Eating in Florida did not go according to plan. I was able to eat properly about 80% of the time, but there were multiple occasions where options were so limited, I didn’t have much choice but to venture outside my parameters.
A Strong Start
The first day there, I was able to get a decent array of healthy snacks from Whole Foods, which was a 20 minute walk from my hotel. I picked up fruit, nuts, oatmeal, vegan snack bars, and coconut chips. My mornings were great, and snacking during the day was easy.
Lunches were trickier – while I could find vegetables, getting protein was more difficult. This led to some relaxing of boundaries, including eating pulled pork from a deconstructed pulled pork slider, and eating some chicken that was in a sauce I just knew was highly processed.
Dinners were a little better, and I did manage to find a really good meal at the Canadian delegate dinner. It was salmon with quinoa, steamed kale, and slivered almonds in a red wine reduction – definitely the best meal while away.
The conference ended Wednesday morning, so we decided to visit the Magic Kingdom as I had never been. We arrived shortly after noon, and my stomach was already rumbling. [By Wednesday, I had already finished my stash of snacks from Whole Foods, which I realized too late.] So I was at a theme park without any snacks. Bad call.
I was told the park was very accommodating with food allergens, etc. But, this wasn’t exactly my experience. For example, I asked if I could order the chicken sandwich without the bun and was told “no”. Um, okay. So I ask, “Do you have any gluten-free options?” and she started to list off meals that predominantly feature cheese. I also highly doubt the mac & cheese she mentioned was actually gluten-free. So, I ordered the chicken sandwich and removed the bun myself.
Once the door was open to grey areas, it became easier to eat things I would not have otherwise. I even caved and tried birthday cake M&M’s. The good news was, they were so sweet I couldn’t eat more than 4-5 total.
I knew this meant I my streak of no processed food and refined sugars was broken, which was disappointing; however, I made the choice to view this as a setback instead of a failure. I still have 26 days left, and I can make them count.
I did take away some valuable lessons from this experience. Mainly, it’s that my palate has indeed changed. When I did eat something processed, it was disappointing. The flavours were either bland or off-putting. Simply put, it was not enjoyable.When I had refined sugar, it was too sweet. Also, my body knew when it was getting sub-par food and didn’t care for it. I didn’t have as much intestinal distress as I would have imagined, but I could tell these food items were not welcome.
In other words, my setback reinforced what I’m doing and why it’s important. I’m entering the homestretch now, and I know I can finish strong.