On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago. Leaving the Food Bubble was originally published in July 2012.
From mid-February to about a week ago I have been living in a food bubble. By that, I mean that for the most part I prepared (or Mark prepared) my own food. When I ate out, I was in control of where I ate. This meant that I could have really good, high quality, vegetarian fare as much as I wanted. Even when I traveled, the airports in the U.S. made it easy to stay the path.
When we left for West Virginia, I left my food bubble. Yes, I had a cabin with a fridge and a stove. We could have made our own meals. However, I also know that when I’ve spent the day on whitewater I don’t want to cook. I want my food to magically appear.
This is how I envision my food appearing after a long day on the water.
We took breakfast with us, but we were at the mercy of the resort and town for lunch and dinner. For two days, my lunch consisted of whatever the resort decided to send with our guide. I could have requested a vegetarian meal, but I didn’t do that. In part because I didn’t realize until the last minute how much I didn’t want to inject meat back into my system. But honestly, if I had asked for a vegetarian meal it wouldn’t have been of high quality. Eating meat or eating pre-packaged, highly processed vegetarian fare really isn’t much of a choice when you get down to it.
On our first day, I was so hungry when we stopped for lunch I didn’t care what was packed for me. The guide thought it might be a ham and cheese sandwich. Back when I was eating meat I didn’t like ham, and I still was planning to chow down on it. It was turkey and cheese which was slightly better than ham. I didn’t even think about it. I just ate it. It tasted like the sandwiches I got when I was 10 years old and on a school field trip. This means the sandwich was technically awful but also served as comfort food. It was all very strange.
The second time I was out rafting with a larger group and we got to make choices about our lunch. Here I was able to craft some sort of cheese sandwich and ate a lot of carrots. There were two kinds of pasta salad available to me, but I avoided them. I am sure it was pasta salad from a box. Like I said, vegetarian options were technically available but not that much better than eating meat. Mostly what we got fed – outside of some carrots and broccoli – was junk.
When our meals weren’t provided we ate out in town. There were many interesting options that had a suprising amount of vegetarian choices. In a small downtown with maybe six restaurants, four had some good vegetarian options for lunch and dinner and five had good options for lunch. We ate up all kinds of yummy food, and in the process learned that we like fried eggplant. This is a big deal. We’ve tried to like eggplant and had given up on it. We never thought to fry it. Looking forward to trying it at home soon.
After all was said and done, here are some things I learned about venturing outside my shell and eating:
1. Eating a lot of junk left me bloated. It’s taken about two days to correct the damage that I did by eating crap, and I technically didn’t eat that much crap in the grand scheme of things. I am blown away by how much highly processed “food” impacts our system.
I want my precious carrots.
2. My body craved real food and hated leaving the food bubble. On Thursday, when the guides threw out a bag of carrots, I pounced on it like it was my precious ring. I couldn’t eat enough carrots. I didn’t want chocolate pudding or cookies. Just the carrots. 3. Forget eating on the road. I paid close attention to what was available for us had we decided to stop the car to eat. Forget it. On the way there, we packed our lunch. On the way back, we left early enough that we were home for lunch. I’m leaving town again in a couple of days. It’s a much longer drive. I will pack a cooler with lunch AND dinner.
Eating outside my food bubble was a bit of a challenge. It just reinforced for me how the choices we have been making have been good ones. I didn’t realize how healthy I felt until I didn’t feel that way anymore. I didn’t realize how much processed foods- with lots of chemicals I can’t pronunce-effected me into I had largely stopped eating them and then ate more of them for three days. If you’re reading this and thinking you’d like to try to do something different with your diet, start with just one thing. I highly recommend the Healthy Green Kitchen as a resource for getting ideas. The author has a blog that gives you ideas about one simple change you can make in your life. That change will spawn others and before you know it things will look much different.