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Old 22-10-2011, 12:59   #1
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Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

Hey folks! I've been thinking about this a while and I wondered what the opinion of folks who have "been there done that". I'm going to culinary school, and nutrition and ingredients has been a big part of the learning curve for me.

As Americans our diet consists of large amounts of processed food, diet foods, and genetically modified foods. Meanwhile, people often talk amount the "Mediterranean diet" of lean protein such as fish, more fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oils, and generally foods that are not near as processed.

I'm not 100% certain of this cause I haven't done the research, but I think, America has a MUCH higher rate of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis (btw, I'm 38 and have arthritis, who knew?!?), and obesity. I think this can be contributed largely to diet, and that as a general rule, we tend to eat more food that is less nutritious. What do you expect from a tomato that has traveled 2000 miles to get to your plate? Maybe an exaggeration, but you get my point.

Anyway, my question to the cruisers, do you find that your health and general well-being is better while cruising abroad due to eating foods obtained locally that are less processed? I realize that may not necessarily be the case for long passages, and maybe I'm way off base due lack of experience, but what do you guys think? Are your diets healthier, do you FEEL better, aside from the fact that you're on a boat?!? Apologies if this has been covered before. Would love to generate some real discussion on this topic. Thanks!
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Old 22-10-2011, 13:15   #2
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

I have no idea about any diet I would think it depends on what you are use to eating. But, psychologically, if you enjoy being out, have less stress, are happy being where you are and have a good overall feeling about being naked on deck I would think that has to lead to better health!

Those who have respatory problems, the air might do you good, so another plus....just guessing I doubt there is a lot of mold and pollan floating on the open seas. Last time I was sea side I just enjoyed the air.

I suffer from reclineridos, seating in a recliner too long and getting sore, if I were on a boat cruising I bet my tail would not be down all the time, so the activity is good for ya as well.

I'd say yes, cruising probably is healthier than alternatives ashore.
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Old 22-10-2011, 13:31   #3
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

In an anchorage you can see:

1) Overweight couple, starting their day drinking, motoring around in an inflatable with an outboard, eating whatever they eat while sitting around, ending their day drinking some more.

2) A guy who rows around, goes for long walks/hikes, maybe does some pullups, has a couple drinks a week if that, goes diving, and eats lean.

Those are two extremes but I've seen both and everything in between. At Santa Cruz island last year there was a boat that brought some nice mountain bikes, and they spent every day riding around through the trails and tearing it up out there. Meanwhile plenty of other folks kicked back in the cockpit drinking cocktails and being social.

Not judging anyway, but your lifestyle choices have the biggest impact.
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Old 22-10-2011, 13:32   #4
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

Nope, not for us. We were pretty active and healthy people before we left, and while we're both considerably happier now that we're out, I can assure we're both less healthy. It probably depends on where you cruise, but you'll be amazed at how much selection, variety and quality we have in the US when you try and buy fruits and veggies anywhere else. Also, nothing keeps for all that long so fresh food is seriously lacking. Salads are like dessert now

It's also pretty hard to stay active. Again, it depends on your pre-cruising lifestyle, but things like running or trips to the gym or yoga sessions are all but impossible. I suppose we could be better about swimming...

As with all things, it's what you make it. But cruising is not a guarnteed trip to the fat farm
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Old 22-10-2011, 13:38   #5
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

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It's also pretty hard to stay active. Again, it depends on your pre-cruising lifestyle, but things like running or trips to the gym or yoga sessions are all but impossible. I suppose we could be better about swimming...
Agree fully. Unless you make a point of stating your day by going to shore with your running shoes and a route scoped out in advance, bank on the day being wasted. Even living in the marina doing a normal land job I have to schedule my life around working out (at minimum I have to make it a daily top priority). Just gets even harder when sailing and your schedule is all over the place.
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Old 22-10-2011, 13:39   #6
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

Rebel, I think you are right as far as lifestyle has a lot to do with how healthy you are. You have a choice on what you eat more stateside, I'm sure, whether you buy from McDonald's or the local farmer's market. I suppose I have this image of cruisers island hopping in the BVI and VI and buying local fruit and vegetables, and eating healthier, at least in places that are less Americanized. Feel free to bust my bubble!
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Old 22-10-2011, 13:53   #7
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

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Rebel, I think you are right as far as lifestyle has a lot to do with how healthy you are. You have a choice on what you eat more stateside, I'm sure, whether you buy from McDonald's or the local farmer's market. I suppose I have this image of cruisers island hopping in the BVI and VI and buying local fruit and vegetables, and eating healthier, at least in places that are less Americanized. Feel free to bust my bubble!
Do it however you want to; it's your trip. Just like in a city there are people living really different lives, the same goes for a harbor or anchorage. Guys with million dollar boats life differently than a guy with a $5K one.

I think everyone would like to be a little bit leaner and a little bit stronger; it's just about how much you're going to prioritize it. Sailing can be a pain in the ass too. After a bumpy passage with some sleep deprivation the idea of working out or trekking into town to get some fresh food can seem a lot less appealing than just making some mac and cheese.

Make your time whatever you want it to be, do it your way.
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Old 22-10-2011, 14:39   #8
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

Thanks Rebel, just wondered what people's impressions were according to their own experiences.
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Old 22-10-2011, 14:56   #9
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

I don't know for sure, cos I've not done it yet, but I'm guessing living aboard / cruising would at the very least make it harder or more expensive for me to eat a healthy diet. As it is I tend to cook my meals (spag bol, chiili, pasta veg bake etc) from scratch with either fresh or sometimes frozen veg and no shop bought tinned sauce or anything. As a single person I struggle sometimes to eat the fresh food I buy before it goes off - unless I cook and freeze it.

I am making the choice (space and money - and England in winter isn't too warm lol) to move onto my boat with no fridge or freezer. Which means I will be limited as to what I can store on the boat. It also means I won't be able to bulk cook, then freeze.

But (and it's a big but) I'm pretty damned sure it's gonna make me an awful lot happier - and it's a proven fact (iirc) that happier people live longer and are healthier....... go figure?
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Old 22-10-2011, 14:59   #10
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

i donot workout in a gym anymore--i used to teach occasionally. i find that the simple foods, which i was eating any way before i left overpriced san diego, and the added walking daily and heat factor, i am healthier despite added pounds from wonderful cooking i am fed daily for dirt cheap--no preservatives nor additives, same as i used to eat, but far less pricey, is ok. come winter with cooler temps, i will definitely be walking more prior to leaving mazatlan for points south.
sailing keeps one young , so has to be healthier than buttsitting.
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Old 22-10-2011, 15:01   #11
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

Hey Jen just saw your blog... lovely color on the hull of your boat. Congratulations!
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Old 22-10-2011, 15:05   #12
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pirate re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

Well as far as I'm concerned when I sail I get fit...
to much time on shore or in a marina and I flob out.... with legs like mine a pot belly is seriously bad news.
On the hook I'm over the side for a swim or a stroll on the beach and I find the constant movement of the boat also works me out well...
I vote YES
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Old 22-10-2011, 15:17   #13
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

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Hey Jen just saw your blog... lovely color on the hull of your boat. Congratulations!
Cheers dude! One thing's for sure - she aint going to blend in at any marina around here.

I think what people have said already is true - it's what you make it. If you're a fairly relaxed, healthy, active person to begin with, sailing (or anything else for that matter) shouldn't really change that I'd have thought?
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Old 22-10-2011, 15:18   #14
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re: Does Cruising Make You Haelthier ?

We were in pretty good shape before heading to Mexico in 2009 but for us we just really enjoyed the food in Mexico a little too much and I won't even start to talk about the drinking and eating that goes on at every cruiser get together
Just like in the US it is really easy to eat unhealthy.....the Mexicans do not really do not do fast food (as we know it) but the taco cart believe me is just as unhealthy. In some places getting fresh produce can be difficult also.
About 6 months before we left Mexico we decided that enough was enough so started doing all the things we should have done from the start. Walking many many miles everyday (instead of taking a bus or taxi) to provision with healthy food which did not include the taco cart. The weight came off like crazy so I guess the point is you can be healthy or unhealthy and it really does not matter if you are cruising the world or not it is about the choices you make everyday.
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Old 22-10-2011, 15:25   #15
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Don't know about anyone else but im loosing a ton of weight. Thanx to my body by top ramen diet. Im stuck on a ball for awhile so no healthy fish for me. If I eat out of this harbor ill have an extra limb grow out the side of my neck...lol
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