I’ve been asked a lot lately about what I ate when I was solo on Vancouver Island for
57 days fending for myself. In the show, you mostly see me eating salmon. I caught 5 or 6 (can’t recall) during my time there. Each was a blessing, but I ate 25 other species as well. Here is my list of the 26 species I ate while on the island. The intertidal was
indeed abundant and provided the most consistent source of food for me. Fish other than salmon I caught on my lines.
- Chum salmon
- Spiny dogfish
- Kelp bass
- Blennie eels
- Mossy chitons
- Red rock crabs
- Marine isopods
- Banana slugs
- Admiral boletes
- King boletes
- Spiny wood fern roots
- Silverweed roots
- Yarrow (mostly in tea, for medicine and under my arms)
- Spruce needle tips (for Vitamin C in tea)
- Licorice fern roots
- Enteromorpha (green algae)
- Fucus (rockweed)
- Nereocystis (Bullwhip kelp)
- Macrocystis (Giant kelp)
- Salal berries
- Hemlock Tree cambium (not so tasty)
- Salicornia (Sea Asparagus)
In addition, I used Usnea, Yarrow, Plantain and Western Red Cedar bark as medicine. Mussels and clams were out of season and the barnacles in my area were too small. Otherwise they’d have been in the pot as well.
Did I lose weight? You betcha! 8 pounds in the first 3 weeks (which was what I had gained for the show) and 10 more by the time I left, so I ended up 10 pounds under my normal weight and lost 18 pounds total. I gained a pound a day when I came out.
A POUND a DAY. I craved new tastes. I got a hot chocolate the day I emerged from the woods and it lasted two days – my stomach was too small to drink it all at once.
Am I glad I participated in this experience? That’s a hands-down “Yes!” Not everyone gets the opportunity to live alone in the woods for 2 months and I feel lucky and blessed to have had that time to see what I was made of. What am I made of? Apparently 26 species of wild foods. Thanks for listening!