A SANE Success Story by Ryan Mangipano
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in New Orleans with my family for my awesome brother’s wedding. The drive from Dallas to New Orleans takes me about 10 hours (or 8 if my wife is driving!). However, past road trips have often resulted in me gaining a lot of non-muscular weight. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I started planning ways to try to increase the SANEity of my trip. I have a large family and we enjoy eating on the rare occasions that we are all able to get together. Therefore, I figured that I would eat out several times during the trip. However, I suspected that with a bit of planning, I might be able to improve the ratio of SANE vs. inSANE foods consumed.
I purchased an ice chest and filled it full of SANE foods. I bought plastic cups, spoons, and paper towels. I ordered several healthy snack selections online and had them shipped to my door. I filled up 2 thermoses with black coffee, bought a case of bottled water, and 4 jugs of unsweetened tea. I booked a hotel that had a full kitchen with a refrigerator, a workout machine that had a heavy weight stack, and a pool in case the weather was nice. Along the way, me and Justin recorded a short video showing all the SANE foods we brought along.
Day 1: We left on Wednesday. Before the road trip, I consumed all SANE meals at home and at work. I left in the evening. It was about a ten hour drive from Dallas to New Orleans. I was able to avoid eating out during the entire day. Every 3 hours, we snacked on the veggies and healthy fats in the ice chest. To get my 30 grams of protein each meal, I consumed whey, Greek yogurt, Quest Bars, and Nicks Sticks (grass fed beef jerky sticks). At night when we arrived we made a meal that contained only SANE foods. However, after preparing the plates (see the attached picture), I realized that I didn’t include any veggies in this meal (don’t tell Jonathan!). SANITY grade for the day: A+
Day 2: I woke up and ate some celery and kale. I headed downstairs for the hotel breakfast. I wasn’t sure how well this would work out since the selection of SANE foods is often limited at hotel buffets. I ate a hard boiled egg, a cheese omelet, an orange, ½ an apple, and a black coffee. I’m not sure if the omelet had any insane oil (or even flour) in it. After this, we swam in the pool for a while. I ate a SANE lunch full of lots of Kale, broccoli, natural peanut butter, whey protein, flax, etc. My brother had a rehearsal dinner that night at a very nice restaurant. I figured this would be my first inSANE meal of the trip. When the menu arrived, I felt like it was a quiz asking me to select the SANEst option. The menu is pictured below. Can you guess what I ordered?
I had the Filet. Unfortunately, I did eat each course including the bread pudding desert and the Parmesan Risotto. I also drank half a beer and a very small glass of Wine. Those crab cakes were so good! That night, I used the hotel fitness center to lift some heavy weights. I followed this up with one last SANE meal post-workout meal. SANITY grade for the day: B- (since I went pretty inSANE during one meal and all other meals were sane)
Day3: I skipped the hotel breakfast buffet (actually overslept through it!) and ate a SANE breakfast from the foods I brought along.
The hotel puts oranges out so I supplemented my meals with an orange at times. We had plans to meet for lunch at a seafood restaurant. I went totally inSANE and had a fried shrimp and oyster 12” po-boy.
This was due to the fact that I grew up in New Orleans and that was one of my favorite foods. And now that I live in Texas, you simply cannot get the same type of sandwich where I live. For a side, I got the steamed veggies. I also had an unsweetened tea. All of my other meals were SANE for this day. We also spent a lot of time at the hotel pool. Justin gave me a C- SANE grade for the day: (due to the po-boy and breaded/fried seafood being so inSANE)
Day4: After a SANE breakfast (made up of more of the foods that were in the ice chest video), I decided to return to the seafood restaurant again for lunch. However, this time I ordered a dozen raw oysters, an unsweetened tea, and a side of steamed veggies. This helped me to stay SANE.
This was also the day of the wedding. My brother must have been thinking of me when planning the menu. There was brisket, pork, and an assortment of raw vegetables. I had 1 beer on this day also. After the wedding, we ate at waffle house. I got my usual inSANE order of a 3 egg greasy cheesesteak omelet, grits, and a side of wheat toast, coffee, 2% milk. What do you think my SANEity grade should be for this day? I gave myself a D+; Justin gives me a B+.
Day5: I showed up at a my parents’ house with a bouquet of Kale.
My mom wasn’t sure what I had, so I took a bit of it. She wasn’t sure what to make of me eating a bunch of strange greens. I tried to give some tiny pieces of kale to my brother’s young children, but they complained that it was too bitter (and then ran for the cookies). My mom still makes fun of me walking around with a bouquet of kale. Mom, I took this picture just for you! We had plans to eat out with my Uncle that night at a restaurant. I was able to get a Steak, salad without dressing, and cabbage. They agreed to hold the sauce and butter off any meals. So, I stayed SANE during this meal. I worked out again and snacked on foods from my SANE stash back at the hotel. A+ for a totally SANE day.
Day6: We travelled back on Monday. I ate SANE all day except for when we stopped at a gas station. The best option was to get a small link of sausage and then snack on some blueberries and other sane foods in the truck. Almost every meal this day had quest bars, raw nuts, and nick’s beef sticks. Chewing kale and celery often takes a long time, but when driving, you can eat a lot of it. SANE Grade A-
Overall, I feel the trip was a success. I ate out several times; however, only three occasions were very inSANE. Considering that I eat every 3 hours whenever possible, this is a large percentage of the meals. I consumed very little alcohol, visited the hotel weight room, and ate a fair amount of veggies. Most meals had 30+ grams of protein. I ate frequently; I avoided fast food. I feel that this was worth the effort. We are in the process of planning a family vacation. I will try this stategy again for that trip. However, I will be taking a flight tomorrow to Washington for a few days of training. This will surely be more difficult and I have yet to do any planning!