Sunday, April 29, 2012

Too Much Is Just Too Much!

Friday night we joined dear friends to celebrate a birthday.  The selected location was in Laguna Beach, likely the epicenter of healthy living!  The restaurant was Zoolu Cafe, a VERY popular and "hard to get into" hot spot.  The chef is known far and wide for delicious creative cuisine and large portions.

I Yelped the spot and read many reviews about the large portions, even so, I was unprepared for the real size of the servings.  I orderd the cioppino, sans pasta.  Literally a bowl large enough to give a small baby a bath was delivered to my table.  Everyone else was served MASSIVE portions too.  All around me were ooooo's and ahhh's of appreciation and delight.  But, I have to tell you, my reaction was different.

The portions were so large as to make it difficult to enjoy the meal.  Of course, there was no way to finish the meal.  I did take home a doggie bag with enough to feed me and my husband an entire second meal the next day.  But what caused me to be uncomfortable was the amount of waste at our table alone (multiply that by all the people dining there).  Some people took a doggie bag and others simply left a huge quantity of food untouched.  For sure it was thrown away.  It made me sad to think that some would think that such a huge serving was a good thing.  It also made me terribly sad to think of all the people who do not have anything to eat.  It bordered on gluttony.  ICK!

So, in spite of the quality of the food, and what I tasted was delicious, I did not enjoy my meal.  Have you ever experienced anything like that?

Desire to enjoy dining in moderation.  Dedication to helping others who are without.  Discipline to not waste food.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Fun Slumber Party!

Thursday night we babysat for 3 little neighbor girls.  Their parents were off on the 204 mile Ragnar run, which is a 12 person relay team, 2-day experience.  So, while they were off being CRAZY, we took care of Evie (5), Sophia (7) and Abby (10).  It was super fun, as they are exceptionally adorable and very well behaved children, just like we like 'em!  :-)

On Friday morning, they woke up with smiles, brushed their teeth, let me brush their gorgeous heads of hair and were ready for breakfast.  Since they were up early, I offered breakfast at home or, for what I thought they would regard as a treat, we could go to McDonalds.  Sophia looked up at me with her sweet little eyes and said....."there is nothing good to eat at McDonalds, so let's stay home."  On the inside, I was cracking up but we proceeded to eat a very healthy breakfast together that included Ezekiel whole grain english muffins (many kids say "eeeewwww" to this version), yogurt and whole fruit; all their choices.

Her comment did make me think about the high numbers of unhealthy kids in the U.S. (and the world) that haven't had the benefit of their parent's influence about healthy choices.  It really does start young and have an impact on their future too.

So, next time you are with kids, do them a favor and influence them towards healthy choices, just like we are doing in our grown up world!  I guarantee that is the last time I will offer up McDonalds! (with apologies to McDonald's Corporation because I know they have made great strides to include healthy menu options)  I WAS SCHOOLED BY A 7 YEAR OLD!!!  :-)

Desire to love the little ones.  Dedication to keeping kids safe and healthy.  Discipline to help them learn healthy choices.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pane, Pizza, Pasta, Pannino, Prosciutto = Pounds!

I do love alliteration and all of the "P's" were fun to play around with in Italy.  We had a wonderful trip, mostly because we visited with our niece, Alex, who is finishing up a semester abroad in Firenze (Florence).  We walked all over Firenze. It was our second time to that city and I liked it much more this time than before.  The summer crowds haven't quite hit yet, so you could actually walk around.  With every turn down a little side street, I kept saying - "this looks like a back lot at Universal Studios!" 

We did the Duomo climb - really fun, about 490 (little narrow skinny) steps to the top.  The view at the top was a nice reward.  We  walked the Arno river.  We took a train to Massa, a small town which is the same as my maiden name and Alex's last name.  We stayed at a Relaix and Chateau property called Il Bottaccio, very luxurious and FABULOUS!  We have been there 2 other times and it does not disappoint.  They are a 5 star dining experience.  We always ask the chef to prepare us a meal and then sit back and be amazed at what comes out of the kitchen.  That 5 course meal (small portions for sure) was worth every calorie!

Then we finihsed up in Venezia (Venice).  It was our first visit there and it was truly beautiful.  People had told us that the water would be dirty and smelly, but it wasn't like that at all.  They have really cleaned up the canals and they are quite pretty.  Again, they look  unreal, like a movie set!  I think Venice is the stairmaster of Italy.  Everywhere you walk you have to go up and down steps to get over bridges.  It was actually fun!

The Italians are known for their cuisine and yet you do not see many overweight people.  The dominant sweet is gelato, which we had a few times.  The crust on their pizza is so thin as to be more like a cracker and they don't glop tons of cheese and toppings on it.  I had pasta a few times, but since we make homemade pasta at home, it is hard to beat our "homemaders".  I did love the pane or breads - yummy!  The biscotti comes with every cafe.  We had delicious wines and I was introduced to a Campari spritz - delicious.  All in all, it was enough yummy food to pick up a few vacation pounds.

So, Allen and I are back on loads of veges and lean proteins.  I hit the gym the day I returned.  My trainer, Kathi, was only to happy to kick my butt after 12 days of no gym!  I love the cycle of indulgence and then discipline.  I am truly impressed by people who can go on vacation and not gain any weight, like Sarah!  I bow to you girl!

Desire to explore and experience.  Dedication to pleasure and fun.   Discipline to jump right back into the gym.