Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vacation Eating...Lessons Learned

In April, we went on vacation to South Padre Island, TX. I stressed about our trip for weeks. What was I going to eat? Where could I find local, Organic food? How was I going to maintain my new healthy eating habits whilst eating carb-laden Mexican food? I mean I really stressed. I thought about shipping a box of food from my pantry to our rented beach house. But then I thought that was just too extreme. I resolved to just "be where I was." Meaning I would just eat as everyone else did in the area. How did that work out, you ask? Not so well.
The first few days were OK, but by the 3rd day, I was feeling the worst I'd felt in years. I had extreme vertigo, congestion, lethargy, stomach issues, and headaches. I was on vacation at the beach, in a beautiful house, steps from the ocean...and felt like crap. Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe it was the fajitas from god-knows-where, the chicken thighs from not-so-happy chickens, the cheeseburger from What-a-Burger, the fruit and veggies laden with pesticides or the drinking water that had a funny smell to it.  Whatever it was, I didn't feel good. Even with all the prep I had done, I still managed to feel horrible. Funny thing is, two days after I got home, I started back with my organic, grass-fed foods and immediately started to feel better!
Maybe there isn't a connection, maybe there is, but I'm betting on the latter.
The strange thing is we noticed there are hundreds of doctor offices, therapy centers and children's therapy centers in the area. I mean on EVERY block! Why so many? Is everyone sick here?  Why is autism so high here (it's a statistic)? Is it the Mexican diet? The environment? Everyone is my husband's family uses those Knorr Bouillon cubes to cook rice, beans, salsa and soups. Those things are like little cubes of poison! Throw them out NOW!
I've had a few folks ask me what I was going to do while I traveled. So, I'll share. I packed healthy snacks and sandwiches for the plane ride (turkey sammies, almonds, gluten-free pretzels, organic apples, & lots of water). Saved us money too! When we arrived I found a local store with lots of Organic options. I purchased as many healthy things as I could for the week. I bought natural peanut butter and jelly for the girls and a few Organic fruit and veggies. But I couldn't find nitrate-free meats, sausage, lunchmeat or grass-fed options anywhere. I asked the butcher at the natural foods store if he knew how the meat was processed or where it came from and he looked at me and said "I dunno." Briefly I tried to explain what I was looking for and that I wanted meat from grass-fed animals and he said that cows are supposed to eat grain - that's how they get them fat for us to eat! WHAT!!!!!!!?????  The ignorance and stupidity astounded me. But I see a parallel too. If grain fattens cows, then it's fattening us too!

So, I'm on a new lifestyle path. My goal is to walk every day, eat as little sugar as possible, cut out as many carbs as I can and amp up the protein and veggies. I'm going to incorporate more raw food, fermented foods and more water. This is my new way of eating, every day. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. I've been doing it for a few weeks now and I've noticed more energy, less sugar cravings, a few pounds lost and regularity. Ok, getting a little personal, but that's a big thing for someone who suffered from IBS years ago.
As a society, we eat WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR! I realized that's what made me overweight these last 10 years. I was eating fat-free everything and cereals, pop-tarts, baked goods and sandwiches. Carbs, sugar and more sugar! If you look at the label on a fat-free item and look at its full-fat counterpart, you'll see added sugar in the fat-free version, mostly in the form of high fructose corn sugar! The evil HFCS!
So, the next time you go shopping, read the ingredient label, not the fat content. Fat is good, keeps you fuller longer. Sugar and high carbs is what's going to make you fat...I'm the poster girl for that campaign!


  1. Very interesting. Was your body ridden of the toxins and crap of non-organic/grassfed meats and then you poisoned it again on vacation?

    How did you feel the first week of giving up sugar? Tired?

    How much water do you drink a day? Just curious.

    Congratulations on changing your lifestyle eating habits. I would totally convert too if I could afford EVERYTHING to be organic.

  2. Molly, I've been eating clean, whole foods for 8 months now. So when I do go out or eat something that's not as healthy, I do feel a difference right away - especially with headaches and lethargy. Regarding giving up sugar, I don't miss it now. It's been 4 weeks since I've curtailed the amount I eat. I feel like I have MORE energy! I drink about 50 oz of water a day - need to drink more!
    Everything I buy is not Organic - mostly my veggies and fruits are. It's even possible to find some Organic foods cheaper or cost only a $1 more than the conventional foods. Our local Wegman's and Farmers Market have great inexpensive Organic options!

  3. What do you suggest as a replacement for bouillon cubes?