kristinwitha_k

Travel Tips?

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I'm headed to Italy for THREE WEEKS in early May, so I have just over two months to figure out my food plan. I will hit my six month surgiversary while I'm there. I'm already scheduled to talk to my nutritionist about this in early April at my next visit, but you guys are on the ground with me, and will probably be just as much help if not more. 

So... I'm feeling a little stressed about what to pack in terms of protein snacks for supplementation. I don't necessarily feel stressed about what to order in restaurants, although any tips for that would be welcome as well, but I find that I get half my protein each day from 1-2 snacks and my Fairlife milk, so what on earth am I going to do to replace that? Some of my thoughts:

  • First, protein powder is, if not out entirely, down for the count for me. I still can't seem to enjoy it. Maybe I could choke it down for 3 weeks? I dunno. Last resort.
  • Maybe the Liquacel 1-ounce individual packets?
  • Maybe individual serving packets of beef jerky?

Any other ideas/suggestions/tips? What have you done when you traveled? Anyone been to Italy who can tell me what I can buy there for snacks that would be appropriate? I've been other places in Europe (and technically was in Venice for a day back in high school) but I for SURE wasn't paying attention to high protein snack options at the time. Again, I feel good about meals, it's the snacks/protein supplement that's giving me some fits. I'm also taking a backpack only, so not excited about lugging around anything heavy. 

Edited by kristinwitha_k
I can't just let things be misspelled for all eternity.

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first of all, you can NOT do this on your own....so for that reason, you need to book my ticket to go with you!!!! :D

beef jerky is good but you have to be careful about the sodium (and water retention when flying) so look for one w/ the lowest sodium

you can pack nut packs if you're allowed to eat them.  I am technically not, but I am noshing on almonds right now! ha!

what about packing one protein bar per day so you know you can get protein in....the rest you can eat in your meals.

but if all else fails, don't forget I can be there w/ you!!!!

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My nutritionist told me that if all else fails on the protien front then to go for a serve of cheese.i.e. two slices. With cheese available everywhere (definitely Italy) and eggs as readily available it isn't that hard to get protien wherever you are. I also carry 30g bags of nuts wherever I go. They are always in my bag. There shouldn't be any need to fill up on artificially flavoured protien powders.

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1 hour ago, CheeringCJ said:

first of all, you can NOT do this on your own....so for that reason, you need to book my ticket to go with you!!!! :D

beef jerky is good but you have to be careful about the sodium (and water retention when flying) so look for one w/ the lowest sodium

you can pack nut packs if you're allowed to eat them.  I am technically not, but I am noshing on almonds right now! ha!

what about packing one protein bar per day so you know you can get protein in....the rest you can eat in your meals.

but if all else fails, don't forget I can be there w/ you!!!!

Ha, well clearly you just need to shrink down small enough by May 5th that you fit into my bag! You're well on your way, so I'm sure it's possible. :) I'm taking my mom and my aunt for their retirement trip. Not paying for them of course, I am not made of money, but planning it and functioning as travel coordinator for all things. It's going to be so fun. 

I thought about protein bars but was worried they might be heavy - I'd need, like, 20 of them. Heh. I might have to go poke around and see how much that would actually weigh. It would be a simple solution. 

59 minutes ago, Aussie Bear said:

My nutritionist told me that if all else fails on the protien front then to go for a serve of cheese.i.e. two slices. With cheese available everywhere (definitely Italy) and eggs as readily available it isn't that hard to get protien wherever you are. I also carry 30g bags of nuts wherever I go. They are always in my bag. There shouldn't be any need to fill up on artificially flavoured protien powders.

Yes, I would definitely prefer not to have to resort to any non-food protein supplement if I can. And yes, cheese! Of course, cheese. There will indeed be plenty of it in Italy! Nuts would be a relatively light option, I'll have to think about that one. Thanks!

Edited by kristinwitha_k

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When we go to the Caribbean I carry protein powder, protein bars, string cheese, beef jerky strips, I’ve carried yogurt, bagged in zip locks, in case they break open.  Hubby works in the food industry, just last week at Chobani, and has been assured it is fine unrefrigerated.  And I’ve packaged peanuts in 1 oz portions.  

I carry 2 boxes of protein bars, plus what’s in my purse.  I think 2 boxes are about 3 pounds..each box is 25 ounces..there are a few nights that I chose not to eat out because there is nothing I will eat.  

Edited by Cheesehead

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Cheese, tins of tuna for snacks, nuts, protein bars if you do those.  Packs of beef jerky seem pretty doable. Breakfasts may be tricky (France and Italy and their carb breakfasts! For two countries that pride themselves on their culinary strengths, and are world famous for them, they certainly fall down at breakfast time!) but other meals should be fine, I think. 

I traveled to Guatemala at 4 months out and relied on a bar and a shake every day, but I don't eat meat and things are less readily available there than in Italy. I think you should be fine :) 

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Following Jen’s thoughts-they make tuna in a pouch, I hate tuna so never think of them..

one other thought: your clothes will take up less room and weigh less with your smaller size.. my thoughts are my food take up room and weight but aren’t coming back in the suitcase, therefore I have more room for souvenirs:). I bring back 6 bottles of rum for our adult kids from one of the islands we go to.  

Also keep in mind the long plane ride over.  It’s hard to predict what meals you will be given.  I keep jerky, string cheese, protein bars in my purse.  Also a couple of apples..

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3 hours ago, Cheesehead said:

Also keep in mind the long plane ride over.

True, airplane food is usually pretty carb-heavy garbage. I get weird looks when I turn the meal down, but my system is the happier for it. 

Cans of tuna are easy to find in Italy. Cheese and nuts as well. Jerky is probably best brought (we Americans pretty much have a lock on the worldwide jerky market). Maybe some unflavored powder to sneak into your food? Quest bars aren't very tasty to me, but they are super practical and basically indestructible for packing. 

It's fun at the end of the trip to fill your suitcase with souvenirs since the food will be gone by then, as @Cheesehead mentioned. 

 

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@kristinwitha_k  Last year my family went to northern Italy for 10 days and then Iceland for a week.  In the little Italian town we were in, the WLS options were not extensive, but I did fine with eating the meat and cheese appetizers - salamis, olives, charcuterie... even in pizza places where the whole family went, there were always some high protein things to eat.  I pack a protein bar for each day I am away, so for 3 weeks pack 21; bags of low-carbo beef jerky; in Italy there are a lot of great cheeses! And often ate one protein bar while hiking in the mountains, perhaps with a piece of fruit. Plus you should be able to get great seafood. But these are just echoes of all the good advice you have already received! 

** Usually you can pre-order a meal for your flights going and returning. Recently did the low calorie choice on British Air when going to India -> it turned out to be high protein, low carbs. Perfect. Between that and the nuts (almonds) I had bought, and a protein bar, all was well. No reason to eat the gloppy cheap pasta dish they serve everyone ...

** Bring your sugar substitute of choice - I use Splenda and it is not available in much of Europe.  ** Similarly unless you are getting expresso I find the "hotel coffee" often pretty bad so I carry packets of Starbucks instant French dark roast or Italian roast coffee with me. Of all the instant coffees out there I think they are the best. l buy lots of 50 or so on Amazon, less expensive than buying at the retail Starbucks.

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When I travel I assume I won't find what I need to eat/want to eat so I take protein power, RTD shakes, protein bars, nuts and moon cheese. I put my premier RTD shakes 4 to a gallon size freezer bag just in case one of them leaks. (I hasn't happened yet, I'm just extra cautious.) Plenty of cheese in Italy so you should haven't problems. Before I went to Paris a couple of years ago I checked out menus online for the places I wanted to eat. 

I also take an empty travel coffee cup through security and then get a decaf latte and mix in protein powder before I get on the plane. This way, no matter the length of the flight and what they do/don't serve, I will get at least 30 grams of protein in that cup of decaf.

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15 hours ago, Jen581791 said:

Breakfasts may be tricky (France and Italy and their carb breakfasts! For two countries that pride themselves on their culinary strengths, and are world famous for them, they certainly fall down at breakfast time!) but other meals should be fine, I think. 

Yes, what is with carb-laden breakfasts!!? Even BEFORE I decided to have WLS, I had to have protein for breakfast or I'd be ready to gnaw my own face off by lunch. 

Hadn't thought about tuna, that's a good one. Particularly if I can buy it there if I need something. 

@BurgundyBoy and @Cheesehead - I hadn't even thought about the airline meal yet! Blech. I'm going to go investigate meal options right now. If all else fails, a protein bar and a couple snacks should get me through. And yes, I think I'll do pretty well with tagliere/antipasti platters and the occasional caprese salad. Luckily I'm traveling with two others, so we can order a variety of things to share. Good reminder on the sugar substitute - I'm a Mio drops user, will need to take a couple with me. 

And yes, @Stephtay, I have definitely been picking restaurants based on both good reviews and availability of things I can reasonably eat! Thank goodness we live in the era of the internet. :) We're going to be traveling around so much I'm worried about carrying anything heavy like liquid protein shakes with me, but good call on the moon cheese. Those cheese "crackers" are really lightweight. Also was looking at roasted edamame - there were some 100 calorie snack packs on Amazon with 10 grams of protein each. Not bad.

Thanks all for weighing in! 

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tuna is a great idea, but you can also get packets of tuna which you could throw in your suitcase/travel bag and then purse once you get there.  

but you will want to enjoy the vacation too, so there should be plenty to eat and enjoy while dining out, just know your limits, no drinking w/ meal and no bread etc and you should do well. I would also try to maintain rather than lose while there.

 

 

tuna.JPG

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8 minutes ago, CheeringCJ said:

I would also try to maintain rather than lose while there.

Interesting... why? 

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3 minutes ago, kristinwitha_k said:

Interesting... why? 

I know you aren't asking me, but here is my POV. Indulging a bit when you are in Italy isn't going to derail your weight loss. I had WLS to live the life I wanted to live which includes indulging on occasion. I like food, enjoy it and want to eat things that bring me pleasure. If I were going to Italy, I wouldn't waste my calories or carbs on the pasta. But I would eat some sweets, bread and wine. When I went to Paris post-op I totally over indulged. I can't remember how many pounds I gained that week but I lost them once I got home. I ate what I wanted to while I was there. I'm glad I did. I had some fantastic things (eclairs and macaroons) and I knew as soon as I got home I'd be back on plan. Plus, when I see something now like a macaroon I think "I had the best ones in Paris, no need to feel tempted by that low-rent cookie. I've had better."

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1 hour ago, kristinwitha_k said:

Interesting... why? 

same reasons @Stephtay said....you want to live a little and have no regrets!  In fact, if there was a fabulous pasta dish your mom ordered and you were dying to have a bite, I would!  Italy is known for that so don't order your own but certainly taste mom's if she is raving over how wonderful it is.  Try some delicious new cheese dish or something you wouldn't have at home.  Traveliing is also a culinary experinence and you don't want to miss that.  That way you aren't holding yourself back so much that it is upsetting and you are trying something new in a new place BUT I would just do a bite and be satisfied.  I'd skip the bread and empty fillers but if there was something you wanted just a bite of, I would.  (Unless you're the personality that that would be a slippery slope. Personally I couldn't binge if i wanted to so I wouldn't worry about it yet...I could order a huge plate of lasagna but honestly after about 5-7 bites, I'd be forced to push it away because I would have hit my limit so I doubt it would be a slippery slope since I can't really overindulge and it would be a vacation only thing.)  I think vacations are to be enjoyed....and if you have a few extra calories, go for a long walk....I usually walk so much during a vacation that I undo any damage done :) .  I wouldn't overindulge in every meal, but i would have a taste of magnificent things so you can say you :had a magnificent ____________ in Italy and it was to die for"...only you didn't die...you ate, savored and moved on! 

Edited by CheeringCJ

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As a Type 2 diabetic, I have found grocery stores through most of the world to be my friend. It is hard to travel without running into a situation where most everything is carb laden. I like to see the way people shop and live, so grocery stores are fun for me. You can often pick up some dried meats, cheese and have fun with local treats. I’m not suggesting you do this for every meal but eating out and planning ahead aren’t always foolproof. Some of my best memories are of laughing with friends/family on the beach and eating new things out of a can. 

I’m excited for your trip. What part of Italy are you visiting? 

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5 hours ago, NerdyToothpick said:

I like to see the way people shop and live, so grocery stores are fun for me.

I adore shopping in the grocery stores of a new country! One of my favorite surprises while traveling was learning how awesome Italian truck stops are. They are SOOOOO great! They put even the biggest most amazing American truck stops to shame, and they have real food instead of just processed garbage (I mean, they have that too, but they have wonderful real food in great abundance.

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2 hours ago, Jen581791 said:

I adore shopping in the grocery stores of a new country! One of my favorite surprises while traveling was learning how awesome Italian truck stops are. They are SOOOOO great! They put even the biggest most amazing American truck stops to shame, and they have real food instead of just processed garbage (I mean, they have that too, but they have wonderful real food in great abundance.

I confess, I’m a grocery store a holic..even our own, I can spend time just walking the isles.  And foreign ones are even more fun, especially if things aren’t in English.  There’s a Dutch one I love when we go to Bonaire.  And I love a Mexican one I go to several times a year.  In Bonaire we love Dutch gouda and apples.  Hubby likes mayo in toothpaste tubes..  the yogurt in France was the best (pre surgery so not sure if they had Greek)..

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14 hours ago, kristinwitha_k said:

I'm worried about carrying anything heavy like liquid protein shakes with me,

Several brands including syntrax make single serve powder pouches, so all you need is a bottle of water to toss the powder into. That has worked really well for me in my travels. You can order them on Amazon in 12 packs - they’re very lightweight. When I went to Guatemala, I took 21 pouches and 21 bars for a 3 week trip. Got some funny looks at the airport when they scanned my luggage, but that’s all. 

Edited by Jen581791

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Thanks for your thoughts @Stephtay and @CheeringCJ, definitely some food for thought. I think there was part of me that was hoping I could do both. :) Have a taste of things here and there and properly enjoy Italy, and manage to lose a couple pounds still while I was at it, but it's probably better for my emotional well-being if I don't expect it, eh? I also have been struggling with where it's appropriate to draw the line between a true "special occasion" and making excuses to eat things I shouldn't. I agree that a big trip to Italy falls under the special occasion category, but I need to process my feelings about that slippery slope I'm worried I will find myself on. I definitely don't have the capacity to seriously overeat (obviously), but I'm also worried about feeling a strong desire to have more and being unable to. Like having one bite of gelato will just make me sad I can't have more. Lots of thinking to do on this. Yay for therapy. 

Good point about setting expectations for eating out, @NerdyToothpick - I generally am pretty good about just going with the flow, but WLS has made me a bit more uptight about finding food options. (As this entire post will attest!! Ha.) We are trekking all over, here's the general itinerary: 6 nights in Rome, 4 nights in Sorrento (also visiting Pompeii, Capri, and a tour of the Amalfi coast), 3 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence, 5 nights at an agriturismo outside Monteriggioni (we're renting a car to see Siena, San Gimignano, small towns in Chianti and the Val d'Orcia, and a trek down to Assisi), 1 more night back in Rome before we fly out. There are so many amazing places we're not going to get to, but even with three weeks, I had to apply some limits. 

And yes, I do love grocery stores away from home! My last BIG trip was to Japan a few years back, and food markets and grocery stores are some of my favorite pics. I'm going to subject you all to a few of them:

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IMG_7373.thumb.JPG.4fda553ac97338a7730f5a54ff1fc833.JPG

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20 minutes ago, kristinwitha_k said:

Thanks for your thoughts @Stephtay and @CheeringCJ, definitely some food for thought. I think there was part of me that was hoping I could do both. :) Have a taste of things here and there and properly enjoy Italy, and manage to lose a couple pounds still while I was at it, but it's probably better for my emotional well-being if I don't expect it, eh? I also have been struggling with where it's appropriate to draw the line between a true "special occasion" and making excuses to eat things I shouldn't.

I hear you on this. I can make a special occasion out of anything - light traffic on the way home - let's celebrate! The sun is shining - whoooo-hoooooo! Here is how I draw the line. Making spontaneous food decisions got me to over 275 pounds twice. I don't trust myself to make good judgments in the moment. So I plan to indulge. Before I went to Paris I stuck to plan 100% for 2 - 3 weeks knowing I was going to have lots of sweets and champagne. After Paris I went right back to plan. It was tough the first couple of days coming off all the carbs and sugar but I knew it would be going into it. 

 

On a lesser scale, I'm going to an Oscar party in about 10 days. I'm going to eat and drink what I want at this party. So, no booze or carbs for me until then. I don't count calories but I would guess I'm keeping them around 900/day until then and I'm exercising every day. 

 

The best bites of any food are the first and the last. Take a first bite of that gelato and really enjoy it. Savor it. Have another if you want. After a bite or two then tell yourself your next bite is your last and savor that one as well. And if you feel sad for making yourself stop before you want to, remind yourself you will have another opportunity to have a treat again. Just not at this moment. 

Hope all of this helps. I identify as a food addict and my food demon is WAY smarter than I am. He is always finding ways to try and trick me into eating more. What I've listed above allows me to truly enjoy food without sliding down that slippery slope that I know so well. 

Edited by Stephtay

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As ususal, I totally agree with the wise advice from @Stephtay, @Jen581791, @BurgundyBoy, @Cheesehead, @NerdyToothpick, @Aussie Bear, and @CheeringCJ.  When I am on vacation my goals are to have a great time with my family/friends, focus on non-food events, and not worry too much about losing weight.

By the way, don't forget to pack your vitamins as they can be hard to find abroad.  I find it helpful to organize them into daily packets in small ziplock bags.

I travel a lot and I have not found it hard to hit my protein levels.  In Italy, if you go out to eat see if they can serve you a small piece of fish or chicken, some meatballs, or at least an antipasto plate with cheese and sliced meats.  Soup is usually a good option, although it may not be high in protein.  Try to avoid pasta, risotto, or bread as these items will fill you up in a non-nutritious way.  

Do not be surprised if you gain a few pounds, as when you travel the food tends to be high in salt.  Just plan on drinking a lot of liquids when you get back, and the salt related weight should fall off quickly.

Most of all enjoy your trip!

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In Cayman, I have 1 coconut macaroon a day.  In Bonaire we get stroopwaffle cookies and I usually get a small gelato cone when I’ve walked into town.  Those are my treats..and I’m usually diving and end up coming back losing weight.  I go crazy with not being able to weigh.  I still concentrate on protein first and no drinking with meals.  I also take coffee grounds.  Powdered creamer, Splenda.  Our experience has been the X-ray machines don’t recognize cheese.  Hubby brings Jamaican bun and cheese sandwiches back with him and I have string cheese.  They usually search those carry ons.  They’ve actually asked what string cheese is.  Oh I also end up pulling my hunk of gouda cheese out too.  

Edited by Cheesehead

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On 2/20/2018 at 11:32 AM, kristinwitha_k said:

Thanks for your thoughts @Stephtay and @CheeringCJ, definitely some food for thought. I think there was part of me that was hoping I could do both. :) Have a taste of things here and there and properly enjoy Italy, and manage to lose a couple pounds still while I was at it, but it's probably better for my emotional well-being if I don't expect it, eh? I also have been struggling with where it's appropriate to draw the line between a true "special occasion" and making excuses to eat things I shouldn't. I agree that a big trip to Italy falls under the special occasion category, but I need to process my feelings about that slippery slope I'm worried I will find myself on. I definitely don't have the capacity to seriously overeat (obviously), but I'm also worried about feeling a strong desire to have more and being unable to. Like having one bite of gelato will just make me sad I can't have more. Lots of thinking to do on this. Yay for therapy. 

Good point about setting expectations for eating out, @NerdyToothpick - I generally am pretty good about just going with the flow, but WLS has made me a bit more uptight about finding food options. (As this entire post will attest!! Ha.) We are trekking all over, here's the general itinerary: 6 nights in Rome, 4 nights in Sorrento (also visiting Pompeii, Capri, and a tour of the Amalfi coast), 3 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence, 5 nights at an agriturismo outside Monteriggioni (we're renting a car to see Siena, San Gimignano, small towns in Chianti and the Val d'Orcia, and a trek down to Assisi), 1 more night back in Rome before we fly out. There are so many amazing places we're not going to get to, but even with three weeks, I had to apply some limits. 

And yes, I do love grocery stores away from home! My last BIG trip was to Japan a few years back, and food markets and grocery stores are some of my favorite pics. I'm going to subject you all to a few of them:

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Wow, wow, wow!! These photos are awesome. What strikes me most about these images are the vibrant colors. You have a great photographer’s eye. I’m looking forward to your Italian holiday photos!

I could window shop in grocery stores forever. It’s one of my guilty pleasures when I am traveling on my own. :D

Now that I think about it, @kristinwitha_k, I lost about 5 lbs on my December vacation. I was surprised! I had made my peace with gaining a few pounds ahead of time. I tried my best to make smart choices and I had dessert every d@mn day. I think my food choices, combined with walking around and not shoving massive amounts of food in my face :D was a reminder that this is a complete lifestyle change. The choices we make today aren't the same choices we made when we were sick and fat. You’ll be fine! 

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On 2/21/2018 at 9:18 PM, NerdyToothpick said:

Wow, wow, wow!! These photos are awesome. What strikes me most about these images are the vibrant colors. You have a great photographer’s eye. I’m looking forward to your Italian holiday photos!

I could window shop in grocery stores forever. It’s one of my guilty pleasures when I am traveling on my own. :D

Now that I think about it, @kristinwitha_k, I lost about 5 lbs on my December vacation. I was surprised! I had made my peace with gaining a few pounds ahead of time. I tried my best to make smart choices and I had dessert every d@mn day. I think my food choices, combined with walking around and not shoving massive amounts of food in my face :D was a reminder that this is a complete lifestyle change. The choices we make today aren't the same choices we made when we were sick and fat. You’ll be fine! 

Thanks!! Photography is one of my favorite hobbies, and I love sharing my photos with other people. (As I also love seeing others photos!) I will definitely come back and share my pics from Italy, once I weed them down to some favorites. (I took something like 1300 photos in Japan over 2 weeks. I just can't help myself.) I got a new camera for this trip, too, with a huge increase in megapixels, so I'm so excited to get out there and take some cool shots. 

Yes, I think that all I need to ask of myself is to be intentional about the choices I'm making. A couple bites of someone's gelato is NOT, in fact, going to kill me, as long as I remain in control. I'm feeling good about things at the moment. 

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