Eating at General Assembly

I was slacking off writing this little article on eating at General Assembly, but the Rev. Victoria Weinstein (Beauty Tips for Ministers) shared her story of doughnuts at a recent preaching conference and the Weight of the World blog appeared: that sparked me in to action. One lesson is that you have to be clever and careful about what you consume away from home. Plus, when I was stone broke (and attending on scholarship), I made getting food a General Assembly planning priority. This is for you.

  1. I used to glean what information I could about the neighborhood — first pamphlets and phone books, now Google — to see what resources there were. I’m very glad to see the UUA GA Planning Committee anticipated the need for a thrifty attendee’s page, so look there first.
  2. While you’re at it, bookmark Google Transit, which has a very handy interface for Portland transit. Alas, it doesn’t seem to know what to do with the streetcar (as opposed to the light rail, which most people will take from the airport; I loved it mucho) quite right. That’s important because . . . .
  3. The Planning Committee information mentions Safeway, a grocery chain. There’s one near the university housing very close to the streecar line. I used it: clean, large and modern.
  4. I prefer to eat with the buddy and have had some luck with Restaurant.com gift certificates, which you buy at a discount but must usually be used for two or more persons dining. (Be sure to tip at the list menu price!) Takes a bit of planning and research.
  5. The Saturday Market is an easy rail ride from the Convention Center and they have food. It recall it being raucous and fun. I’m not sure how it woud help someone trying to watch what one eats.
  6. Likewise the little encampments of festive food carts in small parking lots downtown. Never have seen anything like it. A clever way to empower small food vendors and the offerings were interesting. Perhaps I should file that under “better urban development” than “eating at General Assembly.”
  7. Don’t do what my younger self did at 1993 GA: live on Coke for three days.

I’ve been losing weight by paying attention to my blood sugar. Informally, no blood testing. My goal is to never feel hungry, faint or thirsty; I do this by eating a mix of high-fiber, high-moisture and slow-digesting foods. I avoid anything I know will make me particularly gassy (embarrassment is not an incentive) or tastes bad. I allow myself little treats, and affirm my successes. Such a success: my jeans are looser. Also, I’ve not been spending like a fiend.

Were I at General Assembly, I would buy the following:

  • 1 pound rolled oats
  • 0.5 pound mixed seeds, nuts and fruit trail mix (no chocolate or pretzels)
  • 1 packet of crisp rye crackers, like Ryvita
  • a six pack of diet Coke or seltzer
  • eight servings of fruit; I think good Northwestern cherries should be in season

I’d bring a few packets of Splenda and I’m assuming there’s a coffee maker in the room.

  • Find milk or yogurt to make muesli of the oats and some of the trail mix (plus Splenda) each morning; have with some fruit and decaf coffee.
  • Bring rest of milk, some rye crackers for 11 am snack.
  • Bring soft drink for as-needed refreshment.
  • Make lunch plans with colleagues: something that avoids white bread, white rice or sugar. (A dumpling and vegetable soup at a Chinese restaurant or vegetarian plate at a Mexican restaurant would be two economical options.)
  • Back to the room (if I can) for a quick nap and shower. A glass of water and a couple of rye crackers while reviewing my notes, calendar. (Or a small mug of oatmeal if there was a microwave.) Get a piece of fruit and perhaps some trail mix for later.
  • Tea or coffee at a kiosk around 4pm?
  • A light dinner with friends.

Sound plausible?

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 45, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

7 thoughts on “Eating at General Assembly

  1. “Don’t do what my younger self did at 1993 GA: live on Coke for three days”

    Tee-hee.

    2004 GA: I knew no one there and lived on Balance Bars the first two days. Unfortunately, then I began eating at the California Pizza Kitchen.

  2. Re: diet coke

    I understand that there is no scientific evidence of relationship between using artificial sweeteners and loosing weight. The stuff might actually hinder the effort. I once drank oceans of diet soda and it never did me any apparent good. The only thing that worked was to fill up on vegetables.

  3. That’s very close to what I bring to conferences. I find that having food on-hand, including breakfast fixings and fruit, really makes me more emotionally stable and less likely to gorge when I have the opportunity.

  4. I need protein, myself, so bring to GA high protein meal bars (South Beach brand are my current favorite). I have one for breakfast and keep one in my bag so if there’s nobody around to eat a meal with, I don’t have to buy or consume food. Since I’m convinced that even the “lite” restaurant meals will put instant pounds on me, I don’t go into a restaurant without a really good reason (socializing with friends.) The last few GA’s have had fruit available at food stands, and that’s great, too.

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