As long as I am on a kick of sharing vacation posts with you all, my cousin Marian, the dietitian, is back! And she has an incredible vacation to share, and tips on how to stay healthy amid said vacation. I’ll be honest, as you all know I was in a posting slump for a while. So let’s pretend it is the week before Labor Day still, and that I didn’t take months to post this. Take it away Marian…
It’s not even Labor Day Weekend, and I am already work-weary. My vacation after-glow has faded and I am turning a pretty shade of computer and LED-tan. Down here in Florida the kids have gone back to school for a week, the traffic is three times worse, and college classes start today. I feel the creeping in of the GRIND, and that’s enough to send me back to vacation memory-land where I will be staking out a regular plot and reminiscing … mostly about the food! So, I invite you to come along with me now as I share how I managed to eat my way through Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Austria while remaining true to my Dietitian’s many guiding principles and fitting into my cute 2016 summer wardrobe.
Scandinaviaaaaahhhhhhh! After sitting at my desk dining al-desko all year, all I want to do is move my body around, spend as much time outdoors, eat fresh ingredients, enjoy regional fruits and vegetables, drink local wines, and shop the exotic markets. Oh, and spend time with my partner who lives abroad and I never get to see.
I begin my holiday in Kerteminde, a small beachy resort town in the North of Funen (Fyn), the Garden Island of Denmark. I don’t have to go very far to eat cherries and raspberries. In fact, I can visit the neighbor for some farm fresh eggs he keeps in a Styrofoam cooler in his driveway. Roadside booths are typical here, and along the country roads people place their home grown delicacies and baked goods.
This is how I stayed in shape in Denmark- Walks to pick up fresh food from neighbors, and Yoga Download, which I brought with me so I could binge on as many classes as possible while Bill worked. All I need is WI-fi!
One week in, I tag along on a tennis workshop to Bastaad in Sweden, home of the Swedish Open.
My favorite spot to relax (code for stuffing myself) after a full day of tennis activities (other peoples’ tennis activities), is the nearby Margretetorp Hotel. This country hotel offers world-class dining with ambiance galore and breakfast is included. I often joke it’s better than a cruise.
The grounds are spectacular in a park-like setting with the most carefully tended rose and flower beds. The restaurant serves their own fresh baked goods, assortments of homemade jams and marmalades, fruit compotes, farm fresh eggs perfectly soft or hard boiled, locally sourced cheeses, smoked salmon, sliced meats, and an over the top mueslix bar with roasted hazelnuts, dried fruits, seeds, and a variety of kefir to choose from. That is just breakfast…and lunch is an event worth skipping breakfast for! For just $20 USD, lunch is the best bargain in town. Sweden is pricey.
And behold, a huge slab of salmon smoked in the smokehouse at the port with Margretetorp’s secret house blend of wood, herbs, and spices. It comes in every day and is the center piece of the spectacular lunch buffet boasting tender salad greens, fresh and marinated vegetables bursting with bright colors, a multitude of pickled herring variations including a curried, fried, pickled herring yum! The most amazing smoked caviar cream on a crust of pumpernickel in the shape of a giant cake was my favorite delicacy.
Billl indulged in a traditional open-faced smorrebrod piled with rare roast beef and topped with a heaping serving of remoulade and fried onions as a topper. It’s too much to even get started with the faultlessly executed and classically served dinner selections. Oh boy, I had to work out in the tennis fitness center, climb around in the mountains, and paddle board in the marina to “afford” two of these meals a day. One meal was an apple and a banana!
A fun fact about Sweden is that they love their coffee and pastries so much they have a whole meal named just for that. It is called Fika! I enjoyed the coffee and simply took a bite of someone else’s cake! This is another one of my many strategies for staying on track while in the middle of a feeding extravaganza I simply cannot miss out on.
After driving back to Denmark and taking the train to Germany, I alight in Hamburg on the very same day I find out my German Citizenship application has been accepted! Is this not the coincidence of a lifetime? And is this not a reason to really celebrate? OK!! Where is the best brewery in Hamburg and how do I get there?
After a very confusing, brisk and long walk through the central park, Bill and I bust in to the Braugasthaus Altes Madchen and begin the hawk-eyed surveillance required to find a place in the crowded seating area. It is humming, it is pouring, and it is serving delicious house-brewed beer served with the foam cut precisely to the line on the appropriate glass. I am a giddy lager girl and boy do I have fun drinking two .3 liter glasses of my new country’s best beer. Now for the eats… I tasted everything on the board! Oops not supposed to, because I am an ovo-lacto-pescatarian However, on occasion I cheat.
I think I will leave Austria for another day, you are probably all ready for a nap after virtually eating and drinking so much. I know I am.
Here are my top 10 “hacks” for staying on track while vacationing:
- Bring your probiotics!! Vacation belly and bloat is uncomfortable and can ruin your appetite, digestion, and metabolism. Staying regular is a common challenge when breaking routine.
- Bring your own exercise. You can bring tennis shoes for walking and running, download some of your favorite routines, make use of any free time to combine sight-seeing with physical activity, and take the stairs. Chances are, you will be more active on your vacation simply by not spending hours at a desk, computer, or television.
- Eat one meal a day that is minimally processed or cold. This strategy will eliminate cooking fats and increase the probability that you are eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Discuss your goal of staying on track with healthy eating and activity while on vacation with your fellow travelers. Simply by stating your goal to others, you increase the probability of achieving it! The support of your group is important.
- If you are a healthy adult, it is okay to skip a meal if you feel full from the last one.
- Spend your calories wisely, take bites of your friends’ food! Share!
- If you are gym person, and you love going to the gym, then get daily memberships when you can. I always travel with my ballet slippers if I know I may be near a great class! I have had lots of fun like this at Steps on Broadway, Pineapple Studios in London, and Alonzo King Lines in San Francisco.
- If you have a base, shop at the supermarket for fresh local ingredients and eat-in for a simple meal.
- Take a moment to relax, re-engage, and get in touch with nature and when possible head outdoors.
- Have FUN! You are on vacation, it is possible to “adjust” your intake again when you get home and back in your regular routine. Life is short and YOLO!!!