Breakfast with Bloggers
August 14, 2010

Hi again!

It feels extremely peculiar to be blogging so soon after last night’s post; every time I travel and update my blog frequently, I marvel at how any blogger manages to maintain a 3x daily blog schedule. The time and effort is monumental. 3x daily blogger friends, I salute you.

I’m at the Congress Plaza hotel right now, where I just enjoyed a nice hefty breakfast courtesy of Arnold, Oroweat, Quaker, and other Summit sponsers. My morning started bright and early (7 a.m.) with a giant vat cup of coffee at my hotel. It’s nice waking up to this comfy room:

IMG_2777 (500x333) There’s a coffee stand downstairs that has some relatively healthy options on hand:

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IMG_2775 (500x333) Not bad, right?

Staying at the Hyatt feels like living inside a giant shopping mall. There are various towers, levels, wings, and the whole thing necessitates a large map. I hope to be able to find the elevators on my floor in less than eight minutes by the time this weekend is over.

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See that? Hotel floor plan. Looks like the departure board at an airport.

Breakfast at the summit, which was preceded by a lot of giddy blogger hellos, was impressive! There was oatmeal, fresh fruit, Stonyfield yogurt, Maranatha nut butter, Quaker oats, granola and raisin toppings, and berries.

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As Gina and I were leaving the Hyatt this morning, I had a strong sense that there might not be any bananas at the breakfast spread. That’s unacceptable, of course, so we both picked up bananas to go. Good move! I was so happy that I could enjoy one with my morning oats:

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OK, here’s the bad news. Sabrina and I made sure to confirm that the oats were vegan (no milk, no butter). We asked a woman who worked at the hotel and was serving the oats to us. She nodded and confirmed, “just water.”

Ehhh, not so much. I JUST found out that there was butter/dairy in the oats. I’m not sure why some of the hotel staff was sharing this, and others didn’t seem to be aware, but in any case, I had a decided non-vegan breakfast.

Sigh. I feel perfectly OK, and in truth I didn’t taste it, but it’s a giant buzzkill to hear that I wasn’t able to make an informed vegan choice. And obviously, I’m sad: this is the second time I’ve eaten dairy by accident since becoming vegan (because a member of a waitstaff told me something inaccurate), and it’s never anything less than upsetting.

And yet. Life goes on. It’s no one’s fault, really – a misunderstanding – and I look forward to a vegan lunch.

And Sabrina, my love, don’t worry 🙂

Right now, we’re listening to the Summit keynote speaker — Christine Palumbo — who’s speaking about the landscape of nutrition in America. The information – rise of obesity, the need for more fresh produce, the importance of exercise, and so on – is certainly familiar to this health-savvy audience. With that said, I’m impressed with other topics that is raising, including the rise of food fads and detox diets (this is something that Caitlin and I will touch on in our presentation later), as well as the occasional misunderstanding of food allergies (i.e., the rise of gluten and allergen avoidance not because a true allergy is present, but because celebrities are going gluten free, or because it seems “trendy”). I love that is emphasizing exercise as an extension of fun, everyday activities (dog walking, long walks), rather than self-imposed routines. And I love that she’s stressing the vital importance of relaxation, though the idea that we should emulate the ladies of Mad Men and their coffee clutches (which was proffered as a semi-serious suggestion for stress relief) has gotten my feminist dander up: being confined to a life without professional fulfillment and endless housewifery is not the same as carving out “me time.” Ahem.

Blog friends in the audience:

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Now, it’s time for Evan and Lin on ethical eating. I look forward!

I’ll be back later today with a lunch recap, as well as a recap of my presentation with Caitlin.

See you sooooon!


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  1. Super bummer about the oats! I was with another vegan in the breakfast line and we both asked and they said they were vegan! I didn’t eat any of the oats, but she did.

  2. Sorry about the oats. Kind of a big misunderstanding but glad all is well in the end. And bloggers posting 3x a day! Oh my! I can’t even do it once daily! ha ha! Wow. I salute them all too! Anyway, the summit looks like it was amazing and fun and informative. It was fun looking over all your updates on it so far.

  3. So true on blogging, I don’t think I could be a multiple-times-a-day blogger, I’m just not that fast of a writer and envy anyone that is. Wow, very healthy options for a hotel.

    Sorry about the breakfast experience, that’s happened to me at restaurants and I get the feeling that some staff just say what you want to hear.

    Excellent pics and it looks like you’re having a wonderful time.

  4. […] we spoke, I was telling you about a slight breakfast fail, as well as the Summit’s keynote presentation. Directly after, I had the pleasure of watching […]

  5. “It feels extremely peculiar to be blogging so soon after last night’s post; “–yeah, you’re hanging out with Gina, Miss 3x day 🙂 LOL. I agree, I have 1 epic daily post as it’s easier to do it all once than 3x a day but yeah, I dont know how those ladies do it either! 1x a day is all i can muster!

    I saw some cute pics of you on Gina’s blog. You;ll have to tell me if either of your snores since you’re roomies 🙂 kidding!

    Seriously onto the “vegan” oats. Grrrr. That is why I dont eat out. B/c with food allergies, honestly, the mistakes can set me back for weeks…or kill me. I saw shrimp at the Opensky cocktail party on another blog and just being around it, i will go into anaphalatic shock.

    So sorry you were the victim of being vegan hoodwinked. That is just not cool. At all. I dont think anyone sets out to deceive, but the ignorance just pains me. Sigh.

    On the bright side, I would have loved to be there as Chicago is my hometown after growing up in Minneapolis then moving to Chicago, and I would love to storm the town with all the bloggers! I am kicking myself Hugely!!! for not attending. Sigh.

    Hopefully you’re going to go to Foodbuzz in San Fran!! 🙂 I am thinking about that one!


    HAVE FUN!!!!

  6. Aw, Sabrina. I met her at the Foodbuzz Fest (which you WILL attend!) and she is even more gorgeous than ever!

    Gah, that kind of service sucks…obviously she couldn’t really give a damn to check up on the details…but as long as your stomach is fine, it’s just an honest mistake. It might have been better if you never found out though. Ignorance is bliss!

  7. Hi Gena!

    Hope you are enjoying Chicago again. 🙂 Yay for Karyn’s on Green. Love that place still. Bummer about the oatmeal. Anyways, I am really curious about your presentation with Caitlin. Is there anyway to view it or listen to it online? Would love to do so if possible. Hope all is well. Hugs,


  8. oh gena – sorry to hear the non-vegan breakfast. one of the bloggers i read is allergic to gluten, and ended up eating it because one of the waitstaff told her there wasn’t gluten. she was sick for days.

    *hugs* i hope you have a wonderful time and no more mishaps with the food!

  9. yuck. reminds me of when I found out one of my favorite phad thai spots really did have fish sauce in it–despite their protests otherwise. i found out through my cat’s keen interest in my leftovers. ick.

    i always make a big stink about things like that so if it were me i’d be writing the staff, hotel, conference leaders, etc. but i do come at it from a food allergy perspective as well. i do feel like people have a right to know what is in their food. if this is a so-called “healthy living” conference, shouldn’t everything be labeled?

  10. Ack, sorry about the oats! It really bothers me when staff is uninformed, especially with something like dairy where there could be a serious allergy and especially when you’re at a function for healthy living. They should be aware of these things.

    That sounds like an interesting talk. I love the issues she is bringing up, like exercise as an extension of everyday activities. I think that’s a huge problem today. People feel like movement can’t be interwoven into their lives and they need to go from sitting on the couch to 6+ days at the gym to really make a difference, but it’s just not true!

  11. If you feel fine, I don’t think it should bother you. It doesn’t make you less of a person certainly (integrity and honesty do that…not food). The real concern there would be for one who has a severe allergy/reaction to it (at which case I would think they would have to speak with someone in head-authority to ensure your life-threatening nature).

    • J,

      I mostly agree. But since these aren’t foods that I feel positively about in an ideological way (especially since I presume the dairy was conventional), its upsetting to me that I partook.

      And yet, I agree 100% that I was lucky in that I didn’t have an allergy or adverse reaction, and since I did take the time to ask, even if the answer was mistaken, I hardly feel angry with myself. Translation: hardly the end of the world!


  12. Sounds like you are all having a good time! That IS very frustrating about the oatmeal situation, and good point Dori about the dairy allergy. I have a friend who is allergic to nuts and there have been times she has had an allergic reaction because a server didn’t know what in the food. Now she only eats at places she can trust. Gena, I love your attitude and outlook on just making the best of it and moving on. Took me awhile to get to that point too and it became so freeing not to obsess over instances like that.

  13. As frustrating as the oatmeal situation must be, imagine if it were someone who had a very serious dairy allergy or something? If an employee isn’t sure, they should just say they aren’t sure… sigh. Oh well, sounds like the rest of the event is lots of fun!

  14. Oh that is frustrating about the oats. And why on earth would you need to put dairy in oats? Argh! I’ve had a similar experience a couple times and it did make me sad. But there’s nothing you can do and you just have to move on.

    Sounds like your conference is really interesting. Have a great time!