I’ve always loved eating out. I have such fond memories devouring meatballs and spaghetti off the children’s menu at east coast diners. As I grew older, my family celebrated honorable report cards, choir concerts, dance recitals and mini-milestones at what I thought were fine-dining establishments: Mandarin Yen or Shakey’s Pizza. Even in high school, after football games, we congregated at Davanni’s, Carbonni’s, Perkins or my all-time favorite, Taco Bell. Whatever happy (often made up) non-traditional holiday we celebrated was at a restaurant. Truth be told, my mom was a fine cook, we just enjoyed the hassle free, family or friend focused meal. My mother also cooked healthy dinners, so dining out included gorging on cheesy pizzas, fried rice dishes and creamy pastas. I know better now that eating out doesn’t mean I have to let go of all inhibitions and start “my diet tomorrow.” While it’s tempting to overdo it, I’ve learned a few tips to keep my diet clean while enjoying a night out for travel, on business or just for fun.
In many areas of life, I believe we will all look and feel better if we eat more veggies…especially for our kids. While growing tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots truly drives home the message to eat more vegetables…we always start out small and take baby steps. So, to celebrate spring and Earth Day we set out to create our own easy indoor herb garden. I’m lucky to have a creative friend that loves to rally around wellness activities. Together with her kids and my son, we made shopping and planting our own herb garden a fun, family activity.
I was a carbaholic. Back in 1995, I bought cases of ramen for dinner, ate two bagels during staff meetings and frequented the vending machine at work regularly. My eating habits changed slightly with age recognizing that simple carbs were really unhealthy. Though I did stand behind eating whole grains rather than the “white ones,” I still felt bloated and packed on a few extra pounds because I ate mostly carbs and few vegetables. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was looking to add more produce in my life that I started substituting vegetables for bread and pasta. I tried spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles aka zoodles and now I’m eating cauliflower rice.
Do you know how many products you use in a day, from toothpaste and shaving cream to fragrances and hair gels? I used to own a variety of cleansers and makeup and fooled myself thinking I used quality beauty items. I assumed since I often bought cosmetics and hair products from high-end salons that I didn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals.
I was wrong.
Like many, I believed if a product was for sale at a drugstore, supermarket or boutique cosmetics counter, it must be safe. And even worse, I didn’t understand that every product I put on my body soaked into my skin and was absorbed into my bloodstream within minutes. I’ve read that women use between 10-20 cosmetic items daily. This is equal to absorbing about five pounds of makeup per year that includes carcinogens, pesticides and hormone disrupters.
I was a huge carb eater. I steered clear of Italian restaurants for years because I was afraid I wouldn’t have willpower when a huge, creamy and savory bowl of pasta was delivered to my seat. Now I love little Italian bistros because they often keep in store many fresh veggies and cook with extra virgin olive oil. In fact, one of my favorite local restaurants makes a special dish of sautéed zucchini pasta with veggies in garlic and oil for me.