Florida was crazy fun.  I’m always so pleasantly surprised by what amazing travelers my children are.  We stayed late at the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday night for the Light Parade and fireworks and didn’t get back to the hotel room until midnight, which is super late for my early-to-bed kids.  But when the alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. so that we could get over to Univeral Studios in time to fly with Harry Potter, they were up and dressed and ready to go before I could figure out the hotel room coffee pot.

We really hated to leave the super water park at the hotel and the groovy Everglades wing that featured baby alligators, snakes and turtles, but after five days of fast food, rich restaurant food and trail mix and apples, Harper Lee declared, “I’m ready to eat normal again.” 

Me too, sister.

I love to travel.  I like seeing new places and having concentrated time with just the four of us and no distractions.   I love everything about it, but my stomach does not.  My stomach rebels almost the moment we pull out of the driveway.

I have a reputation as a health nut, but it’s really a misconception.  I like junk food as much as the next person.  It’s true that I pack healthy lunch boxes (most of the time) for my kids and that I grow and cook a lot of my own veggies and that I teach fitness and healthy eating to young girls at the elementary school, but I am by no means perfect when it comes to food consumption.

In fact, I have gained a lot of weight over the past year.  I have been injured in one form or another since June of last year, and training has been hard to say the least.  Unfortunately, I did not change my eating habits to match my decreased mileage and intensity, and now, I’m working to not only get my body healthy again but also to lose some of those extra pounds that, coincidentally, are also making training a lot more difficult. 

For the past month, I have been working my way back (finally) from injury by increasing both mileage and intensity; adding a significant amount of weight training to increase strength, decrease chances of further injury and to burn extra fat; and eating a lot less.  In one month, I have lost six pounds and dropped a couple of inches in “key” areas. 

Then, we went to Florida.  I didn’t really increase my overall intake while we were gone, and I don’t think I added any unwanted pounds, but I felt like tee-total crap.  My stomach hated me.  I simply cannot handle the processed and packaged garbage that passes for food when we travel.

Packaged granola bars and bagels and crackers are as nutritionally void as they are preservative rich.  I need some greens, people.  And that’s what Harper Lee and Isaac are missing too.  Fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains—food whose origins I can absolutely pinpoint—is what we are craving.  So, yeah, in that regard, I guess I’m a health nut.  I’m a huge fan of what I refer to as REAL food, stuff that comes in its own packaging and includes no ingredient that I cannot pronounce.

*These tomatoes, by the way, are from last year.  I’m way behind on my planting this spring, but this was a nice reminder of things to come.

After we got home, I dusted off the recipe books and found some old favorites, which are super simple (this is a requirement for me), and I decided to give them a whirl.  They include all the things I’ve been craving most—collard greens, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, and fresh berries among other things. 

I cleaned out my fridge and pantry.  Knowing that we would be away for a week, I made sure we had used almost all the food we had without any new trips to the grocery to avoid wasting anything.  (I hate waste—a LOT.)  That means my refrigerator and pantry were nice and clean and awaiting some fresh green goodness when I got home… sort of like me.

I get a lot of questions from other moms about healthy eating ideas for their families and ways to gain energy while shedding weight, so while I’m cleaning up our diet, I’ll be posting some ideas and recipes that you can try too. 

*The same is true for the peaches. 

To get you started, try adding in some greens to your first meal of the day.  Smoothies are super easy and kids like them too.  I can’t think of a simpler way to get a few more greens into your diet than a good smoothie.  Here are two of our favorites.

Berry Smoothie

1 cup mixed berries (cherries, strawberries or raspberries are good)

1 banana

1/2 pear

2 TB parsley

1-2 romaine leaves

1 1/2 – 2 cups water

Blend away!

Green Mango Smoothie

1 cup frozen mango

1/2 pear

1/4-1/2 cup parsley

1 big kale leaf (optional – little extra green)

1 1/2 cups water


*These recipes are courtesy of Hannah Marcotti’s 10-Day Green Up.

Harper Lee and Isaac especially love smoothies in “fancy” glasses, aka wine glasses, with a colorful straw.

I welcome any suggestions, recipes or variations on the Facebook page.  How are you “greening up” your diet?  With the coming of warmer weather, there will be plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are not only healthy but also environmentally responsible since we can buy them at the local Farmer’s Market. 

Come on over and add to the discussion. 

It’s never been so easy to be green.