Healthy eating at an outback roadhouse
First off, I need to make a disclaimer that I am very lucky to be at a rather large roadhouse with a restaurant/pub and extensive menu, and also that I'm working in the kitchen and have access to a wider range of vegetables and options than a lot of places would have.
Having said that, I am very pleased to tell you that it IS possible to eat relatively healthfully in a remote outback roadhouse. The hardest thing for me actually, is to resist the temptation of all the other not so healthy options!
Since I've been here, over two months, I've yo-yo'd from eating whatever I want, to only wanting to eat salad, to eating ice cream and sugary desserts everyday. I've been into healthy eating for a long time, and it's quite an evolution.
Not only does the information about nutrition change regularly, but also one's body and needs change regularly. There is no one diet or way of eating that is going to suit everybody, or even going to suit your body for the duration of your life. But as my eating journey has evolved over the years I've discovered what works best for me. And even though I know how to eat to live optimally, I still want to eat all of the other tasty rubbish. Namely wheat, dairy and sugar in the form of breads, cheeses, ice cream, cakes and cookies. But it certainly gets easier the less you eat it, and also helps if you're not in front of it all the time =( I was so much better at this at home when I could control what foods came into my environment.
When I first came here, I decided that I didn't want to add the stress of what I'm eating to an already challenging environment. This is only temporary after all. So I let myself off the hook and indulged. I've been deep in the thralls of health food extremism before, and I know that going too far in any extreme can have as much negative impact as good. Stressing about everything that goes into your mouth, causes the stress on your body that you were trying to avoid by not eating the offending foods. Rock. Hard place.
It's important to find a balance that YOU are happy with. With a bit of creativity and forward planning, I think you can cut out the majority of inflammatory foods with alternatives that taste amazing and leave you feeling satisfied. But every once in a while is it really going to kill you to indulge in that special cheese that you love so much? Or even a piece of cheesecake or chocolatey sugary something or other? Surely not. It's when we indulge in them (all of them) everyday that we run into problems and feed addictions, and when we avoid them altogether and wistfully long for them day after day that we are tormented by them.
I used to be vegan (note- that was actually so much easier than being a conscious omnivore, I gravitate towards an all or nothing mentality, I find it simpler to adhere to), and have had to start eating meat again to restore my joint health, so it's been difficult coming to terms with eating factory farmed meats and eggs. As there are no other options here, it's a daily game of “which is the lesser evil?”...
After three months, I have finally eaten all of the crap that I can handle and have sworn off all sugar and bread from here on in. But we'll see how long that lasts, three weeks so far ;-) And I'm feeling great again. All I can say is, thank Gaia we have sweet potatoes, and that I brought a 6 month supply of tahini, coconut oil and hemp seeds along with me!
For now, I have to learn to practice what I'v preached in my yoga teaching career; patience, tolerance, and an acceptance of circumstances beyond my control. It really is a grand test of my ability to adapt and to learn and grow from the challenges that I've chosen to undertake on this journey towards financial freedom.
For the interest of this blog post I thought I would share with you the most appalling foods I've had the displeasure of serving our customers:
Baked beans and tinned spaghetti together on white toast (believe it or not it was a cyclist who ordered this, not a truckie) hello pre diabetes!
Lambsfry and bacon on toast (ahem..the lambsfry is cooked with bacon already).
Savoury mince on toast (yeah this is basically mince, frozen vegetables, and all of the sauces tomato, bbq etc, cooked together) … I hold my breath when I serve this one up.
And don't even get me started on the people who order entire meals from the hot box! The worst item I think must be what's called a lasagne topper – think square of lasagne and mashed potato, crumbed and deep fried. I still get an internal shudder when I serve those...
Oh and the most popular dessert item that flies off the shelf is the “Truckie Trifle” - that's sponge cake (made from cake mix of course) custard and jelly. I actually sold three of them to one customer once.
I used to think the general population was catching on to the whole eating healthy thing... I must have been in the bubble because I don't think so anymore! * rolls up her sleeves*.
It does seem a very daunting task to educate the population on nutrition, but such an important one. And the more that people catch on, the more other people will catch on, so I think we have hope.