Vanlife Cooking: “Let food be thy medicine!”

Aside from the wilderness aspect and escaping normality, vanlife for our family is all about the food. God-made, wholesome, organic, clean, and healthy food. What would be the point of living the magical #VanLife if we are not fit, strong and healthy?

Life on the road is always changing. We park up in new settings and we would cook each meal outdoor or indoor using different setups depend on where we park our van. We wake up and light our propane to heat water for our daily glass of warm water with lemon (or apple cider vinegar). We’d slowly juice celery, beets, and green apples with our Vitamix blender. After breakfast we’d walk Chloe, go for a hike, read, write, play music, and explore the natural landscape. Now I can take my home and kitchen everywhere I go, which offers many possibilities. But one thing is certain, we love what we eat and we are always passionate about healthy eating. Other might claim that it’s challenging to maintain a healthy diet while on the road, but for our family it’s easier than ever. In this post I’m sharing with you our vanlife daily meals and reasons for our strong belief, “Thy Food is Thy Medicine.”

Before sharing with you about our daily meal preparation and recipes, I want to share some of our family’s belief about the power of our body’s self-healing and self-regulating. My husband and I haven’t been sick for years (no allergy, no flu, no sore-throat, no headache, no coughing, no running nose) and we believe that our choice of food and active lifestyle lay a strong foundation for our good health. We strongly believe that our God-given body is an incredible machine; part of what makes it so impressive is its ability to regenerate itself. Here are some facts of our body’s regenerating power:

“Your outer layer of skin, the epidermis, replaces itself every 35 days. 
You are given a new liver every 6 weeks (a human liver can regenerate itself completely even if as little as 25% remains of it).
Your stomach lining replaces itself every 4 days.
Every 120 days your red blood cells are replaced.
Our entire skeletal structures are regenerated every 3 months.
Your entire brain replaces itself every 3 months…..”

That means the human body is constantly undergoing processes of growth and repair. These processes require a lot of energy. Most of the energy that is utilized by the body is provided from the foods we eat. The simple truth, “Food is your fuel.”

Social media nowadays direct people to certain expensive supplements that have amazing health benefits, but the truth is no processed product with artificial ingredients and synthetic vitamins/minerals can match the nutritional value of vitamins and minerals contained in raw organic fruits vegetables, seeds, and nuts. There are certain foods that have been classified and advertised as super-foods are pretty costly, but there is incredible healing power in many of the most basic, easily affordable and readily available foods like garlic, ginger, shallot, onions, cayenne pepper,….Here are some illustrations of ingredients that I use a lot in my daily cooking:

These food are the fuel that our body needs and the most valuable medicine! Here are some medicinal facts of these basic food:

*** Shallot: lower cholesterol, rich source of iron and antioxidant, provide anti-fungal/antibacterial/antiviral protection, lower blood pressure, boost circulation, speed up digestion,…

*** Garlic contains compounds with potent medicinal properties to combat sickness (including the common cold) and boost the immune system,…

*** Ginger reduces pain and inflammation, inhibits rhinovirus (which can cause the common cold), inhibits such bacteria as salmonella, reduces gas and painful spasms in the intestinal tract, prevent stomach ulcers, has warming effects and boost circulation.

*** Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, contain cancer-fighting compound, have antibacterial properties, regulate blood sugar,…

*** Lemon: rich in Vitamin C, helps prevent kidney stones, aids digestion, promotes hydration,…

*** Jalapeños: rich in vitamins A, C, K, B and potassium. Many of their health benefits come from a compound called capsaicin. That’s what makes the peppers spicy. Capsaicin has strong anti-cancer properties and is capable of killing over 40 types of cancer cells without harming normal cells….

These foods are basically on your doorstep and the best news is that you don’t have to keep to some sort of restrictive daily diet, but that you can mix and match everything in an easy, fun way to create delicious meals. Here are some examples of our daily meals:

Vietnamese-Style Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp
Thai Yellow Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk
Vietnamese-Style Calabash Stir Fried with Egg
Spinach Soup with Dried Shrimp and Luffa
Creamy Mushroom Pasta
Sweet and Sour Salmon with Ginger, served with Vietnamese-Style Pickled Mustard Greens
Vietnamese-Style Fish Cake Vermicelli (Bún Cá Nha Trang)
Garlic Fried Rice with Dried Shrimp, served with Pickled Mustard Greens
Vietnamese-Style Luffa Stir Fried with Bean Sprout

Our vanlife plant-based diet consists largely of vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds. Only twenty percent of our diet contains some seafood, chicken, and minimal low-fat dairy products. These nutrient-dense foods provide the body with healing vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy fats and fiber.

Eating a carrot raw, an onion/garlic sautéed, or a tomato stewed is the same as using food as medicine. Our bodies are brilliantly designed by God to convert all types of food substances into fuel and energy to sustain life. When you eat, you break down food with your teeth into liquid form, digestive juices break that liquid down further in your stomach, then the nutrients are absorbed into your blood stream and carried to your cells. Your body uses these nutrients for energy, and to repair and regenerate cells. This is food designed by God for us, His creation, to eat.

But we’ve gotten away from that. The majority of the food we now eat in America is “processed”. It is not natural and it is not healthy. Most of us think of junk food as soft drinks, candy, snacks, fast food, instant noodles, and hot-pocket dinners . But in reality junk food is almost any food that has been altered by man and packaged for resale. These food contain:

*** Chemical additives like artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners to make it look and taste good.

*** Chemical preservatives are added to make it last longer on the shelf.

*** Synthetic vitamins and minerals are added, in an attempt to restore the nutritional value destroyed by all the processing.

Look at the ingredients on the labels of the food in your pantry. If the label has ingredients you have never heard of, or cannot pronounce, beware. Just because the FDA approved these additives for human consumption, and they don’t make you sick immediately after you eat them, doesn’t mean they are healthy. It is necessary to know the quality of food you eat daily. The next time you go into the grocery store, instead of buying on impulse and buying food items based on appetite and cravings, do well to use your food list and go a step further by looking at the ingredients that the food products contain.

Unhealthy diet and lifestyle are proven causes of cancer and many other diseases. So our little vanlife prepares our daily meals according to this rule, “Every bite you take is either fighting disease or feeding it!” If our body is nourished appropriately and provided with the minerals and vitamins it needs, it can self-regulate and self-heal. 80% of our immune system is in our gut. 

Now I take my home and kitchen everywhere I go, which offers many possibilities. I have all my spices and ingredients with me, so can live off grid, stopping in remote places and eating in wonderful settings. With my kitchen on wheels I can cook for the people we meet and show them how delicious plant-based wholefood meals can be.

Just remember, “We are what we eat!” Everything starts with eliminating harmful foods from your diet and replacing them with fresh, natural fruits, vegetables and herbs, and you will see that your body has the power to regenerate itself in the most amazing way. 

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food!” – Hippocrates.


By inAra

Hi there! I’m May, a girl who loves to wander and wonder! I’m from Saigon, based in Los Angeles, but my current location is anywhere and everywhere. Travel, Photography, Tea Time, Picnic, Home Decor and Event Planning are a few of my favorite things.

inArabymay is a travel and lifestyle blog inspired by beautiful destinations, by color and nature, and by wonderful people that I’ve met on my journey.

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