hiking and they're a combination of food. There's carbs, protein and fat and that's perfect.

Tayson Whittaker: Perfect.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Yeah, I think it depends on the hike. What I'm doing. If it's like a summertime hike, I want some things. Like, I really love instant pudding, like during summertime hikes. But then if it's a cold weather hike, like, I would probably pack like a hot drink because that's something that I just crave. So, I think it depends on the trip that I'm making instant pudding.

Tayson Whittaker: That's pretty, that's a pretty good idea as well.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Again, whole milk powder, instant pudding. Throw in some Coke or coconuts and vanilla wafers or graham crackers. You know, they'll just have, I know a lot of people just add water to the instant pudding, add in all these other extra things and it just completely transforms it into actually a nutritious meal.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, that's awesome. Well, I'm gonna let you go. I really, really appreciate this Aaron. your wealth of knowledge. I definitely learned some things here today. I'm, I'm re inspired to,

Aaron Owens Mayhew: you don't have to like to go hungry.

Tayson Whittaker: Yes. I'm inspired to push my limits. Get back up over 4000 calories a day when I'm out there on some of these big efforts and to just eat, eat better, maybe invest just a little bit more time at home in the kitchen and, and just be happier, happier out there on the trail. So some really really interesting things and really interesting statistics you shared as well. So I appreciate your time today.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: Thanks for having me

Tayson Whittaker: and just just for all of you guys listening again, Anywhere else that you want people to follow you or get in touch with you.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: So I'm also on Instagram and Facebook. I'm pretty active there. We used to make good videos, we lived in a camper van for several years. So we actually used to make quite a few youtube videos. I don't have time to do them anymore. Unfortunately. So there's not a whole lot of new stuff there, but you can watch it through my videos on youtube.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, he probably outgrew that Campervan kitchen. I'd imagine so.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: I loved it. No. Oh, well, for what I'm doing now with the resupply business. Yes, but I love living on the road. My husband missed the shower. So that's kind of why we ended up moving out. But it was an amazing opportunity.

Tayson Whittaker: Yeah, that's, he's just not at the time. I mean, everyone cold soaks these days every day. So he's, he was doing what it was, what it was cool before it was cool. So awesome. Well, thanks so much Aaron. I really, really appreciate it.

Aaron Owens Mayhew: You're welcome.

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Living Ultralight is not just about the lowest pack weight. It's about more enjoyable experiences!

Tayson Whittaker