Just One Reason Why I LOVE My RV

This is just one of the many reasons I love living in a RV. All of these photos were taken less than a mile from where we are currently sleeping.

This photo is from yesterday, taken from my cell phone (Kudos to Samsung! The Note 5 takes amazing photos)!

1 Arizona Landscape

Today, for the first time since we’ve been in Kingman – my real camera came out to play (all the photos below are from my camera).

The scenery we experience while we walk our dog is gorgeous.

2 Arizona Landscape

There was just something about this tree that caught my attention.

3 Arizona Tree

This photo below is similar to the one above from my phone, but this one was taken with my camera. I was comparing… Again, this is just a few steps away from our home on wheels…

4 Arizona Landscape

I wanted the Mesas in the background for this shot, but that didn’t quite happen. Oh well.

5 Sharon and Dave

Another try for a selfie with a cool background. Nope, didn’t work. That’s okay.

6 Another Selfie

Home Sweet Home. And back to my point at the start of this post. No matter how lousy I am feeling, by living in a RV I get to see a little something different – even with just the simple task of walking our dog. Home is always close, and so is adventure, even a mild one if that’s all I’m up for (which sadly, thanks to Gastroparesis, is usually the case). But by living the way we do now, I’m never house-bound, even when I am!

I love our home. It’s the best one we’ve ever had!

7 Home Sweet Home

April Showers in Kingman, Arizona…

This is what we get for trying to avoid too much rain. This is the view from my window today.

April 10 Kingman Arizona

It’s not too bad actually, it’s just that it’s been raining for several days and we have about five more days to go before we get our Arizona sunshine back again.

As a quick catch-up for readers, we left Grover Beach, California early. Though it’s a pretty place in pictures and sounded like a good place to be, it isn’t. Cold, damp wind does not do this body any good. I got sick while we were there and felt awful pretty much the whole time we were there. As soon as we were a few hours away from the coast I began to feel better. Low humidity is awesome. I’ll take dry skin and hair over body aches any day of the week!

Though we’ve been in Kingman, Arizona for a bit, we have not checked out the area or done much but catch up on an overly long list of to-do items, and for me, rest and recuperate. I had a bit of a health crisis recently with my condition (Gastroparesis) and so I’m just focused on healing and resting. We will have time to explore later. In fact, I’m almost grateful for the rain, as it feels like my job is to just relax, read, and watch TV. The only real downside to rain is muddy paws (not mine, Frodo’s).

That’s pretty much it for our update! Time has a way of melting away when you’re not feeling well.

Our Update from Lake Havasu, Arizona – January 2016

Home Is Where You ParkOur last update was almost a month ago, so I wanted to write about what’s been going on with us – which to be honest – has been very little.

Yes, we are full-time travelers. Yes, we live in a hyper-mobile RV and are ready to change locations at the drop of a hat. And yes, I have a chronic illness. Kerplunk. You know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

Tomorrow is my 6th anniversary with Gastroparesis. To put it simply for anyone unfamiliar, it’s a chronic digestive disorder. I’m not able to eat all the food my body needs, and, I’m not able to absorb all the nutrients from the food that my body is able to take in. That combination of factors places me in a constant state of malnutrition. And, as a result, I’m often exhausted.

Interestingly enough, Gastroparesis is really a moving-target kind of illness. It has a lot of ups and downs, mostly driven by patterns. It affects women more than men, changes with the hormonal cycle throughout the month (I think most women with GP can time their cycle based on their digestive discomfort), changes throughout the day, and even seasonally.

Every winter – I tank. I hit bottom. You’d think after 6 years, I’d remember, and plan accordingly, but after having energy in the summer, I always forget. I always think I’m getting better (when in reality I’m probably just in a state of remission). In fact, yesterday I realized every life-changing idea we’ve had over the last few years was launched in the summer time. Summer is when I tend to feel somewhat closer to normal, for longer stretches of time.

We hadn’t planned to be in one place for several months like this, but I have to say, Lake Havasu, Arizona is an amazing place to be “stuck”. Knowing what we know now, I plan to be stuck here every winter!! Obviously, I don’t feel stuck at all… but you know what I mean.

The weather in Lake Havasu has been constant since November, with temperatures ranging from 40-60 each day. Most days are gorgeous, some are extremely windy (up to 20 or 30 mile per hour winds) – but that doesn’t even happen every week. And the people? Everyone is friendly – and I mean everyone! The locals and the seasonal folks are all extremely nice. I think we actually know more people here than we have in any neighborhood we’ve lived in over the past several years.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been up to doing anything social, but there are many days when we head out to walk Frodo and that’s at a nice time of day so everyone else seems to be out chatting, or walking their dogs as well. As you drive around town, you’ll notice stickers on quite a number of cars that say, “No Bad Days – Lake Havasu” – and it’s true. There are NO bad days here.

Lake Havasu quickly became a favorite place of mine and I already view it as a sort of “home-base” for us, likely at the RV Park where we are spending this winter.  As the days progress, you see people come and go, and folks who come year after year run up to each other and give a pat on the back or a hug. It’s like summer camp. Only in winter. For adults. For reals. Who wouldn’t love it here?

And relatedly, I think there is a lot of benefit in living full-time in a setting such as an RV park, or a Trailer Park. I know if I’m not seen for a few days, our various neighbors would ask Dave about me, how I’m feeling, and if there’s anything I need. You just don’t experience that standard suburbia. (Places like this sound very cool!).

Until next time…

30 Days Later

30 Days After Going VeganIt’s hard to believe it’s been a month! It’s now been thirty days on our new diet and I think we’re now at the point where this is just how it is, and this is our new normal. Switching to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet for us was pretty darn easy. It was roughly two years ago when we stopped eating sugar and processed foods, and went to a Whole Food diet so this time the swap was relatively easy – at least after the first few days! Once we figured out how to combine food better to avoid blood sugar swings and stave off feelings of starvation it’s been pretty simple.

5 years ago I felt forced into giving up my Vegetarian identity. Really, at the time, it had been ten years for me as a Vegetarian, and it felt like a part of my soul was shattering. I didn’t agree with it, I just felt like I had to – and the story and reasons why are way too long to write here. Let’s just say that now 5 years later, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have had to do that. I’m now better equipped to deal with Gastroparesis as a Vegan, but I sure didn’t have the tools or resources back then. But, life is all about life-long learning and new experiences and I know more now, and I can’t let myself feel bad about what I thought I needed to do. That was then, this is now.

At this point, our household is now Vegan-friendly, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Our health will be better for it, and on top of everything, I can really and truly feel good about the food choices we are making. When researching diet and health, especially when learning about a Plant Based Diet, you can’t help but also learn more about conventional factory farming methods, and the materials that come from that world that end up on clothing racks (such as leather, wool, and other animal-sourced products).

When I became a Vegetarian in my early twenties, I continued purchasing animal-sourced products because I wasn’t too fond of the alternatives at the time. I did often consider my purchases and weigh decisions more heavily if what I was purchasing had come from an animal. At this point in my life, that is too far of a mental disconnect for my mind to make, and there are so many alternatives to products I would previously have considered purchasing that it’s a very easy decision.

This last month has been very full. I didn’t pick up my camera the entire time, which is the longest stretch I’ve gone in years. It felt like it was finally time to share some of what’s been on my mind…

By the way, there’s another reason I picked up my camera today. I wanted a photo documentation of some of the changes that I’ve noticed, such as… my complexion. The photo at the top of this post is me – without any makeup. Of course, if you know me, you know I rarely wear makeup anyway… but I often add a tiny bit if I know I’m going to be photographed. I’ve been harassed my entire life about how pale I am, but people who know me, care about me, and strangers. It seems everyone has an opinion and they’re never shy to share it! Well you know what? I’m less pale now! About two weeks after making the switch to a Vegan diet, I did a double take one day as I passed a mirror. I’m not as pale anymore! No, it’s not like I look tan or anything, I just look… healthier! I had heard that could happen, but I didn’t believe it. So there ‘ya go. A #nofilter view of me 🙂

How to Make Homemade Chocolate (& Why You Should)

Taste TesterDon’t worry, this isn’t a lecture, I promise.

If you reach for chocolate for the energy boost, chocolate from the vending machine won’t quite cut it. You know you’ll get a short boost, followed by a sugar crash, but what else can you do?

You can make chocolate at home ahead of time (it will taste wonderful), and it will give you a much better energy boost! Also, to be clear, homemade chocolate is REALLY easy to make. Anyone can make it, since no cooking is required! It takes about 5 minutes to make this chocolate, and then just needs to chill in the fridge. I don’t think it gets any easier than that!

Oh how I wish I knew about Medium-Chain Triglycerides in the early days of fighting Gastroparesis, but I know NOW, and now I can tell you. MCTs are a great source of energy because they do not need to be digested in order to be absorbed, and utilized by your body. This means for those of you with digestive difficulties, MCTs are the best friend you will ever have. And where can you find MCTs you ask? In coconut oil! And you can easily hide coconut oil in CHOCOLATE. I told you this wasn’t a lecture. Chocolate is actually good for you, see?

There are several variations around the internet providing instructions on how to make homemade chocolate. This recipe is one we created after testing a lot of recipes. It’s the easiest one to make that (we think) provides the best results. And as far as taste-testing chocolate over and over… you’re welcome.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural organic cacao powder (we use Navitas brand)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • OPTIONAL: ¼ cup shredded coconut or nuts

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix
  2. Place mixed chocolate in a container, cover, and refrigerate
  3. Enjoy your awesome chocolate (after it’s been in the fridge for a few hours)

It’s important to keep in mind, this chocolate will melt in your hands. Even though you can get fancy and use candy molds, that really creates pretty messy snacking. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, and your hands are warmer than that – just something to keep in mind. If you want to take it to work as a snack, a small plastic container with a lid (and a fork) may be your best bet.

By the way, did you notice? This recipe is Dairy-Free and Allergy-Friendly! 

Happy snacking!

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (Review)

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 is now available to watch on Netflix (yay for the New Year!) and Joe Cross is back! If you’ve already watched FSND 1 (also available on Netflix), it’s a great follow up and you get to see several folks who were in the first documentary and how things are going for them now, 5 years later (Phil Staples included).

There isn’t a lot to say about this one, other than it was a great reminder to “Juice” and why – but that isn’t something we’re likely to forget in our household.

Fat Sick and Nearly DeadFat, Sick & Nearly Dead had been recommended to me for years. YEARS. And I kept ignoring all the recommendations. I wish I had listened! We watched the movie in September, just prior to a big upcoming move – so although we were both inspired to try juicing, we knew it wasn’t the right time to try something so drastic.

We did it anyway.

In late September we went on a moderate juicing fast (I’m not really sure why the Reboot with Joe plan is called a Fast, you aren’t really fasting… but that is the term they use, so I’m using it here). Our fast was about 7-10 days and involved replacing 2 meals a day with fruit & vegetable juice (a modified version of Joe’s Mean Green, as well as other juice/veggie combinations) – and – we both benefited. It helped Dave a little, it helped me A LOT. Continue reading