Do you ever get “the shakes”? That moment where your blood sugar is too low and you only then realize that you haven’t eaten in several hours? Well, this happens quite frequently, I lament…which is the topic for today’s blog entry.
I had a very strenuous weekend filled with work consuming my every moment, thus preventing me to be able to eat. I try to sneak a bite or two here and there, but it’s not easy- I work in the wedding business, so I’m in churches most of the weekend. It makes for a difficult snack sneak.
This Sunday was particularly difficult, not simply because of my church-eating ethical dilemma, but also with what filled my time this afternoon. I attended an ethnic festival called “Polish Fest” at the local university. Being a strong Pole (lubię uczyć po Polsku! = I love to study how to speak Polish), this was an event that I looked forward to. However, my gluten allergy did not. Do you know how hard it is to find ethnic food that isn’t covered in dough???
Sigh. I ate a “kielbasa sandwich”- sans the bread- and prayed that it would tide me over until dinner. It, of course, did not. There were pastries all around, and yet i could not snag one free bite.
I left the Polish Festival to finish up my work hours, but at this point, I was ravished. My blood sugar was drastically low, my hunger pains were imminent, and I needed food. I desperately needed to eat. But what could I eat? The first place I discovered was a Burger King (nope). I was on a time constraint, so I couldn’t sit down at a restaurant and have food prepared for me. Lo and behold, I discovered an Aldi’s along my path and staggered into the store, purchasing almonds, fruit bars, and mini Babybel cheeses. I tore the red wax off of my first Babybel in the car as fast as I could. I barely made it to the car. In short, I looked like a crazy person.
But as my blood sugar began to rise and I drove back to work, I thought about the struggle of finding food. I’ve been known to bring entire bags of raisins, boxes of Luna bars, and cups of almonds wherever I go. Some of my friends lovingly tease what seems to be a constant fear of not finding food. I originally thought that this “food phobia” originated to my World Youth Day pilgrimage in 2005 (if you don’t know what that is, Google “World Youth Day”.) We had very little to eat throughout the eight-day journey, and for this reason, I absolutely never took food for granted when I came home. I simply thought that my constant stock of food in my purse derived from WYD 2005.
And yet, today reminded me why I “hoard” food in my purses. There are many instances when I either cannot make gluten free food given the time constraints of my weekend work hours or I cannot find a place in the vicinity that does not sell adequate, nutritional food that I can eat. Don’t get me wrong, I really am okay with eating unhealthy food, especially in “emergency” situations, but I do like to make sure that I can eat things that don’t surrender my body to hunger one hour later. A moment like today has happened many times before, when I was in-between classes in college and couldn’t eat Pop Tarts out of the vending machine like so many others. When I would travel to Europe, there were countless times when I sat in a subway car, longing for the baguette that wafted in the Underground station, but resisted nonetheless. I can almost never trust the food at a holiday party, since most dishes require flour as an almost-necessary ingredient. I developed a dependency upon myself for food on-the-go.
How can we, GF eaters and non-GF eaters alike, prepare for hunger strikes no matter what we are? How can we avoid fast-food restaurants to satisfy our immediate cravings, leaving us greasy and weighed down? Here are my tips for a sustainable, gluten free food pack:
1. Don’t be afraid to pack snacks! The looks I get when I reach into my purse and grab food is amazing.
2. Don’t be afraid to bulk up on Lara Bars, Luna bars, etc! If you buy them on Amazon.com, you’ll probably get a much better price buying a pack of twelve than you would at your local supermarket. These items will not go bad quickly, and you will always have something on hand to grab as you run out the door.
3. Find your favorite “baggy snack”. Mine depends on the mood I’m in- craisins, raisins, popcorn, almonds, peanuts, etc. If you can buy it in a bigger bag and put it in a sandwich bag to store in your purse, it’ll give you something little and sweet to munch on if you are stuck in traffic, stuck in a boring class, stuck in a meeting…just stuck!
4. If you’re in a bind, fatty snacks may be the answer! Lay’s potato chips give me enough starch/oil to keep me going sometimes. It sounds crazy, but it will definitely do in a pinch. Your body needs calories to function, and it’s better to grab a bag of chips than pass out on the floor. Admit it.
5. When all else fails, stop. If you are too hungry, you need to find food. Running a few minutes late will not be the end of the world once you have something in your stomach to keep you going.
Has this ever happened to you? Do you have any tips to eat on-the-go?
Happy Sunday, and goodnight, everyone!