I'm going to be more personal in this post than I have in most of my previous ones, and talk about my eating disorder. As they say in the Post-Punk Kitchen, shiitake is about to get real.
A couple weeks ago, I posted about my food-related preparations for a business trip. I used to overeat, and eat a lot of junk food, when I traveled. Now I have a new pattern: I put a tremendous amount of energy into preparing for the trip, I eat really carefully while I'm away -- if anything, I undereat -- and then there's a backlash. Either on the last day of the trip, or right after I return, my inner brat takes over and I overeat all kinds of junk. And I get a resurgence of all the emotional and spiritual symptoms of my eating disorder, too -- the lying, the sneaking around, the shame, the labile temper, the social isolation. It's amazing how quickly it happens. And then, eventually, things settle down and I get back to baseline.
I need to put some real effort into studying this pattern and figuring out how to change it. But not this morning! This morning I'm going to share what I learned about travel food.
On this trip I tried some products I hadn't used before, and one that I had tried before but never taken on a trip.
This stuff comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors. The vanilla is more successful -- less gritty, with a mild flavor. I like that this is soy free, too. It's expensive, though, and I will probably stick with my beloved hemp protein in the future.
This is really tasty, and I got it on sale. It's not very filling, though, and it is relatively high in fat and sodium. Seems like not enough bang for the calories. I'm not sure whether I would use this again.
In addition to the foods highlighted here, I brought some of my old standbys: McDougall split pea and black bean soup cups, instant oatmeal, hemp protein, and almond milk. On the last day I scored some little cans of grapefruit and pineapple juice from the breakfast buffet, and later mixed them with hemp protein powder for lunch and an afternoon snack. I also discovered that Ocean City is not as much of a food desert as I'd previously thought. On the last day I had some free time, and I was starting to worry about not having enough food. This happens to me pretty regularly, and I think it is probably an eating disorder symptom. If I think I am going to run out of the food I need, I get really anxious. So I decided to wander around Coastal Highway a bit, and see if I could scare up anything to supplement the remaining food I had.
My first stop was 7-11. In my experience, 7-11 can be a decent place to score apples, bananas, and sometimes baby carrots. For those who can handle it, you can also get nuts, dried fruit, and Clif bars (I can't eat any of those things safely, but if you can, more power to you). I was hoping for some carrots to eat with my oh-so-fabulous pocket hummus, but no. What they did have was a fuckton of junk food. I got out of there before I could do something stupid.
Across the street from 7-11 is a SuperFresh grocery store. All the SuperFresh stores in my part of Maryland have closed, and this one actually looked closed, but there were cars in the parking lot so I decided to check it out. And wow. This place has an excellent produce section, including some stuff packaged for convenience. The fresh herbs looked better than what I can often find at home. I got a package of baby carrots and celery sticks. They also had Tofurky slices! Score! I explored a little more and found some shelf-stable organic soy milk. I definitely have to remember this place. I wouldn't want to have to go grocery shopping immediately upon arrival, especially when I'm working, but this is a valuable safety net that I hope will ease some of my food anxiety in the future. Thank you, tourism. Gentrification has worked to the vegans' benefit.
I'm leaving today on another trip to Ocean City, this time for personal reasons. We made these plans months ago, and apparently Sandy did not wash the hotel away, so we're hitting the road this afternoon. This time I am not working and we are bringing our own car, so I have a cooler full of food I cooked while I was home for the storm. Maybe home cooking will help to prevent the post-trip food backlash. I'll report back next week.