Just like anywhere else in America, the long roads that span the central prairies of America are filled with numerous places to pull off and eat. There’s plenty of fast food, gas station goodies and local favorites in the towns and truck stops between Topeka and the 14 other cities that make up the conference our basketball teams play in. I accompany our radio crew on about half of the trips each year and in the past, I would leave campus not worried about where or what I would eat.
My road trips this year have been quite different. Just like my trip to Vegas early in the basketball season, I have to plan ahead for the conference doubleheaders I’ve driven to so I can continue my whole food, plant-based diet that has allowed me to lose 60 pounds since last May and have a much healthier lifestyle. In the last two Saturdays I had four-and-a-half hour drives each way for afternoon doubleheaders. Count that driving time twice and add in two basketball games, plus time to get there early to set up and stay late to wrap up, and it makes for a 16-hour day.
Saturday the three of us left campus at 7 a.m. and returned at around 10:30 that night. After gassing up the rental car and returning it to the lot, my wife picked me up and I was home just in time to truly call it a day trip.
Budgets are tight on college campuses and the pregame meals for the media just aren’t what they used to be. While everyone else is enjoying deli sandwiches or pizza, I’m usually eating leftovers before the game. I started the day with a breakfast of peanut butter whole wheat toast and almond milk before I left and I packed a lentil loaf sandwich for lunch and plenty of fruit and trail mix for additional meals.
The radio crew had their normal stops for fast food before and after the game. They joke with me plenty about my food choices, remind me how delicious they think a cheeseburger and fries are and even said that the water I got at a gas station probably had broccoli in it. I made my first trip into a fast food burger place in many months two weeks ago with them to use the bathroom and I can tell you, all I smelled was sodium and oil. No surprise, since that’s about all you’re eating there…
I may not get reimbursed by the university for my food choices and I’m missing out on barbeque in Kansas City and fried chicken in Pittsburg, Kansas, but I know that being able to carry on my healthy lifestyle, even while on the road, is totally worth it!
Do you stick to your diet while your on the road? Does your job require you to travel and work through meals? Is it hard not to go crazy at the drive thru, knowing that you’re going to get reimbursed for what you order? Is it even harder to maintain a healthy diet while those around you are enjoying the convenience of fast food?