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Smoothies: A Healthy Choice for Vandwellers

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My new Ninja Master Prep making another delicious smoothie!

One of the best things about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous is the opportunity to meet so many great people. And the best thing about meeting new people is learning from them. For every area of the vandwelling life there is nearly an infinite number of ways of handling it. So the more people I meet, the more different ways I learn to handle those problems. Sometimes I meet someone and they show me what they are doing, and I know instantly that is a far better choice than my current practice. That exact thing happened to me at the Summer RTR in Flagstaff in June.
I had the good fortune to make a new friend named Richard. He had just bought a van and had already got it mostly ready to live in but he was looking for some help with the solar installation. Since that is one of my favorite subjects, I was glad to help. He said he wanted to have 600 watts of solar panel and wanted to know if that was enough to meet his needs. My answer was that not only would it meet his needs, but it would also meet the needs of a small city!
I was curious why he wanted that much power and he said that he wanted to keep eating healthy while he was in the van and that he ate a smoothie every morning and a salad every night. For the smoothie, he needed his fruits to be frozen. So he was going to buy two 12 volt compressor fridges and set one as a refrigerator and the other as a freezer. That explained his high power needs.The moment he told me that I knew that I was going to do the exact same thing! It was a brilliant eating plan full of fruits and vegetables, the two foods that were virtually missing from my diet.
I have never had a healthy relationship with food. In fact I have always been a compulsive over-eater and therefore I have always struggled with my weight. In fact I have been a member of Overeaters Anonymous for many years to get help with my eating (it doesn’t help you with what you’re eating; it helps with what is eating you!!). The first year I was a member I lost 100 pounds. Since then I have done fairly well with keeping that weight off, but 2011 was such a disastrous year for me that I deliberately choose to eat compulsively again. I was certain I could always lose weight with the programs help, but I also knew that if my brains were scattered all over the wall there was no putting them back in. Being fat was definitely the better of those two choices. In the last few years my emotions have stabilized and suicide no longer seems like a viable choice so it is time to get back on the wagon again. So I knew the moment Richard told me about his eating plan, I would do the same thing.
The fruit in the blender.

The fruit in the blender.

I am a total believer in what is called the Paleolithic Diet ( The idea behind it is that the human body evolved for millions of years eating in a certain way, so that’s what is best for us. Our ancestors ate a lot of meat (animals, fish, birds, eggs, reptiles) along with a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts and other plant life their local environment provided them. I believe the closer we eat to that pattern, the healthier we will be. So Richards plan immediately appealed to me because it included lots of fruits and vegetables served in an easy and delicious way!
My new 65 Quart Whynter 12 volt compressor fridge. I love it! I'll give you a full review  later.

My new 65 Quart Whynter 12 volt compressor fridge. I love it! I’ll give you a full review later.

Because my Dometic 12 volt compressor fridge was too small (25 quart) to hold everything I need for my new diet, the first thing I had to do was buy a new fridge. I ended up buying a Whynter 65 quart (I’ll tell you all about why I choose it and give you a review in a upcoming post, probably next week.) Then the little Dometic became my freezer to hold the fruit. Because I am also a meat eater, it lets me keep frozen hamburger patties and chicken breast—two mainstays of my diet. Whynter 65-Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer, 12 or 110 volt
(Editors note: I know many of you don’t have the power or money to have a fridge and a freezer so I have been experimenting with buying frozen fruit and letting it thaw before making the smoothie. The good news is it tastes exactly the same—wonderful! The bad news is that it is not as thick or cold as it would have been if it was frozen fruit. To me, it’s not as good but still great! I may do away with the freezer. So even if you only have an ice chest you may want to give smoothies a try.)
I also had to have a blender to make my smoothies. I ended up buying a Ninja Magic Master Prep (Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender, Chopper and Ice Crusher: More Power & 2 Times Faster) for the following reasons:

  • It’s small enough to fit in the trailer
  • It has a low power draw so it works fine on my 400 watt inverter.
  • Great reviews on Amazon!
  • It’s 450 watt motor can easily handle frozen fruits or ice (I haven’t tried that yet).
  • Easy to clean.
  • The smoothies are thick, smooth and creamy!
So far everything has worked extremely well!! The Whynter fridge is better than I could have expected, the Ninja makes quick work of the smoothie and they turn out wonderful! I love having a smoothie every day; it’s like eating ice cream for breakfast except that it is probably the single healthiest thing you can eat!
The smoothies come out thick, rich and delicious! My spoon has no problem standing up by itself!

The smoothies come out thick, rich and delicious! My spoon has no problem standing up by itself!

I’m 100% certain that I will never grow weary of having a smoothie for breakfast every day! They’re easy to make and clean up after and the fruits I’m eating are nutritional superstars. I enjoy salads so having one for dinner is no sacrifice. I use Romaine lettuce and spinach as a base. Then I add broccoli, tomato, peas, carrots, and boiled eggs. I’m no purist, so I add a dressing and bacon bits as well. I can see getting tired of a salad for dinner every night so I mix it up with other things like hamburgers, chicken and fish sticks. For lunch I will often have cottage cheese and pineapple.
The bottom line is that it’s apparent to me that I am losing weight and I feel much better about the way that I am eating. My body is getting an abundance of wonderful, healthy food and I am eating in much more moderation. My normal diet is so poor that there is no doubt in my mind that it was an attempt at very slow suicide. Subconsciously I knew it would end up killing me, but getting there would be pleasurable instead of terrifying. Eating a half gallon of ice cream made enduring the day much easier, plus it probably took a day or two off the miserable life I had to endure. In the bad old days that was a win-win! Fortunately, thanks to the 12 Steps, I no longer have to think that way and the depression I went through is mostly gone.
Eating this way tastes good, it’s easy and best of all I will live a longer healthier life because of it. Highly recommended!!


  1. Greg

    Hey Bob, Congrats! I’ve been thinking of going the smoothie route but didn’t want to rush into buying a blender till I figured out which one was worth the money. Some of these are rather pricey.

    • Bob

      Greg, for the job I’m doing I am extremely happy with the Ninja, and it is so small and cheap that it’s no major loss if you end up not liking smoothies. It makes a great chopper!

  2. Ronbo

    Hi Bob,
    Love this post and the one on juicing.
    Here are some videos on food/nutrition/Juicing that I highly recommend you may want to watch.. All are on NetFlix and most are on YouTube, except Hungry For A Change. (A Must See))
    Hungry For A Change (NetFlix Only)
    Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
    Food Matters
    Forks Over Knives
    Food Inc.
    Dying To Have Known
    A Beautiful Truth
    The Gerson Miracle
    Enjoy Great Health!

    • Bob

      Thanks Ronbo. But I am not radical about food at all, I just want it to be easy, simple, healthy and taste good.

      • Ronbo

        I recommended the vids Because you recently have written positively about juicing and smoothies as a medium of good health and nutrition. I incorrectly figured that you (or perhaps some group members) might find them interesting.
        I sincerely apologize if you found my suggestions offensive, or radical. . No offense intended.

        • Bob

          Ronbo, I am really sorry if I gave you the idea that I was offended! I was not offended in any way. In fact I appreciate your sharing the titles with us. My reply was flippant and I sincerely apologize for that. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded, I just meant that food wasn’t a topic I felt passionately about.

          • Jennie

            I have been reading blog after blog about Van Dwelling and I just wanted to say Bob and Ronbo, you made me smile in the comments here. There is no substitute for treating humans equally and you both defied the rules of the Internet in your exchange. Thank you for the great post and your politeness! I’m sitting here smiling!

          • Bob

            Thank you Jennie, that is very nice of you to say! I hope you will forgive me for being brutally honest and frank, but I am such a natural “Know-it-all asshole” that I have to guard against it all the time so I try to always do the opposite of my normal inclinations. Knowing that you always do things wrong can actually come in handy sometimes!!
            One of my favorite Seinfeld Episodes was when George decided to do everything the exact opposite of how he usually did it. All of a sudden his life was perfect! That’s me!!

      • wendy

        Bob, I love your blog. I know like you said you aren’t radical about food, but I think that this is relevant to your life style and ideals, and even the idea of vandwelling in general.
        Spent the last year of intense reading about food, and I am convinced that most health problems here in the U.S. are from processed, industrial foods–the malnourishment from the lack of nutrients and the added chemicals–dyes, preservatives, fillers, chemical flavors–that were effecting me not just physically but mentally! These poisons effected my brain and outlook on life (depression)!! Of course too, when a body becomes ill from poor nutrition, they then profit greatly from it by selling pharmaceuticals as a patch.
        Recently I changed my diet and began only eating whole and natural foods (like smoothies and salads) and it has made an incredible change in my life. I was not radical about food either but I have realized now…I have never felt like I do now because I never ate so clean. I didn’t know what I was missing. Feel stupid because I could have ended my struggle a decade+ ago!!! (Mynewroots blog has the most insane raw brownie recipe for food processors and that is kind of how it started for me.) Realized I ate WAY too much meat due to brainwashing by the very profitable factory farming meat industry, and was a diet coke addict for a long time. No more since reading about aspartame.
        Anyway, like I said…this is a bit of a side note, but does related for me considering your general views on life and harmony with nature (which I truly appreciate). For me it is not about being strict, but taking my health back! and not wishing to support these businesses. I feel that I have been robbed of my health by these disgusting enterprises, and it has made finding healthy food on the road much harder. They are doing the same thing that cleanliness next to godliness has done…take us away from nature. (and feed us industrial waste, just like our poor pets)
        Sorry to ramble on as well, but I was excited to see someone else mention those titles. I like what you say about life so I felt I needed to word this, this new feeling I have about life! I wish you the best in everything.

        • Bob

          Thanks Wendy, that is a very balanced and reasonable post and I appreciate it. I know when we are passionate about something because it is wonderful for us, we tend to come across too strongly (speaking from experience here!). But your post made me want to learn more so I value it!
          thanks again!

        • Lisa Dee

          Wow, Wendy – I feel EXACTLY the same way you do! Glad to hear I’m not alone! I have a degree in nutrition & food science, and after everything I’ve learned, I’m NEVER going back to eating processed foods again! I even cook for my 2 little dogs! Organic for them too! High-5, Wendy! 🙂

  3. Peggy

    I love smoothies too and have been having a couple a day for a few months now. I use the Nutri Bullet, which is 600 watts, small but very powerful…it’s perfect!
    I don’t know if it’s such a great idea to eat so much fruit each day though, Bob…afterall, it’s loaded with sugar. I focus on veggies. For my smoothies I usually use a combination of most of these: kale, spinach, swiss chard, celery, cucumber, fresh basil (I bought a plant), and sometimes other greens like bok choy, broccoli, or mustard greens. To make it creamy I add half an avocado. Lots of water too…how healthy can you get? For the fruit I only add 4-5 strawberries, which don’t have to be frozen. Or try more fruit to start but then cut back on it as you adjust to the taste. I happen to love the taste of my green drinks! Anyway, with the avocado there’s no need to freeze anything because it adds a wonderful creaminess to the smoothie…it’s what makes the smoothie smooth! Spinach in particular really mellows out a smoothie, I found. I also add a little turmeric sometimes because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and a recent study says that it’s as good for depression as Prozac, without the side effects.
    Bon appetit!

    • Bob

      Thanks Peggy for the great ideas. I considered the Magic Bullet but it didn’t get very good reviews on Amazon. So I considered the Nutri Bullet which did get good reviews but it cost more than the Ninja and had the 600 watt motor. That would have meant getting a new inverter because mine is only 400 watts. What size of an inverter do you use?
      The Ninja costs less, got better reviews than either of them and its 450 watt motor works fine with my inverter. So I went with it.

      • Peggy

        I might’ve gone with the Ninja too if I saw it first…used to have a pet rabbit named Ninja, so I would’ve taken that as a sign, ha! I don’t have an inverter ’cause I’m still living in my little place. So far living in a van is a dream/thought/wish. I live on the west coast of Canada where it rains most of the winter, so I’d like to take off for a few months anyway. You’ve got me thinking about it more and more these days…love your blog, Bob!

        • Bob

          Peggy, lots of Canadians spend part or all the winter in the desert southwest so it might be perfect for you. Come on down!

          • Peggy

            Bob, it’s very much on my mind and it would be perfect for me, really. I sell my photography at fairs from April-early December and then I basically have four months off (or at least I only do online work). Seems like a good excuse to head down there and try it out. I might see you soon!

          • Bob

            Peggy, now that is a win-win for everybody! Lots of things to photograph around here! Come on down!

  4. Kim

    That’s terrific! Don’t you feel better? What do you use as a ‘binder’ – the yogurt? I use a little soy milk also.
    Can you share your recipe?

    • Bob

      Thanks Kim. No, I honestly can’t say I feel better physically. In my long and varied relationship with food I can’t say that it ever really affected the way I felt physically. I know most people say it does but not me. Emotionally yes! Nobody likes being fat.
      I don’t know about binders, but yes I assume the yogurt does it.

  5. Patty

    Bob, I agree with Peggy. I also have a Nutri Bullet and love it. I make my green drinks with spinach and kale, plus I add one pineapple ring slice, half a banana, almond milk, vanilla protein powder, chia/flax seed and water. Besides the banana, I might add another fruit. I’ve never eaten so much spinach in my life, but added to my “smoothly” it is easy to get my healthy greens each day.
    I only RV part time, so I bought one for my house and RV. I’m on day two of my RV trip right now going up 395 in CA to OR and WA drinking my green shakes to help me get healthier too.
    I enjoy reading your blog!

    • Bob

      Thanks for the recipe Patty! Sounds wonderful! I can’t imagine a better place to be drinking one! I love the drive up 395! One of my favorite stops is at Convict Lake just south of Mammoth Lakes.
      I’m getting ready to add green shakes to my repertoire, thanks for the tips!

    • Penny

      Patty, Yes spinach is good for you, but too much can give you a calcium deficiency.
      We learned that when we gave our poor iguana too much, and that it applies to people, too.
      Happy Trails, Penny

      • Meg

        Penny, I’m wondering where you got your information. As someone who’s concerned about preventing osteoporosis but who also likes spinach 🙂 I’d like to know more about this but I can’t find much online about it, and nothing from any sites I trust. Are you a nutritionist or dietician? If you know of any journal articles or research I’d like to read them (I’m a former RN so I don’t have trouble with the terminology). Thanks.

      • Bob

        Penny, thanks for that tip! I hope your iguana is okay!

  6. Wandrin Lloyd

    Been doing a morning shake long before I became a nomadic wanderer. Approaching three decades at this point. Been using the Bamix immersion blender (although more expensive, after using others, the Bamix is the absolute best). The fruit and yogurt is placed in a 21 ounce glass. Rinse off the blender and have breakfast. That Bamix has also helped in soups, dips, pates, salad dressings.
    Directly out of the freezer the fruit is icy. During my usual night time waking — and if I think of it — the fruit is placed in the glass and then allowed to thaw at room temps for that morning shake.

    • Bob

      Wandrin Lloyd, I tend to get all excited about things and then loose interest in them–it’s a character flaw. So I’ve learned to not jump in and buy the best. The Ninja looks like it is really going to work well for me and the price was right. Maybe after smoothies have stood the test of time i will move up to a better blender.
      I quite a bit prefer the fruit frozen–it really reminds me of ice cream. But I have been experimenting with keeping them in the fridge for those of us without a freezer, which is nearly all of us. Turning my fridge into a freezer and adding a second larger fridge dramatically increased my power needs. I either have to get rid of the freezer or add more solar. I already added another pair of Crown golf cart batteries and they might solve my problem.

  7. CAE

    Good stuff. Thanks. I’m in the process of switching all my 12v lights from bulbs to LED.

    • Bob

      CAE, this latest generation of LEDs is so far superior that they are almost mandatory for the mobile life. What I like about the fixture I bought is that it included the LED bulb itself plus the fixture for less than most bulbs by themselves. Plus this one has the dimmer. Highly recommended!

  8. maryb

    Bob with the fantastic lifetyle you live, I am so happy you re changing your life through your food as well. I couldn’t help but notice the soda can though and when you get to the point where you can do away with sugar and as many processed foods as possible you will feel even better 🙂

    • Bob

      Thanks Mary! I’ve found that in my life the BEST is often the enemy of GOOD. I find that making small steps to improve myself and delighting in them is far better for me than being disappointed with myself for not doing enough.
      I’m the King of “Good Enough!”

      • LaVonne

        Very smart, Bob. I’ve only been able to wean myself away from sugar/carbs and things like soda over several years. One thing at a time!

    • Penny

      And it was a Diet soda at that, and they are even more poisonous than the regular sodas!
      Happy Trails, Penny

  9. judy

    Hey Bob,is it OK if I stop in for breakfast???!! Kidding!!

    • Bob

      Judy, you know you are always welcome!!

  10. Gloria Brooks

    This is such a great way to live, Bob! I’m so happy that you’re doing this for yourself. As a full time, I’ve wanting to be sure I incorporate enough fruits and veggies in my diet as well, but, I don’t want to have to deal with the additional power it takes to have a frig to store them at this time in my life. Eventually, I’ll buy more solar and a little frig to store fresh foods, but, for now, it’s been kind of fun figuring out how to do it without the frig. So, I’ve been creatively searching for alternatives.
    I’ve just discovered that some canned fruits and veggies can also have wholesome ingredients without preservatives or very minimal. I’m trying some canned fruits (pears and peaches are some of my favorite) preserved in their own concentrated juices and I’m really loving them. I can also keep apples, bananas and avocados without refrigeration, but, only the latter two a week at a time. I love my dehydrated veggies, legumes and soups through Harmony House. I make a big pot of soup and put it in a thermos and it will stay hot for about 24 hours. I can get about three meals out of pre-cooking and putting it in my old Montgomery Ward thermos I found at the thrift store for a few bucks. Healthy eating isn’t an impossibility full timing, even if you’re on a very limited budget such as myself.

    • Bob

      Gloria, the proof is in the pudding and the fact you are loosing weight and looking GOOD says it all!!

  11. LaVonne

    Yay for smoothies! I’ve been doing green smoothies for a couple of years now, and have recently cut out fruits altogether because the sugar/carbs were leading to massive headaches. My ‘recipe’ is: large cucumber, avocado, coconut water (no added sugar) for sweetness, and a rotating choice of greens. (I’ve read that it’s important to rotate greens and not have the same kind every day but I can’t remember why, lol.) Now that I’ve cut out the fruit, my cravings for sweetness and carbs have disappeared along with the headaches, and i’ve lost about 25 pounds in the past couple of months, yay!
    I love my Oster blender ($50-60) but it’s 600W so I may replace it with the Ninja when I get my van and set it up with solar. I don’t freeze anything ahead of time but when I went to the RTR, I made all my smoothies and froze them in advance, keeping them frozen in a cooler with dry ice. My thought for fulltiming was that I’d do the same, making smoothies in advance at a paid campground with power every couple of weeks and using the dry ice to keep them frozen. Not sure that’s feasible, though. The freezer idea sounds better, but are you able to run it on solar alone?

    • Bob

      LaVonne, sounds like you are doing a great job with your eating plan! If you are happy with your oster blender you can keep it you just need a a 750 watt inverter to run it. Yes, you can run a freezer off solar. You will need at least 200 watts.

      • LaVonne

        Sounds like, if I get the 750-watt inverter, I wouldn’t need the freezer. I could just make fresh smoothies every day. Then the only issue would be keeping produce fresh between grocery trips.

        • Bob

          laVonne, you are right that would work well. I greatly prefer my smoothies from frozen fruit because it is cold and thick and very ice cream like. But, from fresh they taste exactly the same and have the same nutrition so they are still great!! One of my concerns is washing fresh produce. All the E Coli scares worry me and without running water I have a nagging doubt I am getting them clean enough. The frozen fruits worries me a lot less. although it does seem like almost all the E Coli has been from leafy vegetables.
          But, even a ice chest will let you make great smoothies from fresh fruit/veggies.

  12. wheelingit

    Great little post. Quite a coincidence really, but I struggled with years of binging and suicidal thoughts in my youth (I have no doubt that the two were linked). Went Paleo a few years back and have finally found real food peace. For me the key was removing all sugar & gluten, and incorporating lots of natural fats into the diet. We eat tons of whole foods…veggies, fruit, meats. Have never juiced, but may add that to the mix at some point.

    • Bob

      Nina, I know from experience that food has an incredible power and hold over many of us. I remember the first time I became aware of it was when Karen Carpenter starved herself to death. Here was a woman who had everything, but was so miserable that using food to commit slow suicide was her best choice. You are so fortunate to have made it through those very difficult times and to have come to a place of peace and health.
      It’s very brave of you to have spoken up and commented on it, thank you!! There are many people who need to hear that there is hope.

      • wheelingit

        I certainly feel lucky (in many ways) to be where I am today. The dark beast, as you well know, is always there so you can never quite be “free” of it. But, I do believe it’s possible to overcome. I wish that for anyone who’s ever had to deal w/ food addiction or depression.

        • Bob

          Me too.

  13. Laughing Richard

    Hey Bob,
    I’m happy to see that I was a positive influence on your change in eating habits even though when you were asking me all those questions about my diet I had no idea what you were up to.
    What temperature do you have your freezer set on to freeze the fruit?

    • Bob

      Richard, you know me, I’m just a nosy busy-body! I’m really grateful for your great example. Most of you haven’t met Richard, but he is a little older than I am and has the body of a fit 30 year old.
      On my little Dometic 25 quart I set it at 8 degrees during the day and turn it up to 18 at night when the sun goes down. The heavy rains are finally gone so we are getting quite a bit of sun during the day, but I still am just barely making enough power to get by on because I also use it to run the Satellite receiver and TV at night. I added another pair of Crown golf carts just like yours and I am doing better now.
      Take care and see you this fall!

  14. Charlene Swankie

    Bob, IMHO at least, that is the best post you have ever written (for me anyway). I’m gonna dig the Bullet out and begin using it again. I CAN do better. And I have no doubt that the way you used to eat contributed to your depression and suicidal thoughts. I too experience more of a mental change than a physical change when I eat right. Good job.

    • Bob

      Thanks Charlene, I’m sure we can all do better and sometimes all we need is some guidance from someone with a good example like Richard was for me. But I am 100% sure my eating habits had nothing to do with my depression. I know exactly what caused it. if anything giving into my old way of eating probably played a role in keeping me alive. But it has served it’s purpose and now it is time to get back on track.
      I hope you find a eating pattern that works for you!

  15. Linda Sand

    I bought a blender in hopes of making smoothies but I can’t eat yogurt or soy so have no idea how to get protein into them. Anyone here have advice for me?

    • Peggy

      Throw some nuts in there! You’d think I was selling Nutri Bullets the way I go on about them, but they also have a separate blade for milling nuts. But you can probably throw nuts into any blender as long as you have some liquid in there too.

    • Toni

      Health food stores have powdered protein made from different sources, such as peas, beans, etc. Just add a teaspoon or two to your smoothie. Hope this works for you.

    • Bob

      Linda, I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to that, hopefully someone else will. My only comment would be that you don’t necessarily have to get the protein in the smoothie. I like yogurt and it works really well in the smoothies so I throw it in. Maybe you can get protein some other way.

    • LaVonne

      I add chia seeds and flax meal for protein, but greens have a lot of protein too. (If you think they don’t, just look at a buffalo.) Humans need the blender to break down the cell walls in the greens so our non-ruminant digestive systems can access the protein.

  16. Peggy Carlan

    I make smoothies every morning and drink it throughout the day. I use unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (the lowest glycemic-index rating of all the milks and the sweetened has evaporated cane sugar which is terrible for you), silken tofu, (for protein), greens like kale, spinach, broccoli florets, 2 banana’s (which I cut up when I buy them and then freeze), ground chia, hemp and flax seeds, brewer’s yeast, (vit B’s!), acidopholis and a few ice cubes. Into my Oster blender it all goes and it is consistently delicious!
    After reading the comments I am going to try adding an Avocado like Peggy suggested and a Pineapple ring like Patty recommended and a Cuke like LaVonne recommended. Great idea’s! Thank you……..
    You said you were looking for a good source of protein in your smoothies, try tofu, (the soft is the best for smoothies). It does not add any flavor at all.
    Peggy in California

    • Bob

      Peggy, lots of good ideas! Thank you!

  17. DougB

    What a helpful post! And welcome to the seductive frontiers of Big Wattage. As a card-carrying cheapskate, one thing I keep in mind is that although eating healthy generally costs more than bags of of Weenie Tots and chips, it’s a whole lot less expensive than trips to the doctor, pharmacy, and hospital ER when things finally catch up with you.
    Since the “experts” disagree on nearly everything, it’s hard to know exactly what’s best to eat and what isn’t. But I can say that since I switched from lots of meats, processed foods, dairy and heavy sauces to fruits, raw veggies, whole grain stuff and some seafood, I’m physically better off. I still need to do more research and tailor it for me specifically, but it’s been obvious that I’ve been on the right track over the last year. The various benefits that occur seem to be the best encouragement to keep going, aren’t they? Keep going!
    May the Wattage be with you.

    • Bob

      Doug, solar panels should come with a warning label that they are addictive. By the end of the month I plan to have another 240 watts on the van!
      You really do have to tailor your eating patterns to your own individual body, they are all different. But common sense tells you the more fruits and vegetables you get the better off you are. Just limiting processed has to bring an improvement.

  18. Lynn

    I love Fresh fruit in the morning. A great way to start the day- lots of fibre, a little protein and the naturally occurring sugar- fructose. Eat away Bob, males over the age of 50 should have 7 servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day according to our Canadian food Guide. I did study Nutrition at University so it is an interest of mine. I think eating everything in moderation and keeping away from excess carbs and fats as much as possible is a good way to go. The smoothies look like a great way to go when traveling in a smaller space. The other thing you could do too is add in some bran to increase your fibre. I like a big bowl of fruit with a big dollop of yoghurt and add in about 1/2 cup bran.

    • Ken in Anaheim

      Another cheap source of protein is TVP (textured vegetable protein). It looks (and acts) like rolled oats or cream of wheat (when hydrated it also can be used like ground meat for “sham” burgers). It,s cheap and available at health food stores, Winco (bulk section) . Mix with equal parts boiling water to make patties with or directly into you smoothie (a tsp. or 2)

    • Bob

      Thanks Lynn, so far I am very pleased with the switch to smoothies and salads. Living in such a small space and being busy requires a very simple diet and this qualifies.
      Boy it’s hard to argue with your common sense approach!

  19. Red Meador

    I started the morning protein shake thing about 1 1/2 years ago. When I started it my intent was to start a body building program. I found my schedule much to busy to be really successful with the body building thing so I decided I would just continue with the Shake breakfast because I enjoyed it so much. it was just plain delightful and I cant say that for a normal breakfast.
    On a visit to Jeanie’s Rheumatologist Jeanie mentioned that she ran out of steam about 4 P.M. The Doc said ” you need more protein, The inflammation consumes protein” So we increased her protein intake and the problem was solved.
    I have been very busy with the Motor Home and solar remodel and complained that I ran out of steam in the early afternoon. Jeanie suggested that try one of her protein bars for a afternoon snack. After a couple of days I could tell the difference and I was not exhausted and dragging when it was time to fix supper.
    I changed my breakfast to coffee and a protein bar and my afternoon snack to the shake which gives me a little kick back time. The shake contains 1 banana,1 small apple, a 3-4 strawberries, 3 tablespoon of ground flax seed,1/3 raw rolled oats. 1 large kale stalk and all, 3/4 cup whole milk and when in season a avocado or blueberries.
    I dont run out of steam now. In the past month I have added a second protein bar after we get done with Jeanie’s PT and all the chores wraped up the day, usually about 11 P.M. I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
    I didn’t start the shake( smoothie) to loose weight but to build muscle. I have lost over 25 pounds in the past 1 1/2 years, built muscle without the body building, and have plenty of energy to do the things I like to do.
    I have a Oster 450 watt blender that will handle the job ($29 @ walmart) and a 550 watt Ninja that will super handle the job. I am sold on the shakes and protein bars for my life style.

    • Bob

      That’s great Red!! The key to me is that it be simple, easy and taste good and what you are doing accomplishes all those in spades! The proof is in the pudding and the fact that you have lost weight and built muscle is pretty good pudding as far as I am concerned!!

  20. Elizabeth

    Love hearing about the freezer/fridge solution. My husband and I were wondering how we were going to survive because we’ve been eating an organic whole foods diet, over 50% raw fruit and veggies for decade, with fruit/greens/hemp protein (Nutiva in 3# bags) in our vitamix every morning. We tried the Nutribullet, but went through 2 in less than a year, so bought a smaller top unit for the vitamix. It is expensive, but is 15 years old and going strong. Glad to hear about the Ninja as an option for something smaller. We primarily buy organic animal products and prefer wild, so need a freezer fer sure. As for dairy, humans are the only animal to continue nursing after childhood and to take it from other animals. Something to think about! Thanks for the posts and everyones input.

    • Bob

      Elizabeth, so far I am extremely pleased with my new Whynter fridge. It turns out that they make a combination freezer-fridge in one unit. But the total is only 65 quart so you may find it is to small for you. My 65 quart fridge is a little large for me alone, but with two of you it might be perfect.
      I am a HUGE fan of hemp!! If we took full advantage of all it does the environment would be drastically improved. It could eliminate cotton (a horrible little plant that requires huge amounts of fertilizer and pesticides!!) and most of most of the trees we harvest for paper.
      But I had never heard of hemp protein. A little research and I was sold!! I just ordered some off of Amazon. Thank you so much!

      • Elizabeth

        Glad to help and thanks for the tips. FYI….. I like the straight Nutiva Hemp Protein 15grams. It doesn’t have any fillers or flavors so you can put it in with veggies and fruit or straight fruit and it comes in inexpensive 3 lb bags. I keep the bag in the freezer and then refill a container for the fridge.
        And yes……..hemp the perfect alternative to so much.

        • Bob

          Elizabeth, that’s the one I ordered. But they didn’t have it in the 3 lb bag so I ordered the 30 oz. We probably thought alike that I was more concerned with getting more protein and not concerned about more fiber.

  21. Naomi

    Bob, This is great information. I really need to clean up my food act, and this is very motivating and helpful. Thanks!

    • Bob

      Thanks Naomi! the best thing about it is it is simple and easy. Plus, it is mom approved. Moms have been telling their kids to eat their fruits and veggies for millennia and so it must be healthy!

  22. yesican

    It’s great to see so many eating healthy. I’m learning and on the journey. My enthusiasm has highs and lows and my health has paid the price. One thing you are all doing right is eating fresh fruits and veggies, not just for their vitamins & minerals, but for the enzymes that break down the proteins and other nutrients. Its unfortunate, but once frozen, cooked, or processed, (other than drying I understand), enzymes are destroyed. The foods still contain the vitamins and minerals but they are not as easily absorbed. I’m currently doing juicing, and may soon do the Gerson Therapy. Until then, I may do a smoothy in the eve after work.
    Thank you all for your info and Bob for starting this in his blog. Inspiration is a needed tool!

    • Bob

      yesican, I was concerned by the idea that freezing fruits made it less healthful because it kills the enzymes so I looked it up. here is one site:
      It seems that freezing does not kill the enzymes (although cooking does destroy them). Most scientists don’t seem to think that the enzymes in food help in human digestion anyway, you already have enzymes in your body for that. So it doesn’t matter if you kill them or not. I don’t know who is right but if I were concerned about it I would just let them thaw before I ate them.
      Fruit grown for freezing is picked at its peak of ripeness so it has maximum nutritional benefits. Fruits picked for any other purpose (except going to a farmers market) are picked early so they are less nutritious. So out of season frozen fruits are much healthier than anything else and in season the only thing as good is farmers markets.

      • yesican

        Thanks for that info Bob…that was enlightening. However, its funny how experts disagree. For me, since much of the civilized world is obese yet in ill health with many inflammatory autoimmune diseases, I’d tend to think that we do need those enzymes since the American diet lacks them. I’m glad to see that freezing only slows the enzymes and doesn’t destroy them. That’ll make storing fresh fruits and veggies much easier.

        • Bob

          yesican, it is all very confusing isn’t it. What’s worse is that they change their minds and after telling you one thing they start telling you another. To me it is pretty simple, the closer you can eat to natural diet with the least man-made intervention the better. To me that is the Paleo diet, to others that might mean vegan. Either way they are both moving closer to what nature intended and less processed foods.

  23. Dave

    Congrats on your new healthy eating Bob!
    Paleodiet….not one to argue with you, but here is a TED talk from a world known expert in the paleolithic and she pretty much debunks it.
    The meat our hominid ancestors did eat was intermittent, super lean tough game, not the corn and soy fattened up bovines and porcines we eat today. And, recall they had to WORK for that meat, tracking it down and killing large animals with a thrusting spear or Atlatl is a life threatening, calorie burning extravaganza. Driving into Flagstaff and pushiing a shopping cart around Fry’s or Albertsons….not so much. There is simply no comparing the lifestyle or life expecatancy of the paleolithic and today.
    If we want to get evolutionary then our teeth and GI tract reflect that we come from a largely plant based diet ancestors. We have no specific adaptations to meat eating. None. In fact, without a large brain and opposable thumb we probably couldn’t even conceive of eating meat. If someone liks eating meat, fine. But please don’t call it the “paleodiet”. Call it the ” I like eating meat” diet, and leave the poor paleolithic out of it.

    • Bob

      Dave, we are going to have to agree to disagree and I think I will keep calling it the paleo diet.

      • Mary

        That article stirred up a lot of controversy over what we know and do not know about how our paleo ancestors ate. We can be pretty sure that they did not have blenders and eat smoothies, tho 😉 Our paleo ancestors lived and ate in a vanished world that does not exist anywhere on earth any more. Most in the modern paleo community are looking to duplicate the nutritional intake that we supposedly still are evolved to eat. Even that is not perfectly clear as there is a wide variety among humans.
        What does seem to be clear is that eating real food and not eating any of the legion of manufactured food-like substances (as Michael Pollin says) is much healthier. Not eating food that one has a negative reaction to is healthier – as in there are many people who do not do well on grains or specifically, wheat. In that vein, the smoothie thing is a way of doing just that. Eating “paleo” is also doing just that. Arguing semantics or minor details is pointless.

        • Bob

          Right Mary, it’s just about impossible to eat a pure Paleo diet. And you make a geat point that stone age people’s diets varied trmemdpusly by where they were geographically. Apaches in Arizona, Eskimos in Alaska, Aborigines in Australia, Bushman of the Kalahari and Pacific Islanders ate totally differently. However, I think of it as an outline to follow and you fill in the blanks as best you can.

  24. Lynnxie

    I recently visited a long time friend in Denver and found he had 4 juicers and had been doing live green drinks for 4 months, plus lots of salads and very little protein both powdered and meat. He looked fabulous.. lost weight…and his skin was glowing. he got rid of his couches and stands most of the time both at work and at home. He said death is sitting. Their may be some truth in that way of life.
    Bob I am very interested in your upcoming review on the new refrigerator/freezer. could it be stood on one end? I may want to put in where my old fridge was in my travel trailer, what do you think?

    • Bob

      Lynxie, I’m sorry but I have no idea if it can be stood on end. You would have to contact the manufacturer about that.
      Death may be sitting, but that’s okay with me, I’m going to die anyway and of sitting brings it earlier that’s fine with me!

      • Mary

        Most likely, it cannot be stood on end. All the refrigerators that I have seen that have the Danfoss super efficient compressor specify a limit of 30 degrees off level. But there are many refrigerators with the same compressor that are made to stand on end and open from the front.

  25. healthy smoothie recipes

    This is a really nice way to get a lift after a walk or exercise, my partner whipped up a couple after our sunday ride and we both enjoyed them plus this smoothie is healthy, what more can you ask 🙂

  26. Sarah

    Bob, congrats on your new fridge and healthier eating! I didn’t have a chance to read all the comments, so maybe someone already mentioned this, but just so people know, if you’re eating smoothies as a way to incorporate raw food in your diet, don’t use frozen fruit. The majority of commercially purchased frozen fruit and vegetables are blanched before freezing, from what I’ve heard (dipped in boiling water for a few seconds to a minute) in order to preserve color, etc. It may also be treated with additives as well, to improve texture and color.
    If you want to have truly raw frozen produce, buy it fresh and chop it yourself, then put it in baggies and freeze it. It’s much cheaper, and you’ll get all the enzymes, which is really important.
    However, if you don’t care about the food being raw, or about any potential additives, and just want a healthiER breakfast, regular frozen fruit will work, too.

    • Bob

      Thanks Sarah, that is good to know!

  27. Sarah

    p.s. I forgot to point out that the reason the fruit is no longer raw after blanching is that the boiling water will make the outer part, if not all, of the fruit go above 118 degrees F, which kills the enzymes (the good stuff you want from raw produce).

  28. SaRah

    Which 400W inverter did you buy? Do you recommend it? Could I use a crock pot as well that is 285W on a 400W inverter? How many amps does your inverter use?
    I just want to keep my fridge cold, and occasionally charge my phones, make smoothies and use a crockpot. All at separate times. I have an 80AH deep cycle ARB fridge that doesn’t take much to stay cold, our deep cycle charges off the alternator and we drive about every 1-2 days.

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