Healthy Vacation?

Vacations are for relaxing and breaking the rules of everyday life. They are meant to rejuvenate us and allow us to take time for ourselves. (A little bit tricky if the kids are with you.) But why did that used to mean I could gorge on all the junk food I wanted and sit around “relaxing” all day on the beach or in front of the t.v.? Going out for ice cream used to be an evening ritual when vacationing. No wonder I always felt so lousy and drained when I came home.

Not this time. This time I tried something different. I didn’t want to come home with more “junk” than I left with. I don’t mean the cheap towels that we had to buy from a dollar store because we left ours at home. (The ones that leave a trail of tiny, white, fuzzy balls behind on the floor and in your hair.) And I don’t mean the comfy pair of flops I found in a little shop at the Cotton Exchange. I’m talking about those extra pounds. Maybe three to five pounds of ice cream, cake, pie, fried this or that. The extra special lunch that would have been acceptable, had I not eaten an equally disturbing amount of food at dinner. I was not going to bring that home with me.

I did indulge once or twice, just as I would have at home. I ate a slice of the most decadent lemon meringue pie that I never knew existed. Sincere thanks to my brother-in-law for buying this pricey pie ($20). This pie, with it’s doughnut-fried-in-butter-like-crust and it’s delicious lemony-cream filling and fluffy meringue, raises the bar for sinful desserts. It was better than any cheesecake I’ve ever had. It’s a good thing the restaurant that bakes these tasty pies, is a good four and half hours away. If you’re ever in the area, you must go to Riverview Cafe in Sneads Ferry and order a slice. Better yet, order the whole pie and share it. They also make key lime pie, which they were out of, probably due to high demand. I’m willing to bet that the key lime is even better. (If that’s possible.)

I was surprised at how easy it was to say no. No to the late night ice cream run. No to the Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the fridge and the potato chips and goldfish stashed in the cabinet. No to ice cream or fudge from Kilwin’s. Instead I had their fresh squeezed lemonade, which Lolo and I preferred over ice cream anyway. No to the fried seafood (yummy broiled scallops instead). No to the burger and yes to the turkey panini with cranberry chutney.

I cooked dinner several nights. We had Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers with broccoli and a Fig, Walnut, Spinach Salad with homemade dressing. Another night I made Asian Lettuce Wraps using a homemade Hoisin Sauce and served it with brown rice. The last night we were there I made Chicken Lemon Pepper Linguini. The linquini recipe actually calls for shrimp, but I substituted with chicken because a few family members don’t eat seafood. I like it better with shrimp. If you make the recipe with chicken, I recommend cutting it in tiny pieces or using cooked chicken. I also made pico de gallo, guacamole and zucchini corn cakes for lunch and snacking. (Thanks for the recipe Carrie!!) Half of the mornings my father-in-law made stone ground grits, eggs and bacon. One morning I made whole wheat pancakes with sausage and eggs. The other mornings we ate cereal or yogurt. (Edited to add that there was always fresh fruit served with breakfast.) Lunch was usually sandwiches or leftovers. We ate out a few times, but made healthy choices.

Aside from eating well, I wanted to be active. Nearly every morning I woke up early and walked a quarter mile to the beach, where I usually continued strolling along the beach, watching the sunrise and searching for pretty shells or pebbles. Sometimes I’d just sit and watch the sunrise while sipping coffee or snapping photos in the warm, salty air, with only the sound of the waves in the back ground. I miss those quiescent moments already. Then I’d walk the quarter mile back to the beach house.

Haleigh came with me the first morning. We walked for 30 minute, speed walking the quarter mile of road to get to the beach, then strolled along the beach for awhile. We challenged ourselves to get back to the house in less time. We actually ran a good part of the way back, and I realized I need to do it more often. I could almost keep up with her. She was really into the challenge and kept us going. We were back in 20 minutes. Pretty good, we thought.

We spent a lot of time out doors, wading in the ocean, riding waves on boogie boards, chasing Lolo on the beach and building sand castles. We also spent some time each day crabbing and fishing. Okay, I actually only watched my in-laws fish off of our private dock. B went kayaking several times. We spent one day in downtown Wilmington, walking in and out of really cool (and some odd) shops… for hours. I got more exercise on this vacation than I do at home, and this was exactly the way I’d hoped to spend my time. I wish I had that kind of leisurely time at home. Maybe when the kids are back in school? Okay… probably not.

By the time we got home, I felt rested and relaxed and had actually lost a couple pounds. I didn’t feel tired and sluggish the way I normally do. It usually takes us the better part of a week to fully unpack and put everything in it’s place. This time, it only took a day and half. It was a near-perfect vacation. Good, mostly healthy food and good times shared with some of our dearest relatives. What more can I say?

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

One Response to Healthy Vacation?

  1. Pingback: A Year on Real Food « HealthyMamma's Blog

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