I just returned from a wonderful vacation that focused primarily on the people I was with and the sights and scenes of where I traveled. I had some amazing food experiences that sometimes involved eating and sometimes involved imagine-eating. The things that involved between meal eating or added sugar didn’t go in my mouth.
My husband, youngest daughter, and I flew to Minneapolis, rented a car and started our mid-west road trip on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. First stop was in Rochester to meet up with a fellow Weight Watcher. It was fun to meet after years of exchanging encouraging comments in the blogging community.
From that meeting, we went to lunch with part of a little family we know in Rochester. It was an impromptu thing and it was so fun to visit with them. I follow the wife/mom on Facebook and Instagram and it has been fun to watch her become a runner. I can identify with her journey as a runner even though I’m way behind her in speed and dedication. (She also is a lot younger than I am!)
We went through some severe rain on our way to Southeastern Iowa, but it wasn’t as severe as the funnel cloud we saw off to our left as we drove along. I noticed a lot of mud on the roads and wondered if it had been sucked up from a field and dumped in the rain. It seemed like a logical explanation to the mid-westerners I talked with. There’s probably some weight loss or sugar addiction analogy in there, but I’m not sure weather or not I can twist it out. So I’ll just leave it at that. Perhaps someday I’ll revisit the thought.
I already wrote about Memorial Day Weekend. I ate fuelishly and enjoyed my time with family and friends. I was sorry to learn that my blog post from that experience came across as insulting to some folks, but my comment of not eating foolishly was based on what would be foolish for me as a sugar addict. I didn’t think other people were foolish for eating the biscotti I made, the no sugar added (date sweetened) cookies that I made, or the leftover pulled pork empanadas I put together. I just knew it would be foolish for me to eat them based on my knowledge of how I react to eating such things.
Tuesday morning, we headed west through Iowa, where we met up with another friendly Weight Watcher! Karen and I almost met on the east coast last year or the year before, but this time the meeting clicked. We walked and talked for about 40 minutes on a hilly (yes, hilly) trail in a beautiful arboretum near her home.
From there, we made a detour to Ames, where we had lunch with a cousin’s daughter who runs for Iowa State. Her average pace is more than twice as fast as mine, but we were able to catch up with her at a great restaurant featuring local, healthy food. She gave us a mini-tour of her school and we appreciated her sunny personality on a day with storm clouds lurking.
Our travel plans took us through Omaha, Nebraska, where we felt compelled to stop and eat steak for supper. The steaks were high (priced), but amazingly good. I was happy to get a description of the taste of the rolls, but they didn’t go in my mouth. Croissants drizzled with honey. My daughter ate the one that was “mine” and asked for another one instead of dessert! I was happy with the memories of my melt in mouth medium rare filet mignon.
Stops in O’Neill and Valentine, Nebraska. Lots of open country in between. My daughter had a Peanut Butter Bacon Badger Burger for lunch one day. I chose a roast beef sandwich with extra lettuce instead of bread. It turned out to be a thick slab of roast instead of the paper thin deli style slices I’d expected. Midwestern diner delicious. (BTW: The badger burger was named after the local high school mascot.)
Glimpses of the Badlands turned into the National Park in South Dakota. We drove through part of the park to get to Interstate 90 where the speed limit was eighty. That brings me back to my title. We drove eighty when the speed limit allowed. And I ate in a manner that I didn’t have to ask “WHY?” after I was done (ate-y). I took the time to think ahead to how I would feel after eating. It served me well, and I have this to tell: it was worth it and I’ll be repeating!
The rest of the trip involved South Dakota Black Hills; a Weight Watchers meeting in Rapid City to weigh in for June and to meet another blogging friend; the Badlands; friends we knew before; and friends we were meeting for the first time. We also ventured to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, Fargo, ND, and Prairie Farm, WI, before heading back to Minnesota for flights to separate coasts. I headed to Seattle for a 60th anniversary party and time with friends and family. My husband and daughter headed east to home.
I enjoyed my time in Washington. One of my visits was to a couple I’ve known most of my life. The woman is a retired English teacher, a voracious reader, and a beta reader from an early draft of my book. She encouraged me to cut and polish my manuscript into what might be a gem for some people (me, for one).
She and her husband were waiting for me when I arrived Sunday evening. After visiting for a bit, the three of us went for a two mile walk around a local golf course. The next morning, after a wonderful breakfast, Sandi and I walked into town to see if the local health food and book stores would be interested in stocking my book (no, and maybe). I recorded 41 flights of stairs on my fit-bit during our three and a half mile trek. And in keeping with my title, this couple turns eighty this year. They are health conscious for themselves and encourage it in others.
My last stop in Washington was with my oldest relatives there. My uncle has eliminated added sugar from his diet and my aunt had me make some chocobananbanzo cupcakes for him (sweetened with banana). He was quite pleased with the results. They’re loaded with protein and have good chocolate flavor. I gave them the recipe and I’m hoping they’ll try it out with good results. It’s something I have in mind for my potential cookbook.
The trip home was on a red-eye from Seattle to Philadelphia with a connection to Hartford. I was happy I didn’t have to change planes in the middle of the night, but I realized again that red-eyes are pretty much a good idea only in theory. I clocked an hour and a half of sleep and feel like I’m still recovering a week later.
Part of my concern for re-entry to non-vacation mode was that I would relax a bit on my eating guidelines. Perhaps it was jet-lag, self fulfilling prophecy, or the fact that I’ve been dealing with an unknown lump on my neck for three weeks now: I did have a couple of days with what can only be described as grazing. Not on sugar, but on Terra chips, cheese, plain Greek yogurt cheese, no sugar added fruit curd, and cherries. “Ate-why?” stuff. Proof to me that I’m not cured. That no sugar added curd is too much in uncontrolled doses.
I live with sugar addiction and when I manage it, it doesn’t manage me. Life is good.
Today I pulled out of my slump with a mango mint protein shake for breakfast, a salad with lots of veggies, salmon, hard boiled eggs, and avocado for lunch. Nothing but water between meals. It feels right. I’ll eat healthy food for supper and be done. And thankful.
Back to the lump on my neck. I had it needle biopsied today. (It’s likely just an infection and not a malignancy, but it’s time to know.) When the doctor asked about my employment, I told him I was an author. When he found out I wrote about sugar addiction, he said he would rather eat a stick of butter than a bar of candy. He’d rather drink olive oil than sugary drinks. I’ve decided to cut out butter and dairy again to see if it will help with this swelling, but I’m convinced that fat is not what made me struggle with obesity. It was sugar. And it’s sweet to be aware of it.
I hope to have answers soon about my neck. I’m starting to catch up on sleep. I’ve reined in my grazing. I’m hoping to get up to speed again soon. But not ate-y.