Product review: Stevia sodas

I’m probably the worst person in the world to be reviewing these two products because I’m a recovering pop drinker.

In fact, up until the point that I decided to try these (purely for the sake of the blog) I hadn’t even had a carbonated beverage this year. I won’t deny that part of me was a little terrified that I would take one sip and suddenly turn into some Hulk-like monster, tearing down walls to get to the closest fizzy refreshment.

Yeah… not so much.

The usual disclaimer applies – I bought these with my own money (they were on sale) and neither one of these companies knows this blog even exists.

I picked up two different kinds of pop that are zero calorie and sugar free – sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia instead of HFCS or Splenda. I find that stevia sometimes has a strange aftertaste, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

The first one I tried was Zevia:

The flavour: Cream Soda

I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted like the cream soda I remember from my childhood (the clear kind, not the pink stuff) and it didn’t have the stevia after taste. If you’re looking for sweet though, you won’t find it here. My brain was anticipating that it was going to be sweet and it was a tad on the bland side – but refreshing!

The second can I cracked was that of Krisda Natural Soda:

The flavour: Root Beer

I thought that root beer would be a nice contrast to the cream soda flavour I had just tried. There was unfortunately one thing about Krisda that stood out for me and that was the stevia taste. It wasn’t terrible but it was enough that it masked the taste of the root beer which really should be delightful – it’s such a great natural flavour to work with!

In the battle of the stevia sodas Zevia comes out the winner hands down. If you’re a fan of pop and looking for something naturally sweetened, zero calorie, free from sodium, gluten and caffeine then definitely try a soda sweetened with stevia! They can be a bit pricey (these were on sale for $1 a can and are only sold in singles) but the can comes with a warning not to consume more than 2-3 a day so it’s probably a better idea to not overindulge in them anyway. 🙂

I think this would be a great way of weaning yourself off drinking soda but I’m a terribly biased water drinker and recovering popaholic.

The one about Annapolis…

I had to do some research today for my internship. There was a photo in the newspaper of a woman named Marsalie MacKenzie modelling a dress, who happened to be an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy.  I was then tasked with finding out who this woman was so we could include the mention in our regular media monitoring. So, like all good researchers, I hit up Google.

What I ended up finding could not have been more fitting for my particular interests. As it turns out this woman attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 2009 as a Canadian exchange student from the Royal Military College. While she was there she wrote up a series of blog posts for the RMC website, one of which was about the stringent fitness requirements all the midshipmen are required to undergo.

Clearly, there is quite a difference between rights and freedoms in the US than there is in Canada because some of the rules they have to adhere to would be considered discrimination under our laws. For example, MacKenzie writes:

“Generally speaking, the average midshipman was leaner and meaner than their RMC counterpart-so much so that it led me to ask my roommates if it was in their constitution to attain (and maintain) rock-hard abs and chiselled pecs. At first they laughed and informed me that their chubbier peers, like bats or raccoons, only came out at night and at meals. As it turns out though, my original assertion was not so far-fetched; as my roommates explained, part of the yearly in-clearance procedure at the Naval Academy requires them to undergo height and weight testing, the results of which determines their eligibility for service.”

After reading this passage I immediately wondered what height and weight testing has to do with anything. When I joined the military in 2005 there was a requirement that before you went to basic training you had to pass your physical fitness test. During the year or so that it took to complete all of my paperwork and wait for my trade to become available that rule changed. At that point you could join the military in any shape and they would make sure that when you left you were fit. When I went to basic training you had to pass your PT test in the first week in order to move on with your platoon. If you didn’t pass your PT test you were moved to RFT (remedial fitness training) where you spent a month having some of the best fitness trainers in the country ‘whip you into shape’. At the end of that month you had to be able to pass your PT test and rarely was there an occasion where someone who stuck it out for that month would not be able to do it.

I won’t deny that I was weighed and measured when I went for my intial medical testing but that wasn’t got me into the military. It was my aptitude, my ability, my smarts that got me in and it was my level of fitness that carried me through until an injury led to my early release. The ultimate question though, was always ‘Can you pass your PT test?’ and you didn’t go anywhere until that answer was yes. I believe that is the way it should be but according to MacKenzie things are slightly different when it comes to the US Navy.

“However, in early October, I was summoned by my lieutenant, who informed me that I would report to the fifth wing gym to be weighed in with the UNSATS (those who had failed to meet their requirements in September). Some veterans of the process took it upon themselves to explain to me the protocol. First, each midshipman is led to a scale where their weight is recorded. Simultaneously, their height is measured by a second individual, while a third does a quick calculation. If they meet requirements, the midshipman is free to leave. If they do not, they are led to a pen where they await further measurement of their neck, waist, arms and calves (this is to ensure that “athletic builds,” specifically wrestlers, are not misidentified as overweight). Those who are UNSAT after this process are then placed on a strict diet, with portions rationed to them at every meal, and forced to attend supplementary morning PT (regardless of whether or not they have passed their physical fitness testing). Ironically, those midshipmen placed on special diets are the only ones allowed to have a fridge in their rooms for personal use.”

I understand wanting your recruits to be healthy and I understand encouraging them to make healthy selections when they walk into the mess hall. (Perhaps making healthy selections the only ones available would be a better method?) How though, can you expect someone to be able to giving a top performance both mentally a physically when someone else is controlling their calorie intake? Not because they’re ill, not because their body requires it, but because an arbitrary set of numbers has determined that they should eat less. What really irks me is that someone can pass their PT test but if their BMI isn’t ‘ideal’ they still have to take supplementary PT until it is? Your height to weight ratio has nothing to do with your ability to do your duties whether it’s for the military or not. And the reason for why they do this? According to MacKenzie the answer she got was that it was all about appearance. It’s not about doing your job, it’s about looking good in a uniform.

“From what I could deduce,” MacKenzie writes, “the US Navy considers this impossible for anyone wearing above a women’s size 10 or a men’s size 36 pants. Apparently, a lower BMI is a testament to an individual’s leadership potential; as it turns out, looking like ‘an officer’ is just as important as being one.”

Is this really the military we should all be looking up to as a standard for leadership? I have a hard time thinking so. Regardless of your ratio of height to weight if you serve your country, proudly wear the flag on your arm, and do your duties as required to the best of your ability, including passing your PT test, then you’re the one we should be looking up to.

Source

Product Review: True Lemon

When life gives you lemons… make lemon water!

Water is my beverage of choice but every now and then it’s nice to add a little bit of flavour to my H2O. Sometimes it’s mint but more often than not it’s lemon.

Working in radio, lemon water is an important tool in the announcer’s tool belt. I do a lot of talking in the span of 7 hours (13 minutes an hour worth of newscasts) and the last thing I need is to lose my voice. It happens surprisingly often though if I am not drinking lemon water. Lots of people preach tea with honey but for radio people that’s not a solution – honey makes your vocal chords stick together so you need to clear your throat more.

The problem is… lemons are not incredibly portable and I find that the bottled lemon juice just doesn’t have the same freshness as just having a real squeeze of lemon. I was at the grocery store today and made the most fantastic discovery!

This isn’t like Crystal Light or any kind of drink mix, it’s lemons in a powder form and it’s delicious! It definitely tastes better than the bottled lemon and mixes really well in water! I have a recipe for lemon protein bars that I hadn’t made because it includes Crystal Light in the ingredients and I don’t eat/drink artificial sweeteners so I might give it a try using this instead. I think if I mixed it with soda water it would taste quite delightful.

Each packet is the equivalent to one lemon wedge!

Ultimately, lemon water is great for your throat, your liver, your stomach, digestion, asthma and allergies and a slew of other maladies and I think True Lemon is going to help me get a bit more into my day!

The one about goals…

If you remember, a few posts ago I outlined what my short term (6 month) and long term (12 month) goals are.

I was recently chatting with a friend about the post and they wondered why it was that I didn’t have any weight loss related goals on my list.

The answer is simple: I don’t believe in goals based on weight loss.

In fact, they make me kind of annoyed. I don’t hold it against anyone who makes those kinds of goals and I think from time to time they can (perhaps) have a purpose but let’s get real – they’re not realistic most of the time.

I won’t deny that I have been on “diets” in the past. It was my experience with LA Weight Loss and Weight Watchers when I was in my early 20s that ultimately taught me how to eat properly so I can’t really slag them off. I have learned a lot since then though and I really feel now as though focusing on a number is a sure fire way to derail your efforts.

It’s really no surprise that most people are obsessed with achieving a specific (arbitrary) number that is supposedly an “ideal” for every body type imaginable. How could they not when flipping the pages of ONE magazine and these are the ads you see:

All of these ads were within 15 pages of each other.

Fat burners are pushed on us in every women’s magazine.

The average person will burn about 100 extra calories a day while taking a fat burner (which is pretty much a banana). Generally, they’re geared more towards models and fitness competitors who are trying to get the last little bit of body fat off before they get in front of a camera. The spokeswomen in the advertisements look the way they do thanks to a combination of good genes, good food and good exercise habits. As for the “before and after” photos that are featured in many of the ads… some of these businesses (won’t name which ones) will hire fit people and pay them to GAIN weight and just reverse the photos.

Think about it this way, what kind of successful business model would have the consumer buy your product once and never need to buy it again? They want you to buy it again because they know you’re going to need to buy it again.

Weight loss is a positive side effect of living a healthy lifestyle. When I think about the long term I set my goals based on fitness and eating clean (a full, unrestricted diet granted). If, through both those things, I happen to lose pounds or inches then so be it. Obviously that is how my body is meant to be! I have been the same weight for almost a year, no yo-yo’s here. I don’t have to watch the scale go up and down because 1. I rarely weigh myself (I generally go by body fat percentage) and 2. I’m achieving the goals I set because they’re healthy and attainable. Ideal weights don’t take into account your genetics, body type, or musculature.

Do whatever is right for you, and your body. Hopefully that means setting goals based on eating well and being active rather than fighting against your own body to achieve a number that may or may not be meant for you.

The one about breakfast…

You might be eating lunch about now but it’s never a bad time to reflect on breakfast. What did you have to get your day going? I have a tendency to eat the same thing until I get tired of it but it always includes eggs! Right now I’m on a protein pancake kick.

There’s a few delicious variations but this was today’s special:

1/2 cup quick oats (carbs are important!)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (for muscle growth/recovery)
4-5 egg whites (I use the substitute because I hate wasting yolks)
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce (for moisture)
1 packet stevia (equivalent to 2 tsp)
Cinnamon

I usually make one giant pancake but you could easily make two decent sized ones with this mix.

Options:
– Swap the vanilla powder for chocolate and the applesauce for half a mashed banana for a delightful treat!
– On rest days cut out the protein powder and applesauce and add an extra egg white since you don’t need as much carbs/protein. (When I make it this way I will cut it up into strips and dip it in applesauce in place of syrup!)

Add some delicious toppings, maybe even a touch of real maple syrup and you’ve got the makings of a protein packed start to the day! 🙂

Om nom nom

The one about understanding…

I sometimes wonder if people wouldn’t understand me better if my passion was reading or baking or making model airplanes.

There seems to be some kind of stigma that comes along with saying that you’re interested in body building and clean eating. There have been times where I’ve had people say to me, “That’s stupid. You should be able to eat what you want.” Here’s the thing – I do eat what I want. I want healthy food, I want to eat to fuel my body, I don’t want your cookies though I’m sure they are delicious and kudos to you for your talent in the kitchen. I’ve gotten to be pretty good in the kitchen myself and the food I make is delicious, if I do say so myself. It just happens to be healthy at the same time.

People’s reaction to the gym is another story entirely. There’s an assumption that wanting to build lean muscle means you’re going to go from zero to the Incredible Hulk in 0.68 seconds and will spend your time popping steroids. I made a comment on Twitter the other day about how there was nothing I would rather do at 5:30 a.m. than go to the gym and someone jokingly replied, “Sleeping?” I do sleep, for at least 7 hours a night (more than most TV watchers who stay up to get all their shows in, mind you.) I feel rested when my alarm goes off and for me the alternative to being at the gym at 5:30 a.m. is usually being at work, which just isn’t as fun! I crave my workout the way some people crave chocolate ice cream. Once I’m done I am already craving the next one. The word “obsession” has been thrown at me before but I’m not obsessed, I’m dedicated and I’m doing what I love.

To clear it up for good, I eat clean so that when I get into the gym (at 5:30 a.m.) I feel strong and can get through my workout feeling positive then make it through the day full of energy. I don’t put unnatural things into my body and that’s just my thing. I have no expectations of myself, I know there will be times when I am going to eat a deliciously greasy cheeseburger and no, I won’t feel like a “cheater” for doing it.

The other thing I notice people do is apologize for eating “bad” things in front of me. I don’t judge anyone for what they eat (or don’t eat) so don’t feel bad eating a piece of pizza in front of me, don’t apologize. I’m not on a restrictive diet, I’m not hungry and looking at your pizza longingly wanting to snatch it out of your hands. I’m not interested in eating it because I know how I feel afterwards (usually not good). Please, eat your nachos, eat your pizza, eat your cake, eat your Jello and if you want you can eat an extra piece for me because I’m happy with what I have. 🙂

Guest blog: Because everyone tells me I have a story to tell….

(Featured guest blogger: Gina)

I am half the person that I used to be.  And I am sitting here writing this note because yet again today, another person told me that I have a story to tell to others.  This is about my journey to the me that I am now.

It always amazes me when someone hears that I have lost 120 pounds, and they ask me how I did it, expecting to hear about some magic pill I took or magic food I ate.  When my answer is “Hard work and discipline” they are kinda let down….hoping to hear a quick fix.  People want to know if I have used a weight loss plan, a drink, surgery and the such.  When I  tell them “not a chance”, they are dumfounded with my answer of “eating healthy and excersize”.  The only thing I paid for on my weight loss journey was a gym pass, and the healthy food I ate from the grocery store.  I always tell them nothing is a quick fix, and if it is, It will not last, as it has to be a life style change.  That is just a fact.

Was it hard?  Of course.  But anything worth anything is worth the work.  And my health was worth the work.  Losing a whole person or half of myself was the hardest things I have ever done…. Physically that is. (emotional and spiritual came into play also, but emotionally I have dealt with harder things, and my spiritual walk also has grown through everything)  For me, it was mind set.  Mind over matter.  “Do or do not, there is no try” as Yoda would say.  And we all know Yoda is wisest of all little green men. 🙂

I will never forget starting to eat healthy (which started with the help of my friend Maryhelen), and thinking that I  would never keep this up.  I remember thinking that I may as well start walking if I am watching what I eat.  So out I would go and do a 5k walk, at slow pace.  After seeing 5 pounds come off I got encouraged, kept up the good eating (lowcarb, lots of fruits and veggies, and no sugar) and I joined the gym.  I am the biggest fan of people who join the gym, and I see them in there at about the size I was (a size 26), and they are working it on the treadmill or the eliptical (which is where i lost the first 70 lbs of my weight), and I smile, and get teary eyed and I cheer them on in my head!  It reminds me of where I was, and I know they too can also do what I have done and improve their health.

My friend Leighton said to me along my wieght loss journey, “Gina, are you prepared for the physical and emotional changes that will happen to you as you are losing weight?”  I thought he was crazy, cause I mean, it was just about losing my physical weight, right?  But, oh, how right he was.  My world started changing.  People viewed me differently, and I got attention from people in completely different ways than I  was used to, and I didn’t know how to handle it.  It was overwhelming for me, but I learned many life lessons during that time.  One of my  students that I taught for 8 years kinda said it simply like this after I lost weight, “Gina, you were always a beautiful person, but now your outside matches your inside”.  And I know what she meant by that,  It was sincere and honest.  It was sweet.  I also know that physically my life changed, as I was more active, and things I did were different than before, so my time was spent differently.  Now, instead of sitting on the couch eating oreo cookies and junk during a movie, I was out playing squash and enjoying life 🙂  Don’t get me wrong, I was the same Gina in the inside, but I now was a more active Gina.

I guess I have been wanting to write something about my journey for a while now, especially when I keep hearing of all these quick fixes that really don’t lend to a lifestyle change, or something you can continue with for life.

Anything becomes a habit after 30 days they say…that goes for eating properly and excersize.  Exersize to me has become a good addiction, a stress reliever and my sanity.  Running something out is sure better for you than drowning that something that is bugging you in a tub of icecream.  I thanks my friend Jenny for getting me into running in the first place.  After losing 70 lbs she was the one who told me to up it a notch, and ran side by side with me for the first while when I could barely finish 1km without taking a break, and thought I would pass out.

I have had some of the most supportive friends and family members during my journey completely encouraging me on my way.

I am the biggest cheer leader for anyone now who is trying to improve their health with weight loss. It isn’t about a quick fix, but about a slow steady determination and discipline to be healthy.  Discipline brings results.  If you want it, you can do it.  You just have to work for it, and it is worth the work.

Five years ago I would have never imagined that I would have lost 120 pounds, that I would run up to 14k at a time, and that I would be enjoying life the way I do with those closest to me, or that I would be shopping for clothes sometimes in the single digits.  I am almost 35 and I feel so much better than I did at 25!

During the last 4 years I have been through alot of physical changes, emotional, and spiritual.  And all encompassing, the weight loss and everything else that goes with it that I have been through has made me a stonger me,,, “a better me” as my best friend pointed out.  It was alot of work and determination, and wasn’t easy, but completely worth it.

That is my story 🙂

Me at the start of my journey: 302 pounds/size 26. Then after 120 pounds lost!

Product Review – Enerjive Quinoa Snack Crisps

Back in January I promised you a review of these snack crisps. I had hoped to do it before I managed to eat them all, so since I only have two servings left I figured it was time. (Is that a spoiler for what’s to come? I think it might be!)

How I came to know about this product is pretty random, actually. Where I live I sometimes have a challenging time finding particular foods that I want, especially when it comes to organic food. It’s getting better around here, the gluten-free and organic options are ever-increasing but in many cases they are often only available in larger metropolitan areas or online. I had been researching different retailers that shipped to my area when I stumbled upon this website for Enerjive Food. What immediately caught my eye was a “Look who’s eating Enerjive” feature on the sidebar which had a picture of someone I know. I realized immediately that not only did this company ship, but they were Canadian – bonus! The company is based out of Ottawa, ON and was founded by Naturopathic Doctor Joel Lee Villeneuve and Culinary Artist Korey Kealey.

The website had some strange formatting errors which appears to have been fixed for the most part but it was easy to find the main products that they sell: spelt & buckwheat granolas, herbal infusions, protein pastas, and quinoa snack crisps. I wanted to try everything but not knowing whether or not they would be good products (and the fact that I love snacks) I opted to start with the crisps.

They come in a few different flavours; Chocolate Fix, Lemon Berry Burst, Apricot Orange Zing & Apple Cinnamon Cozy and Original Oh-My. I ordered two family size, 500g boxes (chocolate and lemon berry) for $24.99 each and they were delivered very promptly via courier.

The first thing I did was check the serving size on the bottom of the box, which really doesn’t mean much to me because I’m crap at math! haha Good thing my handy kitchen scale isn’t! I always find it easier when I get big containers of things to immediately divide the box into servings. That way it’s near-impossible to accidentally overeat beyond what I had intended to, and it also made storage a bit easier since the box was pretty large.

I was surprised by how much ended up being in a serving. It’s a decent sized snack! With many snack foods, even natural or “healthy” ones I find they tend to think you can eat a ÂĽ cup and be satisfied but it never happens. Then came the big decision – which one do I try first?! I went with the chocolate and it was love at first bite! I am a lover of dark chocolate as it is but this was delicious. Just a hint of cocoa without being overwhelmingly sweet. I’ve found since I started eating clean I’m not as big of a fan of sweet things so these were perfect and tasted real. They were also very satisfying. Once I finished a little packet I didn’t feel the urge to have more. I was able to just savour and enjoy what I had.

In all I give the Enerjive Quinoa Snack Crisps two huge thumbs up and I can’t wait to try some of the other products they have. If they are anything like the crisps I will be very happy with them!

The one with the artificial sweetener…

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes…

I blog in advance.

Yes, it’s true. When inspiration comes to me I tend to just write it all out then schedule the posts ahead of time so there’s sort of a queue of posts. That way should I ever get too busy or run out of things to say (yeah, right) then I will at least have something to post that is fresh.A few months ago I did just that. I got inspired during some down time and wrote a bunch of posts about things that I knew would be timely and relevant in the coming weeks. One of those posts was about an addiction to artificial sweetener. I used to be quite addicted to diet pop. I always told myself that it wasn’t the caffeine I was craving or even a chemical attachment to aspartame but rather I just liked the fizziness of it.

The post that I wrote basically went against everything I really believed deep down but said that the only thing I was not willing to do without in my effort to eat totally clean was my beloved diet soda. I couldn’t even switch for the “old fashioned” kind made with real sugars because I preferred the taste of diet. I wrote up this whole justification that tried to exclude myself from the statistics on people who drink diet pop then experience enhanced cravings. Rather than try to describe it to you I’ll post an excerpt from that post-that-never-was before explaining how things have changed…

I know that all pop is bad for you but will that stop me? Nope! Name me one time when someones death has been directly attributed to the occasional (okay, more than occasional) indulgence in a can… bottle… case… of diet pop! Not counting forklift accidents, and Mentos experiments gone horribly awry, that is.

I have experienced so many occasions where someone has said to me, “Do you know what’s in that? Aspartame will give you cancer. Diet pop is so bad for you.” These people say this as they crack open their own can of regular soda or iced tea, or polish off a big glass of “fruit drink” because obviously that is SO much better for you! (Does it freak you out when they call it “fruit drink” on the packaging because it’s not really juice? Gives me the heebies.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love water and always get more than my daily quota but water gets boring. Some people dig it but I like a little variety in my life. Sometimes I add lemon or cucumber to my water, occasionally I will make iced tea out of actual tea bags (What?! You mean it doesn’t just come in powder?!) but from time to time I want something fizzy and delicious. I just happen to like it a bit too much.

Shortly after writing this post I was very busy writing a paper for school. During the process of writing that paper I ran out of pop and had no time to get more. It was a fairly common occurrence but what happened next wasn’t. Since I’ve started eating clean I find I don’t venture into the middle aisles of the grocery store very often unless I’m looking for something specific, which I can usually find in the health/organic food section anyway. Because of the whole writing-a-paper-no-time-to-shop situation I had gone a couple of days without having any soda. I told myself then that I would stop drinking it at home, and cut back to just bringing one to school or something like that because I didn’t want to stop drinking it. By the time I actually got to the grocery store though I grabbed everything on my list and checked out without even thinking about going to that centre aisle with the chips and pop.

It kept happening repeatedly; go to the store, grab everything on my list, check out without realizing that I hadn’t bought any pop. A week went by, then two and I noticed that not only had I not had a pop in a long time but I didn’t even want one. During those first few days of craving one if I had caved I would have surely kept the addiction alive but needing to do homework had kept me from indulging. I had somehow broken through the aspartame chains that were holding me down and I didn’t even notice! I’m now more than a month away from my last pop (I feel a bit like this is an AA meeting :P) and although I think about how great one would be every time I’m standing next to the cooler at the grocery store, I don’t really want it. I’m quite happy with water and have kept it interesting by adding fun fruits and vegetables and when I want the fizzy I grab some Perrier.

Until I noticed the other post still waiting in the queue to be posted the other day, I didn’t even remember that I had stopped drinking diet pop. It’s kind of gone from my memory already. The other post has since been deleted and I am now totally up to date with posts (so long queue!).

There are so many pictures of me as a kid/teen holding a can or glass of pop and it makes me wonder just how much of it I have consumed in my 27 years of life. I’m ready to move on though and let that crap stay where it belongs, as a memory of my past, as a life lesson in will power and how sometimes it’s easy to move on from something you thought you loved by just letting it go.

The one with the road trip…

I can’t believe I didn’t blog at all last week. I’m sort of ashamed of myself, to be honest. It’s not that I didn’t have things in my head that I wanted to write about but I was recovering and trying to catch up on life after a road trip.I always rolled my eyes when my parents quoted Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon movies and proclaimed, “I’m getting too old for this shit!” because you’re only as old as you feel, right? As it turns out, it’s not as easy to be the fun, free-spirited kid that I am inside with all this obligation on the outside. (School, work, this strange desire to sleep for 8 hours a night…)

Some friends and I took a very short trip down to Boston, just for three days. Anyone who is familiar with the Maritime provinces knows that getting most places from Nova Scotia is a bit of a challenge so although things look close on the map, you have to take a very roundabout way of getting there. If I had a boat I’m sure I would have been in Massachusetts in no time, but I don’t. We needed to pick up a friend in New Hampshire on the first day so we expected about a 10 hour drive, two hours short of Beantown. We left at five in the morning, drove through to Bangor where we stopped at WalMart (I had to stock up on Truvia since it really is a superior Stevia product and we don’t have it here) then went on to my friend’s place.

This is where I encountered the first of what would be a reoccurring issue through the trip: I eat clean. It’s not a mystery to my friends that I do, they all know it but I don’t feel that I can expect anyone else to change their eating options just for me. Especially when there are four people involved. A lot of people view my diet as restrictive but I just see it as structured but enjoyable. I love the food I eat, it’s delicious and in eating 5-6 small meals a day I am never for want of food, I’m ALWAYS satisfied. I had brought along a bunch of homemade protein bars, some protein shakes and things like that but I couldn’t bring any fresh food over the border and I had no way of making food. I was kind of stuck in a predicament and felt that I would just have to accept the reality that was eating not-so-great for a couple of days.

The first night we had pizza and immediately my body was telling me something was not right with what I was eating. It tasted delicious, don’t get me wrong. It was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life, but given that my system had been free from processed foods for a while it was sort of a shock and I felt it. That night’s pizza was followed by a hamburger the next day at lunch (again, delicious gourmet burger that luckily had a small option) and pizza AGAIN for dinner.

I didn’t tell my friends this at the time (though given this blog post they’ll likely know now :P) but I felt terrible. In trying to limit the amount of unhealthy foods I was eating I wasn’t taking in nearly enough calories to function normally. I felt lethargic, sluggish and simply exhausted. Couple that with another 12 hour drive back home (24 out of 72 hours of this trip was spent driving) and I couldn’t help but say “I’m getting too old for this shit!”

I need to find another solution. I know that my diet makes me a minority when it comes to eating in groups and I’m not afraid to say “Sorry, I can’t eat with you,” I just need to figure out a way to make my food travel.

It took me a week to recover from a three day trip and that is just not cool in my book. I want to have my organic, buckwheat, protein pancakes and eat them too!

Ok, so I'm already eating them...

If you have any suggestions on how best to stick to a healthy diet while travelling in a group I’d be happy to read them! In the meantime, if I never look at another pepperoni pizza again I’ll be a happy camper. (Hmm. Speaking of which… camping will be another challenge I’m sure.)