Avi Brewster is an elite wild land firefighter who protects forest, cities and people from the ravages of infernos everyday. Here’s how he eats at work to stay focused, strong and energized.
The nutrition needed for a demanding shift
Fighting wildfires can be a real slog. Our shifts are sixteen hours long and we work fourteen days in a row, sometimes more. Our fire season stretches from April to October. It’s a marathon. We work in high stress environments, breathe smoke and carry weight on our backs all summer. It’s not uncommon to work in temperatures above 100 degrees, or through the night. For me, eating well is imperative. I have to give my body what it needs to recharge in order to maintain a high level of fitness.
A fire-fighting breakfast
I start my day with a smoothie with the following: kale, whole milk Bulgarian or Greek yogurt, Isopure Nature’s best perfect whey vanilla protein, half an avocado, raw honey, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, ginger, turmeric, a splash of orange juice and some frozen berries or banana.
The ginger and honey keep my immune system strong, the protein helps my baseline strength stay consistent, and the turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties help me recover.
I eat differently depending on what activities I do. In the winter, the off-season, I ski in the backcountry because I love it, but also, hiking at high elevation with weight is the perfect cross training for work.
This when I eat a lot of stews because they keep me warm and are easy to take with me. In the summer I eat a lot of tacos, but nice tacos. I usually cook up a bunch of bell peppers, broccoli and salmon or steak. I put that on a corn tortilla that has sharp cheddar melted on it, add some avocado and salsa, black beans, and maybe some arugula and/or yogurt mixed with lemon juice and olive oil.
Supplementing my strength
Supplements help me keep up my baseline strength and ensure that I’m getting all the vitamins and nutrients I need. I like to get as many nutrients from fresh food as possible, but adding in a meal replacement packet, as a snack is an easy way to know I’m getting everything I need. I’m always busy, and I know that if I have an Isopure Perfect RX Packet in my bag, finding a healthy snack is one less thing I have to worry about.
A hydrated mind is a sharp mind
I have to remind myself to drink more water constantly, but if I’m well hydrated I feel clearer. Also, while I was living in Argentina I started drinking mate tea. I like it because it gives me sharpness of mind and doesn’t make me jittery.
Nutrition on the go
When we are traveling around the country fighting fires, food is provided but it isn’t well balanced or very nutritious. I like to keep bags a trail mix, bars of chocolate, and dried fruit in my backpack to eat at work for energy. We are always provided with enough calories, but not always enough nutrients, which is why, when I get back home for two days after being gone for 14-21 days, I spend most of my time eating lots of nutritious, delicious food.
Listening to my body
Over time I’ve begun to notice which foods make me feel heavy or slow at work, and I don’t eat so many of them any more. I eat less sugar than I used to and I find I have more energy. I love hamburgers and fries, but I wont eat them from a place like McDonald’s. I like my food to be real and have as few chemical additives as possible.