Five Weeks and Zero Fast Food
Yes, we ACTUALLY did this 99.9% perfectly*
We prepped, we planned, we got stuck and hungry...here is how we rallied with three kids, a puppy in our Pilot across this country.
My mission with our family on a KSquared Marketing Tour of the United States was to eat fresh, yummy, nutrient dense foods across 7,000 miles of driving. I wanted to try our best at eating local, less traveled and less processed foods. I want to find local eateries with farm fresh foods and be amazed at how easy this can be.
THIS WASN’T EASY.
Back to my first intentions with food for my family. My first thought was no meat as in, we can prove you don't need to eat animal products and feel just fine. Hmmm, right? As a health coach, even writing these words makes my hands tremble. This isn’t right. This does not feel true to me or my kids or my coaching philosophies.
As a Health Coach, I believe deeply that food is fueling, powerful and individual. What works for me may not work for anyone else in my house. This realization needed to happen organically on my own time and without anyone else telling me. What started off as “no meat for anyone” before we left landed gently to my new sustainable mission on this trip: asking the questions:
“What do you normally eat? How can you make a better choice right now?”
I was on to something. This question stuck as we hit our first restaurant, three days into our trip at 10:35PM in Chicago! Who would dare ask this question while I had our little man sleeping on my lap under the table?
I did…and it worked.
Did we eat super clean?
Did we all decide to make one better choice than we normally would?
It brings tears to my eyes to write how proud I am as a Mom to not only teach these parenting minutes, but help make small steps towards generational changes. This is my jam. This leads me to a very big topic that I can’t wait to dive into, like diving naked and alone into the Arctic kind of topic. No scuba suit necessary for this swim! If you know me, none of these descriptive words identify with me, so this must be big!
It is freaking hard to consistently eat healthy food in the United States - there are so many forces aligned against this goal.
The odds are stacked against you a million to one to find a way to eat healthily and easily and conveniently in the United States. Why does there have to be this tradeoff between health and convenience?
“People are fed by the food industry that pays no attention to health and are treated by the health industry that pays no attention to food.” - Wendell Berry
Want to feed your family healthy food as you travel across the United States? You’d better get a blindfold and prepare for intense inner strength.
SAD, and true. The Standard American Diet is SAD. You can listen to any expert in sickcare or nutritional research. You can drive across this beautiful country and you can’t help but feel the sadness. I felt it deeply to the core of my existence.
When 25 people walk in and out of a convenience store, and yours is the only family that leaves without enormous Big Gulps of soda, it stops you and your children in your tracks. When, on the last 24 hours of your cross country trip, convenience store food is all you have (well, we still had plenty of nuts but we had exhausted our ability to eat any more nuts maybe 1000 miles earlier...needless to say, we came back home with many packets of well traveled nuts!) and you all walk in, meander around and discover in a room FILLED with plastic wrapped items that the only items in the store that you wish to eat are bananas and string cheese. 2500 square foot store, thousands of choices, bananas and string cheese...
We walked in, walked around. Hmm, ummm, hmmm, ummmm; We were all hungry and borderline hangry.
Travel Tip #1: Avoid hangry at all costs for all ages and all genders! NUMBER ONE RULE for successful travel and happiness.
“That will make my stomach hurt, that will make me have diarrhea in 3.5 seconds, that just looks wrong.”
What are we going to eat? What better choice can we make when we are standing deep in the assortment of choices from the trillion dollar food industry? Ok, breathe. “This is hard. This is so hard.” we script to ourselves, “We can do this. We can do this.” More often, you cave in to the marketing pressure. You buy more than you wanted because you feel overwhelmed by the sounds, the smells, the colors, the plastic, the busyness. “Just get whatever you want!” I heard this many times in our 10 walks in and out of gas/chemical concoction/plastic wrapped/bathroom stations. I’m 100% sure I have said these words in the past, many times. This time I was on a family mission so I had the strength. It was my road warriors that needed extra support and love.
We walked out with bananas and string cheese. We decided we could make it by driving through the night and find a better choice early in the morning for breakfast. Side note, we didn’t find a better choice then either. FYI, the cooler had food, and there were no dire food shortages happening in our car, and all besides the driver fell asleep within 30 minutes.
So what do you do? You feel anxious, unable to make a decision and you simply buy.
“It's not that bad, it's just this one time.”
“Once in a while. Just on Wednesdays after the kids games.”
“Only one time per week after this experience or this long day.”
“It is okay to be balanced. It is okay to eat this stuff once in a while.”
For the people that say these statements often, if you really were to add up all these once in a whiles, we can then understand why hospitals are getting bigger and bigger and more will continue to be built.
One time a year? 1 time each year for the rest of your life. Think about your emotional & physical body with this nourishment of information.
One time per month= 12 times a year. 12 times your age? Think about your mental health with this nourishment of information.
One time a week=52 times a year. 52 times your age? Think about your intestines with this nourishment of information.
My problem is that it isn't just this one time or occasionally or once in a while for many Americans. I wish these statements were true. It may be true for you. It may be and that is okay. Truly.
This is my call to action to help support people to be stronger and more focused on their health, not be sold into an investment in their future of prescriptions and hospital stays.
I want to stand on the roof of my Honda Pilot and SCREAM, “It is not your fault.”
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
*The 0.1% slip was an iced Matcha Green Tea latte at Starbucks for our feverish daughter after two rapid COVID-19 tests at two different locations in Colorado. P.S. - she didn’t have COVID
* For those eager to know our late night dinner choice this evening:
Salmon swimming in a bowl of butter, instead of a cheeseburger Vegan torta instead of an Impossible burger
Chicken Parmigiana sandwich instead of a cheeseburger
Crispy Brussels sprouts loaded with butter
Appetizer side of french fries with creamy sauce