Tag Archives: eating out

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.

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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!

 

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

 

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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!

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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!

How to Stay Slim at a Barbecue

I know you’re all headed out to some barbecues this weekend. Enjoy them! There is no reason why you can’t have a good time, enjoy some good food, and stay slim. Here’s how to do it.

Bring a Dish

You never know what there’s going to be at the barbecue, so it can’t hurt to make sure you’re prepared. Try impressing your friends by bringing in a guiltless Caesar salad for everyone to share. It will serve as a great conversation piece and will keep you from wolfing down a greasy potato salad.

Alternate Drinks

For every drink of alcohol that you have, make sure that you also have a glass of water. And make sure you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day—it will help you eliminate any pieces of junk you might be eating!

Start Off With a Salad

If you’re going to be eating a burger or hot dog, make sure you eat a green salad first. That way, your body will get some natural digestive enzymes and you will be better able to portion control how much meat you eat.

One Plate

I know when I go to a barbecue my natural tendency is to start off with a small plate and slowly refill it. This is a way to sneakily pack on the pounds and the calories! Instead, fill up your plate at the beginning and eat slowly, taking breaks to catch up with friends, help at the grill, and enjoy good company.

Hope this helps you at your next barbecue. ENJOY!

Five Beginner’s Steps to Changing Your Diet

 

“A Journey of a Thousand Mile Begins With the First Step” –Lao Tzu 

I frequently get the question from friends, family members, and blog visitors—“Alana, I’m ready to get healthy. Tell me how to eat like you.” The truth is, I would never advise anyone to switch immediately from the typical American diet to my diet— a nearly raw, vegan, no refined sugar, and gluten-free lifestyle. Getting there takes time, and transitioning too abruptly can have serious side effects on your body. But what I can recommend is that you take five easy steps to getting there. Perhaps these steps will lead you to an even greater dietary change, or maybe this will define your new lifestyle. Either way, it’s all about what feels right for you. Here are the first steps I took when transitioning my diet.

Listen to Your Body
Everyone’s body is different. The only way you can know what you should be eating is by listening to yours. Eat your meals very slowly, chewing each piece with intention, that way you can notice how it makes you feel and you can truly recognize when you are full. When you are done, set a one-hour timer on your phone reminding yourself to assess how you feel once you have fully digested. Once the timer goes off, do a personal inventory of your body. Do you feel tired? Gassy? Bloated? Energized? You will be surprised at the things that make your body tick, and be more inclined to get rid of them once you are more aware.

Slowly Replace Processed Sugar
In my ideal world, processed sugar would be thrown into a pit to be used to make punching bags! Processed sugar has been proven to cause diabetes, candida, and a myriad of other health conditions. To make things worse, it has addictive qualities similar to those of tobacco. However, getting rid of processed sugar altogether–particularly given its addictive qualities–can be extremely difficult and lead to withdrawal (I experienced it myself when first transitioning). I recommend spending one day counting the amount of sugar you eat normally. Track it on the website myfitnesspal.com if that makes it easier. Then, try cutting that number in half, or even by a fourth if that’s too difficult. Stock up on stevia, which is a low glycemic natural sweetener made from the stevia leaf, and start using it as your go-to sweetener for teas, drinks, coffee, etc. Keep some in your bag in case of emergencies. Look for products in the grocery store that use coconut nectar, stevia, or dates as their base for sweetness instead.

Don’t Drink During Meals
While water is extremely important, you should be using your time in between meals to drink as much water as you can. During meals, you should minimize your water intake so as not to dilute the production of digestive enzymes. You want multiple enzymes to be produced while you are eating so that you can fully digest your food, feel full, and reap all of the nutritious benefits of your food. So keep the water intake to a sip or two during meals and save your big gulps for afterwards.

Monitor Your Meat Consumption

Several studies have proven the harmful effects of meat—acidity, heart disease, obesity, cancer—the list goes on. While I understand that a completely vegetarian diet is not feasible for everyone, I recommend taking at least one day a week to eat vegetarian. On that day, try a new vegetarian restaurant. Some great restaurants in the NYC area include Quintessence, Caravan of Dreams, Blossom, and Peacefood, among others.

Read and Research
When I first decided to change my diet, I became largely inspired by the writings of nutritionists who were able to teach me how to do it safely. These nutritionists taught me that a proper diet is not only a cure for weight-gain, but also for skin-diseases, aging,cancer, and fatigue. Check out Kimberly Snyder’s the Beauty Detox Solution and Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program. Also check out some blogs filled with recipes and transitioning tips, such as living maxwellfood babe, and kimberly snyder.

I hope this helps you on your journey towards getting your body on track! :)

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!