I look at my clock. Three and a half hours so far… breakfast now is just a distant memory. We are at the doctor’s office, doing testing for allergy to medication. I knew it would be an ‘all day process’ but I guess somehow, I thought it would be like some of those types of appointments that you come in, get the test started, leave for an hour and come back to get results and then leave again to return later. I didn’t really take in to account that they would be monitoring breathing and blood pressure. So, here it is, past time for Michael and I to eat, feeling restless and our stomachs were beginning to growl. Which meant…. the hangries are coming on. (You know, hunger + anger = hangry)
About that time that I was so very thankful that I developed a habit years ago that has benefited not only myself but many others.
See, I have to keep an eye on my sugar level (glucose). For a few years they had me carrying one of those little portable blood sugar testers, to try to learn to keep my numbers level. (I had a problem that if I didn’t eat properly that I would begin to get sweats and shaky, kind of angry and confused; all possible effects of hypoglycemia.) My doctor taught me that no matter what, I should always have food accessible. She explained that by keeping crackers, or meal bars, or even fruit roll ups in either my purse or car then I could just grab something periodically and learn to eat at regular intervals to keep my levels even.
I love how Mark McDonald explains it in ‘Body Confidence’; he says that it is like keeping a fire burning evenly. See, if you have a fire going in the fireplace, you want to consistently add wood so that the fire burns evenly and not wait until it is almost out and the room is chilly, and don’t overload it with wood to where it gets overwhelmingly hot. Our bodies are the same way, by eating at regular intervals, we burn the calories better and feel better too. Such a simple concept, yet hardly ever followed.
In fact, over the years, it has completely amazed me at the horrible eating habits we Americans have. Now, I am not ‘picking on Americans’; I am just speaking of where I am. I honestly can’t say if any other countries have the issues we have, since I’ve never experienced it.
That all being said, we are laughable when it comes to consistent eating, much less healthy eating!
(In case you haven’t caught on already – this is a big pet peeve of mine!)
For example, I can’t even count how many times I have heard someone say, in the evening, “I really need to eat, I haven’t eaten since yesterday, just haven’t had time.”
What?! How can someone not have had time to eat when you have been awake for over 10 hours! Really? This makes absolutely no sense to me, considering first off, we live in a country of instant and portable food; as well we all have the same amount of time in a day! For example, my friend is a doctor, and I literally have seen him go from patient to patient – with no break in between; yet he keeps his body fueled by keeping a meal / protein drink near to take sips as he can.
Honestly, choosing not to eat throughout the day and subjecting others to our headaches, confusion and attitude is unthinkable. As far as I am concerned, it is ridiculous and can be as dangerous as driving under the influence!
If you are so hungry that you are starting to shake, sweat and get a headache- you have pushed your body too far. In my opinion, at that point you are not safe to be driving. I know I am coming across very strong, but I know from experience how fuzzy things got from when my sugar levels have tanked. Not only that, as a teen, my daughter literally had to grab the steering wheel while riding with a friend that blacked out from not eating! This is an actual danger to oneself as well as others around. It isn’t funny, and it certainly isn’t impressive.
(Side note – I am not talking about fasting – that’s a totally different subject – and done intentional with precautions taken).
Now, that all being said – I go back to the comment of how my carrying food has helped others. Because – how could my snacking help others?
I am in a habit of keeping food in my car. Even in super warm Florida. Obviously, I can’t carry some things without a cooler, for example yogurt, chocolate, salads, etc. But generally, you will find bags of chips, Epic bars, sunflower seeds, fruit strips, rice snack bars, a Ziploc of protein powder, and sometimes jerky.
Now, if I am going out for the day, I will also throw a few things in my backpack for fuel. I like the simplicity of the ‘pouches’ of like fruit sauce and yogurt. But I’ve been known to peel the lid off a little cup of red grapefruit and sip them right out.
I have lost track of how many times I have been able to offer a snack to a friend or family member in need. I love the fact that my children’s friends always know there is something to eat in my car or my bag; but it is even more endearing to see them learn to mimic that and make sure they too always have a backup snack.
I think one thing that holds some people back from making sure to eat more frequently is the mistaken idea that you must eat out if you are going out. Just because you can’t sit at your table doesn’t mean you can’t eat food from home.
One of my ‘go to’s’ if I have just a couple of moments in the morning, is to make oatmeal a bit soupy so that I can pour it into a disposable cup and drink it.
Red Solo cups are a mainstay in my house. They have been a lifesaver to provide a hot meal for my husband when he meets us at baseball; or a cold serving of macaroni salad for an on the go lunch.
There really are so many options for travel food, and perhaps I will do a blog in the future giving some suggestions.
Luckily for us, that day in the office, I went to my truck and found a crumpled blueberry breakfast bar that had seen a few miles, a couple of rice bars, some fruit chews, and a couple of bottles of water. Certainly no 5 Star meal, but enough to tide us over until we could head to Panera and have our well-deserved broccoli cheese soup!
I would love to hear back from you with your thoughts on this, as well as how you keep your body fueled on the go.
Keep on snacking, Amy