With some trepidation, I left on a nine-state road trip on April 1st with my husband. Over nine days, we planned to visit friends in Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and Des Moines and view public art pieces in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Iowa.
We packed our suitcases and two cooler bags filled with home made sourdough rye muffins, a bag of Honeycrisp apples, a motley of bell peppers which I’d cut in wedges, hard boiled eggs, coconut oil, mangos, turmeric & cumin. My intentions were to eat “on plan” as much as possible and stick to the one treat meal a week recommendation.
We headed out on a seven hour drive to Chicago through strong winds, rain, sleet, snow and sunshine. Our friends welcomed us with wine and light snacks and I, with solipsistic resolve, accepted the offer of cold green tea and declined the snacks. After a wonderful conversation, we were left to wind down and enjoy a quiet evening.
My husband and I fixed something to eat using some of the supplies we brought on the trip. I decided to eat one of my favorite cheeses: Fromager d’Affinois Florette Goat Brie with my homemade sourdough rye muffins, cherry tomatoes and green bell pepper with some more green tea.
So far, so good staying on plan.
Our plan to spend the day in downtown Chicago walking around and photographing public art was deferred due to 50-mph winds, more snow, rain and an unfortunate accident which shattered the screen of my ipad mini. Heading for a local mall , we found an Apple Store where we could replace my device and did some indoor walking for some excercise.
Our friends reserved a table at Zia’s, their favorite local Italian Restaurant, so I decided to use my weekly treat meal for the get together. I was able to thoroughly enjoyed a delicious lasagne with a salad and a glass of wine and even a few bites from the complimentary dessert plate of tiramisu, cheesecake, gelato and pie.
On Sunday, we were off to Nashville but due to an accident and the consequent detour causing a mistaken bifurcate, we had to stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. I ordered two chicken breast removing the skin and bones and a side of green beans. Remind me not to do that again. I love fresh green beans and even frozen green beans but you can keep canned green beans. It had been years since I’d had them and now I remember why. Yuk!
Our Nashville host, a long-time friend of my husband’s, welcomed us and took us out for dinner two of the three nights we were there. I ordered wisely – chicken for one meal and fish for the other with veggies and no dessert and no wine. I did, however, succumb to a small piece of mixed berry pie that our friend had made especially for us on our first evening. I felt the choice of being gracious and accepting was more important than to decline his genuine offer so I could stay “on plan”.
Weigh in was the following day so I was not surprised that – for the first time in 11 weeks that I had gained .5 lb (.2 kg). And, yes, I brought my own scales along, both bathroom and kitchen.
Highlights of our Nashville visit included stopping at my old office at the Nashville Tennessean; a 1.5 hour walk around Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art and Opryland USA. The fact that neither my husband nor I are Country Music fans did not diminish our enjoyment of some great entertainment.
Eating my dinner of mozzarella cheese balls, bite sized green bell pepper and sourdough rye muffin surreptitiously in the darkened theatre – complete with music – went without a hitch.
I was not exactly thrilled when my husband bought the largest box of popcorn available for his “dinner”, but I reminded myself that this is my journey and my choice. Admittedly, popcorn and wine are the two things I miss the most!
One thing that I noticed a few days into our trip was a return to shooting arthritic pain in my finger joints. I realized that, while I had brought Turmeric along, I had not been using it when eating out. As our trip continued, it was clear the difference the spice makes.
After 5.5 hours on the road, we were in St. Louis, MO for a couple of nights and I wanted to make sure I photographed the famous arch – at 630 feet [192 meters] – the largest stainless steel structure in the world.
Our friends wanted to take us to their favorite restaurant that evening – also Italian – where I enjoyed a goat cheese, sausage, onion, black olives and tomato pizza and a glass of wine. No dessert! I only ate half of my pizza which meant my husband had a ready made lunch for the following day which was a scheduled rest day.
Spending the next day relaxing, we played the game Hand and Foot and walked to a nearby shopping center that featured a newly opened Weber Grill Restaurant. Known nationally for their backyard grills, the restaurant had only been opened five days. I ordered a grilled chicken salad which was delicious. We were also able to get a 45-minute walk inside the mall which was appreciated as it was another cold, windy day.
Des Moines, IA
The next day we were off again on another 5.5 hour drive from St. Louis, MO to Des Moines, IA. We ate lunch on the road and enjoyed a pleasant dinner of grilled tilapia, green beans and zucchini at a Ruby Tuesdays near our hotel.
We visited the Des Moines’ John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park which was a complete delight. We walked for about an hour and a half and I was able to photograph the art and exciting architecture in different areas of the city.
Meeting up with a longtime friend for lunch, our original plan was stymied due to a long wait time so we walked around the block to a rustic vegetarian restaurant plastered with posters, signs and political stickers. I’m not sure what was in my sandwich – on marble rye bread – but know it was a mix of hot vegetables.
After lunch and a great catch up conversation, we were back on the road for the relatively short, final 3.5 hour drive from Des Moines to home in Edina, MN.
What I learned on our 2,000 mile road trip is that it is not only possible for me to stay “on plan”, it was also fun, interesting and a welcome change.
That said, I gave myself permission to have a couple of glasses of wine on two different evenings. After all, I was on holiday.
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Results: Adapting to my situations, I made healthy eating choices and was able to exercise 20 minutes to 2 hours by walking almost every day while on our road trip which helped me loose 1.5 lbs while on our trip.
Tips: While on long road trips, use rest stops to do a few minutes of exercises to boost your circulation every couple of hours. Remember to bring your Turmeric container along so you can add it to your meals while traveling.