Smoothies: A Healthy Choice for Vandwellers
One of the best things about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is the opportunity to meet so many great people. And the best thing about meeting new people is learning from them. For every area of the vandwelling life there is nearly an infinite number of ways of handling it. So the more people I meet, the more different ways I learn to handle those problems. Sometimes I meet someone and they show me what they are doing, and I know instantly that is a far better choice than my current practice. That exact thing happened to me at the Summer RTR in Flagstaff in June.
I had the good fortune to make a new friend named Richard. He had just bought a van and had already got it mostly ready to live in but he was looking for some help with the solar installation. Since that is one of my favorite subjects, I was glad to help. He said he wanted to have 600 watts of solar panel and wanted to know if that was enough to meet his needs. My answer was that not only would it meet his needs, but it would also meet the needs of a small city!
I was curious why he wanted that much power and he said that he wanted to keep eating healthy while he was in the van and that he ate a smoothie every morning and a salad every night. For the smoothie, he needed his fruits to be frozen. So he was going to buy two 12 volt compressor fridges and set one as a refrigerator and the other as a freezer. That explained his high power needs.The moment he told me that I knew that I was going to do the exact same thing! It was a brilliant eating plan full of fruits and vegetables, the two foods that were virtually missing from my diet.
I have never had a healthy relationship with food. In fact I have always been a compulsive over-eater and therefore I have always struggled with my weight. In fact I have been a member of Overeaters Anonymous for many years to get help with my eating (it doesn’t help you with what you’re eating; it helps with what is eating you!!). The first year I was a member I lost 100 pounds. Since then I have done fairly well with keeping that weight off, but 2011 was such a disastrous year for me that I deliberately choose to eat compulsively again. I was certain I could always lose weight with the programs help, but I also knew that if my brains were scattered all over the wall there was no putting them back in. Being fat was definitely the better of those two choices. In the last few years my emotions have stabilized and suicide no longer seems like a viable choice so it is time to get back on the wagon again. So I knew the moment Richard told me about his eating plan, I would do the same thing.
I am a total believer in what is called the Paleolithic Diet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet). The idea behind it is that the human body evolved for millions of years eating in a certain way, so that’s what is best for us. Our ancestors ate a lot of meat (animals, fish, birds, eggs, reptiles) along with a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts and other plant life their local environment provided them. I believe the closer we eat to that pattern, the healthier we will be. So Richards plan immediately appealed to me because it included lots of fruits and vegetables served in an easy and delicious way!
Because my Dometic 12 volt compressor fridge was too small (25 quart) to hold everything I need for my new diet, the first thing I had to do was buy a new fridge. I ended up buying a Whynter 65 quart (I’ll tell you all about why I choose it and give you a review in a upcoming post, probably next week.) Then the little Dometic became my freezer to hold the fruit. Because I am also a meat eater, it lets me keep frozen hamburger patties and chicken breast—two mainstays of my diet. Whynter 65-Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer, 12 or 110 volt
(Editors note: I know many of you don’t have the power or money to have a fridge and a freezer so I have been experimenting with buying frozen fruit and letting it thaw before making the smoothie. The good news is it tastes exactly the same—wonderful! The bad news is that it is not as thick or cold as it would have been if it was frozen fruit. To me, it’s not as good but still great! I may do away with the freezer. So even if you only have an ice chest you may want to give smoothies a try.)
I also had to have a blender to make my smoothies. I ended up buying a Ninja Magic Master Prep (Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender, Chopper and Ice Crusher: More Power & 2 Times Faster) for the following reasons:
- It’s small enough to fit in the trailer
- It has a low power draw so it works fine on my 400 watt inverter.
- Great reviews on Amazon!
- It’s 450 watt motor can easily handle frozen fruits or ice (I haven’t tried that yet).
- Easy to clean.
- The smoothies are thick, smooth and creamy!
So far everything has worked extremely well!! The Whynter fridge is better than I could have expected, the Ninja makes quick work of the smoothie and they turn out wonderful! I love having a smoothie every day; it’s like eating ice cream for breakfast except that it is probably the single healthiest thing you can eat!
I’m 100% certain that I will never grow weary of having a smoothie for breakfast every day! They’re easy to make and clean up after and the fruits I’m eating are nutritional superstars. I enjoy salads so having one for dinner is no sacrifice. I use Romaine lettuce and spinach as a base. Then I add broccoli, tomato, peas, carrots, and boiled eggs. I’m no purist, so I add a dressing and bacon bits as well. I can see getting tired of a salad for dinner every night so I mix it up with other things like hamburgers, chicken and fish sticks. For lunch I will often have cottage cheese and pineapple.
The bottom line is that it’s apparent to me that I am losing weight and I feel much better about the way that I am eating. My body is getting an abundance of wonderful, healthy food and I am eating in much more moderation. My normal diet is so poor that there is no doubt in my mind that it was an attempt at very slow suicide. Subconsciously I knew it would end up killing me, but getting there would be pleasurable instead of terrifying. Eating a half gallon of ice cream made enduring the day much easier, plus it probably took a day or two off the miserable life I had to endure. In the bad old days that was a win-win! Fortunately, thanks to the 12 Steps, I no longer have to think that way and the depression I went through is mostly gone.
Eating this way tastes good, it’s easy and best of all I will live a longer healthier life because of it. Highly recommended!!