A Year of No Sugar: Post 27

There is a lot of banging of pots and pans downstairs right now, which I am steadfastly going to ignore because it has been far too long since my last post. I just hope the girls aren’t burning down the kitchen… stay tuned.

The reason I haven’t posted in several days is that we took advantage of the school break to take a family trip to Philadelphia and see all the requisite tourist stuff: Liberty Bell? Check. Independence Hall? Check. Philadelphia Museum of Art? Check.

Meanwhile, we also had to eat. Oh yeah- I forgot that part. In fact, I was so much in denial about this inconvenient truth that, in our frantic rush to get out of the house on Monday, I neglected to pack any snacks at all, which is really weird, because in our family I’m The Snack Lady… if I can’t bring a Larabar or a banana I’m not going. Consequently the girls have picked up the habit of digging in my purse when I’m not looking and handing out snacks found therein to every kid in ballet class. In this way I’m kind of a healthy-snack vending machine.

Normally. But on this hungry occasion, not so much. There we were, driving all afternoon having had no lunch and no snacks. Normally under such circumstances we’d relax our healthy eating standards j-u-s-t enough to allow for a pizza lunch at one of the thruway travel plazas… but of course with the “no sugar” project in full swing, eating at any of the colorfully advertised chain restaurants which bloom at rest stops like colonies of algae would be out of the question.

But maybe, I hoped, we could at least find a suitable bag of pretzels before somebody’s arm got gnawed off. At the next travel plaza we were astonished to have those hopes far surpassed when we found fruit cups (consisting of: fruit!) and cellophane-wrapped to-go sandwiches with lists! Of ingredients! on their label stickers! Wow! After a happy, hurried survey of ingredients I selected some fruit cups (consisting of: fruit!) and three turkey sandwiches, as well as some cheese sticks (ingredients: cheese!) and bottled water.

I felt surprised and delighted- we would have lunch after all! Wow- maybe the world was coming to it’s senses, I thought. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they sometimes seem. Maybe the consumer pressure to clean up our act in the eating department has finally elicited some response in the age old capitalistic form of sellers meeting market demands, I thought. Most of all I was thinking about stopping that gnawing in my belly without having to break any project parameters.

However. After we got back on the road I did that thing which by now I should know not to do: I double-checked. (Note to self: if you want to eat? DO NOT DOUBLE-CHECK.) You can guess what I found I’m sure: sugar. Plain old sugar- not even some tricky euphemism hiding it and I still missed it in my hungry hurry: ingredient number five in the sandwich bun. Sure, there was a panoply of other ingredients which ordinarily would’ve worried me much more, and most of which probably should have seemed more like chemistry class experiments to me than “lunch” but remember: I was starving.

So I ate around the problem. I ignored the sandwiches and enjoyed a nice lunch of cheese, fresh fruit and strong coffee- I felt very European.

And by European, I mean hungry. About a half-hour later I broke down. I ate half of the thousand-ingredient sandwich. It left an icky chemically taste in my mouth, metallic tasting, as if I’d been sucking on a lead pencil. My punishment I suppose. (Maybe it was those four different kinds of sodium in the turkey meat?)

Meanwhile, back at home I was now mentally picturing all of the no-sugar food I should have thought to bring. I was suddenly worried: what would we do for no-sugar food in Philadelphia? Would we be forced to pick through our meals like scientists? Would we just starve? Worse, would my family revolt, abandoning our lofty no-sugar project for the satisfaction of a decent meal?

All I can say is, so much for The Snack Lady.

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