LIVING OFF GRID has changed my life in many ways. The most obvious is a loss of weight, increased muscle mass, and more energy than ever.
One thing I know for sure, to live the way we do, optimal health is required.
In looking back at pictures of when I first met Tal, up until now, I have dropped 12 pounds. That is enough to inspire me to stick with our current diet.
As well as the necessary physical exercise and movement, this lifestyle requires that food be morphed into its own conscious event. Because our shopping days are far apart, I have come up with dishes that use what we have on board. One month this past winter, we actually went 30 days without having to go to the grocery store and had fresh fruit and veggies right up until the day before we shopped. Since it was winter that helped to keep our produce fresh. It would be harder to go that long during the summer. However, I would like to make shopping days stretch out at least two weeks in between. That would give us 14 days in the wilderness to be parked and enjoying our surroundings. Heaven!
We have a thermionic cooler. These are available at the truck stops and are not the same as a refrigerator. What the cooler does is keep our butter and cheese cool, and our veggies crisper for a couple of days longer than if they were sitting out. I also keep a couple of cold packs in case we need them, like when Tal broke a finger. Since we don’t have ice, the packs are cool and do provide some relief.
When I first moved on board, Tal already had breakfast figured out. Oatmeal with raisins one day and pancakes and eggs the next. When it comes to the oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats), we have upgraded to add flax meal, oat bran, wheat bran, non-fat powdered milk, raisins, a little brown sugar, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For the pancakes Tal adds oats, flax meal, wheat bran and raisins or dried cranberries. Lately, he has sprinkled sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds onto the batter after he pours it into the pan which adds a nice chewy crunch—not to mention a healthy addition. I never thought I could eat pancakes without syrup, but I honestly don’t miss it and the fruit adds plenty of sweetness.
In winter when the wood stove is burning most of the day we have a variety of fresh vegetable soups fattened up with beans, split peas, barley, rice or lentils.
During the summer, meals are fresh-salad black-bean tacos, a sautéed variety of veggie stews, mushroom sandwiches, or steamed short grain brown rice served with veggies or beans.
I have come to value the addition of spices to our meals. They can make a simple meal great!
We use organic coconut oil for cooking, and a combination butter and coconut oil concoction for grilling the pancakes. I love the delicious smell of coconut when the oil hits a hot frying pan.
We eat breakfast every morning between 6 and 7 a.m., and our large meal of the day between 12 noon and 2 p.m. If we are hungry later I put out grazing snacks that include veggie sticks with balsamic vinegar dip, homemade pickles, crackers, cheese, sliced fresh fruit, and sweet treats like dates, golden raisins, cranberries, and dried prunes. All of these foods include a lot of chewing, and so we are satisfied after not eating all that much.
I make my own ginger, beet, and cucumber pickles. We both love marinated artichoke hearts and keep those on hand for a special treat.
For snacks I keep a variety of seeds and nuts, as well as fresh and dried fruit sitting on the counter. For desserts (I quit eating chocolate years ago), I make coconut, lemon, or banana pudding, fruit and nut bran muffins, or candied citrus rinds. I was making carob candy I named “Dirty Snowballs” but Tal didn’t want me to make them anymore as he liked them too much and was eating too many.
For drinks we have coffee/tea in the morning, and water during the day. Sometimes I make a quart of lemonade with fresh lemons and a little sugar to taste. The whiskey comes out several evenings a week during the cocktail hour (we are retired after all). If we had an early lunch, I include a snack of peanuts in the shell or a bowl of Tal’s stovetop popcorn. If we want something before bed I make herbal tea (usually peppermint or chamomile) and serve it with honey.
Although we are basically vegetarians, I do use by-products of powdered milk and cheese to keep our protein levels up. We also eat beans most every day and use corn tortillas instead of flour.
We take assorted vitamin supplements a few days a week.
When we go to the grocery store we often receive comments about what is in our cart. The obvious chips, cookies and ice cream are missing. No packaged foods are present. One little old lady said, “My, you eat so healthy.” After ringing up many bags of fresh vegetables a clerk mentioned, “You must be making a special salad.” Another said, “You are purchasing so many nuts and seeds you must make your own trail mix.”
“We do,” I replied.
I was surprised when I first started hearing these comments and then I looked in the shopping carts around us. I could see why we are receiving the positive remarks.
Though I have made this sound all so easy, it has taken some time to know what and how much to buy. We buy in bulk as much as possible. We eat a lot of fresh leafy greens and juicy fruits right after shopping day, and then we switch to mostly root vegetables, apples and oranges, which have a longer shelf life. (Be sure to sign up for receiving my blog notice and receive a FREE chapter on Food Storage.)
I hadn’t thought about how my diet would change when I moved Off Grid, but I don’t think I could ever go back to the way I ate before, which wasn’t all that bad, but it did include a lot more bread and carb ridden desserts.
We have adjusted our diet to eating simple delicious foods that are packed with nutrition and life sustaining energy.
Food is indeed a big part of the equation when it comes to living Off Grid. I feel blessed to have this opportunity. I feel doubly blessed to be feeling healthy as I head into my senior years.
There is the thought that when you become old you are going to get sick and die. I don’t want that to be my future. I want to live a zealous and exciting life, right up until it’s time to check out. Our current diet could be just the ticket for that to happen.