Tamo Campos on the Importance of Eating Sustainably

Words by Ruby Woodruff

Tamo Campos’ first encounter with the mountains was at 11 days old when his parents took him into the Duffey Lake backcountry. Twenty-six years later, Campos’ connection to the mountains has grown—so has he. Over the years he’s co-founded Beyond Boarding, a group dedicated to making positive changes to the environment, and produced multiple documentaries focusing on the protection of the First Nations’ rights and land. He now spends his time travelling in a veggie powered ambulance-turned- camper, working with Indigenous communities in BC and going on remote splitboarding trips. Although many would consider Campos an eco-warrior, not too long ago he was just a plain old ski bum living off knock-off Kraft Dinner and hot dogs.

Tamo Campos. Photo by Jasper Snow Rosen

Tamo Campos. Photo by Jasper Snow Rosen

 

So, I noticed you’re always eating, what are some of your favourite things to eat in the mountains? out of the mountains?

Now I mostly splitboard, and since it’s such a soulful way of being in the mountains it’s important to fill your stomach with good food—If you go and have this incredible spiritual experience in the mountains and then just fill yourself up with McDonald’s, it doesn’t really make much sense. The new CLIF Nut Butter Filled bars are basically what I’ve been eating for years before they launched it—I used to just make peanut butter sandwiches with CLIF Bars. Aside from that, we [Beyond Boarding] work in a lot of remote communities which gift us food, so we’re lucky. We do a lot of our activism film work for free and then we get gifted salmon and jerky—all wild—and there’s something really special about eating that.

Jasper, one of the other co-founders of Beyond Boarding, and I built a solar powered dehydrator. Recently, we did a trip into the Sacred Headwaters, to Stikine, and Jasper and his brother are pretty epic farmers so we had enough dehydrated food for two whole weeks, three meals a day. Epic veggies from their garden, chillies, dehydrated fruit for our oats, basically 100% of our meals were dehydrated food and CLIF Bars. But epic dehydrated food, like curries.

I’ve actually got a full shelf in my ambulance filled with jarred salmon for dinner. The dream is to put a deep freeze in. You could have a full deep freeze on the outside compartments and then you could have frozen salmon and beer in there. It’d be so awesome.

How does your diet reflect your dedication to the environment?

I think that you’re seeing the environment degradated all around the world through different things—climate change, species extinction, water contamination, pollution. Part of that comes from the fact that we’re willing to pollute our own bodies. It’s about changing our mindset and saying our bodies are sacred and important. Especially as athletes, if you fuel your body with good food you’re going to perform way better. It’s no different than a healthy environment. Those are parallels. If we don’t have a healthy environment we’re not going to be healthy. So, I think they’re two in one. I think that when we start to care for our bodies and our health inevitably we’re going to see that the environment directly affects our health and we’ll start caring for that at the same time. It’s not one or the other.

Photo by Simon Ager

Photo by Simon Ager

 

Has your view on nutrition changed since becoming a CLIF athlete?

It kind of coincided. Back in the day John [Muirhead] and I used to hit the bargain shop and buy our food there just to save money to go on snowboard trips. I couldn’t even imagine doing that to my body now. CLIF started supporting us from day one of Beyond Boarding, and next thing you know we’re eating CLIF Bars on our veggie-oil trips for Northern Grease. They’re such an epic company.

What would you buy?

Knock-off Kraft Dinner and hot dogs, stuff like that. You realize you start feeling really shitty. It’s so funny because food is one of those things that people are always stingy about. Now, that’s the one thing I actually spend the most money on because it is such an important thing. You’re putting it in your body and it’s shaping even your emotions. A lot of the work we do is in remote, rural, Indigenous communities and food is not just something that fills you up with energy. It creates social ties and connections when you share food, it builds friendships. Food is awesome.

 

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