Tiny Living Eating

One subject regarding vanlife and tiny living keeps coming up. It’s food. “What do you eat?” and “How do you cook?” Fair enough.

I could end this post here and now with “simple and repetitive.” I suppose that won’t do, so I’ll elaborate a little (is that an oxymoron?). Anyway, our eating habits and menu involved a steep learning curve. Not just because the only way to get running water in the van is with a foot pump or because having a microwave is a luxury of the distant past.

A huge factor is that over time Marty has gone from a simple chocolate milk guzzling guy into some kind of evolved creature who can set boundaries and stay within them. And his boundaries are limited. No refined foods. That includes white flour, any form of sugar except real maple syrup, soda, fast food, cold cereal, vegetable oils, frozen pizza, cookies, brownies, Halloween candy – in other words, staples. I could have stopped at "refined foods", but you’d be surprised at how many people do not know that white sugar and flour are refined and that most foods contain at least one of them. In fact, one day a friend was surprised to hear that flour came from wheat.

If you look at this objectively you can’t deny it’s a good thing. These dietary changes made a huge improvement in hubby’s seasonal affective disorder – something he struggled with from his first visit to beautiful-but cloudy-most-of-the-year Oregon. And before someone chimes in with “happy lights,” and “exercise” and “medication”, over the 25 years we lived there, he tried everything except medication, and healthy eating was the answer for him. And his changes have rubbed off on me. I’m definitely guilted into eating healthier and hiding my treats.

When we are in the Hawaiian cottage, we have a small four-burner stove, full-size refrigerator and freezer and running water. Plus a blender for smoothies. It feels indulgent. But our diets have not changed. We rarely eat out and the warm climate makes simple foods appealing.

The van is another story. Objectively “it’s a good thing.” But. The but is “inconvenient.” We’re on the road a lot – always? – when living in the van, and healthy pickings along I-84 are slim. We try to stock up with things like eggs, sliced turkey and swiss, muesli and organic grass-fed or raw milk, fruit, Ezekiel bread, Greek yogurt, and chicken or beef. My eating plan incorporates a few more foods. I skip the milk and muesli but add avocados and nuts, peanut butter and Havarti cheese. We did find a really delicious ice cream that Marty will eat – Rebel – and it’s delicious. But at $6.49 a pint (and who eats less than that?) and no van freezer, it’s a rare treat.

Our van refrigerator space is the size of a cooler. This means we shop every couple of days. The van has a single-burner cooktop. As long as we are making one-pan meals, it’s great. Soup and grilled cheese get tricky.

For many this leads to one of those “good for you” comments. And that’s fine. Luckily cooking is not my hobby and Marty is very accommodating, so it works for us. We rough it for the fun of van life, then live it up in our cottage.

I've linked to the ice cream because it is THAT good, but we have no financial or other relationship with the company. 

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