Thursday, March 13, 2014

Camino Nutrition

Nutrition on a Camino is very important. When we walked the El Camino de Santiago last year in Spain we had to adjust our diet to accommodate 30 continuous days of walking for stretches of 6 hours or more daily. To ensure that we had enough energy for that daily ordeal - we did carb loading - eating lots of carbohydrates - to build up a store of reserve energy. That worked well for the first two hours - everyone knows that after 15 or 20 minutes of continuous exercise you will deplete both your readily available blood sugar and stored glycogen - putting the body into fat burning mode to fuel continued energy demands. After 2 hours - we stopped to refuel - normally with a drink with readily absorbable carbohydrates - Coke - normal - with sugar. Two hours later - time for more - a bocadilla - ham and cheese sandwich - with another Coke. At the end of the 6 hours of walking - tapas - more carbohydrates - finally dinner - fully loaded 3 course meals - loaded with carbohydrates and wine. A high carbohydrate diet for the entire Camino - in the process - energy levels well maintained - body weight dropped about 15 pounds.

When we consider the nutrition needed on our Lenten Camino - it is not carbohydrates that we need - rather - spiritual resources - time to be quiet with God - time to be alone with our thoughts. Jesus made it very clear - man does not live on bread alone. As spiritual beings - we need to connect our individual spirit with the Divine spirit - God. We need to allow ourselves time to consume as much of His heavenly energy as we can - to be able to walk this Camino. Even in times when we are spiritually hungry - when we thirst for more - God will provide. Gather up all the stores you can for yourself - when you begin to hunger and  thirst - ask Jesus into your life - he will fill the emptiness - in your soul.

Deacon Dale