Why do we all gain weight on vacation?

We try so hard to lose weight to go on vacation, and then we gain it all back while on vacation!
How can we prevent this from happening?

I have discovered eight ways to help me not gain extra pounds on vacation.

1. Pack snacks so you’re not skipping meals

When we travel, we often do not have access to fresh, healthy food. Or worse, we skip meals so we can indulge in unhealthy foods later. But that big piece of chocolate cake is not the strain on your body. The problem is, your body responds as if it’s facing a food shortage. Therefore, your metabolism slows down to prevent you from starving.

To keep your mind and body functioning, pack healthy snacks in your car or backpack. Examples include almonds, raw vegetables, hummus, berries, fresh and dried fruit.

2. Avoid junk foods

You already know what junk food is: it is the food you sometimes crave, but you feel sluggish and sick once eaten. For this reason, when you’re on the road, avoid foods that drain your energy and deflate your mood.

Foods to avoid:

1. Simple carbohydrates or high-glycemic foods, such as fruit juices, sodas, refined grain products, or sugary snacks;

2. Anything deep-fried like french fries or potato chips; desserts and sweeteners are loaded with chemicals that your body can’t easily metabolize; Anything partially hydrogenated, this includes nondairy creamer, Jiffy-style peanut butter, margarine, and most packaged baked goods; and alcohol.

3. Drink plenty of water

Our bodies need water for virtually all of our functions. Additionally, drinking plenty of water will flush your body of toxins, keep your skin fresh, and help you eat less. Also, it will help you avoid travel lag! Water will hydrate you if you have had symptoms of overexposure to the sun’s heat.

Believe it or not, many of the unhealthy cravings we experience on the road can be satisfied with a refreshing drink of pure water.

4. Healthy eating starts where you stop

When you stop at a fast food joint, your menu options are extremely limited. All of which are processed and loaded with salts and fats. If you stop at a grocery store you have access to whole, healthy food. You can easily pick up fruits, bagged carrots, nuts or hummus. You might even be lucky enough to stop at a grocery store that offers a salad bar.

5. Plan ahead

Pack smart. Packing smart means stocking up on travel-friendly grub that is nutrient-dense, non-perishable, and has sustaining calories. This is essential when traveling with children. So, fill your bags with snacks like nuts, individual peanut butter packets and bars that are made of mainly wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

6. Know where you are going

There are apps available to help guide you to healthy food joints while you’re on your way to your destination. HappyCow is my favorite vegan/ vegetarian food tracker. It will let you locate healthier restaurant chains and grocery stores in your area.

7. Practice the ‘one and done’ rule

We are all allowed to cheat on your diets while on vacation, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner don’t all have to be gut-busting affairs. Pick one high-calorie item a day. Eat it, enjoy it, and then move on.

8. Carry your greens

Let’s all face it, you’re probably more focused on hitting that famous BBQ joint than getting your quota of seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If that’s the case, I suggest you bring powdered greens along for the ride. You can also buy the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables in small packets to mix them with smoothies or into oatmeal for breakfast.

My family and I are third generation VEGANS!

What is a vegan?

Well, fasten your seat belts because I am going to tell you!

A page in my, up and coming cookbook is designated to explaining the different types of vegetarians/vegans. I can’t wait for my cookbook to become available to the public so you can enjoy all of the amazing dishes we have created for you!

In today’s world, Veganism is becoming more and more mainstream. But, let me tell you, 30 years ago when my mom turned vegan and decided to raise my sister and me as vegans, people thought she was from a distant planet. She breast fed us till after two years of age and she fed us a vegan diet. Man oh man, am I thankful for her dedication to our health today!

That is why I am following in her footsteps. I want my kids to be healthy and happy! Happiness is largely impacted on the way we feel. If our bodies and brain are toxic, how are we supposed to enjoy life? If a person is always sick, how are they going to thrive?

I truly believe following a plant-based vegan diet can largely impact your health and happiness for the better!

Vegan: Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products. So vegans, of course, do not consume red or white meat, fish or fowl. They also do not consume eggs or dairy. Vegans do not use honey or beeswax, gelatin or any other animal by-product ingredients or products.

Lacto-Vegetarian: Lacto-vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish, fowl or eggs. However, lacto-vegetarians do consume dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt.

Ovo-Vegetarian: Ovo-vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish, fowl or dairy products. However, ovo-vegetarians do consume egg products.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not consume red meat, white meat, fish or fowl. However, lacto-ovo vegetarians do consume dairy products and egg products. This is the most common type of vegetarian.

Pollotarian: Much like the pescatarian, this “semi-vegetarian” diet restricts meat consumption to poultry and fowl only. Pollotarians do not consume red meat or fish and seafood.
Pescatarian: While technically not a type of vegetarian, these individuals do restrict their meat consumption to fish and seafood only. Pescatarians do not consume red meat, white meat or fowl. This is considered a “semi-vegetarian” or “flexitarian” diet.

Flexitarian: A plant-based diet with the occasional meat item on the menu. These folks do their best to limit meat intake as much as possible and they have an almost entirely plant-based diet. This is not technically considered a “vegetarian” diet, but we commend the effort!
If you want your family to be happy and healthy start incorporating more fruit and veggies into your diet!!! Start Today! You deserve to be happy!

Here is an easy recipe to try to start incorporating more fruits into your children’s diet.

Oatmeal Balls: (Adoniah named these)

2 Cups Oatmeal
6 Strawberries – chopped
15 Blueberries
½ Pineapple – chopped

Directions:

Cook Oatmeal according to the boxes directions
After it has cooked, let it cool for a few minutes
Scoop bite-sized balls onto a plate, then let them cool more
Place one piece of desired fruit onto top of the ball
Take leftover fruit and garnish the plate

Notes:

Once the oatmeal cools it solidifies, making the balls stick together. I only cook my oatmeal with water. I do not add any milk or sugar. It’s just plain old oats and water! This is a great way for your kids to eat their fruit. My daughter loves to eat these with her hands. It makes her independent!

For more fun recipes like this go checkout my “Don’t Have A Cow” video cooking series.

My mom Valerie (the Val in ValMar Health) is famous for her green salad!

Who doesn’t love a fantastic green salad?

We are sharing this recipe, because we love you!

I always make a very large recipe of my mom’s salad. I place it in a bowl that fits well in my refrigerator for easy storage. I make this salad twice a week during the warm months to ensure we have fast and easy salad daily.

Make sure you store this salad without the dressing on it. When I am ready to eat, I place the amount of salad needed for my meal in a separate mixing bowl. Then I pour the dressing on, toss and serve. I store remaining salad for the next meal.

Valerie’s famous salad dressing is going to be featured in another blog, so stay tune!

Salad:
2-3 heads Romaine Lettuce – chopped
1 small head Red Cabbage – chopped or sliced in food processor
6-8 medium Carrots – sliced in food processor
1 Head Cauliflower – broken apart into small pieces
1 Red Onion – sliced
2 Bell Peppers yellow and or orange – cubed
1-15oz can Garbanzo Beans
1- 6oz can Olives pitted, green or black
1 carton Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

Assemble Salad:
In the order of listed salad ingredients above, layer salad in a large bowl
Do not add salad dressing

This is a gluten free recipe!

To get more recipes like this one purchase “Don’t Have A Cow” our 9 disc DVD series

I was just recently on a live internet TV show with over 30,000 viewers!

Guess what we talked about?

Sugar!

We discussed sugar and the effects it has on our bodies. I wanted to recap the show here so I can help you get through the flu season. Yes, sugar is connected to the flu!

Have you ever wondered why the flu is at an all-time high during the winter months? There are four, very logical reasons why we are all getting sick at the same time.

Increase of STRESS

Awww the holidays… you either love them or you hate them. Either way they are stressful. The hustle and bustle of the holidays can put a strain on your immune system. Some ways to reduce your stress levels are remembering what the holidays are truly about and being thankful (showing gratitude) for what we have! Solution: we are all blessed by God and finding the joy He give us will allow you to be grateful and less stressed!

Decrease of WATER

Your body needs water! Drinking water helps your blood carry oxygen to its cells. Having oxygenated cells will help eliminate toxins. This is great, because toxins lower your immune system. During the winter months we all tend to become less thirsty because a nice cold glass of water is just not appealing to most of us. We start to consume hot beverages, like coffees and teas, which can be secretly loaded with sugar. Solution: drink more water!

Decrease of SUNLIGHT

We absorb Vitamin D through sun exposure. Vitamin D helps our bodies decrease anxiety, regulate our moods, and helps our immune system. If our immune system is functioning at full capacity it will have a greater impact on fighting everything from the common cold to cancer. Due to the cloudy weather in the winter we are not getting enough exposure to the sun allowing our bodies to produce enough Vitamin D. Solution: go stand outside or in front of a window to increase the amount of sun exposure you are receiving.

Increase of SUGAR

The average person’s sugar consumption starts increasing around Halloween with all the trick or treat candy and goodies and stays elevated through the rest of the holidays and into the New Year. Sugar will not only expand your waistline but it will also weaken your immune system. Some research shows consuming sugar can weaken your immune system up to 75% for several hours!!! Solution: try and stay away from sugar!

Here is an easy fun sugar free recipe to help you eliminate unnecessary sugars but still allowing you to enjoy sweets!

Ingredients

2 lightly packed cups pitted dates (about 20, 11 oz. total)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Generous pinch of salt
8 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
1/3 cup almond butter
Coarse sea salt flakes, such as Maldon, optional

Preparation

1. Place dates, 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, vanilla and pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until blended and just some small pieces remain. With machine running, drizzle in 1 Tbsp. hot water. Continue to mix, adding more hot water if needed, until a smooth paste forms. Be careful not to add too much water; you want the caramel to be soft and supple but not too runny.

2. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate with remaining 1 Tbsp. coconut oil until smooth.

3. Fill 14 cups of a mini muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Spoon 1 tsp. melted chocolate into a muffin cup, spread with a small brush or the back of a spoon so chocolate covers bottom and most of the sides. Repeat with remaining muffin liners. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is firm. Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. almond butter into each cup, followed by 1 tsp. date caramel. Use moistened finger to press caramel down to a flat layer. Freeze for 10 minutes.

4. Top cups with remaining chocolate (start with 1 heaping tsp. per cup). Sprinkle each with a little bit of coarse sea salt flakes, if desired. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.

NOTE: These are homemade treats, so they tend not to behave like the store-bought kind. When you bite down on these cups, they smoosh a bit. If anyone complains, no more candy for them!

To get more recipes like this one purchase “Don’t Have A Cow” our 9 disc DVD series

We have moved!

Have you ever heard of the show Green Acres?

Well, we are living it!

My husband and I made a list of the things that were imperative to raising our family. Upon conclusion, we discovered our life was not conducive to what was really important to us. So we packed up and left most of our old life behind and now we are starting over!

We moved from the bustling city to a quiet country house. We are now trying to create a wholesome environment to raise our children in. Within a matter of a few months, we are now living a completely new and definitely different life! We are learning about this farm life as we go. I am planning on documenting and sharing this journey with all of you through my business ValMar Health (www.valmarhealth.com)! So far it has been a little crazy, sometimes difficult but mostly rewarding!

DT and I came to the realization that our old life was not going to make our children outstanding individuals. Having a nice house was not going to make our kids successful. What lessons were my children going to learn by having no chores!

So, we decided to move to the country! We uprooted our family of four, Adoniah (3) and Kosta (5 months) and we moved to the country. We now have 16 cows, 5 dogs, 5 chickens, 2 cats and 1 bunny (named Bunny Honey.) Cue the music from the old show Green Acres now. We are city peeps trying to make it in the country!
I have learned a lot so far like; cows know the difference between hay and straw even if I didn’t. Bunny Honey won’t eat chicken food, and I now can recognize bear poop and coyote tracks!

We are trying rid our lives of all negative distractions. We do not have a TV, yeah you read that right, no TV. We do not allow our children to use any type of smart technology. We live off of fresh air and activities!!! This is how life should be!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love my shoes and purses. I absolutely love to travel! So, we have kept a small portion of our old life to still enjoy to the fullest! DT and I try to live the luxurious life every now and then.

My family and I are second generation vegans. My children have been vegans from the womb. We are all foodies! We love food! Food is life! We are planting a garden; we will see how well that goes. But, we love and live off of a plant-based diet. This lifestyle has inspired my mom and me to start a business, ValMar Health (link). I’m in the process of writing my first cookbook to share with you, all of the wonderful things we eat. We produced a 9 disc DVD cooking show featuring over 60 incredibly awesome vegan recipes (link).

By following me you will be able to watch our journey of eating, traveling and living the country life. I’m going from heels to boots and I want you to be a part of my journey!
Now I know, not everyone wants to, needs to or can move to the country and set up your flat screen TV 250 yards away from your house for target practice (that happened.) However, we all know how important it is to live a fuller life. You all deserve to live a healthy life, to be happy, to breathe fresh air, to be at peace and to enjoy life. My family and I hope we can inspire you to make small changes day by day to make your life everything YOU want it to be.

Now go hug a tree (oh kidding… that’s dirty.)