Friday, July 23, 2010

Healthy Eating While on Vacation

This past weekend I was in Florida for my cousin's wedding. It was such a great trip! I spent most of the time laying by the pool of the hotel, exploring the area and spending quality time with my boyfriend and family. I was there for 5 days and really didn't want to leave!!!

Most people find it very difficult to stay healthy while on vacation. It isn't uncommon for people to gain 5-10 pounds on a cruise! Just because your traveling doesn't mean you should fall off the wagon. Of course I knew I would be eating out a lot more than I normally do, and perhaps enjoying a few cocktails ;), but I made sure to stick to my healthy guidelines.

I did a little research prior to leaving and found tons of healthy places to eat, so I knew that I had options. Breakfast is always the hardest for me to eat out, so I purchased a healthy cereal and almond milk and kept it in the hotel fridge. I had this most of the days of my vacation. For lunch and dinner my boyfriend and I went to the healthy restaurants I found online. There were also some really awesome health food stores that had deli's in the back. PS, is anyone else OBSESSED with health food stores? I swear, I'm like a kid in a candy store when I get around supplements and healthy food.

Anyway, I still managed to get all my veggies in even though I was on vacation. I tried to keep my meals as clean and healthy as possible, especially since I happened to have a few (3-4) margaritas the last night I was there. Naughty, I know! Of course I never feel guilty when I indulge since a majority of the time I am eating clean.

These contained an assortment of fresh veggies (one had tofu in too) wrapped in rice paper. They were super healthy and yummy.

I know this pic is super blurry but it shows my MONSTER of a salad. It was rice noodles, tons of raw veggies and tofu with a sesame ginger dressing. Of course I barely even finish a third of it but it was really clean. I'm also addicted to green tea, and got in iced since it was so hot out. I always get unsweetened and add stevia.

Going on a vacation doesn't mean you have to ruin your "diet." Just do your research, make smart investments in veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean protein and keep your portions in check! Also, bring healthy snacks with you! I can't tell you how many times I saved myself by having fruit, nuts or healthy bars in my bag!

Now tell me about your vacations!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cooking vs. Eating out

A lot of people ask me if I find it difficult to go out to eat while trying to eat healthy. Yes, it can be difficult at times. There aren't many restaurants on Long Island that fit my criteria of "healthy." While there are plenty of health food stores, there aren't many vegan or even vegetarian restaurants here (I know of 2 or 3). Technically, I could go to any restaurant and get a salad or grilled veggies, but I eat those at home every day, so if I am going out to eat I want to try something unique.

However, go ot a restaurant can be a little stressful for me because I have no clue what is going into my food, who is making it and how they are preparing it (I get a little neurotic about my food if you haven't figured that out yet!). Especially since, I am sure that if I witnessed what went on in a restaurant kitchen, I would never eat out again! Trust me, I have heard HORROR stories from friends of mine that use to work at restaurants, EEK!

So, I actually prefer to make my own food at home. For me personally, it is worth the time and effort it takes to make my own food because I will have the piece of mind knowing that I am eating clean, healthy food rather than a mystery meal.

But that doesn't that mean I never go out to eat! I would say 95% of the time I cook my own food. When I do go out to eat, I am very selective of where I go. I live about 40min out of New York City where there are SO much healthy vegan restaurants that I feel completely comfortable eating at. Since these resaturants are 100% vegan I don't have to worry about anything magically slipping into my food that I don't want.

Tips for eating out:
No matter what restaurant you go to, the best way to keep your healthy eating on track is to fill up on salads, grilled veggies and healthy soups first! Then eat half or split an entree of your choice. Restaurants typically serve portions sizes that are double or triple what you should be eating! Another way to not over do it at a restaurant is to order a medium/large salad or vegetable dish, then an appetizer. Appetizers are smaller so you won't be eating as much. Avoid anything thats fried or any "creamy" sauces. As for salads, they can get UGLY! The whole point of getting a salad is to fill up on high volume, low calorie veggies. So forget the croutons, bacon bits, creamy dressings, moutain of cheese or whatever high calorie nonsense they put on salads. A simple mixed veggie salad with oil & vinegar dressing and a sprinkle of cheese, nuts, seeds, beans or what ever healthy topping you like. Keep it simple!

Just because you are trying to eat healthy does not been you can't be social and go out to eat with friends. As long as you are prepared to resist temptation (or half a few small bies of it!) and make smart choices, you can stay healthy & have a social life! Who knew? ;)

My favorite NYC restaurants: Hangawi, Gobo and Caravan of Dreams.

Healthy tip: Before breakfast sqeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into some warm water. This is great for cleaning out your liver and kidneys as well as giving your body a great boost in the morning!

What is your take on cooking vs eating out, while still trying to eat healthy?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July Weekend

How was every one's 4th of July? Mine was very relaxed! The weather was beautiful so my boyfriend & I went to the beach during the day, then saw some fireworks at night. Just wanted to share some of the healthier options for 4th of July BBQ's. (Keep in mind I have a digital camera from 7 years ago & I am by no means a photographer!!)

This dip had layers of refried beans, black beans, guacamole, tofu sour cream that was mixed with taco seasoning and tomatoes on top. Its definitely a crowd pleaser and perfect to bring to parties and BBQ's. Here's the recipe for the tofu sour cream:

Tofu sour cream:
-8 ounces of silken tofu
-2 T lemon juice
-3 T canola oil
-2 t brown rice vinegar
-1/2 t sea salt

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad: Organic blueberries, strawberries & white peaches. Clean and simple.

Ok so I had to make one unhealthy thing! As requested by my boyfriend:

I didn't have any simply because I'm not much of a cupcake person (unless its red velvet of course!).

Many people use holidays as an excuse to eat unhealthy. Like I said in my memorial day post, you can indulge as long as you are smart about it!

Now, onto some yummy meals I've had:

Breakfast: Wildwood UNSWEETENED soy yogurt (organic & non-gmo) with organic blueberries & 1/4 cup Ezekiel sprouted cereal, tons of cinnamon and stevia to taste.

Its crazy to me that people eat yogurts that contain anywhere from 15-25g of sugar in those tiny containers and they think it is healthy, "diet" food because its low in calories! NEVER buy high sugar products. Buy them unsweetened and lightly sweeten them yourself with either agave or stevia.


I've been wanting to try tofu shirataki noodles for a while. They are basically noodles made out of tofu, so they are very low in carbs and low in calories. I cooked them according to the package and made a stirfry with:

Veggies: broccoli, onion, garlic, carrots and kale

Sauce: tamari, brown rice vinegar, mirin (Japanese cooking wine), & sesame oil
Seasoning: Powdered garlic, ginger & eden shake

Healthy fact: Did you know that cinnamon is helpful in keeping insulin levels stable? Good thing I use insane amounts of it on everything!

Tip of the day: Make veggies the main part of your meals. So many times I see people making a protein or grains as the main component of their dish. This leads to excess calories and weight gain. Instead, base your dish around veggies. They are high in volume and in nutrients so they fill you up, but they are low in calories!