Friday, July 29, 2011

Back from Vacation and Only Two Pounds Gained!

I’m finally home after a two-week vacation that included a 7-day cruise to the Western Mediterranean (saw Spain, France, Italy). I was a bit worried that I was going to gain a lot of weight being on a cruise ship where multitudes of foods are offered 24/7, but I managed to sneak by with only gaining two pounds. Two-three pounds is something I can lose quickly with a few light meals, drinking lots of water and getting more sleep.  Our schedule on the ship was hectic as we pulled into a beautiful port each day at 7:00am and we were out sight-seeing all day long.  I was exhausted by the end of the cruise.  We walked a lot every day and I even got a workout in on the boat. Plus, I tried to make healthy eating choices while on the boat and in port. I ate a lot of fresh salads, tons of grilled, poached or sautéed fish (never fried), small amounts of bread, lots of protein (like omelettes for breakfast), and very few treats. Don’t get me wrong, I savored a small cannoli in Sicily and a mini molten chocolate cake for dessert a few nights after dinner, so I wasn’t completely deprived.  But I just worked it off the next day by tons of walking through ruins, the Vatican and I think I walked a mile in the Madrid airport!  Overall I had a very memorable time and I can’t wait to get back to Florence and Tuscany again – my favorite stops.
I also enjoyed sharing our eating habits with our dinner table guests. They were curious about the food I ordered – staying away from the savory items, bread and ordering fruit for dessert – so I shared with them our new found food religion.  They seemed intrigued, so I informed them of the dangers of artificial sugar (in which they filled their tea glasses with), high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.  They were also curious about the farm where I get my grass-fed beef, pork and pastured chickens.  It amazes me that some folks are completely unaware of these options and that they are nutritionally superior.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see that an overwhelming amount of Europeans are thin. Our tour driver was recommending places to eat and asked if any of us Americans wanted our familiar McDonald’s or Burger King. Blasphemy!  Of course we all said no, we wanted to try real local Italian food. Then, he mentioned out-of-the-blue, without knowing my hatred of those establishments, that a few people he knew were starting to eat there every now and then and they were getting fat. He said it must be from all the chemicals in American food!  How right he is!  I noticed that Europeans don’t snack much either. They eat very well. They eat full fat and olive oil. They drink a lot of wine too. However, the majority of them smoke – like it’s their job – so that could be it too.  Whatever the cause, they are thinner and appear healthier.  I think I’m going to look into the Mediterranean diet (sans cigs).
But now it’s time to get back home and into my routine of early morning workouts and eating my farm fresh food. My garden exploded with tomatoes and peppers while I was gone too. I’m looking forward to getting back into the kitchen and preparing our meals from scratch.  Soon it will be time to harvest everything and can my salsa.
I think I’m also going to plan a fall garden. I’m going to plant more lettuce, kale and research other cool weather garden foods.  I’m going to miss going down to the garden to pick greens beans and tomatoes for dinner once it gets cooler.
That’s all for now and remember the most important thing you can do for yourself is to start reading labels. Stay away from the long laundry list of ingredients and buy from local farms.  


  1. My garden was going well this summer, but then I got a fungus on my tomatoes, and it has spread! I did some new raised beds (square foot gardens) and they're too far away from the hose to water easily, so they're struggling, too. :( I was so excited by my early crops before the heat wave!

    I'd like to hear more about what you learn about a fall garden... I've been thinking about replanting my lettuce and spinach, too, once I figure out how to fix my fungus problem (I'm afraid it gets in the soil!). Any other suggestions?

  2. Thanks for the comment Laura. I also encountered a problem with one of my tomato plants. I had green horned worms (which are huge caterpillar-like bugs that can devour your plants in a day) and blossom-end rot. I corrected the problem with the end rot with extra calcium and most consistent watering. Then I hand-picked the creepy crawlers off my plants - I found three of them. After that, all was well, and I've ended up with over 20 lbs of tomatoes thus far.
    As far as the fungus, I'm not sure. I would just google the issue and check some popular gardening sites. I'm by no means an expert in the garden - more of a trial and error gal.
    And I've decided what to plant for the fall. I let my lettuce go to seed and it grew 4-ft. tall. I let it flower and then shook the seeds out of the flowers in a paper bag. I'll be planting lettuce, spinach and Lacinato Kale. The latter I found at They are a non-gmo seed company in Vermont. I ordered the spinach and kale from there. My lettuce is FREE! Good luck!