August 2, 2014

Processed Food - For Emergencies Only

While living in our van the thing we missed most was preparing fresh food.
It feels great to get cooking again.

While we were crossing the country we did not cook a single meal. We prepared many meals, but in the name of simplicity, convenience and being in emergency mode, none of them required heat.

Usually on a trip like this Linda and I would cook all our own meals, but this time was different. We have never travelled with Linda in a wheelchair before, and I have never been as physically affected by an injury as after my disk herniation back in May.

As a result our voyage was hard, but a bittersweet kind of hard. It was so exciting that adrenalin went a long way toward making it possible, but something had to go due to our physical limitations. One of those things was cooking.

But there were many cold dishes that we enjoyed:

  • Refrigerator Oatmeal - prepared in a mason jar the night before.
  • Cold Soya Burgers in buns - they are a little gross cold, but perfectly edible and filling.
  • Refried beans and tortilla wraps - we made several burritos at a time so they were instantly ready when we got hungry. Complement with plain yogurt inside just before eating.
  • Baked Beans with Dinner Rolls - the beans were eaten right out of the can by candle light. One spoon -  cheap, easy, romantic.
  • Fresh Fruit - bananas, apples, nectarines.
  • Sandwiches - cheese, peanut butter and jam.
  • Breakfast cookies - before we left Nelson my beautiful mother baked us a giant bag of whole oat based cookies with nuts and raisins. They got us all the way to Ontario.
  • Plain Yogurt - scoop right out of the container for instant protein.
  • Cold Cereal - with milk prepared from powder.

We also had to rely more than we usually do on convenience foods, prepared foods, and fast food. Places with drive-through windows saved us because it was a challenge for me to walk inside to order.

Before long we began to tire of our new road diet, and developed an intense craving for fresh, wholesome and nutritious food. We missed our own home-cooked, whole food diet.

Our faux food fest reaffirmed everything we believe about processed stuff - it's convenient, but yucky. Processed food may give you calories, but it isn't really nutritious. It will keep you alive for a while, but  should be taken for emergencies only, and even then in moderation.


  1. Anonymous8/03/2014

    Physical limitations can keep us from living the life as we wish (in so many ways). At times I have to give in to convenience over scratch i.e. buying tortillas instead of making them. If I make an effort to do as much as possible, it has to be enough.

    Eating beans from the can should be a must when one is on the road! Just seems fitting.

    I still marvel what the pair of you accomplished on this trip. I just don't think I have the chutzpah.

    1. Miss Marla,

      If you don't cook, or can't cook, healthy options are limited. The corporate take over of our food supply has handed processors the incentive and means to cut their costs, and the taste and nutrition of their products.

      Anything we can do to reduce our dependence on this stuff will yield benefits, and some whole foods are almost as quick and easy to prepare as processed stuff. Oatmeal comes to mind. Bulgar is another yummy nutritious base for a number of dishes. I love soybeans, sometimes with bulgar.

      But it all takes a certain amount of mobility and energy. I am slowly ramping my cooking up now that we have the facilities and I am getting some stamina back. The whole experience has made me think quite differently about things like aging… and death by corporate food.

      It sounds to me like you've got plenty of chutzpah - you just aren't as insane as we are.


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