Day 1 of Ninja Camp: Foraging

February 16th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  3 Comments

I’m training out at a women’s grappling camp in California this week, so the Stumpblog is comin’ atcha from Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy.

Boy is it hard to eat well when traveling in the US. It’s very possible, but it definitely takes a lot of forethought, commitment and preparation. It seems like everything conspires against the conscientious eater.

The food on the airlines is shockingly bad: potato chips, Twizzlers, cookies, sugary drinks, trans-fat-laden crackers. Walking into a US grocery store, I’m astounded by how atrocious some of the food choices are. I really feel for you guys. Everything has sugar in it! Salad dressings. Smoked fish. Even the spices have sugar! I had to hunt for a solid five minutes in the spice aisle to find pepper without sugar! What the hell!?

But on the plus side, most consumers in the US can still access a pretty decent selection of lean protein, good fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables if they know where to look. Generally it’s all as close as the local grocery store.

Here’s what we did:

1. Rented a hotel room with a kitchenette. Actually, cheaper than a regular hotel. Who knew?
2. Hit up the local Wal-Mart (yes, yes, I know, bear with me) for a $15 crockpot, ziploc bags, and some $1 tupperware.
3. Grocery store for shopping as normal: unprocessed meats, fresh veggies and fruits, nuts/seeds, a few basic flavourings: olive and toasted sesame oil, spice mix, salt/pepper, soy sauce. I also know where there’s a little Mexican market so we can pick up fun stuff like cactus.
4. Farmer’s market for fresh veggies — you are so lucky here in CA to have this amazing abundance! The avocadoes alone are worth the price of admission.
5. Cook, prep food in advance for each day. Store in containers in fridge and freezer. Veggies and smaller things go in ziplocs.
6. We packed a mini-blender for protein shakes and brought a small container of protein powder as well. The blender’s small enough to be thrown into our backpacks for a quick shake at the gym.

So far, enjoy vastly reduced food bill, lots of energy for workouts, “real food”, and happy, garbage-free tummies.


  1. Bonnie says:

    February 19th, 2009at 1:03 pm(#)

    Hooray for avocados in California! Avocados and wine are my favorite things about this state! Of course, it can be hard to find a wine that isn’t too sweet (perhaps with added grape juice)… but dry wines do exist.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    February 22nd, 2009at 7:19 pm(#)

    Oh, America. I’ve learned to avoid the corn syrup pretty well, but the added sodium in stuff is killing me. I have weird blood pressure (low systolic, borderline diastolic) so I’ve been looking to eat a low-sodium diet, and it’s ridiculous how much sodium is in stuff I wouldn’t have even thought of as “processed” — beans, for instance. Do I really have to go back to dried beans, people? I thought I might go a little crazy, indulge myself with pre-cooked beans in a can, but nooo.

    I don’t know why I have to pay extra to have things taken out of my food. Isn’t it cheaper to use fewer ingredients?

  3. Katja says:

    February 25th, 2009at 11:13 am(#)

    Not that I’m going to argue about the average American diet, but I was intrigued by your pepper experience. First I looked in my own cupboard, but the pepper there was just pepper. Then I went to my local American Safeway, and in five minutes of foraging in the spice aisle I could not find any pepper containing anything except pepper. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen pepper with sugar in it.

Get "Fuck Calories"

Enter your information below and the magical gnomes that run Stumptuous will send you a copy of the "Fuck Calories" e-book for free!
Email Marketing by Javelin