As of late, I’ve had a… hunger, if you will, for nutrition and finding out how food affects the body. Due to my own recent discovery of a health issue and that of a lot of my friends lately, it has become my new obsession. Around the time that I moved into my van (about 3 years ago) is when I first really started paying attention to my eating habits. But lets flashback a moment to the time I’d like to call “Pre Van Life”, those eating habits weren’t anywhere near healthy. Due to my work schedule (and my own laziness), I ate out pretty much for every meal. On weekends it wasn’t any different. Going out with friends for brunch, dinner, drinks…. I gotta admit I was a sucker, and still am, for Bloody Mary’s with ALL the fixings. I’m talking, bacon, pickles, sausage, and even mini sliders! Yes, they exist in LA. Those things were like a meal in themselves but that didn’t stop me and my friends (who shall remain nameless to protect their food habit identities) from ordering appetizers to go along with them. To this day, I’m still surprised that having a job where I sat around all day and these “lovely” eating habits that I had, that I wasn’t really overweight. Though, I definitely has some cushiony edges.
Once I moved into the van, I took more interest in my own nutrition and slowly moved away from those bad habits. I started making most of my own meals which was HUGE for me! Not that I had never cooked P.V.L. (Pre Van Life), but that I had been so caught up in being a “business woman” that I didn’t make much time for that. Making my own meals meant buying ingredients. And I started to pay closer attention to those choices. I also had an additional limitation of not having a fridge. Still don’t, actually. For awhile I would use a cooler for those things, but the constant need to get ice weighed on me and I soon just cut out refrigerated items all together. Or I would buy something that I would use right away so there was no need to store it.
Now, I’m going to be honest here and tell ya that I’m not ALWAYS on point with watching my nutrition, even in the van. And I don’t pretend to be some health guru with a strict diet. I’ve had stints of regressing to bad eating habits or having the occasional “Treat Yo’self” moments. Sometimes I’m traveling with friends and group meals aren’t always the healthiest. Who can say no to crockpot lasagna! I didn’t even know people made lasagna like that. Yes it exists and yes it’s delicious. But for the most part, I try to keep my diet in check. As of late, I’ve even been paying more attention to how each meal or snack makes me feel. I’m observing my energy levels and my digestive system now more than ever so I can make sure my cognitive and physical function is at it’s best.
Lets fast forward to the present moment. Right now, I’m on a train heading to New Mexico to visit family. Though, I do ride the train on occasion, it’s not my usual mode of transportation so I found myself ill prepared for the trip. Limited amount of snacks, especially after a bus delay caused a 24 hour delay in travel. Also, a blanket would have been a smart move but I digress. For breakfast, my options were to spend a lot of money on a breakfast meal in the restaurant (didn’t look too appealing from what I saw) or grab something from the lounge cafe. There my options were limited to nuked sandwiches and a fine array of chips. No fruits, no veggies, not even semi healthy options. As I sat down with my nuked Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich, a quote popped into my head:
If man made it, don’t eat it.- Jack Lalanne
Not really given much choice and ill prepared, I ate that nuked sandwich. Yeah, it tasted alright. Yeah, it gave me a nice belly ache for a good hour. While I sat there, regretting my life choices to bring me to this moment, I thought about all the options I had throughout this journey to NM. All the stops I had, Union Station, this train, none of them had any decent options. I was reminded of other moments in the van where this has happened. Where I’m in a place with limited options for groceries and I’m running low. At times finding it hard to even find fruits and veggies, but boxed stuff was always a plenty.
So let’s get to the point, shall we? All of this has inspired me to write more about nutrition, specifically about nutrition while traveling. Whatever that style of travel might be: Van, RV, trains, buses, bikes, even on foot. I want to open up that conversation, hear what others have to say. At the very least get people thinking about this stuff. Here in the U.S. of A. we are notorious for processed food and junk food choices. And that was very apparent throughout this trip. And whether we choose to believe it or not, it’s affecting our lives. Our health! To paraphrase something that Chris Wark said (chrisbeatcancer.com): If we eat like kings we’re gonna have king’s diseases. If we poison our bodies with all this bad stuff and don’t replenish it with anything beneficial, then we’re going to start seeing our bodies break down. Think about Diabetes. Think about all the many cancers that have skyrocketed within the last 20 years. If we choose to not see the correlation, then we choose to not be proactive in our health. We choose to not to prevent the problem and instead opt for fixing it when it happens with prescription drugs and harsh procedures.
Let’s start this conversation. Let’s sit at the table together and help all travelers eat healthier, live longer, and explore more. :) Please share this with your friends to help open this conversation with more people. And in the mean time, I will also be working on more nutrition related posts, but I want to know what some of the struggles other travelers have with eating healthy. Provide your feedback/ideas/inspiration in the comments. With hope and a little luck this can grow into something more than a blog post and become a hub for nutritional information for travelers.
Love and light to all my travel fam.