Trail Cooking

Hiking Free

Of our 7 books “Hiking Free: Allergy Friendly Recipes For The Outdoors” means the most to me. I wrote the book for Alistaire 2 years ago, it was my gift to him, so that when he was older he’d have a guide to eating safely when hiking and in the outdoors. My goal was him to be able to join the Scouts when he was old enough and to not have to worry, nor to make it hard for the leaders as he grew older.

If you are a Scout leader with a child in your troop who has life threatening food allergies and/or Celiac I am happy to send you a free digital copy to make your work easier – and to know you can do meal planning without a fear of doing it wrong. If you or your child has food allergies, and has felt lost on how to get into the outdoors, the offer is also there…..Please feel to share this post with anyone who loves the outdoors and knows someone they could reach out to, contact us (and drop your email in the form). I want inclusion, where children feel safe, and I’d love to see this cookbook in as many hands as possible.

In the past two years I have talked online and in person with many people involved in Scouting. What I got back in feedback from Scout leaders was sobering. They were using our book so allergy children could come along, and do it right, do it safe. It is hard, and yes, it is another layer added onto unpaid volunteers trying to do their best in a complex world. I knew then that writing it had been worth my time. My goal became to get the book into the right hands.

This book is in a niche of a niche of the hiking world. All of the recipes are Top 8 allergen friendly.

Food allergies, Celiac, GI issues, Asthma, and Eczema are rising in every age group in America by the year. Our child is one of the 1 in 13 children in the US, and is in the 40% who have more than 1 food allergy. 

I have talked about how Alistaire’s food allergies changed us. You go from a normal way of life and that stops the first time you have anaphylaxis. It changed how, and where we hiked. Parents of allergy children don’t let go well, and it isn’t easy. Like with regular life, I am 100% responsible for Alistaire’s well-being while hiking. He goes to public school, but eats nothing but what we send is a good example. It keeps him healthy. Well meaning, but misguided, people can wreak havoc in a child’s body. “It’s just a piece of candy, it won’t hurt them” or “Those crackers are fine for you to eat” but they are wheat based. They don’t understand that an allergy means no cheating. Being exposed to allergens can have many side effects, with anaphylaxis being the harshest. From painful stomach aches, to breathing issues (allergens can cause asthma to flare up quickly), to painful cracked skin and eczema flare-up on the face and body, to severe GI issues, it isn’t something to take lightly. An Epi-Pen doesn’t stop that suffering.

Now imagine you are sending your child to a Scout event or camp, but you have no idea how to make their food safe while they are gone. You know that while a leader might be well-meaning, they don’t understand the nuances of what is safe, and what isn’t. Life in the trenches leaves parents often nervous and very skeptical. Trust nothing but in your Epi-Pen? Maybe. I live by that.

You know what they can eat and what they cannot. But if you don’t have experience in making portable, shelf-stable food you won’t be getting out. But if you had a cookbook that would allow you to easily pull meals together? Or as a textbook for leaders who want to include all children – imagine how it would feel to be able to say to a parent (or to a leader) “Don’t worry: we have recipes for your/my child! And all the kids will love the menu” And that all the meals are easy to prepare.

If we can help get children with food allergies in the great outdoors (and yes, adults with allergies as well), so they can hike safely, it would make my heart sing.

This offer is open-ended to anyone who has a need. Just contact us.


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