There was a time in my life when I traveled extensively for business. This was while I was an Associate Creative Director with an advertising agency, which took me from San Francisco (where the agency was located) to all over the United States. While I had already lost the bulk of my 250 excess pounds at this point, I was still learning how to keep it off (and was admittedly struggling with yo-yo-ing, weight-wise).

This was why I decided to try being a vegan. This lasted for about 2 years. But during this time I was very careful about what I ate and found it did help me think more about every morsel of food I put into my mouth. Now, being a vegan in San Francisco was easy. But the rest of the country? Not so much. Thus, I found whenever I ordered food (which I often had to do since I was traveling for business), I had to be very explicit in my instructions.

I still laugh about one time I flew into Boston (where I had a client) and checked into a hotel late at night. As I hadn’t been able to eat much on the airplane, I was quite hungry and decided that, even though it was late, I was going to order dinner from room service. Yet because of the time of day (or night) even room service had a very limited menu. I quickly scanned the ten or so choices and focused in on the pasta dish. I decided I could give the room service staff enough direction to make sure that the pasta was plain and wouldn’t come with any dairy or animal product.

While ordering on the phone, I said “No cheese.” Several times. I’m sure the guy taking the order thought I was nuts. If I said it once, I said it five times. “No cheese.” I even made the guy say it back to me. I hung up the phone, got unpacked, and soon heard a knock at the door letting me know that my order had arrived.

After the room service attendant left the room, I uncovered my dish to discover… Gnocchi. That’s right. I had been so animate about getting “No cheese” in my order, that the room service staff had somehow found and cooked “Gno-chhi-s” for me — even though it was no where to be found on the room service menu. Instead of getting angry, I had to laugh. And actually I was impressed that the room service staff was so anxious to please (even so late at night).

For those of you reading this who want to know if I re-ordered or if I ate the gnocchi… I ate it. And I enjoyed it. And yeah, that was sort of the end of my years-long attempt to be vegan. I will point out that I didn’t eat the entire portion that room service had delivered. That counts for something, right?

I share this story in order to laugh at myself — and to remind us all that being on a diet or trying to eat healthy should always be done not only with flexibility, but also with a sense of humor (the most necessary ingredient of all).

Do you have any travel related dieting stories to share? I’d love to hear them. Please post below — whether the story involves “No cheese” or “Gno-chhi-s” — is totally up to you.

Photo Source: I Eat Grass

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2 Responses to “Room service with a smile”

  1. Eve says:

    I don’t eat a lot of meat. I’m not a vegetarian, and could probably never be a vegan, but I just don’t eat a lot of meat. My story isn’t about travel, it’s about where I live. Out here, in my little, Midwestern, country village (yes, it really IS technically a village, that wasn’t just a bit of literary romanticizing), everyone is obsessed with meat. There is no restaurant nearby that serves a single vegetarian option. The few that offer a salad, well, it’s more about what meat will cover a few wilting iceberg leaves than about the salad. I live around lakes. Great, you think. Healthy option! Nope, sorry. Fish here is fried within an inch of being recognizable. Every Friday, every restaurant, bar, and bar/restaurant hybrid posts signs touting their own fish fry. Sushi might as well still be in Japan. Yesterday, I visited a friend who was in the hospital, 60 miles away in Chicago. I had sushi before I drove back home. It was bliss.

  2. Gregg says:

    The in-between states can be tougher for healthier eating, Eve. That’s very true. (P.S. Mmmmm… Sushi!)

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