By: Heather Kelly

Did you know there’s a difference between cacao vs. cocoa?

Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process keeps the enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa looks the same, but it’s different.

Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted. We use cocoa in our Heather’s Choice products, which has a slightly sweeter flavor than cacao, but is still loaded with antioxidants and micronutrients such as magnesium. Now you know!

Carbohydrates

All carbohydrates get broken down into glucose.

Whether you’re eating table sugar, bread, or a piece of fruit, it all gets broken down into sugar for your body to use for energy. High fiber carbohydrates like apples, yams, potatoes, come with the added benefit of fiber, so you’re not just getting sugar, you’re also getting fiber for a healthy digestive system.

Try loading up on fruits and vegetables in place of a few servings of refined carbohydrates each day.

Did you know that buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb and despite having “wheat” in the name it’s actually a seed?

This is why we love buckwheat in our backcountry breakfasts, because it’s dense source of complex carbohydrates and essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

Did you know putting cinnamon on your carbohydrates can actually help with blood sugar regulation?

Cinnamon has been clinically proven to help regulate your postprandial glucose response (that’s a fancy way of saying it keeps your blood sugar levels from skyrocketing after a meal that contains carbohydrates). If that’s not cool enough, it’s also a great booster for your immune system because of its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties.

Bluberries

Blueberries have one of the highest ORAC values (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of any fruit! They are also an excellent source of antioxidants for immune system support. As a rule of thumb, the more (naturally) colorful the food, the more antioxidants it contains!

If you’re vegetarian, consume a complex variety of plants like hemp, chia, buckwheat, and almonds to make sure you’re getting all of your daily essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and you need these in our diet daily for healthy, strong muscles.

Coconut

Coconut was demonized for years for being high in “unhealthy” saturated fat, but it’s now gaining popularity as a superfood! Coconut contains primarily medium tri-chain triglycerides, which are easily digested and quickly converted into energy. These fats are a great way to give your metabolism a boost!

Lavender

Lavender is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. It can help your body cope with anxiety, stress, insomnia and restlessness. Enjoy a dose of lavender in our Lemon Lavender Packaroons when you’re ready to relax on or off the trail.

Did you know the majority of the world’s vanilla comes from the island of Madagascar?

It’s the richest and sweetest of all the vanilla in the world. When first planted, vanilla beans actually have no flavor or aroma! The vanilla pods are handpicked, dipped immediately in boiling water, then heated under the sun for up to 20 days. Pods are air-dried and fermented for four to six months, which allows the distinct vanilla scent and taste to develop.

In our Orange Vanilla Packaroons, we use this rich and flavorful ingredient to create our best-selling Packaroon flavor.

Wild caught sockeye salmon is a great source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with chronic inflammation. Tame inflammation and keep your joints happy in the backcountry by getting in some dietary sources of omega-3s!

Fats from peanut, grapeseed, soy and canola oil are primarily omega-6 fats which can cause inflammation when eaten in excess. Make sure you aren’t over doing the vegetable oils in the backcountry! Can you spot pro-inflammatory fats on the ingredient statement of a lot of packaged foods?

Do you struggle with being hungry in the backcountry?

Make sure you consume enough whole foods protein! Eating protein releases the chemical glucagon, which tells our bodies we’re full and satiated. Animal protein is also a rich source of essential amino acids, and sources such as egg whites are some of the biologically available proteins out there!

Ginger is a super powerful ingredient. We include a ton of it in our Ethiopian Doro Wat because it’s not only delicious, but it’s also thermogenic, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting. Eating ginger is a great way to keep your body healthy while out in the field.

Did you know small doses of caffeine can help boost athletic performance?

It only takes a little bit, but coffee drinkers can see an improvement in their endurance and post-workout soreness with just one or two cups of coffee. Get a little boost of caffeine from our Black Espresso Packaroons, which are made with local Alaskan SteamDot espresso coffee beans! (Black Espresso Packaroons)

Do you know some of the benefits of eating grass-fed meats?

Grass-fed meats (and wild game) are plentiful sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and micronutrients such as vitamin E and iron. Healthy animals such as pastured raised beef, lamb and poultry not only taste better, but they also have more nutritional value in their meat. That’s one of the many reasons we use 100% grass-fed bison in our Dark Chocolate Chili.

Dark Chocolate Chili

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