Tag Archives: food

Food, Food and more Food

Did you know that the average cruiser can consume 7,000 calories a day? Well that’s what more than one cruise ship staffer told us. Yup a gain of 7-12 lbs. is possible.  Now you know why Frank and I kept up with our gym schedule :).  Well, we certainly kept up with our eating schedule as well.  I definitely consumed double my normal intake, although I am not sure I hit 7K!  But I fit into the same pants I wore on the plane ride to miami as I did on the way back to NYC, so not too much damage was done ;).

Here’s a look, some healthy, some not so much!

The Good:

Oasis of the Seas has many healthy options.  The Solarium, which is complimentary for lunch and dinner has an abundance of healthy options all under 500 calories.  The main dining rooms also denote the vitality recommended dishes with the vitality symbol on the menu. In addition, every evening they offer a three course menu option under 800 calories, not including bread or wine of course.

Salad, soups, fruits and vegetables were available in spades.

Despite serving 6000 people at once, I found the chefs happy to accommodate my sans dressing requests. Each night featured a cold fruit soup and several salads and vegetarian options, plus simple grilled fish options abounded. Portions were not small, but not huge, since you could order 3 apps, 3 entrees, and 5 desserts if you so desired (sometimes we did).

So on with the show:

Let’s start in SoBe, I ordered a lovely black bean hummus sandwich at Books and Books Cafecruise 244

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On the boat our first meal was lunch at the Solarium bistro

Lots of salads

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My plate

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The boy’s

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An afternoon snack

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Breakfast at the Solarium

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Oatmeal bar

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Sweet endings….

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One morning pre-very early spin class, Frank ordered breakfast in bread (free!)  I saved mine for later, but here’s the entire tray!  Minus coffee.

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The lunch in Labadee didn’t have many veggie options, but I made do just fine

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The less virtuous!

I didn’t take too many shots of dinner, since it was a formal dining room, but I often could resist capturing dessert, here is a sample of our ridiculous nightly spreads. We always ordered between 3 and 5 to share, we never finished anything, but boy if we didn’t do our darndest.

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Speaking of dessert, this was a daily staple

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One night we decided to have a little romantic night of our own, and made a reservation at Chops Grille.  This cost $25 a person, but was so unbelievably worth it in every way.  

Chops is one of the many restaurants in Central Park.  The deal is you can order as many apps., sides, and desserts as you want, as well as one entree. The portions were much bigger than the ones in the Opus Dining Room.

We picked a lovely night for the Park.  It’s lighting is so romantical.  From Day 1 on the ship, people asked if we were on our honeymoon.  Frank’s response started out as a resounding NOOOOOOOOOOO!  By the end, he was worn down and practically affirming the accusation.  hehehehe! lol. Kisses!

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At any rate, onto the food:IMG_1893 IMG_1894


Eggplant and thai steak salad


Shrimp cocktail


Lobster cappricio


Blue cheese tomato salad


House salad


The main

I got alaskan halibut in cedar

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Frank got the filetIMG_1908

Sauce optionsIMG_1910

Sides were broccoli rabe, succotash, and whipped potatoesIMG_1912 IMG_1909 IMG_1911

We barely made a dent in our dishes, but had to order dessert anywaysIMG_1914


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We left to very full, happy campers.

In mexico we sampled the local cuisine


And CozumelIMG_2042

In addition to eating, I definitely drank more than I ever have in a week, well since college anyways.  People were always offering drinks on the pool deck, during the shows, and at the casino. I am not a huge fan of drinking, but it was hard to bow out gracefully.  Plus, there were cool themed bars everywhere we turned on the Oasis.  In fact there were 37 bars onboard!

Here are a few of the ones we tried:

So predinner drinks, wine with dinner, and posts-dinner drinks it was.


There was a great wine bar called vintages that let you create your own wine flight of 3, 2oz pours

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Wine trees!



While I am not one for frozen drinks, I did steal the umbrella a time or two!

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Oh, well, who needs sobriety anyways? Jk.  I am happy to have a little break from booze for as long as I can make it last. :)

Plus, every once in a while you need a Labadoozzle in Labadee!cruise2 053

I am sad the honeymoon is over, but excited to enjoy summer in the city.  I think we might check out Speakeasy Night at the Museum of the City of NY on Wednesday and Shakesphere in the Park Friday.  It also happens to be restaurant week, so that might happen too!

Old workouts, new challenges and chews!

I had a throw back of workouts the last few days.  Yesterday, I got an email saying I had one “influencer” class at Physique that I had to use or lose, so I scheduled an 8:30 AM class for this morning.  I thought I might die since it has been so long, but the class was not too insane.  I did feel like a champ when I left though.

Sunday, after my cross-country run, I kind of wanted a workout to “bliss me out” if you will.  I decided on one of my very favorites, the New York City Ballet Workout.  This was my very first Amazon purchase, and boy did I get my money’s worth. It has gone everywhere with me.  Why do I love it?  It makes you feel strong, long, graceful and poised, and it is a gentle full body workout. For some reason, more than any other workout, this one makes me feel really good about my body, I can’t explain, it just does.

I also love that within in days of doing it, I am at least 50% more flexible.  You can also do it absolutely anywhere.  Doing just one set of the minimum number of reps of all the exercises and stretches in the book took me about 45 minutes.

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For any one who wants a quick an dramatic change in their flexibility, I promise just the first two sections (warm up and stretch) will get you results in no time.  The stretch below is pretty amazing.  It seems so simple, but it is so effective.  I usually do it at the beginning, middle and end of the workout, and by the end, I have no trouble getting my chest to my knees.  The key is to spend 10 full seconds in each of the four positions—no cheating.

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So on to some yummy products I have recently sampled.  I don’t review everything I try, but these were all good enough to share!

Let’s start with one of my top five favorite foods: CEREAL!

I saw this new Nature’s Path cereal at the store and was very intrigued.  NP Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon is one of my favorites! So when I saw the new Optimum Strawberry and Yogurt, I had to try it.  I love me some yogurt!  It was really good!  Sweet and yummy.  While it has slightly less protein than the blueberry, it is also a little less crunchy—in a good way.  This is a keeper!  It is a good replacement for All Bran Yogurt Bites, which is great but highly over processed with fake ingredients.

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This was a free “surprise” from Kashi.  Kashi Honey Sunshine.  It had a very mild honey flavor, like lighter captain crunch or crunchier corn pops.  I don’t really like captain crunch, but this is a great high volume, low cal option for those who do.  I would like it in trail mix or something.

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Next up, something I received a LONG time ago, but recently became borderline obsessed with—Enjoy Life No Nuts Mountain Mambo. I typically don’t love seeds, but this combo is divine.  Sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips and cranberries.  This is the perfect sweet, salty, savory combo! While calorie dense at 140 calories per quarter cup, a little goes along way and it cures my sweet tooth every time.

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Next up, Mariani Honey Bar Trail Mix!  This one was donated for a work program, and I just had to sneak one for myself.  This bar lasted me all day!  It was very tasty, peanut heavy with a nice balance of sweetness.  I bar has 190 cals, 6 grams protein and 2 grams of fiber. No preservatives and six simple ingredients: peanuts, honey, raisins, sunflower kernels, almonds and pumpkin seeds—maybe it is this seed, nut combo that I love.  While not raw like larabars, it is a great option, and much better than Kind bars, which I find too sweet. Try it, I think you’ll like it.

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Finally, Hint Water.  This was literally just a hint of flavor.  I had tried it years ago and not loved it, but this time around, it was great.  As I am not a huge water person, a little flavor goes along way.  I tried the Pomegranate-Tangerine and Raspberry Lime—both were nice and refreshing.  While it gets pretty expensive to buy these, as pleasant a product as they are, sometimes just a tiny splash of juice is all it takes to up the fun factor of your agua.

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Next up, Bar Hopping!  Juice Bar Hopping that is!  I have realized that green juice is becoming a distance memory in my lifestyle and with my crazy schedule lately-gym-work-class-work-blog-homework-bed, I need all the energy I can get.  So I thought I would make it fun, but trying out all the juice bars within reasonable distance from my office.  My goal is to start my morning with green juice twice a week and them hopefully up it from there.  I will compare price, flavor, and quality!

Here are the places I want to try:

Any other suggestions?  One Lucky Duck :( is a bit far and Jivamuktea doesn’t open early enough.

Finally!  Go Yankees!

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Final note, last night was by far the best Gossip Girl episode of the season.  I had almost given up on it.  But oh the zingers were flying.  I would recap, but NYMAG shares my sentiments completely, read the recap.

Oh and other random obsession, Someecards.com

Nu-Kitchen Finale

As I type this, I am on the Amtrak heading upstate to visit the family.  I suppose I should have taken the megabus so I would have wi-fi, but there are honestly few things I find as enjoyable and relaxing as the ride up the Hudson.  It is nothing short of enchanting.  I am going “home” for a few reasons, which I will explain soon.  I was hoping to pop by and see Gena at the vegetarian expo in Saratoga, but sadly she is sick. Feel better soon my darling. The fact that we were going to meet up outside of the city reminds me of my favorite New Yorker story, Bumping into Mr. Ravoli.  It really epitomizes the absurdity of how NYers have a skewed sense of balancing perpetually overbooked schedules with social lives and way too much reliance on technology over in person interaction.  I digress. 

So, I finished my first week of NuKitchen, here is a look at day 5:

Breakfast: Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Frittata with potato hash and fruit

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I have to say this was probably my favorite breakfast, which is funny since I usually prefer sweet to savory.  And since I was pretty hungry after my 6 mile run, the fact that it was ready in 2 minutes was fabulous.

Lunch: Spicy Vegetarian Chile Verde and Cornbread

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This was amazing, big chunks of vegetables, a lot of spice!  I really want this recipe, ‘twas yum-o. The cornbread was great too, who doesn’t love cornbread?  It had nice chunks of fresh corn.  The whole meal was 350 calories.

SNACK: I was out meeting a friend for coffee in Bryant Park during snacking hours, so I had a an iced skim latte and a handleful of baby carrots.

Dinner: Veggie Burger on a Kaiser Roll with mixed greens salad

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This was really good, the type of veggie burger where peas are popping out all over. And I toasted the roll making it deliciously doughy and hearty.  At first I thought the meal would leave me hungry since there weren’t many greens, so I bulked it up with some salsa, mustard and extra veggies and tossed the dressing.  However, despite being a 310-ish calorie meal, I couldn’t even finish it.  I love non-soy veggie burgers :)

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Dessert: Apple Sour Cream Cake and Chai Latte Brownie

I had two desserts leftover, so I decided to sample both.  nk 014

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On the brightside, these are not low-fat, fake sweetner-laden desserts, they are the real rich deal.  On the downside, they were quite caloric—220 and 360.  In fact, the brownie arrived with twice the calories it said it had when I ordered it on the website, but it was enormous.

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I made a nice plate of a little less than a third of the brownie, the cake and the fruit I hadn’t eaten for a snack.  Each was delicious, the cake and brownie were ridiculously moist, gooey an delicious and worth their calories if you can practice a wee bit of portion control:

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Overall thoughts on NuKitchen:


  • You learn a lot about your own eating habits—grazing, sweet tooth, how much you really eat, etc.
  • You gain an easy sense of portion control, very transferrable to everyday life (restaurant and home), no measuring required
  • No thinking ahead, planning or waiting required—meals ready in 2 minutes or less (this made getting home late and avoiding temptation or sneaking in a lunch hour workout a snap)
  • Superb customer service
  • Fresh, good, whole food—no diet food, processing or chemicals—I have a whole new appreciation for healthy whole foods
  • Tasty food: I have 90% of the food 4 or 5 stars. Only one item was not good.
  • You can pick each meal and snack
  • Lots of vegetarian options
  • Dessert everyday
  • Relatively affordable by NYC standards
  • lots of options for delivery and plans, a la carte, once a week, full meal service, etc.
  • Nutritional info provided—most delivery services do not
  • Portions always satisfying


  • Sometimes you are in the mood for something other than you ordered
  • You might not lose weight if that is your goal. I weighed myself on Monday morning and then on Saturday morning and my weight was exactly the same
  • Some of the labeling was different on the website than it was on arrival
  • Use a lot of plastic containers

Final thoughts:

I found Nu-Kitchen very helpful in allowing me to honestly look at my own eating habits.  I think it would work best for me a day or two a week to keep my on track.  As someone who doesn’t cook food much, eating so many savory, full meals was a change.  It did help me recognize that smaller, simple meals, just a veggie burger and a few veggies, could be totally satisfying.  I will take the portion control practice with me as a visual aid in my own meal prep and dining out. I am looking forward to not photographing my meals and responding to my moment to moment food desires for a while, but it was a great lesson and I may do it again at some point.  Sometimes I missed a nice salad at lunch, but I felt like $11.75 was a lot for a salad when you could get salmon for the same price. I do think food journaling or even food blogging once a week could be very helpful to me. 

Nu-Kitchen day 1

So yesterday, I announced that I would be trying Nu-kitchen food delivery service for the week.  I discussed a few great features that Nu-kitchen offers, but I will post them again for ya’ll:

  • The food is completely fresh, natural and delicious looking and the menu changes every week—unlike nutrisystem which looks like dehydrated dog food in the ads
  • It is affordable by NY standards, nu-kitchen is about what I spend on a day’s worth of food or one moderately priced meal out.  Any where from $11 for lunch or dinner to around $29-39 for  a day with three meals and two snacks depending the special and plan option
  • Lots of plan options, you can do a la carte, a few meals a day or a full day of meals and snacks.  You can even just do a day or two a week if you want!
  • You pick exactly what you want for each meal through a very simple online system
  • Nutritional information is provided for every single item on the menu
  • Why I wanted to try Nu-Kitchen:

    • I have heard great things from several people, including a good girl friend, who said that using Nu-Kitchen two days a week helped get her portion-size in check, normalize her eating schedule, and shed 5 stubborn pounds.  I should also note, she tried Zone Diet but was really disappointed, but was thrilled with the difference in food quality and service when she switched to Nu-Kitchen.Sarah Jessica Parker is also a fan:)
    • I also really need to get my portion sized back in check, I have been eating buffet-style since July, and I have lost all sense of appropriate food portions.
    • I don’t count calories, so I have zero idea how many I am eating in comparison to how much my body actually need. Nu-kitchen has a few plans, mine is around 1500 calories, around 400 for each meal and 150 for each snack.  Having a sense of what 1500 calories looks like over the next week will really put my typically diet in check for me.  If I had to take a wild guess, I would say I eat around 2000-2200, but that could be totally off in either direction.
    • I have a strong tendency to go overboard with sweets, mindless snacking, and grazing, so having the work all done for me will be a tremendous help—and help me eliminate some of those bad habits.  I have no ability or desire to follow a plan from a magazine or book, but Nu-kitchen gives me 5-6 options for every meal, so I get to eat what I want without having to do planning and shopping that my schedule often doesn’t allow for.
    • I have found becoming a vegetarian to mean carbetarian, so it will be nice to see what the difference will be like with more balanced meals.

    Overall, I really want to get a better sense of portions and clean up some of my eating habits, just by being more mindful.  Plus it is kind of fun to try something new.

    My reservations are that both my work and social life include lots of lunch and dinner meetings and dates, and there is constantly food at the office, we actually keep a stock of snacks, chips, candy and ice cream novelties, plus food is the basis of the never ending event and meeting schedule, so saying no and explaining why I eating out of my lunch sack will be interesting and perhaps at conflict! 

    So here we go!  Food blogging day 1.

    AM WORKOUT: I should mention I started my day with 10 minutes on the rower, 2 sets of 14 reps on 8 leg machines, about 10 minutes of ab work, tons of stretching and 15 minutes of swimming.

    This was at my door as I went down to the gym.

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    Inside was breakfast

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    Snacks and

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    So I didn’t have to lug the cooler to work, I put breakfast, lunch and a snack into the great cooler Tanya gave me at a blogger meet up, I also added a bag of crudités just in case I didn’t like something or was starving

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    On the way out the door, I had an ADORA calcium supplement and I grabbed a coffee with skim on the way into the office, so I didn’t get around to breakfast until just after 11am.  

    I warmed up my stonefruit muffin topped with some marmalade in the microwave, yum.  Muffins are definitely my favorite breakfast sweet, but NYC only offers them in 500 calories portions, so I usually pass but this perfectly portioned muffin was sweet and delicious.

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    It also came with a yummy side of yogurt.  Pictured with my coffee which insisted on spilling all over on my walk, damn dome tops!

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    Breakfast was very tasty—and I couldn’t pick a yummier combo than yogurt and muffin, but it was not terribly filling for 350 calories.  Had I eaten breakfast at a normal time, I would have had a hard time making it until lunch.

    Speaking of around 11:45 I headed to the bank to make some deposits, and the block next to my office was all blocked off with police barricades and police bars galore! I asked a cop what was going on and he said the president was having lunch on the block!  OMG, I was just wearing my Obamathoner t-shirt yesterday.  I hung out for a good half hour as the collection of police, secret service men and snipers grew and grew.  Apparently Il Molina was the spot of choice.  I knew I had to get back to work, so I reluctantly left, but apparently about 20 minutes later both Obama and Bill arrived on the block for lunch!

    Bill Clinton and President Obama

    So back at the desk, I had lunch around 1.  A yummy salad packed with veggies, rice and beans and finished with balsamic.  The salad was good, not as huge as the deli and whole foods salads I usually make, but probably a much more realistic size meal.  The rice was a little dry, but the salad really exceeded my expectations. It was definitely more interesting than I expected. I am glad they added the beans, since I obvi wouldn’t have chosen the option with chicken.

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    I must confess, after lunch my sweet tooth acted up and I couldn’t resist splitting a strawberry filled Madeline cookie with an office worker.


    In the afternoon, I headed to the student health center to have a Doctor look at my foot and ankle.  He specialized in sports medicine and PT, so it was great to get such a quick appointment.  He poked, bent, pressed and twisted my foot.  And the good news, it is most likely not a stress fracture.  Despite the fact that everything I read online said that stress fracture often have pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest, the doctor said that if it was a stress fracture, the pain wouldn’t have gone away so quickly. He said that it could just be from tight fitting shoes, or it could be tendonitis or fluid build up—neither as serious as a stress fracture.  He also said that it is hard to diagnose when I was not actually in pain while i was in the office.

    I did have ankle pain, but my foot felt fine.  He really didn’t offer my suggestion for my ankle, but I was hugely relieved that he really didn’t think it was a stress fracture. Maybe I should stop googling about injuries!  However, he told me to get an x-ray if the pain comes back and to see him while I am in pain. Hmmm.  All day I have been in pain, but it keeps switching: ankle, foot, knee, shin, it is like my left leg from the knee down is on the hot mess express destination f with my sanity! I am just going to still with the positive that it was all related to the shoes and keep up with the icing for the time being.  I might also cut one of the super long runs from my schedule.

    On to my snack: pita with red pepper dip…kind of

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    So when I picked out my snack it said the pita with red pepper dip was 170 calories, but when it arrived it said it was 420 calories and 35 grams of fat (healthy fat, but still a lot of fat!).  So I decided that I would skip the dip and go for the delicious pita chips and the majority of the raw veggies I brought.

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    I had dinner around 7:15: Sloppy Joes with Potato Salad.  Just 2 minutes in the microwave and dinner was served, which is great when you come home hungry.  I had no excuse to snack while preparing dinner!

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    I really liked the tomato and onions in the sloppy joe mixture.  The roll was a little dry and bland, but it took me a while before I figured out that you were supposed to make a sandwich.  I have never had a sloppy joe before.  The sauce on the roll really helped its case.   I am not a huge soy person, but the dinner was very satisfying.  Both lunch and dinner made me realize that I need to focus on slowing down and enjoy my meals.  I eat so quickly sometimes that i hardly realize I eat.  That alone is a great take away from day 1.

    But I can’t forget dessert, a trail mix cookie!  Yum-o.  My sweet tooth loved every soft chewy bite. 

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    Nu-kitchen gave me this little rating sheet for feedback too! I must say, the good morning melissa across the top really made my day!

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    Thus ends day 1.

    So far,

    • I have caught myself wanting to snack when I wasn’t really hungry.
    • Enjoying satiety. After so many too large meals, it was really nice to feel satisfied but not stuffed leaving the table. 
    • Realizing the need to slow down and not rush through meals distractedly
    • On a regular schedule. Tonight I have a paper due at midnight, so I didn’t attend an semi-optional work event at 6:30.  This helped keep my on a regular meal/snack schedule.  Had I gone, I may have gotten hungry and caved to the Sunshine Sweet Cupcakes by around 7:30, and then probably come home and eaten dinner at 8:30 or 9 anyways.  I need to find a way to eat healthfully despite my odd work schedule.

    While I am not sure exactly how many calories I consumed since I did have a few extras, milk in coffee, adores, half a cookie, a few breath mints, but I would say that I came in just around 1650 today. 

    I feel quite satisfied, focused and energized, more so than usual.  All right, that’s my first day on nuKitchen and my first day as a food blogger! phew!

    Night kids!

    Let it Rock

    Wow, it’s been quite the weekend!

    Last night I hosted a South Africa Reunion for the people who went on my study abroad.  Unfortunately the weather was terrible and what should have been a great roof top barbeque became an indoor soiree.  I have to say, I went beyond overboard with food!  I made like 10 dishes (tortilla espanola, spinach artichoke dip, smore brownies, a huge cheese and prosciutto platter, gorgonzola agave bruschetta with dried cranberries, edammame dip, hummus, mexican lay dip, chips and bread and crackers, caprese salad skewers, tons of crudités,sweet and savory trail mix; I also bought some premade TJs stromboli and feta and caramelized onion phyllo cups that I didn’t even serve.) Oh well, it was the first time I had cooked in a while, and I do love entertaining.  It was fun to see so many people from the trip, including our amazing professor, who stayed until 1:30AM! 

    In any case, I had to be at Grand Central by 7 to meet Katherine for our long run, so I didn’t get much sleep.   I was excited to have company, and I knew I would need it.  I also wore my Obamathoner Running Shirt for good luck.

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    As I mentioned yesterday, I have been really concerned about the pain in my foot that I had at the end of run.  So how did the big 2-0 go?  Well, it was the hardest run of my life, I am not going to lie.  From mile 1 there was pain.  However, it was not the sharp excruciating localized pain that I experienced at mile 17 last week.  It was a dull, mild, yet present ache in my left ankle and knee.  There was some pain at the top of my foot for maybe half of the run, but it came and went and wasn’t too bad.  The bigger sneakers helped this immensely.  So I am really hoping that most of the pain is just left over from running in sneakers that all of the sudden became way too small.  I am not really sure what the deal with the ankle and knee pain was all about, but that can also be due to ill-fitting sneakers.  I still don’t know how after 2 years and 5 pairs, my sneaker size suddenly changed, but i guess it is summer and heat and distance cause swelling.

    So back to the long run, Katherine and I decided to do an around Manhattan run.  Starting at 42nd and Lex and running east to the promenade then heading uptown to 110th then crossing all the way west to Riverside Park before heading south all the way down the west side and around the very tip of the island and back up the east side. 

    The route was great for a few reasons:

    1. I got to see Cathedral Street for the first time, which is just at the top of the park.  I have seen it from the top of the great hill loop in Central Park a million times, but never actually run down it.
    2. I got to run through Riverside Park, which was really beautiful with lots of shade and great views of the sail boats on the water. 
    3. We got to check out a few of the NY400 events going on down around Battery Park City
    4. I got to run up the east side for the first time in years. I actually forgot there was even a path all the way up the east side.  Although I have to say, it is not nearly as immaculately groomed as the west side.  There was a lot of tree debris that made the surface very uneven, and that was when the surface was fairly level, there were a lot of place that were in desperate need of paving with innumerably pot holes, loose grave and haphazard patching jobs.  It’s funny up on the west side and in the park, runners are so well-groomed with their fancy running gear and coordinated outfits, on the east side path the running clientele had a much more jerry-rigged wardrobe.

    Overall the run was a struggle, I have never had any pain while running and I was kind of in shock that I suddenly had to deal with so much discomfort.  I used to start runs with the tight lead leg feeling, lately I have started my runs with my legs totally fine, but now I am dealing with something far worse. 

    Beyond my own personal left leg and foot issues, running with Katherine is always amazing.  She is a bit stronger than me, but she is very generous in moderating her pace for me and being encouraging when the going gets tough.  We both were feeling it (not pain, just tired legs) around mile 15, so it was great to cheerlead each other through the last 1/4 of the run. 

    We decided to use the Galloway method, which Katherine had used on her 18 mile run last week to great success.  I had vaguely heard of the Galloway method, but never used it.  However, I remember that someone told me that the Galloway method is guaranteed to improve your time on all runs, if you run 10 minutes walk 1. There was actually an interesting NYTimes article on the G-method recently.  We ran the first 5 miles straight and then switched to run seven minutes, walk one.  It was a change from last week when I ran the 18 miles straight through stopping briefly twice, once to refill my water bottles and once to loosen my laces.

    Results: Well in ways, I thought it would be hard to stop and start.  I mean restart your ipod a bunch of times and you drain the battery, wouldn’t people be the same? Isn’t that the purpose of interval training?  However, it wasn’t too bad, the first minute was rough, but our times were way faster than when I ran without walking!  So weird, but true.  When we were running, it was under ten minute miles, whereas last week I ran at just under 11 minute miles.  I am not sure I will keep using it this training session, but it was definitely intriguing!  And I think it was better for my foot too.  Has anyone else used the Galloway method?

    Fuel consumed: seven 6-ounce water bottles and a cherry pie larabar.

    Total distance: 20.05 miles

    Post-run: While I have described in detail my body feeling during the run, after wasn’t too bad.  I could definitely feel soreness in my knee and ankle, but I iced like crazy all afternoon, took two advil and feel pretty good right now.

    Preventative Measures: I am anxious to talk to a doctor and/or podiatrist to make sure that this is just a mild sprain/injury.  I did read that ankle and knee pain is often related to weak quads.  So I am adding strength work for my legs back into my routine stat!  The strength makes me sorer at the beginning of my runs, but clearly it is worth a few miles of tightness for stronger, safer running overall.  I am also going to see how I feel tomorrow and maybe swim or bike for cardio.  Finally, I am going to wear my compression band for a while and see if that helps stabilize my ankle, since it took a beating on all the uneven surfaces today.

    Oh, I have to thank Caitlin for her awesome song recommendation!  I downloaded Bombs Over Bagdad (B.O.B.) after seeing it on her 5K playlist.  Wow this is a great running song.  It is so intense!  It is great for the end of a run or race.  I am not even sure what they are saying, but wow is it fast!

    Okay, so I said I would announce my new review today, but since this post is so long, I will announce it and go into much greater detail tomorrow.  I am trying Nu-Kitchen for 5 days starting tomorrow!  I am really excited since I was recommended to me by Dara Goddfrey and by friend Sue, who used it to great results after our marathon.  Nu-Kitchen is hands down the best food delivery system out there in my opinion, well not accounting for taste since I haven’t tried it.  But it appeals to me for several reasons:

    • The food is completely fresh, natural and delicious looking and the menu changes every week—unlike nutrisystem which looks like dehydrated dog food in the ads
    • It is affordable by NY standards, nu-kitchen is about what I spend on a day’s worth of food or one moderately priced meal out.  Any where from $11 for lunch or dinner to around $29-39 for  a day with three meals and two snacks depending the special and plan option
    • Lots of plan options, you can do a la carte, a few meals a day or a full day of meals and snacks.  You can even just do a day or two a week if you want!
    • You pick exactly what you want for each meal through a very simple online system
    • Nutritional information is provided for every single item on the menu

    So I will explain more of my own personal reasons for wanting to try a meal delivery system and of course review each meal and snack tomorrow!  Yay for my first real food blogging experience.

    Summit Swag Bag Product Reviews!

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    I thought I would recap some of the products I have sampled from my Healthy Living Summit Swag Bag so far! As I mentioned, I was thrilled with the caliber of the swag items, the companies were thoughtfully chosen and the products reflect a truly wholesome lifestyle approach.

    Mariani Ultimate Apricots!


    A+  I always hated dried fruit, and then, one day I decided to try a dried apricot and my world changed.  I now really enjoy apricots, prunes, golden raisins and dried cherries.  Any of these with a bit of goat cheese on a salad are simply foodgasmic.

    Mariani’s were amazing.  In fact, they were the only product that didn’t make it home from Boston with me! Yum.

    A Glow Bar Classic!


    Wouldn’t you glo it?  These were fantastic.  I ate it in thirds to prolong my enjoyment.  I was seriously impressed with how fresh and delicious they were.  They reminded me of those 25 cent little debbie oats and honey granola bars I used to love so much!  Great job Angela, these are to die!

    Probar Fruition Cran-Raspberry

    My bag didn’t come with the regular pro-bars, but that is okay, because the Fruition Bar meets my nutritional needs quite nicely. I was really impressed with the Cran-Raspberry ProBar Fruition. It was like a raw nutri-grain/fig newton-ish bar but better.  It was also much heartier than I anticipated for 160 enjoyable calories. I would definitely buy this if I saw it in a store, and am curious to check out the other flavors.  Whole foods, plus sustenance and a yummy taste=win, win ,win.

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    Barney Butter

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    The much raved about Barney Almond Butter.   I have to say, things with such build up can not usually live up to their reputation.  I tried about 1/3 of a packet, and I found it to be rather dry and not too enjoyable.  I will definitely try another packet of Barney Butter just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke.  But I have to say, I really enjoy my raw almond butters (I think MaraNatha Raw Almond Butter is one of my favorite discoveries of the millennium.) much more than my first BB sample.

    Amazing Grass Bar Greens Super Food Energy Bar

    Um, yuck. I am so sorry. I truly appreciate all companies that try and create healthy, whole food based, natural products, but I ate one tiny bite of this and had to stop. I threw both bars out, the regular and chocolate.  It may just be my tastebuds, but there is a very distinct flavor that I could not tolerate.  It is similar to the flavor of All Greens bars, which I also do not enjoy.

    Pure Bar Chocolate Brownie

    Chocolate Brownie

    I have had this flavor of Pure Bar, and several other Pure Bar’s before.  Chocolate Brownie is not my absolute fav—I prefer trail mix and cherry cashew, but it does have a nice smoky dark chocolate flavor to it.  I tried Pure Bars several years ago when I desired a larabar alternative.  I love the company’s mission and the quality of its ingredients. I hope they expand their flavor options and product line soon! When it comes to raw/rawish chocolate flavored bars, I prefer Clif Nectar Bars, Jocolat bars and the Cocoa Mole Larabar.

    Those are the products I was most excited to try from my bag.  I may get around to the rest down the line.

    I also received a summit related copy of the Thrive Diet.  I am only a chapter or so in, but I like Brandon’s discussion of the relation of sleep and stress to the body’s overall health and energy so far!

    If you are interested in learning more about Thrive, you can join the Thrive Challenge here.

    Raw du Jour

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    This week happened to be a week full of yummy raw dinner dates!  It was fairly coincidental that I had 3 night of back to back raw meals, but it was certainly delicious.  Besides when the weather is gloriously hot and fruit and veggies are fresh and fabulous, why bother cooking?   I have eaten plenty of non-raw food this week too, but I figured I’d pick a theme.  And I must thank all my friends for being patient with me while I photographed my food and yours, rockstars!

    This post has a double theme: raw food and flowers. I was pretty much beside myself in this amazing week of sunny summer weather, and  I snapped some shots of random flora and fauna around the city, so I thought I would stick them in the post too.

    Just since being back I have had the pleasure of seeing several of my favorite bloggers, Katherine, Liz (VeggieGirl) and Dori.

    Tuesday night Gena came over for dinner on the roof deck.  I have to say, I get ridiculously nervous about cooking/uncooking for people, even though I love it to death.  I scour recipes, plan plan plan, and give myself hours before the dinner bell to prepare it. Last time I made dinner for Gena I was panicked for days, fortunately it turned out pretty well.   This is the first time I have made dinner for Gena since Choosing Raw went live, so I had a better idea of her tastes and fortunately, Gena loves the simple things foods in life.  So it was much less nerve racking.  In fact, Monday night something came up and I didn’t have time to prep anything, so everything you see below took 45 minutes from absolute start to finish.  I was super nervous as I raced home from work, but I was reassured by the fact that Rachael Ray could turn out 1.5 complete and cooked meals in that time.

    So on to the food.  Sorry for the messy bowls, things shifted a lot on the way from my apt. to the roof.

    DIY Romaine lettuce wraps with snow pea shoots, bell pepper, cuc, carrot and cabbage

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    Served with salsa and Gena’s Favorite Guac, she was kind enough to give me a guac demo—best guac ever!

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    And a yummy beet, avocado, snow pea shoot, arugula salad based closely on this recipe.   I highly recommend this combo and the dressing was light simple and delicious—I only used 1/3 the EVOO and added a splash of BV.   This delicious looking compressed summer berry salad was my second choice, and I plan to try it soon.

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    Raw corn and celery soup—sans onion and garlic for gena, but I did throw some onion on top of my own bowl.

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    My plate

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    And the view

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    Just some shots of my lunch hour stroll down 5th to let you digest before my next meal :)

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    Meal #3—lunch at desk

    I actually ate my lunch at my desk, beet, snow pea shoot, fig and cucumber over argula with a bit of goat cheese.  yum

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    Meal #3  Dinner at Pure Food and Wine

    My college roommate and dear friend Laura and I decided to catch up and we happened to both be thinking: PURE!

    You guys are probably bored of Pure, but here we go…

    Sadly, the garden was full, this is the fourth time in a row I haven’t been able to sit in the garden.  :(  wah wah wah, i guess I will try try again!

    Despite sitting inside, which gave us tons of privacy, since inside was empty, the meal was super yum

    My very favorite pure food, the spicy Thai lettuce wraps with tamarind dipping sauce—split with Laura.south africa, raw food, parks, flowers, beer garden 248

    For my entree, I ordered the Zucchini Fettuccine with Basil Crema and Red Pepper Bruschetta with spicy pumpkin seeds, basil sprouts, Styrian pumpkin seed oil.  This was actually an appetizer, but rich and big enough for a meal on its own.

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    Laura got her fav the Zucchini and Local Hothouse Tomato Lasagna

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    We also split the Trio of Dark Chocolate Coated Indian Spiced Ice Cream Treats, which I had been dying to try.  It was delicious, but of course, I left so full!

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    Interlude of Madison Square Park before meal #4south africa, raw food, parks, flowers, beer garden 262

    On Thursday, my friend Derek and I decided to catch up while chilling in one of my favorite places, Madison Square Park!  I hadn’t been there all summer, so I was dying to give it a big hug and kiss hello.  For a park dead center in the middle of Flatiron, I always find it to be a nice tranquil respite between Union Square and Herald Square.

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    Meal #4  Bonobos

    After a nice chat and some bench sitting, we decided to get dinner.  I have been hearing so many raves about Bonobos that I had to check it out, and I figured the esteemed and venerable Shake Shack would please Derek.  However, he wanted to try Bonobos.  I was only there once about three years ago and wasn’t blown out of the water, so I was a little worried that Bonobos was not a jaw-dropping, life changing   raw food experience every novice diner should be fortunate enough to have; however, Derek would not be dissuaded.  Fortunately, the B-staff was extremely helpful and attentive, so I knew we were in good hands.

    He got nori rolls with sesame pate and a soup, which is clearly carrot or pumpkin.  He said they were very good, but the soup would have been better hot…lol

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    I got the nori rolls also with the walnut veggie nutmeat, cabbage, cucumber, carrot, beet and sprouts.   YUM!  VERY Filling, i wasn’t hungry for hours. And I love the nice salad that comes with the meal.

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    And after hearing Diana’s enthusiastic endorsement of the now famous Coconut Chai, I could not help but get us a bottle to split.

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    We both thought it was very good.  I am actually not a coconut lover, so it was a bit too much for me, but it did have a great comfort food feel and I liked the mild sweet and spiciness.

    After dinner, I said good bye to Derek and went to meet a friend for drinks.  We decided to go to a place I have been very curious about since it opened four years ago.  Japonais.

    To be fair, I am curious about anything that opens in the Irving Place vicinity, but Japonais in particular, since the ambience and decor is so chic, sleek and expansive for the area.  The vibe is super sexy, which I must admit, I love.  I don’t know how I have never been there, but the menu never particularly appealed to me, so I have walked passed it noting I should check it about at least fifty times.

    Getting drinks there was the perfect way to experience the restaurant.  It is nice to sit at the bar and check out the scene and vibe.  The drink menu was actually three menus, one happy hour tasting which is from 5-11PM Mon-Fri! A summer cocktail menu.  And there regular wine and cocktail menu, which like Pure, includes plenty of lighter, sake-based cocktails.  Overall Japonais was cool to check out and I would definitely go back for drinks, and probably even dinner.  It’s kind of pricey—drinks are around $13-15, but sadly, I am pretty used to that at this point.

    TTYL Bloggies.  Have a great weekend.

    South African Noshing Serving 2

    *I just wanted to make a note about a few great comments on staying vegetarian while traveling.  I actually had zero problem finding veggie options on  the trip.  Our professor and the program coordinator did a fabulous job catering to all dietary needs.  Even on the homestays, she told us not to feel rude for refusing anything offered.  In general,  one problem I run into with being a vegetarian is that the veggie option can be quite unhealthy–french fries, pizza, alfredo anything; fortunately, on this trip that wasn’t an issue. Fresh veggies, fruits and salads were almost always served–and while sometimes they had a lot of butter or cheese sauce, that was the exception not the rule.  I was surprised by how often whole grain cereals and breads were served too.  I definitely indulged my curiousity and tea was pretty much a lost cause for healthy options, but sometimes it is worth it.  I will admit that I did try one bite alligator on the trip.  It was good, but I am not missing anything.

    In addition to the large amount of traditional food I ate in South Africa,  we also had plenty of “western” food.  Before I left, I knew the  bed and breakfast served a health and English breakfast.  I was quite curious to see what such a breakfast would involve!   Our bed and breakfast was casual, but cozy, and they let us pretty much take over the entire place.            

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    The daily breakfast included, lots of different cereals, yogurt, granola, juice, coffee, toast and jam.  There were also a few hot options each day, such as eggs, creamed corn casserole, bacon, avocado and tomato slices and sometimes baked bean, one day there was even steamed broccoli.

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    I was all about the cold breakfast, which included amazing fruit.  There was almost always big bowl of fruit salad, a big bowl of papaya or granadillas, and a bowl of rehydrated dried tropical fruit.  We were all about the cereal yogurt messes.  I started each day with a mix of fresh and dried fruit, yogurt and cereal.

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    Tea time became a HUGE part of my life in South Africa.  It is such a wonderful tradition, we had it either mid-morning or afternoon.  Typically when we were visiting schools, universities or talking to speakers, it was a great time to speak informally and learn more about our research topics.  While I have no pictures, I actually drank more coffee than I ever have in my life.  I probably should have tried the rooibos tea everyone loved so much, but I have never drank much coffee or tea, so I stuck with the one I prefer. In addition to the beverages, tea always included a yummy sweet or savory item/s.  Such as biscotti, tea sandwiches, muffins, cake or cookies.  It was definitely an indulgence, but quite often I decided it was worth it.  One thing I didn’t love was that they put cheese in so many of the baked goods.  Breads have cheese baked in and often muffins are topped with butter and shredded cheese, weird.

    COOP Dinners!  One week 18 of us decided to have a dinner coop.  We divided into teams and cooked for each other. It was really fun, but took a lot of time to cook and clean for 18 people, so we had fun for one week, and then took the rest of the trip to enjoy the local restaurants or have more casual meals.   I will say that after three weeks of buffet after buffet, I felt that my portions were getting huge and I was always feeling too full!

    The coop dinners had to accommodate vegan and gluten free diners, so there was always an abundance of options!

    Night 1:

    Bulgur Salad

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    In addition there was pasta with butter garlic sauce, a pasta with cream spinach sauce, and chicken-which I skipped obvi!

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    My night to cook our team did a comfort food theme.

    This included chickpeas roasted in peri peri sauce (my contribution), fried chicken, mac and cheese, strawberry walnut spinach salad, spicy eggplant butternut squash stew with honey apricot parmesan polenta and vegan polenta (also my contributions), and assorted rolls.

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       The stew and polenta was based on a Rachael Ray recipe I first saw on Kath’s blog.  I have made it before and really enjoy it.  I had a very hard time tracking down the same ingredients in the South Africa, but the stew was a big hit—people were pretty psyched for veggies in abundance by that point.  

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    This was Nico’s plate:

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    And mine, making polenta from scratch is hard work!

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    Nicole’s salad was so amazing!  This bowl was HUGE!

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    Mexican night was a holy yum experience!

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       My plate:

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    And of course, each night featured its own playlist:

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    And a signature cocktail:

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    And just for fun:

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    Using Food as Fuel

    I am very excited to have Julie from Julie GoLean here to discuss using food as fuel.  As you know, I have never been a serious athlete, so it is great hearing from a fellow blogger that has PLENTY of experience in the competitive athletics arena.  Thanks so much to Julie for discussing how to feed your body for demanding workouts and training! Oh, and for the divine recipes!

    Hi everyone :)  My name is Julie and I’m an avid food and fitness freak! You can check out my blog Julie GoLean where I blab on and on about what I do for eating and exercising on a daily basis. thrilling, right? While Melissa is having a booty-kicking time in South Africa I volunteered to drop by with a little guest post action!
    (Julie fun fact: I’m part African! My grandmother (dad’s mom) is actually Tunisian which makes this little Long Islander part African! too bad I got the Irish skin color..) anyways I figured this would be a good time to drop by and talk a little bit about using food as fuel. As a former college athlete and current coach maintaining a well balanced diet was and is extremely important to me. From preseason two-a-days in a sweaty hot gym with no air conditioning to ALL DAY tournaments averaging 3-5 entire matches, it became a serious realization to me that skipping breakfast, having a yogurt for lunch and fast food for dinner on the bus ride home was NOT going to provide the best form of gasoline for my body, an athlete’s body or just simply anybody! It was during my Sophmore year of college that I decided to make learning the right nutrition for an active young woman a hobby of mine.

    It is first important to understand that food is fuel. It is not your enemy but simply a delicious form of gasoline to give your body the rev it needs to get through the day. Whether you’re a couch potato, training for a marathon, a teacher on their feet all day, a yoga nut, an athlete, or just an active person, it’s important to find the right balance of nutrients for your day. Your daily food intake  should consist of a balanced portion of carbs, protein, veggies, fruits, & milk fats. please do not fear food! When making the right decision on what to eat if your sticking to lean meats, whole grain carbs and low fat milk fats with an extra emphasis on fruits and veggies you’re definitely on the right track! The fact of the matter is that you need these foods whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply striving for a balanced diet!

    After mucho experimentation during my collegiate athletic experience it was such a great feeling to finally find what worked for me and gave me the right kind of fuel to power me through tournaments and help me crush the ball down the other teams throat…I mean have a successful match..

    I’ve found that the most important meal of the day for me has been breakfast. Whether I had a 6AM morning practice, a 5PM match, an all day tournament, or just simply an off day. Breakfast has been the go-to meal that gave me the right start to my day.

    now I know you want some ideas…

    there’s always the infamous green monster (or if you’ve been a reader of mine he’s what I like to call my boyfriend..)

    1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (milk fat)
    1 scoop Vanilla (or chocolate) Protein Powder (protein should be atleast 100 cal with 15-16g of protein)
    1 banana (fruit)
    spinach :) (surprise veggies at breakfast)
    ICE & blend baby blend

    I usually have some toast on the side also as my carbs for the morning.

    Another great breakfast is also the standard go-to oatmeal. Oatmeal is great because it’s EVERYTHING you need in one bowl. And you can make it as yummy as your little heart desires.

    Here’s what mine usually looks like..

    1/2c oats
    1/4c canned pumpkin
    TONS of cinnamon & a little pumpkin pie spice
    1/2c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

    nuke it baby
    on top I’ll chop up a banana, and smother it around with 2tbsp of Better N’Peanut Butter or Naturally More
    and for kicks I’ll top it off with some Peanut Butter Puffins.
    heaven in a bowl.
    The best part about oatmeal is that you can add EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to it. doesn’t get much better then that!

    these are 2 GREAT breakfasts that with fuel you through any workout, practice, class, hectic morning work schedule, crazy kids..you get the picture.

    I hope you found this post helpful & if you liked what you read stop on by and hang out with me :)

    My Study Abroad Health and Fitness Plan


    Yesterday I shared a round up of healthy travel tips.  So today I thought I would go into my specific strategy for this three week trip.  My attitude is always go with the flow and as much natural exercise as possible.  This is a busy study trip and I won’t be back in Africa anytime soon, so I don’t plan to spend all my free time in the gym, but as I do have a marathon to run in November, I hope for a little more than that if possible!


    (Fitness, Fitness is my Favorite! Insert Will Ferrell SMILE!)

    So when I arrived at orientation for the program, the first question I heard someone ask (I was a little late since I had to come from work), was “is there a gym?”  God bless that guy’s heart!  I never would have asked but I almost cried when he did!  JK.  So I knew I was in good company, I hadn’t thought I would join a gym, but since our classes start at 10, there is not a whole lot to do between wake up and class, and the gym seems like a productive use of time for early birds like me.  Actually, almost half the students wanted to join the gym, which is only $35 for 3 weeks!  The cost of 1 Physique 57 class!  So even if I only go a few times a week, it seems worth it!  I am not sure what gym it is, but I am praying it happens to be the Virgin Active that is in the city!  The gym looks awesome and has lots of early morning spinning class-woo-hoo!

    I will also be there with one of my biggest sources of gym-spiration, my friend Nico.  He works out twice everyday!  I hope we will run together fairly often, and he will push me outside my comfort zone to improve my speed and endurance.  I do plan to run 3 times a week with at least one long run. And hopefully, when we aren’t traveling, to take advantage of whatever is popular at the gym.

    I ordered the Garmin FR60 in early May.  It was supposed to be available for shipment by June 2nd, but unfortunately, it still hasn’t arrived.  I give Garmin credit for being quick to respond; I have exchanged over 15 emails with 4 different people, but even though my watch was supposed to  definitely have shipped by June 24th, it never arrived.  I am a little bummed since it was a $175 investment that I will not be able to utilize while I am away, but I pray that when I arrive home it will be waiting for me—preferably with a huge bow!


    In South Africa you don’t have to worry about eating things cooked or even drinking the water, so I am not too worried about adjusting my diet.  For the record, the second question asked at orientation was, “will there be vegan options?”, so I figure I am pretty safe.   The only supplement I am bringing is probiotics.

    For the 17+ hour flight, I am bringing the extra veggies in my fridge: baby carrots, celery, cucumber slices and sugar snap peas, plus a couple energy bars and buying huge bottle of Evian at the airport.  I also requested the vegetarian meal, so hopefully that will be honored.

    Every morning the place  where we are staying will provide a “health and english breakfast.” I am not sure what a health breakfast is, but it sounds good to me!

    In general, I tend to eat richer food in smaller amounts while I am traveling. I am usually too busy for lots of snacks and grazing, and obviously I don’t have to worry about boredom eating, plus that tends to be the general lifestyle in Europe.  The three meals plus afternoon gelato tends to work out well for me.  In addition to less grazing, I truly believe the limited consumption of processed and packaged foods makes a huge difference. Even though I find I am served food prepared with much more oils, fats and white flour than I am use to, the overall quality and minimal processing of the foods seems to make them more acceptable to the body–in my experience anyways.

    I know that we have access to the kitchen and there are regular grocery stores nearby.  Even though it is winter in South Africa, I hear the produce is amazing! Tshwane is pretty cosmopolitan, so there is a huge variety of restaurants of all ethnicities. I plan to prepare most of my own lunches, and save eating out for dinner when possible.  I want to try the regional flavors, but I would rather spend my money on elephant rides than food.

    I am bringing some snacks and supplies with me!

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    I almost never eat bars at home, but they are great for on the go.  I also decided to bring some of Newman’s Own Organics Dried Apricots and Prunes to help bulk up my salads and for my sweet tooth.  And some oatmeal–because why the heck not?