Tag Archives: travel

How to Feel Your Best When Traveling

23 Jul

I love traveling. It’s one of my favorite things to do next to cooking. This summer, I’m doing a ton of it, and it can take its toll if I don’t take good care of myself. Flying can be brutal. Seats are tight, waits are infinite, and unpredictable. With nothing but peanuts and pretzels, it’s no surprise we end up feeling disgusting. We’re bloated, tired, dehydrated, hungry, and just plain CRANKY! This is why whenever I travel, I try to be kind to myself so I don’t end up feeling like a wreck.

Here are some guidelines on “How to Feel Your Best When Traveling” with a before, during, and after plan.

Got a travel routine you want to share? Let’s hear it! Perhaps you’ve got an upcoming trip or vacation that you’re not sure how to prepare for? Just ask!!

BEFORE YOU LEAVE

  • Fill-up on a nutritious, satisfying meal at home. Try hearty foods like whole grain oatmeal (not instant) with fresh fruit, multi-grain sandwich with veggies and lean protein.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Drink tons of water (and coconut water).
  • Pack snacks and meals for the journey. Make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, pack an orange (they’re durable, can go through security), sandwich wraps travel well, or healthy snacks
  • Make time to exercise before you leave. Get your blood flowing and lift your spirits before you embark on your trip.
  • Research and plan out exercise & meals in advance – Find out if there’s a hotel gym or  See if there are studios in the area you may want to try. Maybe this is an opportunity to try something new! Make dinner reservations in advance so you know you’ll have options and won’t have to rely on the hotel.

DURING YOUR JOURNEY

  • Stick to the plan! Stay away from anything processed. Don’t get distracted by the airport newsstands and fast food stations. Many airports now have healthier options. Sweets, chips, and sodas are going to throw your blood sugar levels off, and add to the dehydration you’re already going to experience.
  • If you can, try not to sit too much in the airport. You’re going to be sitting for hours so try to move around and keep the circulation going in your legs.
  • Skip that in-flight coffee and soda. Stick to water and lots of it. Coffee and soda will just add to your dehydration. I even politely decline the free handouts on the flight so I’m not tempted.
  • Snooze on the flight. Pack an eye mask and ear plugs (or noise canceling headphones) so you can rest without disruption. Being overtired often makes me susceptible to poor food choices later.
  • And if you can’t snooze…Keep your mind occupied with books, magazines or movies

ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION

  • Get Creative. Ask the hotel for a second mini refrigerator so you can stock up on water and healthy eats. (This can also prevent that mini-bar raid and save some money!)
  • Hit the local grocery store. Pick up some fresh fruit, green avocado, hummus, coconut water, small bag of veggies or baby carrots.
  • Be active. Try walking as much as you can throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to lunch or dinner. Explore your new area! Maybe hit a museum or go to a local park if you have time. Try stretching in your room or sign up for a yoga, spin or Pilates class. Many studios even offer a free first class!

Viva Las Vegan

16 Feb

I survived Vegas, again. One week in Vegas is 10 years on the body. Between the dry air and hard water, my skin is pleather, hair is hay, and my liver is shot. I’m pretty sure I’m 10 lbs heavier, and I’ve managed to break out like an angst ridden teen. And to top it off, I got incredibly sick the day after I got home. I think my body went into shock and rebelled against the week of abuse.

I was in Vegas with pal Blake Brody who was exhibiting her fall 2011 collection of in-studio footwear at the World Shoe and Accessories Show. She has the most amazing footwear designed specifically to be worn during any in-studio workout like yoga, Pilates, barre class, etc. I wear them religiously during The Bar Method and Power Pilates. Some of the collection have bows, and even Swarovski crystals, but these girls aren’t just a pretty face, they’re smart too! They are cleverly designed to maintain key functionalities like being able to point and flex, provide arch support, and have grip pads on the bottom to prevent slippage. And, being the germaphobe that I am, wearing them means I don’t have to walk barefoot in the studio [gross]. But the kicker is… they’re completely vegan!!! YAY! Check out her site.

How cute is her booth? That’s not Blake though, that’s her cute sis. 🙂

Blake Brody in-studio footwear exhibitor booth

We worked hard by day, and played hard by night. I’m pleased to report there’s no shortage of vegan eats in Vegas. Well, there might be after the damage I did. Take it from this Las Vegan, anyone who says you can’t be vegan in Vegas isn’t really trying. Here are a few highlights from our eating extravaganza.

The Sands Expo Convention Center where the WSA show was held, had limited eats unless you wanted a donut, ham, egg salad or turkey sandwich so I trekked to The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian every day to get a decent vegan friendly lunch and snack. It literally takes about 20-30 minutes to walk there, order, and walk back, but it’s worth it.

Our daily lunch was the Grilled Vegetable Wrap at Bella Panini in The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. I requested it without pesto, without cheese, and added avocado and it was delish! And I snagged packets of hot sauce from the Mexican restaurant across the way.

Grilled vegetable wrap with no cheese or pesto, added avocado

Daily snack was hummus and pita from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian

Hummus from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

This place exceeded all my expectations. IMO, it’s the most beautiful property there. I didn’t see the rooms, but I expect they’re just as fabulous as the rest of the hotel. The lobby is incredibly dramatic with impressive digital art on all the walls and columns of the entryway.

Cosmopolitan lobby area

When we were there, the digital artwork featured a rabbit in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Can you see the bunny?

And the bars are so chic!

Vesper bar

Fresh herbs for cocktails at Vesper bar. Love that!

Drinks at Vesper bar

We fell in love with the Rose Gimlet at The Chandelier lounge at the Cosmo. Here’s the one we ordered on our first day. Nice pour, right?

1st Rose Gimlet

We went back a couple days later. And here’s the 2nd Rose Gimlet. Uh…. Excuse me? What’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the rest of it? It’s like a 1/4 pour. Boooo. And yes, I’m the loser who showed the bartender the picture of the first drink and how robust it was in comparison to the second. He poured us a new drink. 🙂

2nd Rose Gimlet

China Poblano, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Nice, but Naughty - sautéed lotus root/ fresh pea shoots/sesame

Palmitos - hearts of palm/ citrus/tamarind dressing

The Unruly Monk - hand-cut noodles/ bok choy/wild wood ear mushrooms/ (no poached egg)/spicy sauce

Spicy sauce accompaniment to The Unruly Monk

Open kitchen making fresh tortillas

Jaleo, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

I’ll preface by saying I forgot one major picture (shocker) of the Pan con Tomate (toasted slices of rustic bread brushed with fresh tomato). This was a huge oversight because it’s so amazing we literally ate three orders of it. Here are the other goodies I managed to capture. The Papas Arrugas were my favorite. Beware, it’s salty.

Papas Arrugas - Canary Island-style wrinkled baby potatoes served with mojo verde and mojo rojo

Ensalada de Coles de Bruselas con Albaricoques, Manzanas y Jamón - Warm brussels sprouts salad with apricots, apple (without Serrano ham)

Espinacas a la catalana Sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins and apples

Espárragos Blancos con Limón y Tomillo - White asparagus with lemon, thyme (no cheese)

Setas al Ajillo con La Serena- Sautéed wild mushrooms with La Serena potato purée

The Sangria was WAY too sweet. Of course, that didn’t prevent us from finishing it, but not a repeat order.

Sangría de Vino Tinto

Lotus of Siam, off the Strip

Lotus of Siam entrance. Looks shady, but don't judge. The food and service was fantastic.

Spring Rolls (in rice paper)

Kana Moo Krob - Stir-fried Chinese broccoli (no crispy side pork slice) substituted with garlic sauce instead of oyster.

Green Curry- with coconut cream, bamboo shoot, Thai basil, fresh chili and tofu

The server asked us how hot we wanted the Green Curry on a scale from 1-10. We both like spicy food so we agreed to “6”. It came out closer to 25.

Baby Corn- sautéed with straw mushrooms, carrot, onion, broccoli

SageAria Resort & Casino

The chef at Sage offered to create a special two-course vegan menu for me. Both courses were delicious and I was so excited to have such a warm reception for once. The Desert Shrub cocktail with Seite Leguas Tequila Reposado, prosecco, pink grapefruit and purple sage is TO DIE FOR.

Beet Salad

Roasted Vegetables - cauliflower, artichokes, salsify and much more

Brunch at Society Cafe, Encore

Shout out to Steve Wynn for going vegan last year and adding alternative vegan menus at his Wynn and Encore restaurants. Wish more places would do that!

Society Cafe vegan menu

Grapefruit Mimosa

Grilled Vegetable Flatbread with Vegan Cheese

Overall, we had a blast! I love Vegas but it’s good to be back home where I can eat well and workout regularly. Got any favorite Vegas hotspots? Any great vegan-friendly places or not-to-miss dishes? Let’s hear ’em!

Oh, and you’re probably wondering if I left up or down. I think I broke even at craps. I won $200, but I’m pretty sure I lost about the same. I found these little reminders in my purse when I got home. Viva Las Vegan!!

chips from the Cosmopolitan

Traveling Vegan

15 Jan

Day 13  –  P&P in LA

Traveling is stressful no matter what the circumstances. Packing, traffic, topped off with too close for comfort pat downs, just makes flying a PITA. Add new dietary restrictions and an 8lb yorkie, and it’s a whole new ballgame. I’m off to LA for a week and although I know the west coast is the motherland for vegetarians/vegans, it’s still nerve-wracking being out of my element. That said, the trip is off to a good start.

Gate 22 on Delta at JFK had a new “lounge” equipped with iPads at each section. Well, it was new to me anyway. Ironically, it’s called Croque Madame (ham and cheese sandwich with fried egg). It’s a cross between a diner and a futuristic library. The lights remind me of a college library, or perhaps it was the girl sitting behind me (the one with the sweatshirt) who was a dead ringer for a college student, fully equipped with an enormous teddy bear in her duffel bag. Damn. I wish I took a photo.

The cool part is you can order drinks and food on the iPads at each station. I ordered a champagne, the hubbie got the standard Jack and Coke.   After placing our order, a message indicates our drinks will come in about 10 minutes, then we get a “thank you for your order!” message.

I tried the Epicurious app while I waited for my drink, but it didn’t work. Fabulous. There goes that entertainment.

There was really nothing on the food menu that I could (or wanted to) eat so I headed over to Balducci’s. I was impressed to find the vegan dumplings that I’ve purchased at Whole Foods before. How convenient!!! If you ever eat these in public, beware. They are delicious, but they STINK. I brought them on the plane and quickly realized I was THAT person so I scarfed a couple in. I barely opened the container, negotiating them out on an angle to help save my fellow travelers from the stench. It’s really the garlic and scallions that do it but if you can deal, they’re tasty little morsels. Consider yourself warned.

When I got back to our library cube, I was informed they were out of champagne (big frowny face). Instead I got a Sauvignon Blanc which was totally fine. This was the guy who brought it to me. I like him.

With a glasss of wine in me, I could deal with the completely booked flight. It reminds me why traveling on long weekends isn’t ideal. Sadly, no upgrade for us. I think it’s because Leighton Meester took my seat in 1st.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for my vegan adventures in LA. Bring on the sunshine!

 

 

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