And suddenly, I’m halfway through the tour.
Friday night and Saturday I was in the states for a show at Summerfest in Milwaukee. Crossing into the US meant leaving my cooler behind at a bandmate’s house, to retrieve upon return.
As we crossed the border (an arduous endeavour at 1 AM after playing a show) I worried about the dietary challenges ahead. Not only was I on the road – without my cooler – I was in America. A country infamous for supersize portions, unethical food production and world-renowned obesity.
During our short stay I discovered that with perseverance and self-discipline you can, in fact, eat healthily in America.
The first morning in Detroit we stop at a Dunkin Donuts. Not a single thing on the menu board looks remotely healthy. Nothing is wheat-free – a dietary choice that has been saving my calorie-consumption and general well-being on this trip. Also, on this morning I finished my last antibiotic, so I am avoiding sugar for a few days to keep yeast infections at bay. (And taking probiotics with every meal.)
Fortunately, this Dunkin Donuts is attached to a corner-store where I find a low-sodium bag of mixed nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds. [Incidentally, Canadian packaged foods contain some of the highest sodium in the world. Identical products and brands in Canada VS US reveal Canadians’ preference for higher sodium options.] I pick out the raisins (dried fruit is nutritious but packed with sugar – bad for yeast!) and the bag lasts me all day. I also choose a bottled protein smoothie (“with no added sugar”) and a banana.
We eat lunch at a huge musical festival. Fast food counters are EVERYWHERE with cheap and enormous portions. I peruse my options and find a stand with fresh fruit, veggies and dip. Score. I then visit a BBQ stand and request 1/4 chicken with no fries. They courteously reduce the price (everything came with fries!) and boom, I had fantastic chicken and tons of veggies. Total cost: $9.50.
In Canada, I swear, they wouldn’t have reduced the price because of my no-fries request, and I would have guiltily accepted the fries to avoid feeling like I was wasting money.
On our way out, we stop at White Castle to discover what the Harold and Kumar movie was all about. I nearly had a panic attack looking at the menu, thinking of some French women I read about in a magazine once regarding a similar plate as “too much beige.” Beige processed cheese, beige bread, beige fried meets, beige onion rings… But, considering my earlier healthy choices, I order a small fries and 2 “sliders” – mini-burgers. They do not taste nor feel better than the lowest grade fast food I have ever consumed, but I did satiate my Harold & Kumar curiosity.
Upon return into Canada I retrieve my food with great relief and prepared a sloppy yet delicious car meal: hummus and avocado on sprouted grain bagel. Oh, sweet fibre and healthy fats!