Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You can have your salad, and eat it too.

Despite what I want to think, cake sounds better. But better for you? Negative. I found out this past weekend that you can go on vacation and still be healthy. It sounds like an oxymoron, but I feel great having eaten good foods while I was tempted by others.

I met my lovely long-distance friend in Chicago this past weekend and saw how healthy and fabulous she looked. This inspired me to also be healthy and fabulous. Our first mission together was getting lunch. After walking around downtown Chicago for a while, we found a place using Yelp that led us to Water Tower Place. The cafĂ© ended up not being inside the mall, but we discovered a gem anyway. On the M floor of Water Tower Place, there is a “food court.” This food court is a little better than most because there are a lot of healthy options available. We decided on a salad bar that was packed with good stuff. For lunch I had vegetables, a bit of quinoa, a bit of bulgur and some zero-everything dressing. It was delicious!

For dinner, we had sashimi and some sushi rolls and I enjoyed a seaweed salad. Although the rice in the sushi wasn’t what I would call healthy, the meal was still fresher than if I had opted for pizza or pasta.

The next day, we had Mexican food for lunch. I’ll admit I indulged in some chips and guacamole, but I ditched some of the tortillas that came with my tacos and watched my portions. Then, for dinner, we both had salads. Her dressing was fat-free vinaigrette and mine was not so healthy, but on the side, so I ate very little of it and ignored the sad little croutons.

Finally, for breakfast on Sunday, we headed to one of my favorite breakfast/brunch joints,
Yolk, which serves the best food and in a great atmosphere. I’ve been to two locations, and they’re both always hopping with long lines but short waits. We both had egg white omelettes with spinach, feta, and tomatoes and then I had roasted potatoes and wheat toast (dry). It was only in January, on my last trip to Chicago, that I realized you could order toast “dry.” 

Next to the million miles of walking and the two hours of biking we did, the meal choices made me feel good about being healthy. And the most astonishing part of it all was there was absolutely ZERO snacking. What?! The only “snacks” I had were Perrier and Wrigley gum.

But this isn’t just about being healthy on vacation for the purpose of looking good. It’s about health in general. It’s not just about losing a pant size, but about having a healthy heart. And about preventing disease. I want to grow old, and if that’s going to happen, then I must be mindful of what foods and drinks I consume.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to feel good about the way you look.

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