Sunday, March 6, 2011

Camping with Diabetes

I camp.  At least once a year in the fall, and sometimes a spring trip as well, with a very large group of friends.  In fact, we have our Spring camping trip coming up next month.  I thought I did a post about my first experience camping with diabetes last year but see it nowhere.  Suffice to say, I ate a lot of candy to keep from going low from the added activity (despite using temporary basal rates), but everything went really well... especially since I have a camping buddy with T1 who told me ahead of time to bring more stuff to treat lows than I thought I'd actually need.  Best. Advice. Ever.

But one of the tougher aspects of camping with diabetes is that I love to cook while camping, and I also love to sample the stuff my foodie friends create over the campfire.  I bring a cast iron skillet and a heavy dutch oven and get creative...  But last year, most of my creativity had to happen at home before heading out to the wilderness.  I ended up taking a lot of stuff that was already portioned in baggies with the carbs written on the outside.  I also made sure to know exactly how much my bowls and mugs held to aid in carb counting.  Like I always make an awesome vegetarian chili, so I counted up the carbs for the entire pot as I put cans and seasoning packets into a container, then divided to find out the carbs in one cup of that chili... and found out which of my tin mugs held about a cup, so I could easily portion myself a serving of chili without breaking out the measuring cups.  (Knowing exactly how much fit in our various sized mugs was also completely invaluable for sampling other people's goodies and making an educated guess at the carbs.)

The plastic baggies are an awesome camp cooking tool actually, especially since I usually only have the motivation to make one really fancy camping meal per trip.  I like to relax while I camp, too.  Though I will usually sizzle up some turkey sausage and other goodies on the skillet once Chad is awake too, I like to have something simple and tasty to eat when I first get up.  My solution is to bring plastic baggies of interesting home-mixed oatmeal in a plastic baggie, usually a recipe from Lipsmackin' Vegetarian Backpackin'.  All you have to do is pour in some hot water and let it sit for a few minutes.  These are already portioned for one (though some of the recipes in the book need to be cut in half), so I just wrote the carbs on the outside of the baggies last year.  There are lots of other variations on this, including instant rice, mixing batter for breads or skillet cookies, etc. (I know there might be health concerns when eating out of hot plastic, so the baggie could also just be used to transport the portioned dry ingredients before mixing it with hot water in a bowl.)

One thing I miss is the ease of campfire pancakes, though.  For a couple trips before my diagnosis, the perfect solution for easy pancakes was Batter Blaster, pancake batter that's dispensed out of a whip cream style can.  (These also make for great entertainment, as someone always wonders why you're putting "whip cream" on a skillet!)  But it's been impossible to find the whole wheat version, plus the carb counting based on the diameter a pancake is spotty at best (as I proved to myself a couple weekends ago with diner pancakes and a blood sugar of over 220).  I also don't like mixing batter in a bowl while camping because it's just too messy, so I didn't consider making my perfectly portioned whole wheat recipe last year.  This year, my plan is inspired by the Bisquick Shake n Pour canister.  I'm saving and washing one or two squeeze dispensers like the ones my usual reduced sugar jelly comes in.  I'll put the dry ingredients for two portions into the bottles at home, add the wet ingredients at the campsite, shake the hell out of it, squeeze the batter onto the skillet, then divvy half to Chad and half to me.  Tada!  Perfectly portioned whole wheat pancakes without a bunch of hassle and carb counting at the campsite.  I think it's going to be awesome.

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