Monday, June 12, 2006

Healthy Fast Food For Living Alone

But some might disagree.

My sister helped confirm my habits by sending a clipping from the May 23 Spokesman Review.

"Chocolate milk may be the new Gatorade."

Bike racers in the Spokane area are finding that "plain old chocolate milk" is just as good, if not better, than so called fitness drinks.

I'm not a racer, but the bicycle is my transportation. Chocolate milk is a fast source of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. It's better than so many fitness drinks which can taste like chemical toilets and cost twice as much.

Still it isn't always easy to find. There are drive up coffee spots all over town and just about every restaurant, bar and store has it's coffee, but cartons of chocolate milk? Not common.

Some people say chocolate milk isn't healthy, all full of sugar, dairy, even the low fat that I drink. Then they sip their coffee with sugar, or eat an ice cream cone.

A friend suggested I try "soy milk."

Soy is supposedly healthier, yet it's more expensive. The flavor doesn't hit the spot for me. This friend then admits that she drinks her soy with whipped cream; a whole bunch of whipped cream.

I just drink the carton of chocolate milk and skip the whipped cream.

One can get a quart carton for as low as $1.29 or $1.39, but in just a few places.

Bellingham Food Co-op only stocks "organic" chocolate milk and it's about twice as expensive.

Living in downtown Bellingham, I find myself frequenting places like Rite Aid Pharmacy or the Grocery Outlet for my fix.

If these aren't accessible, I end up at "filling station convenience stores;" heaven forbid.

At Rite Aid, groceries aren't the main stay, but so many people live around there that they stock a few groceries for convenience. Still, one occasionally finds an "out of order" sign on that refrigerator.

Someone recently wrote a letter to the Herald saying we need a "grocery store" in downtown Bellingham. A grocery store that is near where so many people live.

The city is emphasizing "downtown residential" so wouldn't a supermarket be the next step?

A Haggen's, or something?

Unfortunately, these "one stop for everything" kind of markets seem to be all out by the freeway.

Well, we do have groceries, but one must piece together several businesses to make it work.

Good produce at the Food Co-op and also at the Public Market on Cornwall, but one must go elsewhere to get affordable chocolate milk.

Then we have bargain foods at the Grocery Outlet, which usually stocks the milk. Grocery Outlet has a lot of things at good prices, but it's inventory is unpredictable. "They've got it if it's a bargain," such as "overstocked" at another store.

Walking to the Grocery Outlet isn't very inspiring either as that intersection is one of the crazyest near downtown Bellingham. More than 4 streets come together in a big jumble and one of the corners is a "no croswalk" corner.

So, I go to more than one place for my groceries. No, "one stop for all" supermart. I hear that's common in Europe.

With my active lifestyle, apples, carrots, chocolate milk and graham crackers go a long ways. Then I usually eat one restaurant meal per day. Restaurants are a good way to get salad. When one lives alone, salad makings can go bad in the refrigerator.

How long does it take to eat a whole head of lettuce?

For single people, these often go bad, thus causing one to never buy salad makings.

Friends of mine say they prefer eating at home, but you see them in their coffee shops and bars. They spend as much on cookies and beer as I do on my restaurant meals?

Living alone and having no kitchen or garden has an influence my eating habits.

Bicycle touring has an influence also. Everything, including "the kitchen sink," doesn't fit into bicycle panniers.

"Organic living" gurus may scoff at me as they drive home to their suburban kitchens and gardens.

One restaurant meal per day with a salad, chicken or fish works for me. Then it's fast foods like peanut butter sandwiches, graham crackers, apples and chocolate milk.


Marie said...

Great article, Robert! I am now starting to drink chocolate milk now, as I am working a new part-time job which takes a lot of energy! Chocolate milk does the trick!

Anonymous said...

Corn syrup is bad. Looking at ingredients shows "high fructose corn syrup." Something to avoid.

Theslowlane Robert Ashworth said...

Americans do eat too much sugar on average. I doubt corn syrup is worse than other sugars. Too much sugar is bad, but moderation is the key.

Corn syrup may be a "public health problem" simply because it makes sugar easy. It make it easy for the food industry to sweeten so many things from breakfast cereal to beverages.

In my opinion, the key is moderation in sugar, not necessarily avoiding a certain kind of sugar.

Occasionally I have noticed a slight bout of hypoglycemic effect after one of my "two carton days." Usually I just drink one carton, but have craved two on certain days. Then paid for it with a touch of temporary hypoglycemia. Actually I think it was both the "two carton day" and snacking on breakfast cereal that does this.

* From what I understand, hypoglycemia can be a low blood sugar bounce after the body is hit with too much sugar thus causing an "out of balance" oscillation in what my mother used to call, "your internal economy."

Maybe I should just buy regular milk and parcel out smaller amounts of cocoa powder. The store bought brands are very seductive in their sweetness. Then again, I seldom eat ice cream, candy, cookies, jam, sugary toast, sweet rolls, doughnuts, cake, sugar in tea, pancake syrup; the list goes on.

Anonymous said...

Study: Chocolate milk helps athletes replenish
Indiana U scientists, partly supported by dairy group, tout childhood fave
So it looks like science catches up to the slow lane.