…So I drove up to the crane company, and there was Les Davis – Grandpa Spanky, eagerly waiting. Great to finally meet in person!
I parked my car, and we got to working out a plan of action quickly. I had 2 bags in the back seat of my car – care package of sorts, and one item at a time, I started to explain to Les what everything was. The idea here, was to begin to shift his typical thinking toward truly healthy options, and to introduce some new types of flavors, to see what he liked and didn’t like, and to explore ways that we could provide alternatives to Truck Stop food, that he could keep in the truck, either in the refrigerator, or on the shelves. (For those of you who have never seen the inside of an 18-Wheeler, there is a very large front cab, and a back sleeper area equipped with quite a bit of storage, shelving, a bed, refrigerator, and other driver-added features).
So first thing out of the bag: 2 big boxes of organic mixed greens (kale, collards, spinach, arugula) and bottle each of a quality organic olive oil, and a high-quality balsamic vinegar. Why?
One thing that Americans forget to eat is their greens, and for a Trucker, there is very little to be found on the road that would remotely qualify as GREEN (unless it has mold growing on it). I am sorry – a few iceberg leaves with a chemical-ladden, creamy dressing don’t really provide much nutritional support for the body. And by the way – most Americans don’t even realize just how important greens are in effort to sustain optimal health! Green, leafy vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods available to us, and they really should make up HALF of what we put on our plates. Personally – I have gotten to a point where I get a little crazy if I haven’t had anything green to eat by 3pm! Greens provide some of the most important nutrients for helping us stave off disease, and for making sure our blood, cells and organs are doing what they are supposed to be doing! They are critical to our immune systems and our digestive systems.
So sharing some high-quality, organic greens was an opportunity to help Les learn to enjoy the flavor of something so fresh – and in the case of these greens, ones he could eat right out of the box – and to help him BEGIN to JUST THINK – WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS that he can find fresh greens everyday while on the road. Why the olive oil and balsamic? I simply brought those so that he could always have a heart healthy and delicious alternative available at all times to put on top of his greens and salads (as opposed to unhealthy over-processed supermarket salad dressings, often high in chemicals, sugar and sodium). I brought a bag of organic shredded carrots too – to add to his greens for a simple but healthful salad.
Next out of the bag: Almond Milk – my favorite brand is Whole Foods Unsweetened Almond Milk since it tastes great, is a perfect plant-based replacement to dairy milk, has less than half the calories of dairy milk. Why does this matter?
The reason I felt this could be a great option for Les is – well, there are a few reasons. First, Almond Milk can be stored on the shelf until opened and then put into the refrigerator. Next, aside from the fact that it is low-calorie, it tastes great, and can become a perfect combination for Les as we find an appropriate meal replacement shake for him to take on the road*.
Most importantly, many studies over the years have shown, a plant-based or plant-heavy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, real whole grains, and meat substitutes such as soy, present significantly fewer risks for heart disease and other heart problems, such as:
High levels of LDL”bad” cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, High Blood Sugar, Abdominal Fat, Diabetes…
At the same time, many multiple studies have also shown that the typical meat-based American diet may significantly increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and other related diseases compared with diets high in plant-based foods. So net-net, one of our objectives is to introduce organic foods without pesticidal chemicals, and new plant-based foods into Les’s daily regimen.
By the way, as I write this blog, I just got off the phone with Les, who is on the road in Iowa today, and upon checking in on how things are going he said, and I quote:
“When I first agreed to do this, I was working myself up to having to deal with bad tasting food. Ali, it’s been totally opposite. I’ve loved all of it!” ~ Les Davis
Next items out of the bag: Vegan, Organic Protein Powder and Bars with Superfoods – Why?
Because Les is on the road so often, I wanted him to try a few, very specific types of meal replacement options in the form of shakes and bars. By specific, I would choose a vegan option, certified organic, and with high-quality, nutrient dense ingredients. These would not be meant to replace ALL meals, but they would be important because when he is out on the road and comes upon days when he has run low on veggies in his refrigerator, and he faces unhealthy truck stop foods, he can always have nutrient dense options at hand – right in the truck! I will come back to this ore specifically in one of the next blog installments, because ultimately, in the last week I uncovered a wonderful company, Amazing Grass*, who has now kindly stepped in to help Les with his efforts. Les will have 100% certified organic Amazing Grass shakes, Superfood drink powders and meal replacement bars (Amazing Meal, Green Superfoods and Energy Bars) in his truck at all times over the next 6 months.
Other items in the care package:
As I mentioned, the idea of the care package was really to help get the education going with Les. It was an opportunity for me to deliver some very high quality options to him – ones he probably never considered, and never even knew to look for. It was also to deliver a few different types of nutrient dense flavor profiles – so that we could together explore what Les likes, and what he doesn’t like. (Apparently, in reference to his quote from earlier today, I must have guessed well since Les seems to like it all – there is just something about high quality REAL food that not only truly fuels your body, it fuels your soul!) So here are some of the other items that were in the care package:
- Organic Kale Chips ~ hey, when you are looking for a chip-like snack, these are great. I’m not sure I brought the best flavor of kale chips. This was actually the ONE item I recall Les not loving! Apparently he forgot about them.
- Barefruit Organic Apple Chips ~ another crunchy snack option; just organic apples and cinnamon!
- Suja Juices ~ Cold-pressed juice made only from organic vegetables and fruits – and nothing more. These are my personal favorite of the juice craze. Les got to try Suja Glow and Green Supreme (both green juices), and Suja Fuel (a juice made of Carrot, Turmeric, Orange, Lemon, Pineapple and Ginger). He called me up a few days later and proclaimed, “Ali, I REALLY like that Suja Green Juice!” (and upon returning home to Minnesota, I saw that he bought more on his own!)
- The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks ~ chickpeas and beans in general are a great, protein-packed food. I brought this to demonstrate again, that there are snacks he can take on the road (that aren’t always carrot sticks), that are healthy and tasty too! He tried these first – the cinnamon kind. He loved them!
What Les and I also did on that day we met face to face is we talked about his actual plate – what types of foods should be on his plate at mealtime. And what I mean about that, I will show you in the next blog. Stay tuned…