I have to admit, this is the longest hiatus I’ve taken from blogging since I started BeansNotBambi. It seems that as each day passes, I’ve thought of another topic to write about, and then it became even harder to decide what to talk about! I was on vacation in Mexico and was struck by many things. I’ll just start with some of the basic observations and later I’ll get into some of the more meaningful a-ha! moments I’ve had lately.
1) The all-you-can-eat buffet concept is a SUPER easy way to eat healthy. In fact, it’s way easier than even going to some of my favorite ethnic restaurants. Why? Because the salad bar takes center stage! I counted one day at lunch – I had 21 different vegetables on my plate.
2) I’ve spent enough time travelling to note that it’s sadly very easy to spot Americans at the buffet, and even easier on the beach. They’ll be the large ones. The others at all-inclusive resorts are usually Europeans and South Americans. They’ll be the slim ones.
I was amazed over and over again to notice a family or a couple of plus-sized people, and subconciously expect them to be speaking english. I did double-takes frequently upon hearing a foreign language. Sadly, obesity loves company and it’s no longer as easy to pick out the Americans. As our indulgent and cruel diet becomes popular worldwide, our plump waistline comes right along with it.
3) It’s really easy to be super lazy and lounge on the beach all day and burn very few calories. It’s also very easy to be active all day! Walking on the beach, walking around the resort instead of using the little train for transportation, and taking the stairs whenever possible were all easy ways to keep active. There’s also the water aerobics, morning yoga, or even shuffleboard – all options to stay active and fit.
Some tips for thriving while travelling.… Not to dwell on the buffet, but wow was I fulfilled there! Wondering what the heck a healthy vegan would find at a Mexican all-you-can-eat resort buffet? This isn’t so far off from my normal breakfast, especially while travelling. Here’s a glimpse of how I ‘cope’:
Breakfast – Granola and rolled oats with soy milk (yep, leche de soya was easy to find!); Kiwi, mango, canteloupe; Wheat toast with peanut butter and banana slices; Green juice – blended fresh to order with celery, parsley, and pineapple juice. YUM!
Lunch – Huge plate of salad – as many raw veggies as I could fit on a plate – romaine lettuce, spinach, watercress, red beets, sprouts, broccoli, green peas, green beans, chick peas, carrots, peppers, olives, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hearts of palm. For dressing, what better than fresh salsa and a little blob of guacamole?
I definitely splurged with tortilla chips with a lot of lunches, but stuck to plain vinegar or just the salsa for dressing in order to keep out as much fat as possible (ie, no oil via salad dressing). For liquid refreshment, water was where it was at!
Dinner – Dinner was a smidge more challenging because we stuck to the a la carte restaurants more than the buffet. Most restaurants had a vegetarian menu which was super exciting! Unfortunately, like many vegetarian dishes at home, there was still a huge prevalence of cheese. Nonetheless, I loved a small specialty salad bar with every dinner, a soup of some kind (veggie broth and veggies, sometimes noodles, even a veggie miso soup at the Japanese restaurant), and a veggie entree. One night was baked potato with spinach and a mushroom sauce. A couple nights were veggie hibachi with fried rice (skip the egg if you can remember!), and even some veggie sushi.
Because of the huge prevalence of cream and butter in desserts, I passed up the option most nights. And then there was the unbelievable mango sticky rice – gotta learn how to make that on my own!
For those of you who feel like I must be missing out by not having dessert with every lunch and dinner (and sometimes breakfast in the past!), I will gladly reassure you that I do NOT miss gaining the 5+ pounds that is all too commonly gained after an indulgent vacation! Sticking to a strict vegan diet is one of the easiest ways to turn down the tons of otherwise tempting desserts that abound both at home and while on vacation.
Drinks – This was perhaps one of the hardest parts to steer in the right direction. I’ve always been a fan of frozen fruity beverages, and I can’t say I totally abstained. However, just having a couple a day, and sometimes w/o alcohol was really quite easy, and having a glass of wine with dinner was an easy alternative too.
Despite the fact that it may be easiest to eat healthfully in the safety and comfort of your own home, sticking to your home based diet on the road is certainly possible! And if you make the small effort to do that, you’ll find returning home to be even easier too! There’s no transition, there’s no getting back on the wagon, there’s no feeling like ‘The diet starts tomorrow’ feeling. For me, this lifestyle change is the very first thing that has cut the yo-yo swings out of my life!