As a guy who has moved around a lot, one of the things I’ve had to continuously adjust is my food intake and diet.
In the past 10 years I’ve moved from Canada to St. Kitts to Austin, Texas to Canada to Barbados to Belize to Austin to Grenada.
Yeah, I get around.
But one thing that might not be immediately apparent is the change in food availability and how it has affected my life.
I eat a very regular diet and I’m overly conscious of what foods and nutrition go into my body.
It may sound boring, but I pretty much eat the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner….every day of the week.
But there’s been one major dietary change over the past 10 years. I’ve gone from eating everything but red meat to a full out vegetarian.
Okay, but enough about all that.
This post is to explain the adjustments and creativity I’ve gone through in order to get the nutritional intake I want, even in difficult situations.
The story begins when I moved from Canada to St. Kitts.
As with most Caribbean islands, imported food is hard to come by and very expensive.
At that point in my life, protein powder was one of the constants in my diet.
It was added to my morning oatmeal, and I would often use it in smoothies. I brought enough powder to last me a little bit, but when I ran out I needed to find a substitute.
Buying protein locally, was not even an option at that time.
I searched around and opted for soy chunks.
Ever heard of them?
I know I hadn’t before taking a good hard look at my protein options on the island.
Soy chunks are defatted soy flour (a by-product of extracting soybean oil). They were super cheap and packed with a good amount of protein so I gave it a shot.
Usually they are intended for cooking and used as a vegetarian alternative to meat, but I was tossing them in right from the bag.
They softened up enough and didn’t really have a taste, so I had found my new morning ritual.
But then we moved.
After a 16 month stint in Austin, Texas we moved back to Canada.
A “new-to-me” product was becoming more popular with the healthy eating crowd. It was grown locally, and seemed amazing.
Hemp hearts (hemp seeds) became my new super food that I added to oatmeal for protein, omegas, and so much more.
Agave Nectar was another new addition that I would use to sweeten my oatmeal and smoothies.
I fell in love with both of these, and could absolutely feel and see how it was working for me.
I even shared my passion for hemp seeds with the Mizfit readers in my article called, “the feverous love affair with hemp hearts“.
When we moved back to Austin for the second time, I was totally hooked on hemp seeds…..but at that time they weren’t as readily available as they were in Canada.
I checked Whole Foods and other health stores, and finally found somewhere to get them.
The price was higher than I had paid in Canada, but I was happy to have them in my life. I decided to search them out on Amazon and was able to buy hemp seeds online at a decent price.
Before we left Austin, hemp seeds had become so popular that you could even buy them at Costco.
During our second time in Austin, I fell in love with the availability of fresh organic fruits and vegetables…..and got a serious addiction to Tex-Mex. But that’s a whole other “non-healthy” story.
Sprinkled in-between the Canada and Austin years were shorter term moves to Barbados and Belize.
Our time in Belize was short enough that I was able to bring along most of the out-of-the-ordinary foods that were part of my diet. Once again, food was expensive and we were there on a tight budget.
Luckily beans and other sources of vegetarian proteins were cheap and easy to find. I’m pretty sure the cheapest and tastiest veggie burrito I’ve ever had was in Belize.
Okay, so now we’re back in the Caribbean living on the beautiful island of Grenada. Different than St. Kitts and Barbados, but very similar in many was as well. There are more imported foods available, but still wickedly expensive. Even though some poorer quality protein powders are available, it’s been out of my diet long enough that I don’t care to buy it.
My biggest hardship is not having hemp seeds available. Oh, how I miss it. I have had family bring some in for me while visiting….but I go through it way too quickly. So it’s back to soy chunks once again. My nutritionist is not very happy with this protein choice and has told me to keep it to the smallest quantities I can.
But there has been one happy new addition to my diet, and I call it my new super food. Ever heard of Moringa?
Well, it is a tree. Yes, a tree….and it’s also known as the miracle tree. Many parts of the moringa tree can be eaten, but the leaves are most common. Moringa leaves can be made into tea or used in pretty much anything.
I add it to my homemade falafel and also include it in smoothies. I haven’t yet added it to my morning oatmeal, but plan to start swapping out the soy chunks for it as often as I can. It’s cheap, easy to get (we have a couple moringa trees of our own), and doesn’t really have a taste. Well, at least not a horrible taste.
Here in Grenada I have access to all the fresh fruits and vegetables I need, and I don’t have to go to Whole Foods to get them.
We have mango, avocado, French chashew, and papaya trees right in our yard. But I’ve also added a new-to-me vegetable as well.
While living in North America, spinach was a huge part of my diet. Once in a while it can be bought here, but because it’s shipped over to Grenada it doesn’t have much of a shelf life once you buy it.
When it’s not available, I eat Callaloo.
What’s callaloo you say?
Well it’s nutrients are quite similar to spinach, but doesn’t look or taste like it. All I know is it’s cheap, plentiful, and tastes okay. A perfect spinach alternative for me and my diet.
Agave nectar is available here, but it’s ridiculously expensive. But honey is made locally by several different people so I’m able to use fresh, organic honey and I’m totally okay with this substitute.
So there you have it.
Basic ingredients can be found all over the world, but adjusting for those unique and out of the ordinary foods can make things tough if you get around like me.
I’d love to share more, so let me know what questions you have about any of the foods mentioned in this post.
It’s a wild world. Enjoy Your Ride.