Yep, I've returned from my weekend jaunt down to South Alabama. It was great to meet the groom's side of the family but a tad overwhelming. There must have been at least 60 people at the barbecue on Saturday night, and they were all related. It's kinda cool though, because they all live on one (lovely) street. Grandma, the kids, cousins, grandkids--they're all within walking distance of one another. Part of me is jealous of such a convenient arrangement, but then the other part of me remembers those times when I "need my space" from my family members...
As you might expect, vegetarian options are limited in South Alabama. The bridal shower was held at a place called the Fly Creek Cafe, a local bayside joint that serves fried fish and the like. The view, the weather, and the company were all wonderful, but food was a bit less than stellar. There was a fixed menu for our gathering, and the options were: hamburger, fried fish sandwich, or a shrimp po- boy. Uh-oh. Just as I was about to open my mouth to order, the groom's mother stepped in and asked for a salad for me. I was so grateful to her for remembering my dietary preferences, but this locale's idea of a salad was a small mound of iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato, and shredded mozzarella. I am not much of a cheese person, so I attempted to spear just the lettuce and tomato. When it came time for the monogrammed petit fours, I was hungry enough to indulge a bit by having a few bites. I made up for the lack of calories later by eating an apple pie Larabar.
I was pleasantly surprised at the barbecue by a few vegetarian options on the buffet table. Imagine my delight when I found a delicious bean salad with red onion and green bell pepper (I even went back for seconds!). I also helped myself to some sliced tomato and homemade sweet pickles. My self-control apparently took a hiatus this weekend because I also treated myself to the icing from my sister's abandoned piece of coconut cake (she detests anything coconut!). It was delicious!
I got a lot of teasing as a result of my vegetarianism, and a lot of questions like, "you don't even eat fish?!" It's an understandable question considering we were in a city by the Gulf of Mexico, but the whole thing makes me feel uncomfortable. I fear that my diet makes me seem "picky," "snooty," or "attention-seeking," when really I am just trying to make the most ethical, responsible, and healthful choices I can. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Do you feel alienated because you eat healthfully or because you don't eat certain things?
Onto the food, already! Before I left, I made sure to pack a snack grab-bag which included: Larabars, low-sodium V8, Justin's Nut Butters, vegan jerky, pretzel braids, and a couple Odwalla carrot-raisin bars. I didn't end up needing most of it, but as they say, it's better to be safe than sorry.
My only picture from this day is my breakfast, and it's a pretty pathetic picture. In case you can't see through the lovely Christmas themed Ziploc, I had an apple, high-fiber cereal, and some almonds. Picture-taking and riding in the car are not exactly compatible activities.
I returned to my own kitchen on Sunday afternoon. After a refreshing run (on which I think I re-injured my ankle...argh!), I refueled with some dried plums and some Thin Cakes spread with cashew butter. I have decided that I love this combination for an afternoon snack. Dried fruit with some nuts/nut butter, and a few crackers keeps my hunger at bay until dinner--which means fewer scoops into the kitchen candy bowl!
We had hot dogs for dinner. On our trip to Publix (very close second to Whole Foods in my estimation!), I picked up some Smart Dogs and a pack of Arnold Whole Wheat hot dog buns. I've decided that I really like Arnold as a brand--whole grain and no HFCS=good buy. After grilling it on my spiffy George Foreman, I dressed my dog with ketchup and mustard (Chi Omega colors!), and I had a side salad with green beans. I also had a strawberry-banana soy yogurt for dessert:)
The evening smoothie consisted of peaches 'n cream: frozen peaches, nonfat organic plain yogurt, vanilla Spirutein, and a generous dose of pumpkin flax granola and agave nectar.
After much hemming and hawing, I decided to make pumpkin oats this morning. I had a blueberry soy yogurt on the side. Yum!
Lunch was a burrito made with refried beans, mashed avocado, and salsa in a Rudi's Organic Whole Grain Tortilla. I apologize for the poor photo quality--the camera battery was running out. Organic greens and an orange rounded out the meal.
Spaghetti squash was the main ingredient for dinner. I roasted it, then combined it with broccoli, garlic, soy sauce, tahini, and a cut up Quorn cutlet. Delicious! Why did it take me so long to discover tahini? I also had a side salad and some whole grain graham crackers for dessert.
Well, I had promised to write a skimpier post today, but apparently I failed in doing so. I guess I just like to type too much...Be back Wednesday!