Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finding Community

I struggle with my eating in the best of circumstances. I struggle with making the best choices, with how to manage my portions, with how to get a well-balanced diet, all that. I have spent half my life now, on my own, trying to do the right thing by my body.

And having spent many of those 18 years doing my favorite things – road-tripping and adventuring by plane, train or automobile (I am so full of crap. I hate to fly. So scratch plane and add bus) – I can tell you that making the right choices is far easier when in the controlled environment of your own kitchen.

When you are on the road, you are out of your element and at the mercy of others. You don’t have your staple items, and there is no guarantee that your hostess or hotel will. You might be lucky enough to find a cafĂ© that stocks soy milk and agave nectar, but probably not. Likewise for restaurants with vegetarian and gluten-free options, convenience stores with nuts and fruit, and opportunities for tons of water and bathroom breaks.

So here I am, blogging from me to you, from the warm sunny comfort of Cape Cod. I am sitting in a big old house where for the past 4 days, my family has enjoyed time with several other families – including 9 children, 3 dogs and lots and lots of beer.

Lucky for me, I have friends who not only understand my struggle but who – in their own ways – share it. And even luckier for me, we all happen to be in a place where this vacation – with all its adventures and fun and walks on beaches – was meant to be more than a gluttonous food-fest. Inspired in part by Linda Snay’s awesome guest post but also inspired by each other, these past 4 days have been an absolute feast for the senses.

Instead of using vacation as an excuse to order out, buy junk and let diets go, we embraced the opportunity, collectively, to sustain a large group of people with optimally good food. Highlights of the trip, from a culinary standpoint, were:

* Making sushi with my friend’s 13 year old and sitting at the table eating in silence except for the audible “nom nom nom” sounds we made.

* Making homemade pizza as a group and creating the most outrageously beautiful veggie pizza the world has ever seen.

*Finding a burrito place on Martha’s Vineyard where you choose the base of your burrito (I got spicy portabellas) and added in extras. For me, rice & beans, black olives, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and cilantro). Ate on a cobblestone patio with my friends and kids while people-watching, the ferries coming in and out in the distance.

* Creating green smoothies and juicing in the morning while 9 kids looked on in horror/fascination

* Whipping out roasted seaweed and apples on the ferry for my kids and munching healthy snacks with them, because this is our new “normal”

It’s a new experience, to have friends who support and embrace the same moral code of eating, and maybe it’s the secret to the whole thing.

Regardless, it was easily the best vacation we’ve ever had. And we don’t come home with any of the guilt and “Diet starts Monday!” proclamations that usually accompany a 4 day weekend at the beach.

We are nourished, inside and out.

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