Matt HealeySaturday,25 May 2013

The Snap:

Hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) requires a lot of calories. Most estimates are that you will eat between 3000 and 5000 calories per day. Most people who do this will still lose weight.

The Download:

I have written about Americans’ relationship with food in the past. In general, it is not a healthy relationship. All you have to do to understand this is look at the statistics on obesity. The fact is that the food companies have put a ton of time and effort into devising food specifically designed to encourage us to overeat. The reason they are successful in this task is that most of us eat mainly for pleasure. We enjoy our food. A great dinner with family and friends is to be treasured. Think of all of the major events in our lives that involve food. Personally, I believe that Thanksgiving is the best American holiday, specifically because it involves a lot of food and football and no controversy. No religious tension or stressing over buying gifts for relatives who you have not seen since last Christmas.

One of the challenges of life on the AT is that the food sucks. You spend days living on Raman noodles, couscous, cliff bars, instant oatmeal and other mass produced bland food. But then you get into town and you get … more bad food. You hear comments like I did about the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet in Erwin, Tennessee:  “Their pizza is excellent; it is almost as good as Papa John’s.” Papa John’s is not good. The pizza buffet was okay. It was a lot of calories quickly, which is what I needed. But enjoy it? Not so much. On the AT, food is fuel more than it is pleasure. I miss enjoying meals.

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Image Credit: Flickr

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