You will eventually learn that I am passionate about a few things other than health. One of them is motorcycles. Specifically, riding long distances on them. By myself. The combination of solitude, vulnerability, and adventure from this activity is something hard to duplicate and particularly intoxicating to me. Add some fine machinery into the mix and it’s a package that I can’t resist.
I have recently returned from a few days on the road traveling the northwest with some new thoughts gathered along the way that will add to your understanding of BA.
You know by now that a hallmark of BA is simplicity. If paleolithic man couldn’t figure it out, it isn’t a necessary component of health. When it comes to what you eat, being at home means being in control of your food sources. In that environment, sticking to the Rules of Accidental Eating is something you’ve worked at and established. But all of that goes right out the window when you’re on the road.
When you are away from your carefully cultivated (pun intended) processes for honoring the BA Rules, the first thing you’ll notice is that you are in the precarious position of trusting other people for the purity of your food. That is an apparent violation of Rule #1, and puts most of the other rules in serious jeopardy at best also. We can never remove the dangers of this circumstance entirely, but I have a very good alternative that will spare you the most serious damage. It’s a tidy little concept that packs a big punch in its ability to help you identify quality food sources. Here it is:
Buy food only from people who take the subject seriously.
Food is a serious subject. Your health is at stake. You take that seriously. The person you buy food from should take it at least as seriously as you do. Does the person or business you’re about to buy food from take the subject of nutrition seriously, or is it a frivolous notion to them? It’s easy to tell.
Extreme case in point: If there’s a gas pump out front and/or you have to speak into a clown’s mouth to order, these are not people who take the concept of nutrition seriously. Or, even though you’re only looking for a few items to satisfy your immediate need for sustenance, if other items that are offered in the same place include soda pop and/or pastries in colorful packages, this is not a place that takes the subject seriously.
Another excellent guide is the 80/20 rule: if you can’t eat 80% of what is being offered, look elsewhere.
These are stop-gap rules to be sure, but good ones in a pinch. Sadly, being on the road provides all the evidence we need of how far our standards of nutrition have fallen as a culture. During my recent trip I probably made 7 or 8 inquiries about a recommendation for a local “healthy” restaurant. Often the word “healthy” didn’t phase the responder a bit and I was immediately directed to the nearest fast food or pizza joint. Other times I got vegetarian.
We are a sick society in many ways, but for those of us who know what food is, being on the road brings out the worst of it. If you must eat bad or otherwise untrustworthy stuff, eat very little of it. Eat just enough to get your blood sugar up to a level where you can once again make rational decisions.
And give at least some thought to your options for bad edibles too. There are essentially 3 types of bad edibles:
1) stuff that makes you observably unhealthy (fat)
2) stuff that makes you unobservably unhealthy (the unhealthy you can’t see)
3) stuff that makes you both forms of unhealthy
Whenever possible, eat the stuff that makes you observably unhealthy. That way at least you know the extent of the damage and it is correctable. The same cannot be said for the other kind. In other words it is vastly preferable to eat mostly pure but damaging stuff like sugars and grains than it is to eat the truly poisonous stuff like trans-fats and the myriad other chemical ingredients that have adulterated our food supply.
For those of us that love to travel, the thought of being cut off from our trustworthy food sources should give us pause, but perhaps not actually keep us home. Try all of the above next time you’re on the road and you will at least minimize the damage to a level of short-term acceptability.