As many wholesome living changes that we’ve made in our home, we do make exceptions- especially while traveling. We are still trying to figure out how to eat wholesome foods while traveling, particularly on long car trips like the one we just got back from. We also don’t want to be food nazis about our wholesome living choices and offend everyone we are visiting by refusing to eat the food they so graciously make or buy for us. We value relationships over our wholesome living ideals. This means when we are visiting others, we accept just about anything set in front of us.

We learned a few new things on our latest trip. It is difficult for us to figure out what to do for a meal when we don’t have time to stop. Our first instinct is to go through a drive thru. Our first night of traveling we stopped at a Wendys. When we pulled up to the drive thru, I was dismayed to see large signs broadcasting the calorie content of each sandwich. I wasn’t upset that they posted the calorie content, rather that the signs completely covered the pictures of the sandwiches. I’m not a frequent fast food customer so I was irked that I couldn’t see the selection. I already know fast food is chocked full of calories. I wanted to see the pictures so I could pick out what type of chicken sandwich to order. It was quite frustrating.  I finally decided on a chicken sandwich and Ryan ordered a cheeseburger. We got our food and got back on the highway. Three miles down the road I tasted my sandwich. It was disgusting. It tasted like chemicals. I ate three bites before deciding I’d rather be hungry than subject my taste buds to such a wretched tasting sandwich. I picked off the veggies and ate those.

The next morning I was starving and excited about the free breakfast at our hotel. I was thrilled to see lots of fresh fruits and promptly ate a banana and gave one to our daughter. I thought yogurt would be delicious and decided on the peach flavor. I opened it up and ate a bite. It was sweet- really sweet. It tasted like I was eating ice-cream, not yogurt. I looked at the ingredients and it contained a ridiculous amount of sugar and, you guessed it, high fructose corn syrup. So, I tried to choke it down reasoning to myself that it was better than the other options on the buffet (like microwavable omelets). I got about half way through the yogurt and decided I was through. I did splurge and have a waffle with syrup. Since we don’t use white flour in our home, I really it enjoy it when we are traveling.

Later on in our trip, I was pleasantly surprised to read this statement on a napkin at Starbucks, “Real food. Simply Delicious. We’ve got good news. We removed the artificial trans fats, artificial flavors, artificial dyes and high-fructose corn syrup. Now your food not only tastes better, it is better. We hope you enjoy the difference.” Good for them! As a former Starbucks employee, I can attest to the ridiculous amount of calories and chemicals their food (and some drink) products contained back in the day. It’s always encouraging to see companies taking steps to make their products more healthy and nutritious.

Finally, here is my most obscene wholesome living exception of the trip. One night after a particularly delicious and nutritious dinner made by my mom, my dad pulls out a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. I scanned the lengthy list of ingredients. My eyes rested on the nutritional values. There it was! One gram of trans fat! Trans fat!!! I thought to myself, “Who even makes anything with trans fat anymore? The dangers of trans fat have been relatively well publicized as of late!” So, I confess I knew there was trans fat in the cheesecake and I still decided to indulge and have a slice! It took me an hour to finish one tiny sliver. It was much richer and sweeter than anything I’d had in several months. It was good, but so rich I really couldn’t handle more than a tiny bite every five to ten minutes.

By the end of our trip I found myself craving foods like raw broccoli. We got pretty good at finding healthy alternatives to fast food. We LOVE Sheetz. I love their cheese, fruit and veggie meals they have ready to grab and go. I love their selection of single serving fruits and veggies. They even sell individually wrapped Cliff bars! Oh how I wish Sheetz would come to New York!

We love visiting family and friends, but it is nice to be home again and eating our own food. I was surprised by how repulsive a lot of the “mainstream” foods taste to me now. I’d expected everything to taste wonderful. Some of it did, but most did not. So, I guess I’m proud of my palate and how discerning it’s become. It’s refreshing (and a little sad) that food that’s bad for me actually tastes bad now, and food that’s good for me tastes like a bit of heaven! My how far I’ve come from my old non-veggie loving self!

*This post is shared on Real Food Wednesday



4 thoughts on “Exceptions

  1. I can totally empathize! The hardest part for me about travelling and eating mainstream food is that it takes it’s toll on my body and on my family. I’ve had to sneak out to buy good whole milk yogurt before just to try to get my body back on track a bit. I totally agree with you though, it’s so important to be gracious to those who are opening up their homes to us – and grateful for their open generosity!

  2. Eating out is always difficult, though I don’t have too many problems when eating at houses of others. I think the greatest offender I’ve encountered recently was gravy made from canned soup…can you say HFCS and MSG, not to mention crazy amounts of sodium!

    One family member is constantly on a diet and just about everything in her house has aspartame in it. I had to remind her over and over again that I could NOT eat anything she was offering me while pregnant because I was already at a high risk for miscarriage and aspartame can cause miscarriages. She got frustrated with me, but hey, I’ve been through 3 miscarriages-one of which almost killed me. I’m not risking it by eating a yogurt with aspartame in it! Besides, artificial sweeteners make my throat feel like it’s being burned. So, for some things I do have to say a polite, “no thank you.” I can’t eat canned soups. The sodium content makes my fingers swell.

    It is amazing how many people think that these processed foods taste good. When your palate is used to it I guess it does, not to mention I believe there are ingredients in it that trick you into thinking it tastes good. Once you start eating REAL food, there’s such a difference!


  3. I can relate! We travel to visit elderly relatives frequently and road food is aweful. We often stop at a grocery store instead as most have a soup and salad bar ( some even have a seating area). Even my kids crave real food after a day or two on the road, does my heart good! 🙂

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