Category Archives: travel

Last Minute Flight Survival Tips

Greetings from Long Beach, CA!

Normally when I’m flying somewhere, I pre-prepare a whole bunch of meals and snacks for the plane, since I usually can’t eat a single thing there. But this time, I spent the whole morning and night before moving out of my apartment and into a new Brooklyn apartment that I didn’t have a second to spare. So I had to use my creative skills to work to find a way to fuel myself on this flight. Fortunately, JFK is a pretty resourceful airport, so here’s what I was able to find.

jamu-btl

JAMU Pineapple Juice

While a green juice would have been preferred, this juice was a pretty good option under the circumstances. During flights a lot of us tend to have indigestion, so I wanted to make sure I had something that would be able to prevent it. Pineapple is perfect for this reason because it has a great deal of enzymes that help in breaking down foods and curbing bloating. The juice also had curcumin and ginger, which also help with indigestion. In addition, this juice was extremely hydrating, which is important since flights can also contribute to dehydration!

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image3285459

A Huge Bottle of Water—very important because we all know that those little cups are definitely NOT sufficient.

 

vegetable_salad_stock_photo_167157

A Desperate Salad Turned Delicious

Desperate times called for desperate measures. Here’s how I can usually find a meal almost anywhere.

 

  1. Get a plain packaged salad. I was lucky to find kale, but any type of lettuce will do.
  2. Throw out the dressing (if there is any) I can guarantee you it’s soy, sugar-filled, garbage.
  3. Find an avocado. I looked around the food court to see which restaurants had avocado-containing dishes. Then I went to the manager, put on my sweetest smile, and asked for an avocado. And I got one. In addition to a few laughs. 😉
  4. Bring a plastic fork and knife onto the flight (they likely won’t give you one unless you purchase food) and mash the whole avocado into your salad to make a dressing. VOILA!

Naked2.5

Brad’s Kale Chips

I was very luck to find these in the airport! These chips are dehydrated and sprinkled with raw nuts and spices to make a delicious and satisfying snack that beats the Lay’s and Planters snacks that are on the plane.

 

I hope this goes to show that eating a healthful, vegan diet can be done under ANY circumstance and even with little planning!

Eating While Flying

airplane

 

What a week. Yesterday was my 25th birthday (feeling the quarter-life crisis coming on…LOL) and I’ve been up and running since Friday seeing all of my wonderful friends and family who have been celebrating with me. I have tried so many new amazing vegan and gluten free dishes that I can’t wait to share with you!

But for now, I’ve been getting some questions about how to stay healthy while travelling, particularly while flying. While some of my blog posts address healthy travel, the airplane is a unique beast. You’re up in the sky, with no vegan restaurant in sight, and with airplane food that is quite less than desirable. Eeek! But never fear—you will be OK. Just follow my tips!

If you can help it, bring all your own food. Airplane food is way over processed and high in sodium and who knows what else. And to make matters worse, your immune system will already be compromised while you’re up in the air because your body becomes pressurized. Here are the essentials to bring on a flight.

 

When you’re in a rush

An Avocado (or two…)

Avocados can be found anywhere, and are calorically dense enough to fill you up with very little prep. On top of that they’ve got plenty of brain enhancing, skin plumping, delicious good fats. If you are really in a bind and the only thing you can bring is an avocado, you can always ask for 2-3 of the side salads and then top it off with avocado to make for a filling lunch.

 

Fruit

Nature’s fast food! It’s sold everywhere and is portable. The only problem is sugar content–especially if you’re going to be seated for a long time and not expending a lot of energy.  I like to bring a large bowl of cut up berries and pineapples, since they are a bit lower on sugar.

 

Nuts

Super easy and sold pretty much everywhere—airports usually have large bags of nuts for sale. I would go for raw almonds or walnuts instead of nuts like peanuts or cashews. You definitely want to stay away from peanuts because most contain alfatoxins, which produce a significant amount of mold.

 

When you have time to prepare

Mary’s Gone Krackers

It’s pretty unlikely that airports will have these for sale, but if you have some time beforehand you can order them online or get them at your local health food store. These crackers are completely gluten-free, vegan, and minimally processed. But be careful—they are super addicting!

 

A large salad

For me, this is usually key. The people around you are going to be eating full airplane meals, so you will probably feel deprived if all you have are snacks. The last time I went on a plane to San Francisco, I brought a huge salad with raw sauerkraut, kale, avocado, dulse, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and nutritional yeast. The woman sitting next to me was so intrigued that I offered her a bite and she loved it! I will be posting a few salad recipes next week—like my summer seaweed salad—that are easy to make and absolutely delicious.

 

Quinoa Flakes or Gluten-Free Oats

This is a quick and easy meal that you only need hot water to make. I like to mix it up with some sweet leaf stevia, cinnamon, and a few almonds or walnuts.

 

Ginger and Mint

You’re going to be in a new place and your body is going to go through some major adjustments. I know whenever I go to a new place or am going through a life change, the first part of my body to notice is my digestive system. That’s why I like to keep ginger and mint close by so I can chew on it to help everything go down a little bit easier. You can either get them whole and put ginger shavings and the leaf in hot water, or buy some bagged teas.

 

Other Things to Do 

Drink LOTS of water. Buy your own water bottle before getting on the plane because we all know how stingy flights can be with their water!

Get up and go for a walk around the plane. Sitting for that long is not good for you.

Hope this helps. For more tips, scroll down to the “travel” category on the right side of the page.

 

A Strip of Vegan Heaven on the LES

photo-84

If you’re a newbie to eating cleanly, I highly suggest heading on over to East 10th street between 1st and Avenue A–where you will find two amazing little spots that make you forget that you’re not eating junk food, in addition to some exercise studios and juice bars. Today I went to Quintessence for lunch–a mostly raw, vegan, restaurant in the lower east side. And as always, it was delicious! I split a quinoa pilaf and scallion nori rolls, in addition to a a “tiramisu” that tasted better than the real thing. This restaurant has always been one of my faves, and never ceases to satisfy.

But the surprise that I found while on this wonderful strip was the recently opened Jennifer’s Way Bakery next door, a gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, soy free, peanut free bakery. I’ve been looking for one of these for so long; most vegan bakeries usually have tons of gluten or agave but this shop sweetens everything with coconut sugar or maple sugar. They also have a cute ingredients book in the front, which has a handwritten list of everything used to make each product. Talk about transparency! On top of it all, they try to source a large amount of their ingredients from GMO-free sources. I went and had a banana chocolate chip muffin, and it was delicious. I can’t wait to go back and try their bagels and artisanal bread.

Needless to say, I’m stuffed. And happily so. Happy Sunday!

 

 

A Guide to Vegan Eating in Puerto Rico

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been coming to Puerto Rico to visit my family for years. Although the island is known for not being vegetarian-friendly, I’ve found ways to keep my diet–even when I’m surrounded by meat eaters! Here’s how I do it.

Keep Your Eyes Out for Health Food Stores

Surprisingly, there are tons of health food stores in Puerto Rico. If you’re staying in Dorado, I can recommend three that exist within a 10 mile radius, including Verde Natura, Essential Organics, and Armonia. They tend to be tucked away, however, so you need to keep your eyes peeled. My favorite health food store in Puerto Rico is Dora’s in Manati–although I know this is a bit far for most who visit and stay in San Juan. If you’re staying in San Juan, however, check out Superfoods in Condado or La Buena Mesa de Oscar in Rio Piedras, which also has a vegetarian cafe right next to it!

Stock up on These Puerto Rican Treats

Plantains: Sorry, I’m not talking about fried plantains or plantain chips (that’s not to say I didn’t have one during my trip…uh oh!) I’m talking about boiled plantains with no grease added. Plantains not only help with digestion, they also are high in calcium and have been proven to help improve brain functioning. Try blending some into Abuela’s plantain soup!

Avocados: Avocados in Puerto Rico are so delicious. They tend to be bigger and juicier than the avocados you find in the States. Not only that, you can find them anywhere. My aunt has a tree full of avocados that has been growing for years—talk about local! They’re also sold at about every fruit stand that you can find. This made eating very easy for me. Whenever my family planned to go to a place that I knew wasn’t vegetarian-friendly, I would always sneak in an avocado to add to a bed of lettuce and tomatoes. And with all the essential fatty acids, half an avocado was just enough to make me feel full and satisfied.

Cold Coconuts (Cocos Frios): It’s not rare in Puerto Rico to see a coconut stand while driving on the local roads. These are as fresh as they can get! Open one up and you’ll get a great dose of coconut water to keep you hydrated on a hot caribbean day.

Check out Places with Vegetarian Options

 Casa Lola, Condado: Being that I have the most awesome family in the world, my cousin picked this place out with me in mind when he invited my family out to dinner. In addition to the normal Puerto Rican foods (fritters, pork, seafood, etc.) this restaurant offered some great salads and vegetarian options. I started my meal off with a salad and had a vegetarian platter with chard, asparagus, mushrooms, and vegetarian beans. Yum!

 Café Berlin, Old San Juan: Although a little bit tofu-heavy for my taste, this little gem in Old San Juan has a full vegetarian menu with gluten-free options along with fish and meat options. I had the vegan “meatloaf” (made with rice, beans, and vegetables) and a house salad. Perfect for ending a night of strolling the cobble stone streets of the historic neighborhood.

Get Moving!

There are so many places to get your sweat on in Puerto Rico. I definitely recommend taking classes atIt’s Yoga Puerto Rico in Condado. The studio is better than any New York studio I’ve been to and is just a walk away from the beach!  You can also experience the beautiful scenery of the island either by running or hiking outside. On the days where I didn’t practice yoga, I would either hike or run in the nearby neighborhood, where I would frequently see reptiles, coquis, and beautiful greenery. Some great places to go hiking include el Yunque Rainforest and El Torro Negro State Forest.

I hope this helps you on your next trip to La Isla del Encanto!

Smelling the flowers at el Torro Negro. Such beautiful greenery!