When we travel as a family, to any destination, there is always a lot of behind the scenes busy work. Travelling with a food allergic son makes things a little more challenging so, we just can’t pop into a restaurant, rather, we have to research a restaurant in advance, and then grill the manager about their allergy protocol, if any. In many cases, even after this arduous process, we won't even eat there, because frankly, it’s just not worth the anaphylactic risk. Therefore, we always make sure that we have enough supplies in the car to quell those hunger pangs.
We stay in a hotel with a kitchen, as a fridge, microwave and a stove- top are requisites. We head toward the supermarket after check in and load up on enough groceries for our 3-4 day stay to cover enough for three meals a day and snacks. I usually stock our temporary dwelling with fresh, bright colorful fruit (which always makes me happy) cucumbers, frozen broccoli, pasta, yogurt, string cheese, hummus, whole wheat bread, water and some assorted crunchy snacks that aren’t too offensive. NO FROOT LOOPS here! You get the idea. I try to make it healthier so that the kids can see that you don’t have to abandon all good eating habits while on vacation, though occasional treats are warranted. I do buy ice cream for our home away from home, as Ari can’t eat ice cream in most mainstream shops because again…too risky.
So, there we are on the long return journey back from camp. It’s a little quieter in the car, though Unit #2 has settled in nicely with an iron-clad grip on the DVD remote control. No longer the Deputy of DVD-ville…he has finally been promoted to Sheriff…and he definitely likes it. Nevertheless, we had lots of road ahead of us.
Over the course of the next two days, we did some special stuff with the sibling who was left behind. My husband and I were trying to make the best of it, but this camp thing was a new experience to us, we just weren’t quite used to being a family of three. It started out innocently enough, after miles and miles of blurred scenery and road, I started to nibble on some pretzels. I was bored and a little sad. I missed my girl.
We stopped for lunch (Dunkin Donuts is on our approved list). After my veggie egg white on flatbread and coffee,(still trying to keep healthy)I felt ready to conquer the road again. Well, one hour and 45 miles into our journey toward home, I noticed that I was missing my backpack. “We need to go back and get it.” I said frantically to my husband. “It has my wallet, but it also has the Epi-pen! We called the Dunkin Donuts and miraculously, they had it, in tact.
We turned around and made the 45-mile return trek. Unit 2 mercifully fell asleep, so I grabbed the bag and we instantly got back on the road…Did I mention we hit loads of traffic? Did I indicate that it took a roundtrip of 3 hours just to get back to our original spot? Did I forget to tell you that it was another 3 hours to our final destination, which wasn’t even our home because we were going to PA to take Unit #2 to an Amusement Park?
Therefore, I finished off the bag of pretzels, and dove into the fruit bars followed by the extra bagel from Dunkin Donuts. After a 7-hour ride, we finally reached the hotel. It was late and we were low on supplies. We ventured into Wal-Mart to stock up on some new DVD’s for Unit #2…he deserved it. He survived the ride with only a small modicum of complaining.
I am not sure what happened to me that night, but something unleashed that was too powerful to stop. I started out with good intentions. I perused the fruit aisle, but clearly, Wal-Mart isn’t known for their stellar produce. Like a zombie under someone else’s control, I headed toward the snack section. I was tired, my tuchus was irreparably numb, my muscles ached, and I was still acutely aware that with each passing mile, I was travelling further away from my girl.
Like my previous shopping trip at the beginning of our journey, I loaded my cart with colorful things…conversely this now included orangey goldfish, pretzel goldfish, graham crackers, Oreo minis, and when I passed the pop tart aisle, my hand instantly reached for the strawberry toaster cake that would be my salvation. It was as if a puppeteer was controlling my jerky, unthinking movements. Don’t worry, I declined…but I did buy two bags of pretzel M&M’s….HEY DON’T JUDGE ME.
It’s all a blur after that, I basically ate my way through Scranton and Harrisburg (oh yeah, we bought soft pretzels brushed with butter in Lancaster). I did buy a salad at the amusement park in an effort to re-set my egregious eating ways until I ate a bag of Oreo minis followed by greasy Chinese food finale upon the return home.
It’s ironic that someone like me who writes articles on healthy recipes, goal setting, and nutrition would plunge into the depths of food hell. Nevertheless, like the dietician who is overweight, or the doctor who smokes, or the therapist who has more problems than his/her clients…sometimes we fall off the wagon. The bigger issue is how we get back on.