Eating green and Green eatings- Van life style!
Hey friends and fam!! I've been waiting for the right time to post this blog, and what better time than Easter Weekend-- with fun filled foods and candies galore to tempt you!!
Just remember, these are my own opinions, thoughts and practices, and in no way am I a doctor or nutrition expert.
"Eating greens is a special treat, it makes long ears and great big feet! But it sure is aweful to eat!!!" -Thumper (Bambi)
This was ALWAYS one of my favorite movie lines growing up, it played heavy on repeat as a kid in the early 90's. But I did always love my greens, especially spinach (for obvious reasons.)
And, being from the south, collard greens were just part of living.
Now, at the ripe age of 33, (Ty- that's me) raised as an omnivorous creature, I have turned (mostly) Vegan. Hunting and fishing have always played a huge part in my life, but these days I find myself not only eating, but yearning for greens constantly. (Although I don't discount being a Free-gan, finances are a real thing and parties are great for a little cheat.) But eating "vegan" or "organic" can be pretty pricy at a high end grocery store. That's why keeping it local and shopping small, supports your local community (which is what you want) but it keeps you healthier by feeding your body to help you live more comfortably in your natural surroundings. (Bees 🐝 🐝 play a big part here.)
When I moved into the full-time Van-lifestyle in August of 2017, I intended on having refrigeration for eggs, meats and cheeses. Very quickly realizing how much more there was to keeping it powered and the general cost of meat while living on the road ended that REAL quick, not to mention how much better I felt in general without any of it. I immediately sold the fridge and built a kitchen with a stove top instead. It looked farely meager, but it did the job.
Completely getting rid of the refrigerator immediately changed my perspective on eating, the cost of eating and its required preparation. Not to mention the lack of space in the van which led to the question of "how often do I make groceries?"
Luckily, 7 months in, a true Vegan entered my life (that's Em) to teach me the ways, and nothing has been the same! She's been eating Vegan for 3 years, and is incredibly strict with her diet. While it definitely took me time to truly let go of the meats, it took even longer to let go of the cravings of overly processed food. Especially living on the road, with nothing but endless arches nearby.
Fast food is the ultimate danger zone, I mostly gave it up years ago based solely on my personal beliefs, and the basic concept that they have been killing us as humans everyday. Giving us the excuse to not STOP and cook a wholesome meal and the accoutrements that go with it. Such as family or community time, whether you live in a house with a ton of kids or roommates, EVERYONE loves the kitchen.
To my dear friends who ask us how we do it, it's simple, MIND OVER MATTER!!! And simple math!! Lol 😆
Example: 1 single meal
McDonald's for 2:
2 Big Mac meals w/ 2 soda's and fries= +/- $18 after tax
Grocery store (99 cents only, Aldi's, Smart & final):
- Bag of 5 avocados
- Bag of plums
- Bunch of bananas
- 2 bell peppers
- 4 garlic bulbs
- 5 vegan ramen
- Bag of apples
- 2- 1lb bags of yams
- 1 bag of potatoes
- Bag of onions
= $20 Obviously the better option
So for about the same amount of money, we can eat numerous meals and snacks for days.
I personally think we as a society have gotten so incredibly caught up in the "right now" attitude that it has completely ostracized the beauty of cooking and eating a meal. Knowing what is going into your body is the fuel that figuratively feeds us and right now we need those figures.
Van-life groceries have been something to learn as we go, but one of the best things we've learned is how reusable items can really make a difference, and here is how! (This works in normal kitchens too 😉)
We, like most others, use reusable grocery bags, but we also use reusable containers for other things like rice, oatmeal, beans and more. But we especially love our plain old metal bucket. We know when to stop shopping when it's full, it helps us stay organized and waste much less food by not over-buying! Over-buying leads to major food waste and unnecessary use of plastics, not to mention the many other by-products of creating processed food (ie Greenhouse and industrial gases.)
The key is getting your containers weighed at the beginning of your shopping trip, have the cashier weigh and write it on your container. USE THE BULK DISPENSER!!!
STOP USING SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS!!!! JUST STOP. Take it out of the equation and WE solve a TON of WORLD problems! Also, single-use plastic-wrapped fruits are absolutely not necessary. Stop buying it, they stop selling it! It's how WE change the world! We need to BEE the change in the SEA that we see!
Knowing how much space you have for groceries is key to staying on track. We bring in 1 larger size reusable grocery bag, and our average size metal bucket (it holds all of our vegetation in the van.) Between the 2 they typically hold enough for a week for 2.
We have truly loved getting to know the food we eat, and we urge you to eat locally, and help your local food deserts obtain the fresh fruits and vegetables they need to thrive. If you have a yard you should be growing your own food. You will be amazed at how your energy changes, allergies dissipate, and the amount of self-healing that comes from simple gardening! It's incredibly meditative, vitamin D and good old fashioned dirt! If a yard isn't optional, indoor gardens are a beautiful and easy way to have your herbs nearby!
Here are a few images and recipes of vegan meals I have prepared along our travels in the van and kitchens along the way!!
Sauteed brussel sprouts with salt, pepper and Tony's (if you don't know what that is, google southern salt)
Sweet potatoes sauteed with garlic, onions and Tony's, cook until potatoes are almost tender, then add diced fuji apple and cranberries, cook together for a few mins, sprinkle a handful of brown sugar and a dash more of Tony's, stir it up every few minutes until everything is covered, then serve it up!
Potatoes and peppers-
Sautee garlic and onions with olive oil then add the potatoes, cook for about 15 minutes then add chunked bell pepper and onion, top with avocado and drizzle with Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce, and a light salad with oil & vinegar.
Mango Avocado Rice-
Cook up some regular white rice, once almost done, add coconut flakes and let it finish.
Sautee up garlic, onions and diced fresh mango (skin on) in some olive oil, add a dash of Tony's and salt to the mix, let simmer for a few minutes. Then add some brown sugar and more Tony's and chopped almonds to the pan.
In a bowl or on a plate put down coconut rice, then mango mixb then add fresh cubed avocado to the pile and drizzle with sweet baby Ray's bbq.
Sweet potatoes, onions and kale-
Sautee garlic, onions, sweet potatoes and Tony's together, once tender add kale right on top, let it settle over the potatoes then mix it up a bit when it starts to wilt, add some salt and enjoy!
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