Hiking while fasting!

In March of 2018 I conducted a short experiment with going on a hike while fasting, the hike itself is described Here:
In this article I want to clarify what led up to the decision to hike fasted and how I prepared for the experiment.
So, if You been following my stuff for any amount of time, You already know that I’m a proponent of low carb nutrition and fuel my own activities primarily with fat. I noticed a considerable shift in my metabolism after the 30 day hike in nutritional ketosis I did in the summer of 2017, after which I no longer need a few days adaptation when choosing to up the carbs for a day or a few. My thoughts are that the prolonged activity during ketosis restored my bodies natural metabolic flexibility and increased my ability to fuel with free fatty acids directly.
I have felt inclined to try an extended fast for quite some time, just didn’t seem to get to it, and now I thought the time was right and the decision was made on pretty short notice.
Just a couple of days before the start of the hike on Friday, March 23rd 2018, I caught myself falling into a pattern of spontaneous OMAD (one meal a day). I had my usual fat coffee in the morning and just wasn’t hungry more than once a day.
Probably this can be explained by stress levels being a lot lower than back in Stockholm and the abundance of sunlight I enjoy here on the island.
Anyway, I was clearly in fat burning mode when I skipped my fat coffee on Friday morning, leaving dinner at 18:00 (6PM) Thursday as my last meal before going out into the hills 13:30 (1:30PM) Friday.
Totalling just short of 80km (50 miles) I ended the hike on Sunday 16:00 and did only take in water and pink Himalayan salt (contains lots of electrolytes besides the sodium) during this time. Admittedly I consumed a lot of water and added about 0.5 tsp salt to each 1.5l bottle.
Timing proved to be perfect and on Sunday night my body told me to end the fast, dinner at 20:00 (8PM) left me with a 74 hour fasting period, maybe it had felt good to go longer if I had not been hiking. For now and under the circumstances, this was exactly right for me.
Now, I can’t stretch enough the importance of being properly fat and keto adapted if You want to copy the experience. Though it is true that fasting is one of the fastest ways of entering nutritional ketosis, doing that while being this physically active can only be a very unpleasant experience.
So, will I do this again?
Well, on the fasting side – definitely! I felt really good the whole weekend, good energy levels most of the time and really no feelings of fatigue or even serious hunger. The plan for now is to incorporate 24-36 hours fasts on a more or less weekly basis with an extended fast every now and then when it fits into my life situation.
At some point, when life’s slow and rather stress free, I´d like to go for a longer fast, maybe 7-10 days, to really reap the health benefits. For now the natural intermittent fasting I do on an almost daily basis will suffice!
That’s all for now, thanks for checking out the post and I hope you found it valuable.
Please share if you did!
Peace // Claes

Food Planning

Ok, first things first – lets decide if You want to be primarily fat or carb fueled as this changes the game of planning Your trip and choosing Your foods.
Chose fat and You can carry food for a lot many more days, go with carbs and You need to plan for visiting a store of or meet up with someone who can refill Your provisions once every week or more as You can´t utilize Your body fat stores as efficiently and the carbs that You rely on carry less than half the energy value of fat.
So, even if You carry quite a lot of calories in Your pack in the form of butter, coconut oil and olive oil, the same amount of calories in the form of rice, pasta etc is both heavier and bulkier (a lot…)
Please check out this post  if You haven´t read it and pretty much know it by heart!
I usually plan for 100-150g of butter or coconut oil daily depending on how much supplemental olive oil and pumpkin seed oil I carry, beef jerky with fat and some nuts is a great breakfast or snack and a good amount of fat in every dinner dish helps replenish energy and fuel the next days efforts.
Oh, and before anyone gets hung up on the rather high amount of saturated fats mentioned above, just give a thought to what kind of fuel You burn as soon as You run out of the last meal…
Right, the stuff we carry around our waist is nothing but animal fat and the butter and other saturated fats we consume works just as well for fueling our activity.
For those of You preferring to go with carbs I highly recommend putting in the work of dehydrating high quality starches like jams, sweet potato, beet root and even white potatoes. The nutritional value of these foods is just way superior to store bought rice, pastas, cous cous etc. and the latter can often be found in stores and cabins along the way to supplement with if needed on longer hikes.
It´s rather challenging, though, to carry enough of these foods to fuel more than a few days of hiking, jams is the most dense one with 28g of carbs per 100g raw weight and brings us up to around 200g of dehydrated weight (800g fresh) providing less than 1000kcal which wouldn’t fuel many hours of hiking.
Make sure You get an adequate amount of protein, You are physically active a huge part of the day for quite a few days and we want to avoid the breakdown of muscle tissue.
Not only are those muscles useful during the hike, also their breakdown is one sign of starvation and we definitely don´t want to starve ourselves on a hike, right?
The numbers here are rather conservative and on the safe side so You might get by with a little less, yet for the reasons mentioned above there´s really no point in getting low here. The only exception is for hikers who are full blown keto adapted and have been so for some time as the state of ketosis in itself helps protect muscle tissue and spare protein. Chances are, though, that You´re normally eat more than 25g of carbs per day and that You´re not in this group so lets stay safe 😉
Opinions on protein needs wary greatly both in literature and depending on who You talk to, most people can agree that a daily intake of around 1g per kg of bodyweight should be sufficient for most of us outside from extreme situations.
That means a person weighing 80kg should get 80g/day of protein and someone at 55kg bodyweight needs 25g less. Now, as You probably already figured out, we normally eat food and not isolated nutrients!
Once again, lets err on the safe side. Most meats, fish, seafood etc contain on average a little over 20% protein so lets crunch the numbers again. Taking this into consideration our 80kg person needs 400g meat, fish, poultry or seafood every day to satisfy his/her protein needs, while someone weighing 55kg needs just 275g.
Normally You reduce the weight of the fresh foods by 65-75% by dehydrating them, bringing us down to 120g and 90g daily respectively for the examples above.
That means 840g and 630g total for a weeks worth of hiking, not that bad for saving lean body weight or what do You say?
Most of the time we can even go a little skinnier here as protein is also provided by the nuts and seeds we use as snacks on the hike.
Though usually I just go with this calculation and see that extra nutrition as a bonus!
Well, talking about extra nutrition brings us beautifully into all the other good stuff that enhance the experience. This is where we bring veggies, tubers, fruits, nuts, seeds and treats into the mix.
I go with 1.5-2kg/week (pre dehydration weight, that is, once dried is weighs next to nothing and what becomes the real limiting factor is the volume it takes up in Your pack) of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, onions, peppers, zucchini, brussel sprouts, spinach, etc.) and carry very little, if any, dried fruit and tubers. Nuts & seeds wise I prefer the fattier ones, like macadamia nuts and pecans, just to provide more energy per weight unit (remember that I often carry 2-4 weeks worth of provisions when I start the hike).
Apart from this I really like my dark chocolate and prefer to go 85% or more on the cacao content, normally devouring a 100g bar in 3-4 days as a treat with my coffee or together with some plain, unsalted nuts.
Other treats and snacks that, being rather perishable, are reserved for shorter hikes or the first week or so of longer tours, are hard cheeses (parmesan is awesome with coffee) and salamis or smoked and/or dried ham.
Lets face is, variety matters – just make sure it does not hit Your backpack to heavy!
Personally I boiled the nutritional side of hiking down to pretty much one cooked meal per day, usually dinner after building the camp, motoring through the day´s hike on what most people would call snacks.
The difference being that I normally have quite a lot of snacks at one or two occasions and call that a meal instead of spreading them out over the day in smaller units.
Here´s where everyone needs to tinker a bit and find what works for them personally, my strategy is to stay pretty low carb all year around and cut the carbs out almost entirely a week or two before the hike to get myself thoroughly fat adapted before hitting the trail.
For someone who prefers a more carb heavy nutrition (meaning more than 100-150g of carbs daily on a regular basis) it would certainly be wise to pack some dehydrated jams and tubers as well as supplement with rice along the way (often found in the ”use-what-You-need-leave-what-You-can shelf or offered for sale in cabins). A higher emphasis on dried fruits, especially the sugar dense varieties like figs, dates, pineapple, mango and like, is also recommended for more physically challenging tours. Just pack less nuts&seeds and more of these fruits for snacks!
So this is what a weeks worth of food looks like for me (I´m around 80kg):
  • 1kg of butter/coconut oil
  • 1.75kg grass fed ground beef (525-560g dehydrated)
  • 1.5kg veggies (250-300g dehydrated)
  • 1kg of lean grass fed beef, sliced thin for jerky (300-350g dehydrated)
  • 200g dried, powdered cream (milk powder/coconut milk powder are sugar heavy substitutes)
  • 350g nuts
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g cheese
  • 250g salami
This adds up to 450-500g of provision per day, 3.2-3.5kg per week (first one or two weeks) or 12.5-14kg per month (no cheese and/or salami third and forth week), which now has to be added to the rest of the equipment to determine the total load.
Obviously the use of plastic bags for storage is most convenient and saves weight, though those made from non-renewable sources not very environmentally friendly.
Please use the ones that are manufactured from plant material, let them double as waste bags after use and make sure You carry them out of the wilderness and recycle them in the right container at the next cabin or mountain station!
Please leave a comment below to let me know if this was helpful or if you have questions!
Good luck, have fun and love the experience!!!
Peace // Claes

Day 21 – August 17th 2017

20:15 Camp in center of Kaskasavagge


Sitting in my tent looking through the valley towards Kungsleden in the far distance and enjoying the reflection of the beautiful evening sky in the perfectly still water of the lake in front of me. For the first night in quite a while I don’t need to hide in my sleeping bag to stand the cold or camp by a cabin to get dried up.
And that’s not the way this day started out…

I woke up rather early around half past six to the sound of… (drumroll!) raindrops falling on my tent again. The rain that started during my hike yesterday hadn’t really stopped – rather just taken very short breaks during the night. I even had a light rain falling when I put up the tent last night.


During one of the breaks I grabbed most of my stuff, except sleeping bag, mattress and, of course, the tent, and relocated into the kitchen of the closest cabin to make some coffee and start the day.
Naturally I met the same people as yesterday and had a very sociable morning and was able to help quite a few people with tips and ideas for the continuation of their tours.

Twice I was out wiping of the tent before finally it stopped raining for about half an hour and got my stuff packed reasonably dry.
In the meantime I got an interview with one of the hosts, which we had to do inside due to the weather. It was after half past eleven before I finally got away from Sälka and onto the trail towards Nallo.
Using the trail kept me roughly away from the wet bushes and scrubs, thereby helping to avoid soaking the boots within the first few km.After about 7km I left the trail and started working my way up the mountain side and turn into the western part of Unna Reiddasvagge. The ground was almost inconceivably drenched were there were no rocks and the rocks themselves were wet and slippery. Approaching the opening of the valley I suddenly found myself at about the same elevation as the clouds and really thought it’s have to hike in fog for the rest of that part.

Thankfully the clouds lifted and I had a wet and cold hike with good visibility up to the Unna Räitas cabin. This is one of the few cabins without a host and frankly it is pretty worn down and would definitely need some love and construction work. Now it’s more like an emergency shelter, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sleep there except for a real emergency.

Location is just fantabulous, though, with a view of the Reaidda glacier, a beautiful meltwater lake and several summits at around 1900m.
Here I had my midday break with some tea and snacks, and while I was inside getting my stuff prepared out of the cold wind the miracle happened.

Within less than an hour the clouds opened up and revealed blue sky and sunshine, I dare to admit that I had to really look around to believe the change that had happened. This I had been wishing and praying for for days now and finally we got a nice and clear afternoon sky again.
Knowing that I’d be doing the pass crossing, I still had a thorough break before departing from the cabin and approaching the climb.

Not only was the snow field large enough to allow the crossing, most of the ascent could be done on snow, which is so much easier on joints and ligaments then hiking rocks, and I reached the summit of the pass after just an hour. The view was marvelous and well worth the climb, unfortunately pictures can’t show how steep it really is. I really had to kick my boots into the snow wall to be able to climb it without slipping and sliding back downhill.

Naturally the decent into Kaskasavagge was less physically demanding, yet it’s quite taxing mentally to keep focus on where to step next. There was some snow fields on the way down as well, yet mostly rocks, which thankfully had dried completely since the rain stopped. And what a different experience it is to walk on dry rocks compared to having them wet and slippery.

Already on the decent I spotted a possible camp site and even if I checked a few others I ended up in the place. Right in the middle of the valley and close to a stream it makes a perfect spot for me and a good starting point for tomorrow’s hike.
Now I just hope and pray that this preferable weather change will stick for a while. I’d love the weather to be like this for the remainder of my tour!

The journey continues, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

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Peace // Claes

Keto Hiker is becoming a reality!

Just under three weeks from now I start a hike that´s developed into a “N=1 scientific experiment”, meaning we do a study of just one subject, me!

I go into the north Swedish mountains for 4 weeks carrying all my provisions from start to be able to control nutrition and consume only ketogenic food. In collaboration with an endocrinologist in Stockholm we do extended blood work before and after.
During the entire tour I’ll be measuring with a Ketonix meter, Michel Lundell has been kind enough to sponsor the project with his latest model and Christofer Kelly from Nourish Balance Thrive is contributing their MCT powder and a couple of DUTCH tests as well as supporting with knowledge.
The basic idea is to take a rather over averagely healthy 46 year old male (that´s me) and put him in a more or less hunter/gatherer situation (except I carry my food instead of killing it along the way) for just over four weeks.
No planned social interactions, no connectivity (that´s no FB, email, cell phone connection… not even snail mail) – just moving through beautiful nature and following the natural rhythm of the body.
Eat when hungry, sleep when tired, move daily, rest as much as needed. Detached from civilization and connecting back with our origin, in a safe and relaxed way using a familiar environment to really remove any stressors as much as humanly possible.
We naturally expect any not so good markers to be reversed and the good ones turning out even better!

So, needless to say I´m stoked and looking forward to see the results of this adventure, stay tuned, check out the short video and, please share with people You know who might be interested or benefit!

Again, please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

By leaving Your name and email in the box below You get notification of futures posts and news!

Peace // Claes