There is nothing like a good ole Griswald family vacation to make you forget all those healthy living vows you made to yourself. Like a skilled seductress, the menu will beckon to you, luring you in with its greasy fare of fries, onion rings and cheesy pizza. I will be honest with you, my friends, I was unfaithful to my vegan diet (or plant based diet as we like to call it), while I was on vacation in Tennessee. The minute I landed in Nashville, I chowed down on a big piece of cheesy vegetarian pizza. Since cheese comes from an animal and is not a plant based food, you might say I lost my veg-ginity on that fateful night. (What can I say? I’m a Ho!) In my own defense however, I did not eat any animals as such, and so remained a vegetarian for the duration of my vacation….albeit a chubby vegetarian by the time the trip was over.
As far as I can tell, down South there are only two forms of food preparation. One: barbequed and Two: deep fried. Since I do not eat animals, my choices were severely limited. Those Southerners deep fry EVERYTHING! I am used to seeing French fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings on a menu….but fried okra? Corn fritters? Deep friend pickles? And even deep fried ice cream?!!! (As if ice cream is not already fattening enough without dropping it into a vat of bubbling oil.) However, you know what they say, when in Rome do as Romans do. So I shamelessly chowed down on all kinds of deep fried goodies, thereby annihilating the healthy eating portion of my Survival Plan.
So what about the exercise portion of my plan, you may ask? HEY! I FORGOT TO TAKE MY SNEAKERS, OK?!!!! (Jeeze, gimme a break.)
That leaves my other vice: wine. Let’s just say copious amounts were consumed on this vacation. Along with a few marguarita coolers by the pool. And the occasional Bud light…..but only to quench my thirst.
I had no idea how much damage I had done to my body until I got back to St. John’s and tried to wrestle myself into a pair of Levis. Driving out over the highway I had to unbutton my jeans AND unzip them to allow the belly fat to flow freely out over my seat belt, like an over-risen pan of bread dough. I am not proud of it, I’m just sayin’. Folks, if gluttony is a sin, I’m going to hell in a hand basket.
So enough about my cardinal sins, I am sure you want to hear a bit about Memphis, since I told you about my Nashville experience in my last post. In addition to having more greasy spoons per square mile than any other city in North America (by my estimation), Memphis has one other claim to fame. No, I don’t mean Elvis, I mean the crime rate. I don’t know whether to believe it or not, but the locals were boasting to us that they have the highest rate of violent crime in the entire U.S.A. They warned us to never walk alone; never, ever walk outside at night, even with a group; and no matter where you are, always watch your back. That coming from a Walmart greeter can sound very foreboding. While we were there, twelve shootings took place on the weekend alone, and a guy was killed in the parking lot right across from our hotel, which was situated next to Graceland. Needless to say, folks, the s**t was scared out of us innocent Newfies! On the cab drive to the Mississippi Riverboat cruise, we heard a loud bang, and mom shouted: “Drive by shooting! Get down!!!.” As I was ducking, I happened to glance through the window and see that it was just a truck having a tire blow out, but what a rush! (True story.)
(L to R: Mom, Theresa, Me and Margaret, in our Elvis themed hotel room)
I guess I am not helping Memphis tourism much with this post, so I will try to redeem myself with a little about Graceland. I am not an Elvis fanatic, or even an Elvis fan for that matter, although I do enjoy his music. The only reason I went to Graceland in the first place was because I was in Tennessee and figured it would be a shame not to see it. But I was very pleasantly surprised by this popular tourist attraction. The tour itself was fabulous, and I have to say, I gained a new respect for this man. I would recommend it to anyone (but get in and out of Memphis as fast as you can!).
The moral of the story is this: if you have fallen off the healthy eating wagon over the summer, do not despair. Even famous authors like me (well, I’m famous in Lewin’s Cove at least) can slip up from time to time when it comes to healthy living. The important thing is to brush the crumbs from your lips, lick the grease from your fingers, and hop right back on that healthy living wagon!