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Yes, You Can Eat Healthy While on Vacation!

Guest Post:  Cole Millen – Cole is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.”

Eating on the Road

Yes, You Can Eat Healthy While on Vacation!

As much as most people enjoy vacation, some people view their vacations with considerable anxiety. Those who are focusing on eating right and staying in shape, in particular, may view vacation as a time when gaining weight is unavoidable. However, a small amount of planning can go a long way when preparing for a vacation, and there is no reason to sabotage your diet while away from home. Here are a few tips and guidelines for travelers to consider.

Eat Right While in Transit

It can be difficult to eat right while traveling by vehicle or airplane. Those traveling by vehicle can help themselves by bringing along a cooler filled with healthy snacks and drinks. Fast food is notoriously unhealthy, and a trip or two to a fast food restaurant can make it difficult to stay within your caloric threshold. Those traveling by airplane can help themselves by eating a meal before heading to the airport; in the rush to get to the airport on time, many people neglect to eat beforehand. A bit of restraint can help tremendously so make sure to avoid those restaurants that offer high fat and greasy food. Try and find a meal of grilled chicken or perhaps even a salad. Make sure to bring with you some dried fruits or nuts to snack on while on the plane of on a layover. For some reason or another we tend to want to fill our stomachs while in airports so ensuring you have these snacks will allow you to resist the urge.

Eat Healthy at Hotels

Finding the appropriate hotel and area that can cater to your healthy lifestyle is extremely important for your vacation. Doing a little research before hand to ensure that you have the amenities necessary can go a long way. I have found that review sites containing unbiased, honest information from other travelers are the best way to go. I was recently traveling out west and managed to find a hotel in Las Vegas with a gluten free restaurant from the tips in the reviews I found. Once at the hotel, many travelers find themselves overeating. One technique many travelers are using is bringing along a small crock pot or other cooking tool. A quick trip to a grocery store or health store can allow travelers to eat at least some of their meals away from restaurants. This technique can also lead to significant savings while on vacation. Travelers will also want to avoid minibars at all costs; minibars are filled with high-calorie items that can make it difficult to stay under a certain caloric limit.

Enjoy Restaurants Without Anxiety

Eating out is a crucial component of vacation, and no traveler will want to avoid restaurants entirely. One of the best ways to prepare for a trip to a restaurant is to load its menu online or to pick it up early. By determining what you will order before entering the restaurant, you can ensure that you do not go over your daily caloric intake. If you have difficulty determining how many calories are contained within particular meals, try to avoid items that contain the following words: buttered, battered, bottomless and stuffed. Restaurants are offering healthier meals than ever before, and a bit of research can help you enjoy restaurants without feeling guilty.

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Whole House Detox: Starting the Kitchen

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I’m finally decluttering and organizing my kitchen.  Click the images to see them up close and personal.

Give awaysI’ve only just begun, but look at what I’ve already gotten rid of from just two cabinets.  It’s clear what I have attachments to – lunch sacks (3) stainless steel coffee mugs (4), and glass and plastic food containers (infinite)!  I’m recycling, regifting, and adding this stuff to a pile for a possible garage sale this summer.  A friend of mine is cleaning out her basement in July – says it will change her life.  So I’m going to buddy up with her and clean mine out as well (oh the horrors).

My main goal with the Whole House Detox project is to clear out space.  Even if things are neat, unnecessary items take up space and, in my case, drain my energy.

Full kitchen cabinetCase in point.  Here’s an organized cabinet….with just too much stuff in it.  It’s going to look really different once I get finished with it!  That cabinet is going to feature my spices – they will be so easy to access.  Watch me!

I didn’t always know how to let go of perfectly good things.  My friend Brenda taught me.  I’ll share some of what I learned from her as we go along.

But for now, woohoo!  I love the empty spaces in my cabinets already.  Anybody want to join me?


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Chemical Pollution: What We Can Do

Chemical SprayingLast night while walking my dogs on the Kansas levee, I turned back early because a farmer was spraying his fields.  Even though there was very little breeze, the chemicals wafted over a large area.  I’ve been taking daily walks on the levee for 20 years, and I feel a personal kind of ownership over it.  Even though the area looks clean and green, is remote and quiet, I was reminded that it is an agricultural zone and chemicals are unfortunately part of the unseen picture.

What is the answer to so much chemical use?  Living in an agricultural state, I understand the challenges of the farmer.  It’s a darned hard business.

Still, I’m concerned about the amount of chemicals pollutants in our environment.  Even if you think you’re drinking clean water, breathing clean air, and walking on a natural path, there are unseen chemical pollutants every step along the way.

I don’t know what the ultimate solutions are, but I do know that we as individuals can make a difference in our own backyards and communities.

What YOU (and I) can do to reduce chemical pollution: 

Alice Walker Quote

  1. Buy organic produce and free-range, grass fed animal products – we need to create a strong market for clean foods so that farmers have sustainable income for their hard work.  Support farmers at farmers’ markets.
  2. Be an informed consumer and support positive efforts – ask farmers at the market how they grow their food.  Let them know you’re willing to pay more for cleaner food.
  3. Speak up – let the farmers and grocers know you want to purchase non-GMO, non-irradiated, organic, free-range, grass fed food.  And you want to buy products with minimal packaging.  We want to be able to see and feel the products we are buying and we want to minimize the tremendous waste that over packaging creates.
  4. Make your own natural household cleaners – we can make 99% of what we need with natural ingredients.  See my recent post on how to make these cleaners.  If we leave the chemical cleaners on the market shelves, the supply and demand equation will be changed in favor of reduced chemical production.
  5. Eat real food – limit or eliminate consumption of fake chemicalized foods offered at the grocery store and fast food restaurants.  We need to upset the conventional supply/demand equation that supports increasing production of toxic products.  Remember, we drive demand.  Let’s demand clean, real, safe, wholesome.
  6. Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Recycle – again, your buying choices drive the supply/demand train.  Let’s put that train on different tracks—the sustainable track.
  7. Let your state representatives know that you want your state to be clean and green – as much as possible.  Chemicals are here to stay, but they needn’t play such a pervasive role and be so ubiquitous.  We need to wake up and speak up.

We must change the supply/demand curve and not be hypnotized by lower prices for unhealthy, chemicalized products.  We need to be willing to do a little more work and pay a little more for healthier, cleaner options.   What ideas do you have to add to the list?

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Wellness Weekend: People, Pets, and Pho

I was going to write a post about my fabulous dinner and then realized I had a bigger story to tell–my wellness weekend of people, pets, and Pho.  Wellness is so much more than diet, exercise, and stress management.  Wellness includes all things that nourish your body, mind and soul.    Here are a few highlights of what nourished me this weekend.

Addie and SylviademolitionFriday afternoon I got a chance to hang out with my godchildren Addie and Sylvia.  First we watched the demolition for their school charity event and then set out to play.  What a treat it is to watch children play and to play with them.  They realized that the slide their dad rigged for them would go so much faster if they sat on a cushion and slid down together.

Cindy & TriciaFriday evening I attended a wonderful concert  featuring my friend Cindy Novelo & Tricia Spencer and Darrell Lea & Megan Hurt at the Lied Center in Lawrence, KS.  Amazing local musicians.

Saturday, I met my friend Brenda in Kansas City for outings to the anitique mall, Trader Joe’s, Stein Mart, the Blue Moose Bar & GrillBlue Moose for lunch, and back to Brenda’s for a great conversation about life.  Also had a great phone conversation with my friend Lena.   I couldn’t make the gathering of my family in Chelsea, Michigan,  but I got to talk with my dad, sister, brother, and sister-in-law.

Sunday  morning  I slept in, had a Chihuahua playdate with my friend Nora’s and her new Chihuahua, Rosie, Rosieand Sophie, my rescue Chihuahua, and of course Toby but he’s a little harder for them to play with  (8 vs 70 pounds).

After a long walk along the levee with Toby and Sophie….and a little shuffling of papers, I made the very best Pho.  Here’s what went into it:

PhoPho (Vietnamese Soup)

  • Box of Organic Pho broth
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Zucchini
  • Bean sprouts
  • Rice noodles
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh basil
  • Hoisen sauce
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 fresh lime squeezed in at the last minute

What did you do this weekend?  Was it nourishing?






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Stir Fried Veggies and Quinoa in a Peanut Sauce

Stir Fry with Quinoa and Peanut Sauce

I made the most fantastic stir fry with quinoa.  I wanted something different from what I’ve been eating and my business coach and social media strategist, Lena West, suggested something with a peanut sauce. 

I did a quick search and found a fantastic  recipe.  I made a few minor adjustments (used green curry instead of red curry, didn’t measure the peanut butter, and  added cayenne pepper).   I could eat that stuff by the spoonful!  Try the recipe here from

Here are the veggies I included:

  • asparagus
  • carrot
  • green onion
  • celery
  • spinach
  • green beans

 You could add meat, chicken, shrimp, or tofu.  You cook quinoa much like you cook rice (1.5 to 2 cups water to 1 cup whole grain quinoa) and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

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Whole House Detox: Garden Update

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Finally got the raised bed garden ready to plant and extended the garden into the yard.  Great exercise.  This is what Randi Hacker calls  the Earth Gym – great exercise right there in my yard.

I’ve got the bug to plant things I can eat–healthy eating here I come.  Any sunny spot is fair game!

So far I’ve planted bug repellant plants  (marigolds and cilantro), French lavender, three kinds of lettuce, and strawberries.  Tomorrow I’ll plant blueberry bushes, asparagus, and purple onions.  I have a bunch of seed packets so will need to figure out when to plant them.  This is all one big experiment.

Are you putting in a vegetable garden?  Feel free to tellme everything you know about it.  I can use the help.  Leave your comments at the comment link below.

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Whole House Detox: Building a Spring Garden

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What does a garden have to do with a Whole House Detox?  Good question.  Let me make something up….  Ah, yes, a garden is part of the yard and the yard needs to be spiffed up along with the house.  A garden is also a part of detoxing my diet so I don’t have to eat vegetables sprayed with chemicals.

After cleaning up the back porch I decided to work on paperwork so I can get my taxes prepared.   I was working away and then spring happened!  Our weather is unusually warm so it’s time to get the garden ready.  One of my lovely subscribers informed me that our city is giving away compost tomorrow so I quickly had to shift gears to get a raised bed up and ready to accept the new soil.  The first garden handiman fell through so I went to Home Depot, selected the lumber and other needed materials and drove home wondering….now what?

I called my regular handiman with my fingers crossed that he could help at the last minute.  He sent over a couple of guys that had the raised bed in place in about an hour.  How’s that for right timing?  Everything is coming together so well.

And tomorrow Nora (my yard helper) and I are going to drive the borrowed truck to pick up compost and mix it into the soil.  As you can see from the stones, bricks, and weeds, there will be some work to do to get everything in place.

Then because the yard is an important part of the detox project, we’ll weed and whack and wake up the yard after its winter slumber.  The paperwork will have to wait….but it can’t wait too long because I need to have everything to the tax woman by April 2.

It takes a village to take care of a home.  And thankfully I have that village in place.  Over the years I have developed great relationships with people who help me live in this wonderful little bungalow–a handiman, weeder, plumber, painter, and electrician.  People are the best!  I don’t know what I’d do without people.


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I’m shocked!

shockedI don’t know where that voice came from, but it clearly said “I’m going to eat!”  It was Day 5 of the 7-day cleanse, and I was headed to a party.   I wasn’t feeling hungry and I wasn’t feeling particularly deprived or desparate.  I was getting plenty of nutrition from the broth and green juices.  I think I got bored.  When I heard that voice I didn’t know if it was my head or my body speaking to me but I listened, I acted, and I survived.

I don’t know what there is about a long cleanse – but I tend to peter out faster than some.  I don’t feel too guilty about it so that’s a good sign, I think.  Maybe my body has a set point for how many days I can successfully cleanse?  Dunno.

The most interesting piece is how I will move forward from here.  I’ve made a list of eating rules.  Here are several items I’m planning to include or minimize in my daily healthy eating plan:

  1. tons of vegetables and fruits
  2. green juice
  3. raw foods
  4. organic, free-range, hormone-free, cage-free
  5. minimize processed foods
  6. green superfoods
  7. food-based supplements
  8. minimize sugar and white flour
  9. minimize coffee and alcohol

This will definitely take planning and determination.  I’ll shoot for 100% but follow the 80/20 rule.  Eat at least 80% whole foods.

If you quit a nutritional cleanse before it was officially over, how would you feel about it?

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Why on earth are you doing this?

Why are you doing this?Day 11 – Nutritional Cleanse

I received query from a  subscriber today:   Why do you put yourself through all this misery?  

Actually, I’m not miserable.  I’m just riding the wave of this cleanse and learning a lot about my body, my eating habits, and my coping mechanisms.  It’s a body, mind, spirit journey and it’s going well, right on schedule.  There are ups and downs but that’s part of change and growth.

Why do we do anything that’s difficult?  Why do we go to college, birth and raise a family, get married, get divorced, move to another country, get certified, live in a yurt, go to Haiti to help earthquake victims?  We do the difficult things because they help us grow.  They give us meaning.  Difficult experiences help us be better servants.

This nutritional cleanse hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been hard either.  It’s easy enough that I continue to stick with it day after day.  And it’s hard enough that it provides me with opportunities to really pay attention to my body–are you tired, are you hungry, are you feeling a lightness of being, are you thirsty, are you desiring food because of your stomach or your head?  I’m learning a lot about myself and it’s all good. 

As I reported earlier, many of the benefits I expect to reap include the following:

  • awareness of how I use food to manage my moods
  • better balance and function of my body organs
  • awareness of how my body feels when I eat (or don’t eat) certain foods
  • more energy, less congestion
  • healthier cells
  • fewer toxins as they’re sluffed off during this clean food regimine
  • weight loss
  • clearer eyes
  • healthier, smoother skin
  • new food routines as I reset my daily food choices and put healthier ones in place
  • smarter as I learn new things (I’m sprouting seeds now!)

That’s just a partial list.  I’ve always been a bit permissive with myself and lazy, so this process is strengthening my discipline muscles.  And finally, as a wellness practitioner, I want to walk the talk and be the best role model I can be.  That’s why I air my dirty laundry and let people know I’m not perfect.  I’m on the same journey everyone else is on.  I just may have more wellness tools to work with.  And my goal is to use as many of them as I can every day.

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When’s It Over?

Day 2 of the Cleanse… but day 9 of the bigger nutritional cleanse program. 

Ho humOK so I’m getting a little….cranky?  Bored? Non-plussed?  Today (day 2 of 7) I started counting on my fingers when I’d be finished with this portion of the cleanse – the part of the cleanse where we just drink fluids (vegetable broth, hot lemon water, green juice and take supplements).  Mid-day Thursday is really hump day so I have 1.5 days left to the midway point.  Are we there yet?!  When are we going to get there, huh, huh!?

I know my body is getting a good clean out and rest, but my head is bored.    I’m on to me and how I frequently walk into the kitchen for a little entertainment.  When I’m not doing that today, there doesn’t seem to be much of interest to do. 

I have one foot in both world–the world of eating and the world of cleansing.  It hasn’t been long enough to “forget” the world of eating, and it hasn’t happened yet that I have the dazzling energy of the cleanse.

I know many people around the planet get to eat even less than I do on this cleanse, so that puts a new spin on this emotional state.  So I’ll go to bed and see what tomorrow brings.

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