Downpour and decisions

Gosh it just absolutely tipped it down! I went to aerobics and was chatting to my friend outside when all of a sudden it chucked it down! Had to drive home very slowly as the roads were saturated, plus even the wipers on the highest speed were not clearing the rain fast enough.

Before aerobics I tried an oatmeal raisin walnut Clif bar- that thing was tasty! I found it in the health food shop, and decided to try them, as I have seen them on wiggle but only in big bulk buy boxes. It tasted like an oatmeal raisin cookie- really delicious and moist. The bar was 50g, and for that you get 189 cals, 31.5g carbs (perfect for before aerobics) and 7.5g protein (it has some soya in it). It also has loads of added vitamins and minerals (unclusing 23% RDA calcium and 13% iron), so in fact would have been ideal for me to take on holiday too. I have 2 other flavours; chocolate chip and peanut butter and am now expecting amazing things!

On to decisions- I had my opticians appointment today and as someone who is not good at making decisions it is so difficult! To begin with you have the actual eye test where they keep showing you “one, or two, which is clearer?” and you have to choose between the lenses. That is hard enough, but then when it comes to actually choosing new frames for the glasses it is even harder! They never have the frames from last time, so I then have to spend ages looking at all the types to find ones that are similar. Trouble is, as I wear them all the time I have to feel comfortable in them, whereas I think if I had them just for reading or just for driving then I could go for a more funky pair. Anyway, after ages of deliberating I have chosen them, and now comes the waiting game, where in my head I can’t remember what they look like and convince myself that they don’t suit me.

Hmm- you can tell I am not keen on the opticians!

Anyway, not much else to report really. I had to wait in for the post today so spent time updating the review bit on here (the section “Stuff I love”)- even with some fancy links in- hope they work!

I had some delicious rye bread for lunch with sunflower seeds in it, with some cream cheese, tomatoes and green pesto, plus an apple and a slice of the gone-wrong-banana bread.

That’s all folks!

Vegetarian Abroad!

Veggie holidays:

I have been vegetarian for many years, since I was a teenager, and I absolutely love holidays. Holidays are what I save up for (no expensive handbags for me). So I have travelled around a fair bit, and while in Switzerland I have been really impressed with the amount of vegetarian food available. Not only that, but it is often clearly marked on the menus as well. Now it’s not a totally fair comparison, because some holidays I have had almost ten years ago, and even in England things have moved on in ten years.

Past holidays:

When I think back to past holidays (in Europe or America) I did used to find it much harder, especially in France. Once in Paris I went in a bakery and got a cheese filled roll, only to find it had ham in it once I had taken a bite! Ten years ago I went to Boston with my parents, and had a few problems, including being given vegetable soup (so, vegetarian then) which had massive chunks of beef floating in it. These experiences early on led me to be very “safe” on holiday, opting for plain bread, margherita pizza, or pasta with tomato sauce. All nice options, but not particularly great to be eating constantly on a 2 week holiday. Luckily things have moved on, and for the last 5 years maybe it has been much easier.

Veggie in Europe:

 

When in Spain we were recommended a restaurant called Fresco (I think) which was the same as Sweet Tomatoes in the USA- a big salad buffet, and then help yourself to the hot items such as jacket potatoes, pizzas and pastas. It is a chain as we have been to it in Barcelona and Madrid, and a very good option for a veggie on holiday.

A while ago we went to Lisbon in Portugal, and that proved harder, because of the language more than anything. We stuck to the usual faves (Italian restaurants) as there were plenty of those to choose from.

In Switzerland most of the menus we looked at have had veggie options marked clearly. I had a nice veggie burger the other night- it tasted a bit like falafel and I think it was made with chickpeas. I have seen veggie fajitas, including one which was cooked with kidney beans (some veggie protein- I will get to that point later) as opposed to just vegetables. There are lots of cheese fondues, plus raclette’s (baked/ boiled potatoes with melted cheese and gherkins/ pickles) and rosti’s (lots topped with cheese or cheese and mushroom/tomato). I had some nice spaghetti with tomato sauce and fresh basil, and the same place also did ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a pesto sauce. In another place (I mentioned previously) I saw both seitan and tofu mentioned on menus, and I think people generally understand the “no meat” concept, whereas before it was not understood. A little like the royal family clip of the grandma saying “she’s a vegetarian, maybe just wafer thin ham then?” or something to that effect!

Before Christmas we went to Denmark (Copenhagen) for a few days, and that proved difficult. Their diet is lots of fish (I don’t eat fish) and meat, and there were not too many un-Danish places. In the guidebook there was a veggie restaurant mentioned, but we couldn’t find it. So it was Hard Rock one night, and then a picnic of bread and cheese from the local shops on the other day.

I have not been to France for ages, in fact the last time was a trip to Disneyland Paris, which was not great! One of the children’s items was veggie (it might have been tomato pasta or something) and they would not sell it to me because I didn’t have a child with me! There were a few options around but I cant remember what now. A few French holidays have been self-catering, which is always easy because you can buy so much fresh produce from the supermarkets- I love walking into the fruit/veg section- normally they smell of nectarines-mmm.

Italy seems like a fab place for veggies (especially as I love pasta)- one of the places we went to has a local speciality of ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, which sounds amazing. I kept an eye out for it but didn’t see it anywhere-boo. I did have some lovely pesto (only made with basil, garlic and pine nuts- the parmesan was optional to be added at the table so I didn’t have any). There is lots of pasta, gnocchi and pizzas with veggie options too, plus the panini’s and salads etc. I had a lot of pasta with tomato sauce and basil, some nice pizzas including one with artichoke. As it is all made fresh they seem happy to amend things too. A while ago we went to Rome and we had no trouble choosing a place to eat. In Milan the rough guide recommended an ice cream shop with organic ingredients called “Grom”, and while in the queue I noticed that it had a list by the door of all the flavours, whether they were vegan (lots of the places did fruit “ice cream” which had no dairy at all- the mango flavour was delicious- like pureed frozen mango), whether they had eggs, nuts etc in them too. Pretty good. Also all the little spoon things were biodegradable. Plus the hazelnut ice cream was amazing.

A long time ago (maybe ten years!) I went to Turkey with my family, and it was the only time we did a half board holiday. The breakfast was fine, and the dinners were lots of salads, veggie rice dishes and loads of watermelon. All I remember having for lunches were grilled cheese sandwiches (but back then I had not tried hummus or falafel or anything like that)- I would imagine there would be a lot of choice.

 

More bircher muesli

Well have had a fab few days in Switzerland- have never been before and I love it! Lots of bircher muesli in the different hotels (last one had apple and plum in it). Italy is next on the list, not sure what there will be in store for me there.

I have been looking out eagerly for veggie options, and have started writing about being veggie abroad on holiday, so watch this space for my reccomendations!

Ciao!

Update from holiday

Hello!

I have had a good few days so far, travelling through France and into Switzerland. It is so beautiful here; so many pretty towns, villages, chalets, mountains and valleys.

I have been doing lots of walking, and this morning had some totally delicious bircher muesli at the hotel this morning, which had fresh blackberries in it-mmmm. There was a bowl of hazelnuts which you could sprinkle on top too- fab!

Food is super expensive, which has resulted in several bread and cheese meals. I was surprised (after dinner on a walk) to see a hotel serving seitan! There is also plenty of tofu and things being served too, and loads of restaurants have vegetarian options highlighted which makes it much easier. We had a pizza the other day and even though I had read in the guidebook that pepperoni means peppers (eg vegetables) I was still a bit worried about ordering it, so went for the plain one!

More walking planned tomorrow, and plenty of fresh alpine air- I love a good holiday.

🙂

Tips for healthier holidays!

So this morning was my last run before holiday. After porridge (yes it worked yesterday so had it again today) I went out on a 3.7 mile run. It was very overcast and I got really hot, but there was a breeze, I had water with me and I felt pretty good, much better than yesterday. It’s funny how runs can be like that, one day really hard and the next day fine. It took me 36 minutes, so a minute quicker than the last time I did that route.

When I got home I had an apple and a cocoa orange Nak’d bar (sooooooo good) plus loads of water.

For lunch I am having a wholemeal pitta, half with dark chocolate PB and a banana all sliced up, and half with normal PB and banana, plus some cherries, and maybe some pecans. I had forgotten how good the combo and peanut butter and banana actually is! Yum! Trust me to redicover it right before I go away! Ah well something to look forward to on my return!

For dinner I have defrosted a quinoa lentil bake. I cant remember what I put in it when I made it, so it wll be a nice surprise! Will have that with some butternut squash and some beetroot- yum. Plus maybe a courgette side dish if I have more growing in the garden.

While I was running I was thinking about my holiday, and how to keep staying healthy whilst on holiday. So here are some of my tips:

Keep active! I love sightseeing holidays so spend a lot of the time walking around. Sometimes we have hired bikes to ride too. I am not much of a swimmer but if you like that then spend some time swimming.

Keep a note of what you eat! Either write it down, or really think about the meals you have eaten already. Think about what you would usually eat at home, and try to eat similar amounts. Portion sizes can be a lot more so don’t feel obliged to eat everything!

Beware of the buffet! If you have a buffet breakfast, then try to eat what you would normally eat for breakfast. Just because it is there does not mean you need to eat cereal, toast and a croissant. Maybe once every few days have a “treat” breakfast, but have sensible ones most days. I may have a little extra but this is usually because we would then have a banana and cereal bar for “lunch”, and then a normal dinner. The same applies if you eat out at a buffet restaurant in the evening- just because you have paid for it does not mean you have to eat it all!

Share snacks. Often we fancy an ice cream or cookie, but we will now get one and share it between us and this is normally plenty.

Be prepared! I like to take cereal bars with me, so if I feel hungry then I have that to hand instead of having to buy something less healthy from a shop/ café. Also if we stop in a supermarket then I would always buy some bananas to have later on.

Drink water! I used to always get diet coke as I got annoyed having to buy water when it is free out of the tap at home. But although fizzy drinks start off feeling refreshing, the artificial sweeteners can cause more sugar cravings, plus the fizzy drinks are bad for your bones and don’t hydrate you well. So have loads of water whenever you can.

See if you can swap! If your chosen item comes with chips, ask if you can have a salad instead (watch the dressings though!)- most places are happy to accommodate.

Think about where you are eating! Choose a local resturant over a fast food chain, try not to choose anywhere with a deep fat fryer!

Think about the food! When ordering in a resturant think about how active you have been that day, and how much you need to eat. I would not order a starter or dessert, just the main. Try to make sure it has lots of veggies in it, not too much cheese etc.

But most of all;

Have a lovely holiday! After all, we work all year so we can have a lovely few weeks getting away from it all. I am not going to feel guilty if I have a few extra bits here and there. I don’t want to go crazy, but a holiday is a bit of a treat and eating out means that meals will be heavier than usual, but it is only for a couple of weeks. I am going to do lots of walking, and I think a break from running will do me good so I will be raring to go once I return. So enjoy your holidays.

🙂

Any other tips for staying healthy while away?