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Chris Cox is cooking dinner. But he’s not in his kitchen. He’s cooking meals from a much more unlikely place — his semi.

For the veteran truck driver, who has found his niche as a company driver for Ozark Motor Lines, the road to this culinary triumph was long and full of misunderstanding.Chris Cox photo 2

“For a long time I was operating under these misconceptions about not being able to cook in the truck,” says Cox. “For some reason, I just thought it couldn’t be done.”

But that was bound to change.

And about five years ago, it did change, when Cox fell on hard times. Cox’s former employer was bought out, he took a huge pay cut, and he was going broke. He had to reduce his expenses in a hurry.

For Cox, who for years dined out twice a day, reducing his expenses had to start with his eating habits. He began cooking in the truck.

“For me, that was hard,” he says. “It was a big change of my lifestyle.”

For two years, Cox struggled with cooking in his truck. He did the dishes with bins of soap and water. It was a splashy mess. Then Cox discovered the Big Truck Cooking Group on Facebook, and his culinary world changed.

“It was my involvement with Big Truck Cooking that radicalized everything for me,” he says. “All those years of failure, and then all of a sudden I just stumbled across this group — those people are doing this on a truck? Aw, no way!”

For Cox, the group was a godsend. Through it, he learned he could clean up with baby wipes, that they wouldn’t leave a residue on his dishes. He ditched the soap and water, and his imagination soared.

The man who grew up watching his grandmother cook (and who once worked as a professional chef) had found his creative outlet again. It freed him to cook in the spontaneous style he loves, right on his truck.Kilbasa

Cox’s grandmother, now 96, was his biggest culinary influence. She grew up during the Great Depression. “That’s a whole other style of cooking,” Cox says. “You couldn’t go to the store to buy the ingredients you didn’t have. You just had to go without them. And that’s how my grandmother cooked. She made due with what she had. As a young boy, I picked up on that.”

To this day, Cox likes improvising. Big Truck Cooking introduced Cox to the Aroma cooker, which diversifies his menu with its versatility. It’s a steamer, skillet, crock pot and rice cooker all in one. He often uses it to cook Eckrich kielbasa because any unused sausage is easy to seal and store.

“The Aroma was a game changer for me,” he says. “The Aroma and baby wipes were necessary for me to fall into a groove. Now I’m definitely in it. It’s a good place to be.”

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Featured image from Pixabay.com; other images courtesy Chris Cox

 

Veggie dish

Veggie-a-go-go

Veggie-a-go-go Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • Half cup of rice
  • Half cup of water
  • Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 small or medium can tomato sauce
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 container sliced mushrooms
Directions:

  1. Put half cup of rice, half cup of water and a spoonful of butter in an Aroma cooker. Put Aroma on White Rice setting and wait for timer to beep when done.
  2. While rice is cooking, cut the ends off a bunch of green beans and cut the green beans and corn cobs in half. Slice onions and mince garlic.
  3. Open a can of tomato sauce
  4. Slice sweet, yellow peppers into “matchsticks”
  5. When rice is done cooking, put in a bowl and set it aside for the last step. Put corn cobs in bottom of pot. Put green beans in steam basket with 3 cups of water.
  6. Put Aroma on Steam setting and set the timer for 20 minutes. Close lid, press Start.
  7. The Aroma has a count down timer. At 10-minute mark, add crushed, minced garlic to the beans in the steam basket.
  8. At 7-minute mark, add yellow peppers in steam basket.
  9. At 3-minute mark, add sliced mushrooms and onion to pot where the corn is.
  10. When timer goes off, butter the corn and plate it.
  11. Drain the water from the pot and add the rice set aside earlier, along with all remaining veggies, to the Aroma pot (except corn).
  12. Put Aroma on the STS setting (Sear Then Simmer), add can of tomato sauce and stir while pot bubbles with flavor. Serve when the smell starts driving you crazy.

 

stress eating

When you make your living behind the wheel, stress often is difficult to avoid. Traffic jams, crazy drivers and long stretches on the road all have a tendency to add to a day’s aggravations. Fortunately, you can better control your stress levels simply by eating (or avoiding) certain foods.

So the next time you’re in a jam (the traffic kind or otherwise), reach for these five snacks and feel your stress ease:

1. Nuts – In particular almonds, walnuts, and pistachios contain valuable stress busting nutrients like vitamins E, B, magnesium, essential fatty acids and fiber.

2. Avocado – Vitamin B5, B6, folate, vitamin E, fiber and copper.

3. Dark green veggies – Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, Asparagus, Chard, Collards – rich in B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K.

4. Dark chocolate – Contains magnesium and supports healthy mood, cognition, and may benefit anxiety.

5. Oatmeal – Can help boost serotonin levels, providing whole grain carbohydrate, magnesium, fiber, chromium, and B vitamins.

Honorable mention: Blueberries – contain antioxidant vitamins and phytonutrients.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

 

For 20-year truck driver Bobby Andersen, it was either pay out the wazoo for a sleep apnea test issued by the Department of Transportation, or start eating healthier. He chose the latter route.

One year later, he’s inspiring other truck drivers by his healthy example.

It would have cost me a fortune being off work with no pay and having to pay for that test. I had to do something,” he says.

For  years, Andersen, 45, turned to fast food when he was hungry on the road.  The Booneville, Miss., native ingested everything from biscuits to burgers. After a while, it took a toll on his health.

“Any truck stop you walk into has just fast food places. It’s quick and easy: You can get in there, you can get your food and you can get out and eat while you’re driving down the highway,” says Andersen.

Then he saw the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and decided to immerse himself right away in a plant-based diet. It didn’t last long. Andersen consumed salad upon salad, but, oblivious to all his options, he found he could not sate his hunger.

A few months later, he tried again with more success. This summer, Andersen is celebrating one year on a plant-based diet. He’s lost 65 pounds and counting.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

 

The next time you’re inclined to dump an artificial sweetner into your cup of joe, you might want to wait before you rip. That’s because natural sugars still tend to be the healthier choice, stresses one dietician.

Artificial sweeteners have been on the market for a long time, but there are still not enough long-term studies to determine safety and side effects of continued use.

So writes Emily DeLacey, M.S., R.D. for Fitday.com. The “top 4 most dangerous,” DeLacey writes, include some of the most common sweeteners on the market.

Flaws in the initial testing of acesuflame potassium (sold under the brand names Sweet One and Sunett) have been challenged by scientists in the Journal of the Environmental Health Perspectives, and they call for additional studies to be done to properly evaluate the safety of this sweetener.

DeLacey also discouraged excessive intake of aspartame, which the article stated is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, as well as saccharin (up to 700 times sweeter than table sugar) and  neotame (up to 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar).

 Choosing artificial sweeteners over plant-sourced sweeteners, like honey, has not actually been linked to long-term weight-loss and even in some cases there is more evidence that they are associated with increased weight gain. Sweeteners of any type should be always used in moderation. Eating whole foods with lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients will help you better manage blood glucose levels and weight management goals. 

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now