Disney Food & Wine Week, The Antithesis of Healthy Eating

Last month I got to experience the Disney World Food and Wine Festival for the first time in my life.  For those not familiar with the experience, Disney World has a park called EPCOT.  EPCOT’s origins are as a model of a future community structure which then morphed into a science and history educational theme park.  While much has changed on the technology side, the World Showcase, with it’s 1.2 mile long oval track of countries has remained mostly intact.  The premise of the Food and Wine festival is simple, Disney has about 30 host countries setup stations throughout the World Showcase where they can each exhibit two to three dishes, plus a handful of adult beverages.  I went there fully intending to gorge myself on food, both at the festival and at the various restaurants for dinner.  The end results aren’t exactly surprising, but I thought it would be good to put them out there to see exactly what a week of such eating looks like.

To be clear, I’d rather eat the foods I enjoy and die a little younger than to subsist on nothing but the blandest of eating styles and live to be 110.  Thankfully, I don’t think that is the math we are working with.  Periodic indulgences like this aren’t great for you, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t think it’s good to make more of them than they are.  That said, it is an interesting lesson in how far things can go so easily.

Some background first, along with sampling tons of food and adult beverages we were doing a lot of walking.  By a lot I mean 8-10 miles per day.  I had one day I ran 18 miles and another I ran 4 as well as some other working out.  This wasn’t some lounging around and having food shoveled into your face like some goose being raised for fois gras.  There was definitely a lot of eating and drinking, but also a lot of exercise.  Along those lines this was an eating and drinking marathon, not a sprint.  You see tons of food and beverages on the list.  Yet at no time were we so stuffed we were disgusted with ourselves, at least I wasn’t.  Likewise at no time were we drunk or even buzzed, let alone hung over..  The closest I got to that was the afternoon after my 18 mile run.  My body was pretty beat up and the first beer went right to my head, but that still wasn’t buzzed or anything like that.  It’s amazing how if you are eating and drinking for twelve hours straight you still are putting back a substantial amount of alcohol yet still never feeling it.

Despite the damage listed below I considered the experience a great success.  It was a great time with good friends and it is something I look forward to doing again in the future.  We started the week with three levels of goals.  At a minimum we were going to get something from each of the thirty booths.  Preferably we would sample all the food from all the booths.  As a grand slam target we were hoping to try all the beverages at all the booths too.  Thanks to traveling in a group we were all able to sample every food product at every booth.  We made a pretty good dent in the beverage list as well.  Along with that there was plenty of good food to be had in the regular restaurants throughout the resort.  Once again, it’s an experience I highly recommend.  That all said, what was the damage?

Obviously, one of the big things that pops out are the calories, over 4000 a day on average.  In fact, as you can see on the day-to-day plot I hit 5000 calories on one day.  As a plus, most of the micronutrient values (including sodium too unfortunately) are off the charts higher than the recommended daily value.  Vitamin E is the only nutrient I didn’t on average get an excess of.  I’m also not doing so hot on the fiber, which is impressive considering the volume of food eaten.  If I’ve eaten 4000 or more calories a day, I’d hope I’d be hitting numbers like that.  Of course the other numbers are off the charts too.  Carbs are almost 300% of the recommended levels as are all the fat numbers.  Alcohol is quite high as well.  650 calories a day is on average six drinks, if it were pure alcohol, however I didn’t have too much of it.  In fact I was probably north of eight drinks on any one day.

You can see the day calories burned versus calories consumed as well.  There was a good amount of variability in how many miles we walked on any day. You put that on top of the actual working out.  Sticking out, I’ll say proudly because it beat the shit out of me, is 10/26, when I burned over 5000 calories and went 28 miles.  Most days I ate more than my body burned, which is evident by the increasing weight over that same period as well.

There are no surprises here, nor would I do anything differently.  I still find it interesting to see what a truly overindulgent diet looks like.