Investing in your health long-term through diet on the road is as crucial as dispensing premium gas in the tank or procuring the highest-grade engine oil one can afford. After all, you are what you eat and sometimes, it’s a challenge to achieve that through foreign lands. Particularly when budget-led or convenience options can be loaded with trans- and saturated-fats, high-fructose corn syrup, salt and preservatives. And let’s face it, E-numbers that sound akin to the components of a chemistry set
In meat-heavy cultures such as the ones encountered in remote regions of Alaska and Iceland, as well as Argentina – getting hold of fresh fruits and vegetables can be a challenge. Practically every cut of the cow, absolutely no problem, but whole foods are not always readily available to achieve a healthy balance of nutrition. On top, it’s a myth that a person can survive on pot noodles, white rice and small cans of tuna alone for months on end.
PLANT-BASED TO FLEXITARIAN
In case you were wondering, a plant-based regimen consists mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits. It comprises few or no animal products, plant-based diet is not necessarily vegetarian.
With a daily need to nourish our bodies after five years on the road, here are a few ways in which we chow our way through an on-the-road menu. While my partner tends to be plant-based, I’m somewhat more opportunistic and err on the flexitarian side. If nothing else, I hope our culinary offerings inspire some food for thought.
DEHYDRATED MEALS: CONVENIENCE WITHOUT COMPROMISING
Decent dehydrated options are calorie-dense – something that’s needed after a long or energy-intensive day on the road, completing a big hike to a backcountry campsite for example. When compared to meals offered by similar companies, Good To-Go ones tend to have a higher calorie count per ounce of food. The portions are made with real food, where each meal is hand-made from scratch in small batches. Real cooks, not food scientists, prepare them. The resultant outcome is a dinner that’s more flavourful and better for you, than the traditional “space food in a bag”.
For those who live frugally like us, dehydrated meals work well when supplemented with a small bag of frozen vegetables and a handful of anything cruciferous (dark green veggies). This means we can sometimes get away with only using one packet, which is cheaper and elongates our provisions before having to resupply. When consumed on their own, lunchtimes on the road are wonderfully civilized with one sachet each – incurring no dirty dishes, two spoons licked clean and the minimal of waste. Ultimately, the packets work well as long as you can add boiling water, wait for 20-minutes, and you’re all set! Each bag even comes marked with the water fill line. How thoughtful.
IS THERE ANY NUTRITIONAL VALUE IN DE-HY FOODS?
Having devoured our way through the entire vegan and vegetarian menus, Good To-Go achieves a gold standard in taste and texture, and platinum in the composition and depth of flavour. Moreover, the sachets are packed with nutrition: dietary fibre, protein, vitamins A and C, and minerals such as calcium and iron. Calorie-dense means that they satisfy more than other dehydrated offerings previously sampled, which congealed into something pretty unpalatable by comparison. It’s true, I’m a total Good To-Go convert, especially when the weather’s awful or we’re on a big hike carrying our world on our backs.
Gratefully, there are more Good To-Go vegan and vegetarian options than pescatarian or meat ones. All are gluten-free, low sodium with a long expiration date. Varying cuisines are available from Mexican, Korean, Thai, Indian and Italian.
ESSENTIALS I ALWAYS CARRY
It’s amazing how easy it is to create different profiles of flavour with the right combination of a dash of this and a sprinkle of that. These are mine:
• Condiments: Tamari sauce (fermented soybeans), Dijon mustard, wholegrain, vegan mayonnaise, almond butter and set honey.
• Oil: Avocado oil or rapeseed oil (both have high smoking points)
• Dried herbs: Oregano, parsley, mint, thyme, rosemary and basil
• Spices: Ginger, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg
• Cracked black pepper and sea salt
• Garlic: Dried, fresh, paste or in a jar - there’s no such thing as too garlicky!
Below are a few of our favourite dishes while on the road, from a 4WD Toyota Hilux its easier than you might think!
PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM BURGERS
WITH HALLOUMI AND SWEET POTATO FRIES
2 Portobello mushrooms
Buffalo tomatoes (or any fresh tomatoes if unavailable)
Rustic crusty rolls loaded with seeds
A big handful of spinach (wilted in dairy-free butter)
Halloumi (grilled) or vegan cheese slices
2-3 sweet potatoes (chopped into French fries)
Avocado oil or rapeseed oil
Lightly brush the sweet potato fries with oil and season with smoked paprika, roast or chargrill until soft on the inside, crispy on the outside and slightly blackened on the edges. Then, steam the Portobello mushrooms and keep on a gentle heat. Meanwhile, grill the halloumi. Toast the buns and then cover one with a layer of cheese on one side, vegan mayonnaise on the other. On the cheese side, load with a mushroom, some sliced tomato, and a big handful of spinach. Put the top on with the other half of the bun. Accompany with the crispy fries and snaffle immediately.
RED THAI CURRY
Small jar Red Thai Curry paste
400g can coconut milk (full fat)
Chopped red pepper
Finely diced red onion
½ cup dried and fresh mushrooms (adds meatiness)
1 cup rehydrated or fresh soy chunks
Wholegrain or brown rice
Peshwari naan bread (or any other leavened flatbread)
Cook the rice as per the instructions. Meanwhile, sauté the onion until soft in a dash of water or oil with a high smoking point (e.g. avocado or rapeseed oil) in a nonstick pan. Add and do the same with the red pepper (the sweetest over green, orange and yellow ones) and then the mushrooms. Add the rehydrated soya chunks, and stir in the coconut milk and paste. Simmer on a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Season with sea salt to taste. Gently warm the naan bread and serve immediately.
FINAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Whatever culinary marriages you create on the road, we hope we’ve added something to help you to cook up a storm. Foremost, make it a taste-sensation loaded with nutrition. Every. Single. Time. @fourwheelednomad and fourwheelednomad.com. Watch our short video showcasing life with us at Four Wheeled Nomad, including cooking from White Rhino, our expedition truck!
ABOUT FOUR WHEELED NOMAD
British born and location independent, Four Wheeled Nomad is Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford, self-proclaimed wilderness-seekers. Remote exploration is the couple's driving force, enabling their skillset as content creators. Previously, they co-ran scuba diving trips. Having hung up the fins, they motorcycled the Americas – an almost five-year, 80,000-mile jaunt taking in Antarctica. Jason is a photographer and dabbles in filmmaking. His internationally published portfolio is layered in two decades of adventure travel, landscape and commercial, where beautiful captures of terrain less trammeled can be found on Instagram @fourwheelednomad. Lisa freelances for publications worldwide in the hopes of inspiring people to consider their relationship with nature. Currently, a Cape-to-Cape expedition sees the duo in a Toyota Hilux; roaming Nordic and African countries.
By Four Wheeled Nomad: Words by Lisa Morris, visuals by Jason Spafford