Saturday, July 16, 2011

Food Revolution Road Trip: The Challenge

Ah, summer road trips. Full of sun, driving, and for us, hotels and restaurant food. For the past few years I tried to convince Hubs that possibly we should try making some of our own food. Wouldn't it be cheaper? Back then, I didn't even consider the health factor. We always ate breakfast at our hotel breakfast bar, and then lunch and dinner out. By the time we came home we were so sick of restaurants we couldn't stand the sight of another one, and if anyone even mentioned french fries it was a cause for all out mutiny.

Food Revolution changed that. Last year, we resolved, was going to be different. An experiment of sorts, in a country totally different from our own. We clocked hundreds of miles, explored about 8 states, and spent two weeks in the USA doing our best to avoid fast food and eat healthy.

You can read all about last year's Food Revolution Road trip here.

This year, we did the very same route-but this time we were more experienced. Hotel fridges that freeze everything? No problem. Gas stations with literal walls of junk food? Easy. Shopping? Ah, now I know my way around things a little more. There were still challenges, and it was still interesting navigating a different country, different food culture, and trying to keep things kind of healthy while on vacation.

Now, a bit of a disclaimer, here. This series is going to touch on some topics that some people may find...a bit controversial. You may see yourself in my observations. Please know that I am not judging the people I mention, or the food, and especially not the culture of the USA. The purpose of writing about this trip is to show what we found-what you or your family chooses to eat is up to you. I may describe what I observed, and it is not to be judgmental but rather to give a picture of what we saw. What conclusions you come to from that are entirely up to you.

For a refresher, here is the itinerary of our trip:

View Larger Map

If you can't see the map, go here to take a look at our route.

July 1st: home to Spokane, Washington.

2nd: drive from Spokane, WA to Bozeman, Montana Stay at the Wingate by Wyndham.

3rd: drive from Bozeman to Rapid City, South Dakota (741 km / 461 miles) Stay at the Howard Johnson in Rapid City.

4th-6th: Rapid City!

7th: drive from Rapid City, South Dakota to Moab, Utah. (1, 187 km / 738 miles) Stay at the Hampton.

8th-11th: Moab!

12th: drive from Moab to Boise, Idaho. (949 km / 590 m) Spend overnight in Nampa, Idaho at the Holiday Inn Express.

13th: drive from Nampa, Idaho to Bend, Oregon. (491 km / 305 m) Stay at the Ameritel Inn by the Old Mill District.

14th: Bend, Oregon!

15th: drive from Bend to Vancouver and then home. (795 km / 494 miles)

Can we do it? As we packed, we came up with the following Food Revolution Road Trip Goals/Rules/Guidelines:

1. NO fast food or gas station food. We can stop for a bathroom break if we need to, but that is it.

Every year on a road trip we stop at least 5 times in a two week period at a fast food place-usually McDonalds for breakfast, or Subway for lunch. No. Not this year.

(exception: Starbucks is our coffee place of choice and not considered fast food. We don't really eat their food anyway)

2. Eat only ONE meal a day in a restaurant. Breakfast is easy, as it's always covered with a hotel breakfast bar. Lunch is where we need to be creative and make our own. We'll be traveling here and there; whitewater rafting, jeeping, driving, hiking. Can we do it?

3. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors/flavors, and anything highly processed. This doesn't just mean in what I buy, but in the food at the hotel breakfast bar. How hard can it be to find healthy food, anyway? It's pretty easy here. And is the USA really that different from Canada?

4. Snack on lots of fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, nuts, and real food. That's easy, right? Storage might be an issue. It should be pretty cheap, too.

5. Occasional treats are allowed because you know, this IS a vacation. Treats would be a chocolate bar, ice cream, or the fries with a restaurant meal. The fries will be hardest to avoid, but since we are on vacation a couple times each can't hurt.

The Challenge:

A diabetic Hubs, a lactose intolerant teenager who eats everything in sight, and a mom who is sensitive to tree nuts. Between the three of us we have someone sensitive to soy, corn, MSG, red food dye, and we watch our sodium intake. Some hotel rooms have fridges, some do not. Some have microwaves, some do not. We will be very busy and will be driving long distances, as well as being outdoors in temperatures as high as 105 F in remote locations where we have to pack in our own water.

Who is the Food Revolution champ?
Who almost caves in a few desperate moments?
What does Jamie Oliver say about the challenge?
Can we find the food we're looking for?
What do fellow travelers say when they find out what we're doing?
Do any good restaurants stand out and give us some exceptionally good meals?

You, my friends, will just have to follow along and see.

Ready? Set? Let's GOOOO!

(Ps.. Products, hotels, tour companies, and destinations will be mentioned, linked to, and photographed for Food Revolution Road Trip. All opinions are are my own. I was not given anything as payment to mention companies or products, but chose to of my own volition. Food Revolution Road Trip is not affiliated with Jamie Oliver in any way, he just inspired me.)

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