Tuesday, July 31

When Worlds Collide

It kept getting later and later trying to leave for our weekend road trip. I knew what was happening. We’d be on the road right at lunch time and I just could not get it together to make something healthy to eat for the road. Where does that leave us? I knew the answer. Each time we go on a road trip, we concede to fast food. When you are out of your environment, you have to make concessions, right? Afterall you have to live in the real world, right? It’s all in balance, I tell myself. This is where worlds collide. And it doesn't just happen in food. In fact, our choice of food is just a value. Isn't this the way human beings group themselves off from others, because they don't share their values or beliefs or practices? Is this why we kill each other? Not worth it, in my opinion, but I do see the value in grouping with like-minded people. It feels good.

I used to consider eating fast food almost a treat. It was kind of fun to have something so “bad” and for-sure I enjoyed the cheeseburger, fries and cola on the rare occasions my food options were so limited. But this time I knew I just couldn’t go there. I didn’t even want a cheeseburger. I really didn’t. I knew I would already be breaking my live diet at their party where there would be lots of typical American fare: meat, carbs and beer.

Which fast food place is the least junkish? If only we could find some local sandwich shop, it wouldn’t be as unhealthy as “fast” food, but finding something like that while zooming down the freeway at 70 isn’t feasible. Subway, I suggested. Husband nixed. Jack in the Box he suggested. Axed by me. What about Taco Bell, would that be so bad? After some bantering we settled on Wendy’s. Luckily they have a few veggie side dishes. As we checked out in line I noticed a chart of all their menu items with calorie and nutritional value listed. Interesting. I got the two items containing a few wee grams of fiber: a salad and baked potato. Was pretty darn happy with myself as I watched Daniel gorge down that gross, empty-caloried hamburger.

I refuse to live in a bubble, and I’m way too social to not join people for feasts. This diet thing, what we choose to eat, don’t eat, how we decide to treat our bodies…you just can’t take it all too seriously…it’s only life. Life is a banquet: eat, eat! I do draw the line at some things, though, like soft drinks, most fried or processed foods. However, for 46 years I’ve eaten meat. I’m a Texas girl where steak is king and ribs are venerated, so when we arrived up in the mountains at our friend’s remote cabin, where slow cooked ribs, bbq brisket and roasted turkey awaited, I stepped over into...The Other World.

It’s hard enough to maintain a living food diet in the Bay Area, heck, even in my own home, but where our friends live, there are only steak houses, fast food and barbeques. I decide in situations like this, that it’s better to be balanced than to be on some freakishly strict diet. So in the spirit of my Texan-ness (and weakness for savory home-cooked meat), I joined right in (a beer first, of course) on the tender ribs, potato chips, potato salad, bread, macaroni salad and other mouth-smacking, high-acid, non-fiberous, low nutritious, high carb and protein party food. I ate. And ate. And drank. Ate some more. And ate. Had another beer. I breaked half way through my fruit crumble to gnaw on some crusty bread and olive oil and then went back to my dessert. What was wrong with me?

I kept walking by the table and grazing on the potato chips, eyeing the spare ribs and thinking how I’d like to have another. Finally around 10 p.m. I allowed myself one last a spare rib as a “night cap.” I felt insatiable. I really felt like I could eat more, but I cut myself off after that. Geez, where’s the balance?

Is it that this food is so un-nutritional that you don’t feel satisfied and that’s why you feel like gorging? Or is it that I’m starving myself to death on this rabbit food and when I finally got to some real food my will to survive kicked in? I was afraid I’d wake up the next morning with a stomach ache. But thank goodness, I did not. I had danced in The Other World and crossed back with only a pot belly and bit of constipation. I started my morning, not by joining my comrades in coffee and cake, but blended up watermelon and drank a big glass. They all thought I was nuts.

Traveling back to the Bay Area, we stopped at the store. I ran straight for the produce section. Huge local, organic tomatoes, a parsnip, zucchini, avocado and cucumber. Daniel bought some red trout. For dinner we would have a stuffed tomatoes, cucumber soup and fish. I was back in My World again, at least for now safe from the temptations of the ribs, chips, chops and lox.