Nomad Nutrition: Healthy, Organic, Plant Based
Nomad Nutrition’s line of adventure-ready meals is plant-based, gluten free, and made of mostly organic ingredients. Each meal is locally crafted in British Columbia and promises to be a top-notch product due to their revolutionary drying process. Here are our impressions after trying them this past summer…
Truth be told, I still have yet to hone my camp kitchen skills to a point where I’d be comfortable creating a meal that resembles something I could make at home. Even after spending two years in a guide training program, where we were often required to whip up commercial-style meals for our peers and instructors while out hiking, biking, or paddling, it obviously didn’t sink in. I do have faith that one of these days I’ll head out on an extended bikepacking trip and opt for something beyond my usual boil-only canister stove, encouraging slightly more glamorous (and likely more nutritious) meals. But, for the time being, I’ve been pretty happy with an ultralight cooking setup and ultra simple meals.
I often scope out the dehydrated meal section when I’m in my local outdoor gear retailer, and typically find myself either scoffing at the price or at my inability to pronounce the first few listed ingredients. That changed when I noticed a new kid on the block, Nomad Nutrition. Not only was the packaging less ‘in your face’ than the competitors, but I was familiar with every listed ingredient listed on the back. Stuff like potatoes, carrots, and coconut milk. Words I can wrap my head around. All of the meals are plant-based, gluten free, non-gmo, dairy free, soy free, and palm oil free.
Nomad Nutrition’s founder, Denis Mikhailov, an experienced climber, transitioned from vegetarianism to veganism, then landed on a paleo diet. Taking this lifestyle, and his awareness of the frustrating truth of standard camp meals, Denis launched a company dedicated to creating “healthy, delicious and energy-packed meals.” Each meal is designed with the needs of high-performance athletes in mind, offering an optimized ratio of fats, protein, and carbs. Taking things one step further, Nomad Nutrition utilizes a unique drying technique called REVdry that not only eliminates the need for preservatives, but maintains flavour, texture, and nutritional value – something that can’t be said for traditional freeze dried or dehydrated food.
Over the summer and fall, I tried out four of Nomad Nutrition’s recipes while out bikepacking and also from the comfort of the cargo van I’ve been living in. I sampled the Kathmandu Curry, Irish Shepherd’s Pie, Indian Red Lentil Stew, and Hungarian Goulash. Since then, the company has launched two new recipes, Caribbean Curry and Ukrainian Borscht, and they’ll be available in December of this year.
So, how do they taste? Pretty darn good. I’ve had my fair share of prepackaged camp meals over the years. At best, only a few of those were actually good. It’s obvious that there are real ingredients in there that smell like real food – an experience I can’t say I’ve enjoyed with the others out there. You’d think that you should be able to see some lentils down in that bag of Indian Red Lentil Stew, and you can. The rice noodles in the Kathmandu Curry actually look like rice noodles, both before and after hot water is added. Although I may not be the poster boy for eating organic, healthy food out on the trail, I can certainly see the value in opting for these types of meals over some of the other options on the market. I would say a bit of added salt would be nice in most of them, but that’s a common theme among ‘real’ dehydrated meals.
When it comes to preparation, there are no real surprises. Remove the oxygen absorber, add 1 cup (240 ml) of boiling water, stir, and seal. After 7-10 minutes, the meal should be good to go. I found that I obtained better results by ensuring I used an accurate amount of water, and would lean toward adding a hair more than the recommended 240ml. I’m also not very good at waiting around for food to rehydrate, but waiting the appropriate amount of time before eating is crucial if you want to avoid a crunchy curry.
All of the meals are offered in both 50g and 100g versions. The 50g option felt more like a quick snack to me, and the 100g was more of a light appetizer after a day of riding, still requiring a bar or two, or perhaps a second meal. They aren’t overly hefty meals by any means, but the Nomad Nutrition claims the nutritional value is calculated accurately to provide enough energy for any kind of active outdoor adventure. Comparatively, most dehydrated meals out offer a single serving that sits around 100g and a double serving at 200g, and I’ve found the latter of the two is large enough to satisfy my hunger after a long day on the bike. If you’re like me, you may consider packing two of the 100g meals, which could end up being quite costly, or supplementing them with additional snacks.
A 50g meals cost $8.00 CAD ($6.10 USD) and a 100g costs $15.00 ($11.44), and both can be purchased online straight from Nomad Nutrition, which ship from BC, Canada. All things considered, despite the relatively small portion sizes, this is actually pretty good value for what you are getting, especially for those wanting to support a local Canadian company. There are also several different combination packs that can save you a little money when purchasing more meals. Nomad Nutrition also offers free ground shipping for orders over $50 for both US and Canadian orders. For our Canadian readers, there are outdoor gear retailers spread across BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Find a full list here.
- Crafted in British Columbia, sourcing local ingredients where possible.
- No preservatives.
- Real Ingredients you can pronounce.
- Plant-based with options for gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO and palm-oil free.
- A bit pricey for the size.
- Only 6 recipes currently, although we can expect more.
- May need to add a bit of salt, if desired.
- Not big enough to satisfy hunger after a big day’s ride.
- Weight: 50g pouch: 61g total / 100g pouch: 118g total
- Place of Manufacture: British Columbia, Canada
- Price: $8.00 – $15.00 CAD ($6.10 – $11.44 USD)
- Contact: Nomad Nutrition
I may be slightly biased towards a BC-based company like Nomad Nutrition. Besides making adventure-ready meals with real ingredients, it definitely doesn’t hurt that they’re local. From what I can tell after a bit of research, Nomad Nutrition is one-of-a-kind in the Canadian marketplace, which gives our Canadian readers something to celebrate. This makes choosing a healthy dehydrated meal pretty straightforward for us bikepackers up north, for health reasons or not. For some of us, ‘Made in Canada’ is as good as it gets.
I do wish they offered a 200g option, as I often found myself reaching for leftover bars or another meal after devouring the 100g meal. Although, if you ask anyone who has ridden with me before, they’d know that my stomach is a never-ending black hole that consumes any and all baked goods in sight, so perhaps I am an outlier. Are they great tasting? I think so. Are they enough to stop me from grabbing a frozen burrito, a muffin, and a cold drink from a gas station ever again? No way. But it’s good to know that real dehydrated meals are readily available if and when I need them.
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