Wild Zora – Paleo Meals to Go – Freeze Dried, Lightweight, Paleo Meals for Backpacking, Camping, and on the Go (Mountain Beef Stew) $9.95
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- UPC: 683405424550
Wild Zora - Paleo Meals to Go for Backpacking and Camping; Improved packaging - shorter, wider pouch that is easier to eat from.; Reformulated recipes & improved flavor.; Longer shelf-life (up to 2-years!).; Now with pasture-raised/grass-fed meat & key organic ingredients.
I will start by saying I'm not on a strict paleo diet, but the foods I try to eat and/or avoid align closely with Paleo. I don't tolerate dairy, prefer gluten free, avoid sweets and processed foods, etc. I will be hiking the John Muir Trail this August, and am starting to list my preferred backpacking meals to keep me fueled and healthy on the trip. I ordered a couple of options from Paleo Meals To Go to try out, and so far I haven't been disappointed!I'll start by saying, if you are expecting beef stew a la your standard canned soup (like Progresso or Campbell's or Dinty Moore), this is not that. This meal is llacking in that sort of gravy/stock base. This wasn't disappointing, although I admit it was sort of expecting the hearty rich-ness that the word "stew" suggests. This is more of a light stew, or perhaps more a soup. I was cooking mine in the field and just guessed as too the amount of water to boil, but fully hydrated mine was the perfect balance of juicy chunks of beef, diced mushrooms, carrots, celery, with just a little bit of broth left over.I would say that this meal is very mildly seasoned (think herbs rather than spices), which makes its flavor subtle. Whichever herbs and spices PMTG uses, they are just enough to bring out the inherent flavors of the ingredients. I could clearly taste and appreciate the flavor of beef, celery, carrot, etc, and those flavors were absolutely delicious! Again, this delicacy doesn't exactly say "stew" to me, but I am from Southwest Louisiana, land of gumbo, crawfish boils, and Cajun spices. That said, when it comes to a backpacking meal I would much rather err on the side of bland than be stuck with some off-tasting flavor. I've had miserable nights where the meal I packed had an overwhelming flavor that completely missed the mark, so I really appreciate Paleo Meals To Go allowing on their fresh, quality ingredients to shine.I will say that I feel the meals are a little on the pricey side, particularly for the serving size (I easily at the whole pouch for lunch and could have probably finished another half had it been dinner time), however I understand that they are a cottage industry using high quality ingredients, so they have more overhead than the big name brands. Because of this, I hope to order one or two of each variety of their meals and treat them more as "ingredients" rather than standalones. I plan to repackage all of my food anyway, so when I do I will mix, say, half a pouch of this Beef Stew with two servings of quinoa, to make a more filling/less expensive meal. And because the flavor is so light, I can change up the spices to add variety to my trail dining experience.Bottom line, I really enjoyed this meal, and I appreciate the company for providing healthy, ingredient-conscious, high quality meals for hikers like myself.
Camping Paleo can be a challenge as brands like Mountain House have very little to offer for non-rice or potato options. When I saw this I was very excited. I was a little let down by the short shelf life. Mountain House having been tested after 30 years to be fresh (probably not the best word choice) and this only lasting 13 months. After 12 miles of hiking I settled in to camp got the water boiling and followed the directions on the packet. After a day or two of backpacking I am pretty hungry and flavor is not as crucial a factor as say if I were eating out in a restaurant. But there is a minimum level I expect, this did not meet that level. It had no flavor at all and the consistency of wet Styrofoam. I kept trying to stir up flavoring from the bottom but it just was not there. My advice to the company would be to invest in a little seasoning, it won't go bad and it will make your meals palatable. I still have the beef stew to try so maybe it is just this flavor that was awful. You can buy freeze dried chicken and broccoli as separate items go ahead and do that add a little salt, maybe some rosemary, or Cajun seasoning and take that with you. Trust me it will be a lot cheaper and better.
There is a ton of chicken in this (Fitness Pal says that it was a full day of protein for me), which plumped up nicely and tasted like...Chicken! Also has discernible broccoli, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms and onion. The ingredients also list green bell pepper which I could not see (they don't need them anyway with all the green stuff), and a spice blend of spices, granulated onion and granulated garlic. The spice mix could be rejiggered to enhance the chicken flavor as it has a bit of a strange taste. This is the only reason I gave it 4 stars, because otherwise it's a five star product all the way. The company packages the salt separated (what a nice touch!) so maybe they could make a spice packet? I ended up adding a chicken bouillon cube which masked whatever it was competing in there. Very easy: reconstituted with room temperature water, but yummier hot. Note: serving size says one per package, but it's more like two small servings (or one ginormous one.) Gluten Free, milk free, soy free, grain free, and nut free make this a home run. Will be trying the other varieties! Thank you Paleo Meals To Go!
I bought both the Beef Stew and the Chicken Chili. I was very surprised with the amount of meat they include in the Beef Stew. I have had other MREs like Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry and none of them have the amount of meat that this product had. The ingredients are clean with no added junk added as fillers or preservatives. Something also to note is that these are a single serving per pouch unlike the above mentioned products which are usually a two serving per pouch. However, I never felt like I was still hungry or wishing there was an additional serving. I know the taste has been said to be a little bland but I had added a pinch of red pepper flake that I carry in my bag to mine and it was awesome. Really good quality ingredients, and super tasty. The price is a bit higher but you are getting a better, cleaner product.
I love these great paleo options for backpacking. The food tastes real, and there is plenty of it!The mountain beef stew was good, though just a touch bland. It definitely needed the included salt packet, and I appreciated that it wasn't over-seasoned.It takes just a few minutes for the food to rehydrate, and for some of the vegetables, the texture is a little of because of they dehydrating process. But the meat tastes like meat, and it an enjoyable texture. You definitely aren't eating mush!While this product seems to be the *only* paleo backpacking meals out there, you won't feel like you don't have options. These meals are obviously real food. They aren't full of fillers, empty calories or junk.I will definitely take these backpacking with me again.