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Old 03-09-2016, 14:43   #1
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General Health, Fitness, Food -

I'm Hoping this is the correct place for this post.........

Family of 4 planning on a 2-3 year cruise on a cat. My question is for those families that are already doing this lifestyle.

Do you find your overall health improves or gets worse in terms of weight, fitness, etc?

Do you find you are eating healthier than when shoreside, or not as healthy?

A little background. Overall family health is good, however we have to work pretty hard to stay in a reasonable health range. Overweight runs in my genes and if we are not on the elliptical 4-5 times a week, it gets ugly. We are foodies.....and eat well.....albeit with a slant towards better health. No sodas, fried foods, and rarely fast foods. We have a 10 year old and 12 year old that are active and with their active lifestyle still have to watch themselves. (Restaurants, unfortunately do play into our current lifestyle...)

On one hand I'm thinking that a controlled environment such as the cat should make eating healthy a bit easier. On the flip I am a bit concerned about how provisioning will go in some areas of the world as I'm thinking we have been spoiled with some of our produce variety. (CA, and I love our farmers markets)

Also concerned about overall active lifestyle, although I think that this will be fine as long as we work at it.

Any suggestions or Anecdotal information would be appreciated.



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Old 03-09-2016, 15:23   #2
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

I wouldn't normally answer this post because we have yet to shop on distant shores and don't have enough boat time to affirm anything about health.

However I notice that you mentioned gaining weight easily and I know from experience that weight is not a simple matter of just calories. Newer data suggests that simple carbohydrates are the biggest factor, after simple over eating, in weight gain. In fact doctors are coming around to the knowledge that a whole host of health issues from diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all on the rise with the current norm of eating high carbohydrates.

A few years ago my boyfriend and I studied the weight and health issue quite deeply. We are convinced that a high fat (good fats, not just any fat), low carbohydrate diet is the healthiest for our modern bodies. We started by following Atkins (old Atkins, which is more strict than the new Atkins diet)

In followinng this diet I lost 40 lbs, and we both brought our cholesterol under control. My BF also has low thyroid function and was always tired. He had no energy even with his thyroid medication. Now he functions pretty normally

I suggest you look into a low carb diet, just to familiarize yourself with what it's all about. You will have to decide if it's the right thing for you and your family. You may decide that there is no way to do it or you just aren't interested. But I believe from my own experience and the reading we have done that it's the healthiest diet ever.

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Old 03-09-2016, 15:36   #3
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

Hi Scott, we just had a 100 post topic word for word your subject. I dont know how many will have the energy to respond twice to the same question.
Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 03-09-2016, 15:51   #4
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

Guess I should have searched a little better. Sorry for the repeat.


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Old 03-09-2016, 16:17   #5
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

Healthful food, healthful diet. Healthy food is alive, not diseased, and will object to being eaten.
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Old 03-09-2016, 19:17   #6
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -


I am not a family but I will chime in.

I 100% disagree with supplements, health foods and the rest of the food things that are supposed to ... help us stay fit.

I think you want two things to have a healthy life:

- eat less (not supplement, not health foods, just LESS),
- move.

Above anything. You need the right (healthy) mindset. You cannot get there if you are into 'eating well'. (If this is to meant eat heaps).

I would talk to a personal trainer, one that is a great psychologist in the first place.

Health onboard?

From our nearly 15 years of perspective I will strongly disagree full time boat life has any health benefits. I think it is either neutral or unhealthy (comparaed to a land based life) depending on your boat life style. This is only one person's experience. Others may claim otherwise.


Yes. You may simply feel HAPPIER living the dream and doing something different, something new. If your family loves boating, I think you should absolutely GO FOR IT.

Apologies for this many words.

Happy sailing!

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Old 04-09-2016, 00:29   #7
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

In my experience; Solo, with friends & a partner, as a skipper of pro' racers, & also charter boats. Both in the US, as well as "overseas". Quite honestly, it's much easier to eat healthier, if for no other reason than you can't/don't stop at the grocery store or for fast food on the way home, as you are at home.
And or "stopping on the way home"/running to the store, entails; getting into the dinghy, tying it up/beaching it somewhere, then going to the store/market/resturant... often on foot or via taxi, & then doing the reverse, prior to cleaning your produce & cooking... From Scratch.

The From Scratch part being a BIG factor. As more than likely, you'll be using much fresher ingredients, as well as a much healthier balance of them in every meal. Even if it's as simple as making whole grain cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. Which is a big switch from sugar coated, triple-sugar puffs from the store. And after a bit, it's easy to wean folks off of much sugar at breakfast, even if it's just a switch to honey or molasses. Including in your Tea & Coffee.

And everyone not only gets a say in meal planning, but also in cooking & cleanup. Not to mention that meals are Definitely more of the type where everyone sits down together to eat. So it's more of the traditional family/crew type of event. Much as is everything involved with meals onboard. And with that, because of folks (kids especially) food preferences, you can entice the finicky ones to have more of a hand in every part of the meal process.

Even my Uber-Finicky little brother, when he was 5-11, would cook once or twice every 2-3 days. On a sked. Maybe only half of the meal sometimes, but that was for all 4-6 of us. And he would really Eat (onboard). Where as at home, it was a chore to get him to finish half of a sandwich.
And he definitely did got into the grocery shopping thing as well as cleaning up afterwards too. So it was a BIG swtich. One which my folks were really glad to see. As often he & I would do whole meals from start to finish, including dishes. Though often the chef(s) got a pass on such chores, as part of proceedure. Both onboard & at home.
This went on from when he was 5 & I was 7, on through adulthood. And was something that we loved when onboard or when camping. And it grew into a habit at home later on from there.

The whole family being involved in every aspect of meals includes shopping at farmer's markets. Gathering food from the sea. Be it fish, shell fish, kelp & other veggies, etc. And then there's the fact that the fridge & freezers onboard boats are much smaller. So you shop for more fresh stuff more often, ergo healthier meals. In addition to doing things like sprouting, storing quality produce as our ancestors did a century ago, in modified "root cellars" onboard. Etc., etc.

It's what you make of it, but it's easier to eat healthier, kind of out of logistical necessity. That & outside of the US, in non 1st World locales, IMO the food's healthier even when you eat out.
Plus who else is better at making friends, & finding unique resources than kids? Could you get them to eat goat's milk cheese at home? They'll likely find it if it's avaiable when you make port, & bring some home. Um, baby chicks too

Also, via living onboard, there's much less of the vidoe game culture. And a lot more chances for kids & adults to invent their own fun. Be it adventures in the dinghy, skateboarding ashore, walking to the store & in general. Plus the fact than onboard you're in motion 24/7 unless at a very sheltered dock. Which generates physical activity whether you realize it or not, as the boat's always moving.
Not to mention what transpires when you're sailing, so...

Watch the activity level of the family & kids in the video, & his comments on same. Especially when he compares life aooard & in the USVI to being in the US.

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Old 04-09-2016, 08:14   #8
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

When my wife and I lived on our boat, I lost weight (15-20 lbs) and became fitter. She gained a few pounds, and was less fit. We ate the same food, all pretty healthy, non-processed fare. What made the difference was our relative activity levels. Just the normal things a skipper does on a boat were enough to keep me fit and trim, without any other exercise except walking around when on shore. She was more sedentary on the boat than at home. Activity level made all the difference.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:58   #9
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

I would like to add my two cents as a physician who has dealt with patients who are overweight and the interesting lifestyle of cruisers in the warm coastal waters: a Mediterranean diet consisting of vegetables , legumes and seafood will work well. Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrate foods made from white flour. Avoid soda and desserts as well as too much alcohol. Nuts and berries are good. Whole grains are slowly digested and do not cause spikes in glucose with spike in insulin and spikes of hunger. Transfer of this diet to living aboard is challenging because fresh vegetables and salads and olives and mushrooms can be more difficult to obtain and store especially when traveling to distant shores. Provisioning services in Tortola, for example, have adequate stores but salads fruits veggies are not always available. I am planning to cook Tuna and Salmon and white fish to supplement my loose vegetarian oriented diet and in a pinch will rely on canned solid tuna salad. For those who eat chicken, it is a perfect food for cruisers with endless variety possible.
High carb diets are really empty calories and cause huge swings in insulin and hunger. If you guide your meal choices in an effort to keep a steady insulin level, you will feel less hungry all day. It is a shame that Adkins snacks are not widely available in the Caribbean because they fulfill those craving without causing glucose spikes.
For what it is worth...... fair winds and following seas...
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:29   #10
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

We did four years onboard Cat full time and all health metrics improved. I think the mere fact that we were always in motion doing something. Calories just burned. Best time ever 😉
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:21   #11
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Re: General Health, Fitness, Food -

Elimax – I’m 70 years old and in pretty poor health. Two things I think are worth your consideration.

First, nearly 100% of my health problems were caused by doctors. The statistics on “medically induced death” are astounding. E.g., just considering IN-HOSPITAL deaths, even the most conservative estimate puts the annual U.S. total higher than any cause of death except heart disease and cancer; higher than auto accidents, crime, drugs, alcohol, you name it. And that is only considering those deaths REPORTED as iatrogenic. (And only in-hospital deaths; most authorities agree that out-patient fatalities are significantly higher than in-hospital.) Estimates are that about 75% of such mayhem goes unreported by the hospitals. So there’s that. Having said that, I should say that the post made by the doctor here seems fairly sound advice.

Second, go to Netflix and watch “Forks Over Knives.” I watched it two weeks ago and decided to try what was suggested. So far, eating all I want, doing no exercise (I hate exercise) my weight has dropped from 232 to 220, and I feel better than I have in quite a few years. I’m thinking that if I force myself to do a little exercise and just keep the FOK suggestions going I’ll eventually be able to discontinue the eleven prescription drugs I’ve been taking daily for many years. Watch it. Good luck.

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