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Each year, my husband and I make our yearly trek to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, TX. We dress up, try to speak in an English accent most of the weekend, and enjoy fun and activities such as shows, demonstrations, shopping, and, yes, EATING. 

The great thing about most fairs and festivals is that you will have CHOICES. And Renaissance festivals, because of the culture of many of the patrons and workers, generally have some of the best food choices around. Last year, I gave some tips on how to eat well at the faire. Today, I’m going to share with you exactly what I ate and drank, and how much! 

Friday:
We spent four days at camp and two days in the faire. Our camp foods weren’t very spectacular. We had some kolaches we bought at the Czeck Stop in West, TX. I nursed two whole fruit kolaches the entire weekend. For dinner Friday, I had half of a pulled pork kolache (I ate most of the meat out of it and left a lot of the bread). Since my doctor has OK’d it for me and I am responsible, I also indulged in some beer throughout the weekend. NOTE: Since surgery, I feel the effects of alcohol much quicker. So I don’t drink a whole lot! Friday night I had a Banana Bread Beer and a Double Chocolate Stout, both by Well’s Brewing Company.

Saturday:
This was our first day in the faire. It was a very wet day, it rained almost all day and was chilly. We did most of our walking on this day because there weren’t many dry places to sit!
Breakfast: we had the quiche. The quiche here is absolutely delicious. It’s about 5 inches in diameter. You have a choice between the ham and cheese or the spinach and feta. I always get the ham and cheese. I hadn’t eaten anything yet, so I was pretty hungry and was able to eat most of it. I focused on the filling and only had a few bites of the crust (although it was absolutely fabulous). One thing I did notice was that the crust was very thin – there wasn’t much of it which is great because there wasn’t a whole lot of filler.
Lunch: One of my favorite things at this faire is the Empenada Lady’s beef empenadas. Seriously. I DREAM of these. One day I’m going to recreate these little puppies and make them more bariatric friendly. But until then, I will be satisfied with splitting one with my hubby. Which is what we did. We also shared a pulled pork sundae – pulled pork layered with mashed potatoes and brown gravy. I didn’t eat much of this, only a bite or two, but it was divine. This is another one I plan on re-creating with bariatric needs in mind.
Dinner: We went to the Greek area to watch some belly dancers and had a Gyro bowl. It was a Gyro without the bread. To be honest, I was not impressed with this. I only ate about half of it, despite the fact that it was a fairly small serving. I likely could have eaten most of it on my own.

We also shared a funnel cake and had a beer or two inside the faire. And water. Lots and lots of water. After we got back to camp I had the last of my savory kolaches – sausage and cheese. Since I didn’t finished the gyro bowl, I was pretty hungry and was able to eat all of it. 

Sunday:
Sunday was a beautiful day. This is the day we watched most of the shows and did a lot of shopping. 
Breakfast: I had a Scotch egg. It’s one of my favorite foods, when done correctly, and is easily adaptable for those that want to be completely low-carb. In a nutshell, it’s a hard boiled egg wrapped in breakfast sausage, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried. I do make these at home using turkey sausage and Panko crumbs. I then bake them rather than frying them.
Lunch: We had lunch in the German section of the faire and my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I wanted the German fries (homemade potato chips) and my hubby wanted sauteed mushrooms, so we had both. We also ordered a Royal Hamburg – a hamburger made with Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, Dijon mustard, and sauerkraut on top of a sweet bun. SO GOOD. I only ate a quarter of this because I indulged in the potatoes. I also had about 1/4 worth of the mushrooms.
Dinner: For dinner we went to Poland and shared a platter that had pirogi, golabki (cabbage rolls), bigos (sauerkraut and meat stew), and grilled Kielbasa. Topped off with a pickle and a yeast roll. I ate 1 1/2 pirogi, about 1/2 of a cabbage roll, two bites of the sausage, and about 1/4 cup of the stew (give or take). It was all very good and I am happy to say most of it works well with the bariatric diet. The pirogi are great if you are not eating low-carb. The stew was meat and cabbage. The cabbage rolls DID have some rice in them, but not a whole lot. Not enough to bother me, at least. The kielbasa was lovely and flavorful, but very rich so I could only eat a bite or two. I ate a pickle with it and a bite of the roll.
I had two beers in the faire through the day, one at around 1 in the afternoon and the other at around 9 in the evening.

Dinner had been a little early that day, so when we got back to camp I had a chicken sausage made with gouda and apples. It was good, but very rich and almost greasy so I was only able to eat about 3/4 of it. 

Monday:
Before we packed up and headed out we had the last of our fruit Kolaches – we had one apricot and one blueberry left so we split them between the two of us. Once we were packed up we headed to Waco where we stopped at Cheddar’s for lunch. They have a great lunch menu. I chose to not order off the kid’s menu because it was all deep-fried and battered (as usual). Instead I opted for the soup and 1/2 sandwich combo. I had a club sandwich and potato soup. I was able to eat all the half sandwich and about 1/4 of the soup. The club had cheddar, turkey, ham, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and mayo. The potato soup was made with potatoes, bacon, onions, cream, and cheese.

How I know my sleeve is still working after all these years:
1) In faire, I was focused more on enjoying things and spending time with my husband. My mind was not on food until I actually felt hungry.
2) Most of what I ate was shared between my husband and I. In years past, we would each have had our own food and likely eaten it all, then would go back for more. For example, we would each have our own Polish Platter and eat the whole thing. Or we’d each have our own Hamburg, and eat the whole thing. While it may seem that I ate “a lot”, the reality of what I actually ate when placed up against what I would have eaten in the past is amazing. Needless to say, we now spend about half of what we would have on food in the faire.
3) When I ate something that didn’t agree with me, I felt it right away and I STOPPED EATING IT. 
4) In most cases, I was satisfied with a few bites of something rather than an entire dish. 

I know this was a longish post, so I will sum up with this:
Being on an eating plan doesn’t mean you can’t indulge a little occasionally.
Indulging occasionally doesn’t mean indulging all day long.
I indulged a little each day, but tried to stay within my personal guidelines as much as possible.

Remember when you’re at a faire or a festival you don’t have to eat deep fried everything. There are usually other great options for you to try out and always remember my golden rule when it comes to eating: If you don’t like it, it doesn’t taste good or you fill up while eating it: IT’S OKAY TO THROW IT AWAY!

What is your favorite fair or festival to attend? What fair or festival foods would you like to see us recreate and make bariatric-friendly? Sound off by visiting our facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/7bites

God bless each of you!
<3 Jen <3