By Bob Difley
Good nutrition and tasty food are part of a Healthy RV Lifestyle. And fortunately, the two fit together like campfires and potlucks. Tests and studies show that the purer the food source, the more nutrients there are, the healthier the food is, and the better it tastes.
So why do we not buy more fresh vegetables and fruits, fewer processed foods, and foods containing little or no added ingredients–food dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals that we can’t pronounce and which string down under the ingredients section on food labels?
One reason is convenience. We will shop at the local supermarket and buy food that is the simplest to obtain and fastest to prepare. Another is that the giant food companies have added sugar and salt to almost all processed foods, diverting our taste buds off of natural foods and addicting us to the added ingredients.
But I defy anyone to claim that fresh foods don’t have more nutrients and are better tasting than those that are canned, frozen, or have spent their best days in a truck being shipped across country and sitting on supermarket shelves for days. Is convenience worth it?
But as RVers we have a built in remedy for tasteless, low quality food. We travel a lot, and on a lot of back roads (I assume you don’t always drive on Interstates) and therefore pass roadside stands, pick-your-own orchards, and farmers markets where you can pick up the freshest and tastiest regional natural foods and eat them within hours of being picked.
And when you can–buy organic. Tests have shown that the nutritive content of organically grown foods is on average 25% higher than conventionally grown food. If you can’t find organic–which is becoming easier and easier to find as local farmers and buyers switch over–the next best is to buy locally grown food, followed by imported organic, and from conventional factory farms last.
See if you can find a conventional factory farmer who says his food tastes better and is better for you with a straight face. His selling point will be, it’s cheap, it looks good (like fake plastic food), and will last a long time during shipping and in supermarkets.
Before you hit the road, do a Google search for (state) farmers markets and you will find listings of farmers markets for every state of the union–including Alaska! And similarly you can find local local farm tour routes that take you to farms that will sell directly to the consumer–which is also a fun activity, picking your own veggies, berries, and fruit. And most farmers or their farm stand employees (probably sons and daughters and other extended farm family relatives) can tell you how to best prepare their local foods. It’s also a good time to try little known local produce that doesn’t make it into major supermarkets.
The Food and Drug Administration also offers helpful advice on foods online, such as their food safety website that lists the best ways to preserve, handle, and cook meat, poultry, and seafood to avoid foodborne bacteria and guarantee that what we put into our stomachs is safe.
So do your health, your body, and your taste buds a favor–shop local, shop fresh.
Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands(now available in a Kindle version), Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts, and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar.
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We shop at all the local farmers markets here in Alaska. We have a short growing season but sure do produce a lot. Lettuce,beets chard,spinach squash. potatoes,broccoli, etc Hope you come up and try some nice veggies
We also love farmer’s markets and local farm stands as a source of wonderfully fresh, healthy food – and I want to put in a plug for Harvest Hosts, an organization we belong to that partners with farms and wineries that have space to allow overnight stays for RVers – pure boondocking, no services provided, but we meet wonderful people who produce great produce and products, and we have a quiet, scenic spot to spend the night. When we know where we’re going, we check out the Harvest Hosts web site for hosts along the way that we might stay at. Check it out at HarvestHosts.com!
We always shop at Farmer’s Markets while on the road. Out West last year, the markets at Flagstaff, Petaluma,Crescent City, Coos Bay, Newport, OR, and Sequim, WA were the best. We had fresh corn for many weeks along with sugar snap peas, cucumbers (lemon), tomatoes–lettuce–ready to hit the road again. When the farmer sell the fresh produce still has dirt on his hands–you know who grew you dinner!
We fully intend to cook more and better foods this year. Our first step was ditching our “camp cookware” and obtaining some first class home cookware (Club Aluminum on ebay). Having a very small fridge dictates the use of fresh foods that don’t require refrigeration or freezing–that is one thing in our favor. We have a fairly predictable route throughout the summer and know where the local grocery stores are by now. I really don’t mind doing the cooking at a camp site but hate the dishes.