Monthly Archives: May 2012

Summer travel SURVIVAL GUIDE


Memorial Day has come and gone and summer is officially here!  And while all the health mags I’ve been reading assume that we are all in bikini shape– I don’t know about you – but I’m still working on it!  For me, when I think about summer, I think about fun mini “vacations” that D and I take to get out of steamy, muggy NYC.  But traveling poses a unique type of dilemma when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy.  Being out of your home environment makes it a lot more difficult to control where you get your next meal from – and if the greasy spoon is your only option on the road…well the name says it all doesn’t it?  Also, long hours in a car or bus doesn’t lend itself to getting in some good old exercise.

Believe it or not, it is possible to completely ace your weekend travel plans on the health front.  Here’s the answer: PREPARE!  I cannot stress this word enough – and it is in fact a tenet of my general healthy philosophy – that being prepared is the best way to ensure that you are putting the highest quality fuel in your tank.

So without any further ado, here are my top suggestions for how to be prepared and stay healthy while traveling:

  • Pack a snack.  You know how your mom used to carry snacks in her purse for you when you were a toddler – she was on the right track to keeping you healthy!  If you’re in the car – pack some healthy goodies in a cooler – a couple greek yogurts, apples, raw veggies with hummus.  I’ve been known to pack a salad with me to bring on an airplane (I promise you it tastes SO much better than the dreck they call airplane food).  Additionally, if you are stranded with no healthy options for your next meal – a couple snacks can turn into a quick mini-meal in a flash.
  • Scout out your location.  Many hotels these days have fitness centers or deals with local gyms.  If not, I’ve been to many hotels where they are happy to point out great running loops (all you need to pack is a pair of sneakers!).  Some of my best memories from traveling are when I went running through a new city – it’s a great way to explore and get your bearings.  Additionally, check out the restaurant scene – are there any great, local, organic spots?  Not only is this a chance to get your greens in – you can get a good flavor of the city you’re in.
  • Drink up.  No, not booze!  Staying hydrated with water is crucial when you’re traveling.  Not only is traveling dehydrating to your system – dehydration is often mistaken for hunger, which can cause you to overeat.  Also make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – whose water and fiber content can help keep you full.
  • Speak up.  When you’re traveling – especially if you’re visiting family or traveling with friends – I find that it’s really helpful to make your voice heard when it comes to health.  Let your travel partners know that you want to be active – even invite them on a run with you!  Let them know that the burger joint they may have picked for dinner doesn’t really have a lot of options for you (although you can find a salad or veggie burger in the oddest of places!).  You’d be surprised by how many friends/family are your health allies in this and have similar goals in mind!  Remember that ultimately, the best advocate for your own health is yourself.

Bon voyage!!

Chicken soup for the busy soul

I knew on Sunday it was going to be one of those weeks.  You know the type –  the kind that fly by, with a million and one things to do and not enough time to do it in.  By today, my “to-do” list is already full of things yet undone, only to be replaced by other tasks.  If cloning were an option I would seriously consider it.

One of the main tenets of my “healthy philosophy” is that you have to be prepared.  So when I know that my week coming is up is going to be insane – I try to cook up a bunch of easily zappable dishes that I don’t have to worry about cooking during the week.  One of dishes on rotation is vegetable soup.  In fact everytime I make it, D gets very excited.  It is truly delicious – and like all good soups, gets better each day – especially topped with a little parmesan and a good piece of wheat bread on the side.  Nothing like a big bowl of health to start the week of right.  Here’s what I do:

I take 2 big boxes of low sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth depending on my mood).  I use up all the veggies I have on hand, throw some garlic powder, lemon juice and a little almond milk in to make it more “creamy” and salt and pepper and let the veggies simmer for about 40 minutes.  I then puree the whole batch and…  Voila – a delish lunch or dinner!

But last Sunday I wanted to find a way to shake things up a bit, and was just craving chicken soup.  Chicken soup is a perennial favorite of mine, especially when I’m feeling under the weather.  In fact, researchers at the University of Nebraska have found that chicken soup may help reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms. Chicken meat also has antiviral properties.  But beyond it’s scientifically proven effects, it’s just good old fashioned comfort food.  So I was perusing my grocery store for some chicken soup that wasn’t full of sodium – which is surprisingly difficult!  Most of the stuff I found had questionable ingredients and 800 plus mg of sodium per cup!  That’s almost half the amount of sodium you should eat per day.  So I decided rather than taking my chances on the bottled stuff (and potentially swelling up like a balloon in the process!), I was going to make it.  But needless to say, I’m not Julia Child.  I do not have time to roast a chicken, make homemade chicken stock from its bones and decorate the whole things with rosemary sprigs.  So I took the easy way out and here is my recipe!

Chicken Soup for the busy soul:

(adapted from Tracy Anderson 30 Day Method Chicken Protein Soup)

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 chopped onions

4 oz boneless chicken breast, cubed

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets

1/2 chopped zucchini

1/4 chopped parsley

1 pinch garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Simmer the carrots, celery, and chicken in the stock for 20 minutes.  Add the broccoli and zucchini for another 10 minutes.  Add parsley, garlic powder, and salt.  Eat it up!