The wasna. Sounds like the state after amrita (ahem-yogic bliss) right? Well, somewhere above 10,000 feet, the right bar might be exactly that, enlightenment and sustenance right from mouth to belly, foot to ground. Wasna was the name for trail food in the 1700’s. It’s wasn’t gruel. It wasn’t whiskey. It wasn’t doughnuts. It was a bar made from ingredients that championed protein, carbohydrates and fat. Our predecessors understood that protein, carbohydrates and fat support energy for endurance, performance and a healthy life. Back then people had long, hard roads to travel and not just for the love of downhill—it was basic survival. Real ingredients, real life...how did we lose the wasna from our stash pockets and replace it with Snickers bars?
Politics, technology, western advancement...big words, yes, that changed the course of consumption. Snack food became convenient, over sweetened, and let’s just call it out: cheap ingredients. We feel better when we eat better. We feel better when eat food, not just fuel. John Berardi, Ph.D. and founder of Precision Nutrition, believes fuel is the wrong word to attribute to food, “The way we talk affects the way we think. And when we treat food as fuel and our bodies as simple machines, we ignore some fundamental aspects of nutrition, fitness, and health. In the process, we actually make it tougher to meet our fitness goals. We also rob ourselves of a significant source of meaning, connection, and pleasure.”
Rudolph Steiner, the mind behind anthroposophy, founder of Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture, lectured throughout Europe at great length about the energy that comes from our food should not only nourish our physical bodies but also our spiritual ones. Good food, real food comes from clean growing practices, from real gardens and people, and brings us the wasna over and over so we can go out and conquer our adventures without getting shaky or dehydrated, or worse the sugar crash.
Maintaining balanced levels of sodium, potassium and magnesium are integral to endurance anything—and that includes even a short tour in your favorite gulch. And because you’re burning more when you’re playing, you need more. Food choices need to be dense and favor real nutrient value over something leftover from Halloween. In the era of the wasna, calories, and minerals were never counted. People didn’t diet. People ate real food with real ingredients. Believe it or not coconut, mango, honey, bananas, raisins, nut butters--yes, even chocolate really do create tasteful safety nets for our systems when we’re working hard. One banana and 1⁄4 cup of raisins each has 30 grams of carbohydrates alone. Don’t be scared of nuts because they sound fattening—nuts and seeds are an ideal source of energy for long days. Endurance activities require a lot of more of our body’s stores, especially in cold weather. This is no time for dieting, it’s time for nourishing. As Berardi sees it, “In the end, when we reduce food to simple fuel, we start negotiating our diets on the basis of their caloric load. A 200 calorie, micronutrient devoid soft drink offers the same amount of fuel as a 200-calorie, micronutrient-rich vegetable dish.”
Here at Kate’s Real Food, we are returning the wasna to your backpack. We want enlightenment, nourishment and satisfaction to show up in every bite. We want your food to be as spiritual as your practice.