Of Festivals, End of Summer and Overall Health
Sunday, September 09, 2012
This past Labour Day weekend, Mom & I visited Prince Edward Island (the home of Anne of Green Gables), for an Acadian Festival in Mom’s home village. Just like any down-home type of gathering, there was food. And I mean food. And REALLY good food. :-D
I got my poutine rapee. It looks like a dirty snowball made of grated & mashed potatoes that surround a salty pork/ham ball in the centre, and then simmered in pork brine for hours. If they’re made right, they won’t explode while simmering. :-D Mom bought ours, since they are labour-intensive to make. There’s a new Acadian food store in Dieppe, called “La Poutine a Maman”, and that’s where she got them. Mark my words, there is NOTHING healthy about this Acadian specialty food. There must be close to 2-3 potatoes in each poutine, salt like it came from the ocean, salted pork that makes you pucker up on the first bite, and the pork brine, well…. You can see the fat floating on the top. All that to say, however, it was really yummy!! I eat mine with sugar and ketchup, Mom prefers brown sugar with hers.
The Acadian Festival organizers always hold delicious meals on the grounds, and it looked like the PEI Festival of Fall Flavours was happening at Abram-Village as well. Roast beef dinner one day, roast pork dinner the next day, with potatoes, carrots, turnip, galettes blanches (a cross between a bread roll and a tea biscuit) and real gravy, along with a selection of desserts. I couldn’t eat more than 3 bites of the potatoes, because the rest of the food was just that good. They also hosted 2 lobster dinners, but since I’m used to eating my lobster in a very non-refined manner (hammers, nut crackers, tweezers, picking things, lobster juice flying all over the place), I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $35 for the meal. I’m sure it was fantastic, but it wasn’t in my budget.
Mom & I arrived on PEI at her trailer, which is about 100 feet from the cliff that leads to the beach, on Thursday afternoon. On my drive to Moncton, I realized I hadn’t packed a piece of fruit that was easily edible on the drive – I had a bag of cherries that weren’t pitted. So I skipped it, with the plan to have some fruit as soon as I arrived at Mom’s. I did, I felt ok, then we had the poutine, and life was grand. When we got to the Island, after unpacking somewhat, I felt warm, and beads of sweat started to appear on my forehead. At first I thought it was a hot flash – I’m still getting those. But Mom looked at my face, and doubted it was that, and when I had to sit down because my legs felt like they would give out, she suspected low blood sugar. She dug out my cherries, I ate up about 2 dozen, waited about 10 minutes, and I felt much better.
“That’s not a hot flash, Jo, that’s what your grandmother gets when her blood sugar is low. I think you are hypoglycemic.”
Yeah, I’ve been suspecting that for quite some time… as in a couple years, now. And for the most part, it looks and sounds like I manage it quite well through diet and exercise. But it’s there. So the rest of the weekend, every time we left the trailer, we always had a small cooler filled with fresh fruit, some low- or no-fat cheese, a few crackers, and some 100-cal snacks. I can’t tell you how many times during the weekend I felt like I was crawling to the car to get some fruit. (I now have an appointment with the doctor on Sept 20th to get a diagnosis.)
Thursday night wasn’t a big night, we spent it visiting her sister who was at her cottage with half of her brood (3 sons, 6 grandchildren, and 5 dogs). I was thankful for the quiet night, because when I have the low sugar episodes, it takes a few hours to stop feeling crappy.
Friday, after breakfast, we headed to the festival grounds. Lunch started at 11:30, but we opted to wait until nearly 1pm to eat, breakfast wasn’t completely digested.
SIDENOTE: If you’re planning a vacation to PEI, and you’re in a village outside of Charlottetown or Summerside, try to find the local community hall/complex that also serves meals throughout the weekend. Trust me, it won’t matter which village you’re in, the food will be VERY good, and for a better price than you’d get in the cities. And you’ll probably get to meet some of the people who grew, harvested, raised and cooked the food.
There was lots of walking around Friday afternoon, a few contests going on, but it was nice just to get out and see the sights. After supper and a snooze, we headed back to the grounds for the evening dance. “D’jable dans l’corps” (loosely translated, “Devil’s in your body”) was hosted by Reveil, an Acadian group I had seen once before. The moment I could get on the dance floor, I did, and I stayed as long as my legs and feet would let me. Three hours later, Mom & I headed back for the trailer, and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to walk, for all the jumping around I did.
Saturday started out pretty great! Good sun, a bit of a breeze, more culinary delights, visiting people I haven’t seen in a while, and indulging just a little bit in homemade fudge. I’ve always loved wandering around fairgrounds, it gives me a chance to people-watch. Mom got to see several talent shows, she always enjoys those. Saturday night was a repeat performance of Friday night for the dance.
Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to dance as long as I did.
Sunday, I was offered the chance to be on one of the boats for the parade, but that meant waking up to be at a stinky wharf by 9am. Wasn’t gonna happen. :-D So we headed to the grounds instead for the vehicle parade, and the rest of the activities for the festival. There’s something special and just too funny with watching a knitting contest, a pig scramble, a cow patty bingo and a lobster eating contest.
Mom keeps trying to get me entered into the lobster-eating contest, but she agreed that I can’t and won’t, it feeds a part of my brain that’s been working through eating a lot of food. But it was fun to watch anyway!
It was sometime after the knitting contest that I decided to stretch my legs and do a WATP workout with music from my MP3. Off into the camping field I went, moved about for 30 minutes or so, and on my way back, I started to get that shaky feeling again. And I’m quite sure it was another hypoglycemic episode. I made it to the car without a lot of fuss, though I felt a little woozy by the time I bit into the apple. It took about 30 minutes, but I did feel a lot better.
At supper, we opted to stay on the grounds, so we could get good seats for the big show at the end. We decided to try the canteen food, chicken strips and an order of fries made into a poutine. It looked good, it smelled good, and the first few bites even tasted good. And then I realized, and I mean REALLY realized, that I just don’t like potatoes. Or fries. And it doesn’t matter how much gravy or cheese is on them, I still don’t like them.
The finale was great, a lot of fun, and a good send-off for my vacation. We made it back to the trailer, and started packing right away, so there would be less to do in the morning.
Mom & I talked a lot about the hypoglycemia, and although I’ve always known I’m sensitive to sugar and pre-disposed to diabetes, I thought with all the changes I’ve made that I would be able to delay it much more than I have. If it’s not the sugar, then it’s blood pressure.
Monday morning, as we were packing, I noticed I felt a yucky sensation in my stomach, kinda like burning but not quite. Hurt like hell. I started by taking Tums, and after the first hour when that didn’t work, I dug into my stash of fake Zantac. It took about an hour to kick in, but it did the best job of making me feel better. When we finally made it back to her house, and my stuff was back in my truck, I popped another Zantac, man, my belly wasn’t feeling right at all. Not barf-yucky, just... wrong.
So now that’s it been about a week since I’ve been home, I’ve come to the conclusions that I am most likely hypoglycemic, and I most likely have a small ulcer that I’ve been treating with the Zantac until I see the doctor on the 20th. I’ll keep managing my sugar levels like I always have, knowing what signs to look for when I might be low on sugar, and what kind to get in.
How was your long weekend? :-D