Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dine and drink well, but preserve your liver and waistline


Dining and drinking are pleasures of travel, here new friends!


SO YOU'RE loving your Caribbean cruise, Spanish parador, Rio hotel, Mexican casita, or Cotswolds B&B.
Maybe you're with your favorite cousins exploring San Francisco. Hiking across Spain. Or enjoying a theater marathon in New York.
Eating is one of the great pleasures of life, and no more so than when we're on holiday.
A small, elegantly served appetizer on Crystal's Serenity.
The escargot, the duck a l'orange, the rich soups and sauces, homemade breads, then mousse, creme brule or tarts for dessert.  More cocktails, wine and after-dinner drinks than we would normally consume at home.
So what to do? Vacation is not the time to deny yourself.  But you don't have to choose everything offered or gobble every bite of every course.
HERE ARE some tips we've gleaned. Yes, we've gained a few pounds over decades of frequent traveling, but we employ a few techniques that keep us from annoying ourselves when we  step on the scale once home.
A few downward dogs at an Arizona vacation yoga retreat.  
* EXERCISE EVERY DAY.  I can't emphasize this enough.  You know you are going to be indulging, trying new things, drinking and eating more than usual.  So get up every morning, do a few stretches and take a walk after breakfast.  If you can, go to the gym on ship or at the hotel. See if there are exercise classes available and try to make yourself work out or join a class at least two or three times a week.  It all adds up.
* BREAKFAST.  The old "eat a good breakfast" adage never worked for me.  True, it does make you feel better -- satisfied and relaxed -- but that also means, for me, that I feel groggy and unproductive.  So no big breakfasts for this reporter.  Granola, yogurt, fruit, coffee or tea.  No bread, butters, jams or pastries on a regular basis. I
How about toasting your Greek isle cruise?
splurge once in a while for my favorite vacation breakfast -- lox, bagel and cream cheese, but NEVER every day.  And nix on the bacon, waffles, omelettes, and Eggs Benedict. If you and your partner want to split a large item once in a while, live it up!  Low-fat milk instead of half and half, and bypass the creamed sausage and biscuits. A handful of raisins and pecans or walnuts is good, and a bowl of fresh fruit.  No juice unless it's fresh.
* LUNCH.  My favorite meal of the vacation.  If we're walking or touring a new city, we buy the picnic described in an earlier post -- cheese, fruit, a small amount of bread, a split of wine and some meat or chicken.  If we're on a ship, I head for the salad bar.  It's smart to go easy on dressings and pasta items.
Aboard Oceania's Insignia, a table for seven pauses between courses.
Go instead for a bed of romaine.  I add artful dollops of vegetables, shrimp, red onions, a bit of grated cheese, sunflower seeds, raisins and maybe some cherry tomatoes or a few slices of avocado.  If I crave dessert, I have a tiny dish of sherbet. Once in a while, I fall off the wagon and have a cookie, too.
*DINNER.  Cocktail hour is trouble because drinking stimulates the appetite.  Still, again, be moderate.  Try the smoked salmon pate or the fresh shrimp, but go easy on the little pastry sausage things and the fried items or tempura.  I again skip breads at dinner and avoid creamed soups and rich appetizers, choosing instead a cold soup and a small salad.
Can't resist dessert? Share  at your table and sample.
FOR MY MAIN course, I order broiled or grilled chicken or fish, and nothing with fancy sauces.  On ships, I eat only half or a bit more. On land, Keller and I usually share a couple appetizers and a main course.  Perfectly satisfying. If you're with a group, share a few desserts and everyone gets a couple tastes of the bread pudding, flan or creme brule and chocolate eclair.
Remember the "20 minute lag" -- it takes your tummy 20 minutes to tell your brain it is full. Your liver, spirit, waistline and wallet will thank you!

Tips on transiting TSA, up next!
COMING UP:  Transiting the TSA line can be a challenge, a drag, a frustration.  We'll share a few pointers we've gleaned on how to get through quickly at home or abroad -- with no conflicts, wear and tear, tension or forfeited items!  Remember to explore, learn and live.  And check us out Wednesdays and Saturdays at:

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