Image: Ryan Byrd
Back from a 4 day, 3 night trip to Orlando for work. During which I lapsed on my exercises and subsisted mostly on strawberries (the thing about amusement parks is food is not the main attraction). I decided not to crap out and eat bad stuff. And I walked my tail off.
On the plane ride down I accidentally (it's true, I haven't had anything manufactured beyond yogurt/milk and I think there's no getting around that kind of manufacturing) a cheese cracker sandwich into my mouth. You know, the ones with "cheese" in them. And I spit what I could out immediately. It was like eating fake. I mean, I don't know how else to put it. It was the taste of fake.
So then, for the plane ride back I was prepared. I brought a banana, a bottle of 2% milk from the airport, a plastic container of cranberries/bleu cheese/apples that I picked up at Au Bon Pain, protein powder. And as soon as I was on the plane I set about eating it.
The flight attendant came down the aisle and wondered if I were "really hungry." I said no, but I'm on a diet right now and can't eat any of the crap you have available on the plane. He looked offended and launched into how they have, "animal crackers, 2% fat cookies from ----, and cheese sandwich crackers!" What a protest. As though me skipping eating all that would somehow be a let-down.
I wasn't "really hungry" when I got on the plane but I wanted to preempt the offer of "snacks" this time so I didn't spend 3.5 hours in hunger.
The moral to the story is I was, on the first flight, what many people might call "really hungry." But more important, I was "hungry, for real food." And this nation may be one of overweight folks, but I think we're all in the same boat on one fact: we're hungry for real food experiences. And I'm afraid, on the road, in the air, and in cities all over this nation, we're finding that need unmet. Constantly. We're literally starving for healthier interactions.
And that's the sick, sad heart of the matter.