Move Yo Self

August 3, 2010

If you’re like me, the last thing you wanna do when on vacay is work out. Unless your family/friends/significant other do boring things like visit expensive and boring art museums all day long. But if you’re somewhere totally legit like Spain or Italy, I’m sure you aren’t thinking about treadmills or strength training. You’re thinking about freaking gelato or something….and I’m thinking about why you didn’t take me with you! 😉

Yes please.

Nevertheless, I think exercising in any way, shape, or form while on vacation is very important. I’m not saying you have to haul your bootay to a nearby gym or run five miles every day you’re away. You see, I also believe that balance is an important part of not only your vacation, but your every day life.

So what’s a gym rat to do? Here’s my top tips for not being a complete bum when you’re away.

– Plan, plan, plan. If you don’t know the area you’re visiting, print off a few Google maps of the area right around your accommodation before you go. Familiarize yourself with the street names or nearby landmarks. That way, you’ll be able to figure out the immediate area for shopping and food as well as running!

– Take a walk. Get oot and aboot. If you’re in the mountains, go for a hike. If you’re at the beach, get your boyfriend to hold your hand at sunset and walk at sunset. Walking is supa easy and it’s good exercise!

– If you belong to a gym, check if you’ve got reciprocal membership. That’s a schmancy term for being able to use any branch of your gym in the country. Chances are, there’s a location near you and you can get in there for free. Or, be sneaky and scope out local gyms before you leave. Most gyms offer a free pass of some sort. Wintastic.

– Try something new! If you’ve never done yoga on the beach before, friggin do it. If you’re in Barcelona, go salsa dance! If you’re in the Alps eat chocolate and ski! You’ll have fun and experience new things – and isn’t that what a vacay is all about?

– Don’t forget to check if your hotel has a gym. That’s super convenient for you, plus you know you can always get a good workout in but there’s no pressure to do so. You can get your sweat on either before or after your adventures…whatever works for you! Plus, there might be a sauna too. *swoon*

And my top tip?

– Relax. Seriously. You’re on vacation. You haven’t traveled as far as you have just so you can work out, so it shouldn’t be a priority while you’re away from home.

Bliss.

Besides…your first priority should be getting me a plane ticket to join you. 😉

Do you work out regularly when on vacation?

There’s a giveaway in this post! 🙂

On our second (and last) day in NYC, I was persuasive lucky enough to get to visit One Lucky Duck, the takeaway shop attached to Pure Food & Wine.. Do a Google search for “vegan food in NYC” and I can guarantee you One Lucky Duck will be on the top five places listed, along with Babycakes vegan bakery. Admittedly, One Lucky Duck wasn’t first on my list. Babycakes NYC was…because let’s face it, I hadn’t had a legit cupcake in the longest time and I was jonesing for a refined sugar free high. It’s hard to make good vegan cupcakes.

When we realized that Babycakes was 3.66 miles away from the hotel we were staying at (and I couldn’t make Roomie and her mum walk over 7 miles for vegan food), I looked up where One Lucky Duck was. 1.2 miles? Right on. 1.2 miles in the heat? Major suckage. By the end of our trip there, my jeans were stuck to my legs like jeggings (what the heck are those things all about?!?) and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. My feet were aching (by this time, we had walked over a marathon distance as well as running at ze gym) and I knew blisters were well on their way.

But it was worth it. Soooo worth it.

Super cute!

The menu was so intense. I wanted it all.

The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was the super chill atmosphere. There was some music playing in the background – perhaps The Decemberists – and the decor was abso-freaking-lutely adorable. One wall, painted red, had pictures of ducks and stringed lights hanging from the ceiling. I took a picture, but it ended up blurry. 😦 Sad times.

The other wall, however, was full of DELICIOUSness.

O hai, Roomie!

These little pouches of goodness are worth the ridiculously expensive prices. Seriously… despite the fact that I spent $25 on an epic smoothie, cookies, and crispies. But you’re paying for amazing quality. Everything in the shop is raw, vegan, gluten and refined sugar free, and it’s also organic. And orgasmic.

On to the eats!

Banana-nut-crackcocaine smoothie.

This little treat was so tasty, I couldn’t stop sipping it. I was surprised I made it out the door with a fifth left in the cup. The first thing that hit me when I took that glorious first sip was bananas and then a hit of cinnamon. I think they put a loaf of banana bread into the vitamix. It was frothy, rich, creamy, and just how a milkshake should be. On such a hot day, it didn’t leave me with an overly sweet mouth and desperate for a sip of water.

I was also surprised that the chocolate crispies that I bought lasted the train ride to Boston. They made the four hours of reading about Hitler and the Cold war soooo much better. These crispies are intended to go in cereal, kind of like raw cocoa pops, but there was no way these babies were going to make it another week – I had a long arse train ride as well as a trip on a plane to make it through. I needed these.

Organic buckwheat, organic maple syrup, organic maple powder, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt.

What?! Where’d they put the crack? Cause these things are good eats… even if they weren’t cereal-ized.

Which is why this demolition happened approximately two hours later in the hotel room…They lasted a whole 8 hours!

One Lucky Duck luckily, I still had something chocolate-y and fantastic up my sleeve.

Chocolate chip heroin cookies.

(seriously, why do I keep adding addictive substances to these cookies?! They must have put ’em in there, how can something raw taste so great?)

These adorable heart-shaped cookies were fantastic. Phenomenal. “Fantasmagasmic,” as Roomie says.

I wish I could tell you guys how much I loved this place. But I just can’t put it into words. I now understand why One Lucky Duck is a must. Why it’s on so many vegan websites, featured in magazines, and why it’s so well known. I understand why people can “do” raw food without missing things like cookies, chocolate cereal, and ice cream.

Sarma, you are a goddess.

So do you want to be a lucky duck too?! Well read on, my friends! That’s right, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!

One Lucky Duck Gift Card

One lucky duck reader is going to receive a $10 gift card to One Lucky Duck’s online store, sent straight to their e-mail address. With those ten buckaroos, they can get some [help in buying] fantabulous snacks, great books, or wonderful body products. We’re talking macaroons, chocolate bars, cookies, chocolate truffle butter (!!!!), and *Atisana* products. You do not want to miss out on this, take it from me. The best part is that the heroes at One Lucky Duck will ship their store products worldwide, so this contest is open to everyone and anyone!

How to enter:

1.) Leave a comment on here telling me  your best restaurant experience and why. Or bribe me with chocolate. 😉

2.) Tweet about this and let me know. (You can follow me on twitter @southernbritish)

3.) For an extra entry, link to this on your blog and post that in your comment, too!

You will automatically win if you buy me chocolate.*

I will randomly pick a winner one week from today.

Good luck, ducklings!

*not really…sorry.

Noms: Gnu Food Bar

July 20, 2010

My first NYC breakfast probably wasn’t what you’re expecting. I didn’t go to Babycakes and pick up a cupcake (though I totally would do that, regardless of the time of day) and I didn’t find a small, chic café and sip on a soy-no-whip-mocha-vanilla-chino something with a newspaper in my hand. After a 6am flight (that meant getting up at 4 to make it to the airport in time! Brutal!) I was in no mood to be chic or fancy. So instead of going to a restaurant, I experienced my first NY take out deli. It was everything I hoped for and more.

Loud, busy, and full of people behind the counter, belting out people’s orders. The lights were dim and there were fingerprints all over the counter tops. There were even flies in the seating area. A public health student’s nightmare. The cooks taking the orders were pretty ruthless, taking orders at the speed of light and frying, grilling, chopping, and speaking with a thick Spanish New York accent. At first, I was kind of intimidated because I didn’t want to be that complicated vegan and order something no one would be able to make. And then I realized that there wasn’t really anything vegan on the menu and even if there was, it would probably be cooked on the same surface/with the same utensils and gloves as the meat…so that would just be a waste of time.

So I picked up some local-looking bar that was vegan as well as an apple and a banana. When I say local, I mean the company is based in NYC (I think).

Hey there, Gnu Foods!

This little sucker was apparently a Peanut Butter flavor, and it was vegan so I decided to give it a try. Apparently one bar has about half of your daily fiber needs with 12 grams packed in there, and the bird on the wrapper felt the need to tell me that the roughage really is stuffed in there.

TMI, little buddy.

What creeped me out a little bit more was the visible mechanical innards of a cow. I guess this wrapper is just… creative.

Moo…. *beep*

Upon further investigation, I found just what that cow is doing on the wrapper.

“The Gnu has an ox-like head, the mane of a horse, and the horns of a buffalo. It may look unusual from the outside, but inside, it functions beautifully. Flourishing in the grasslands and plains of Southern and Eastern Africa, the gnu lives in balance with nature” (from Gnu Foods’ website).

Creepy label aside, this bar wasn’t really something to write home about. The ingredients list was relatively short with no weird chemicals or refined grains. The fiber came from 6 legit sources (whole grains) and there were no refined or added sugars. The ingredients list made me a happy vegan.

Gnu High Fiber Blend™ (whole rolled oats, organic whole wheat flour, wheat bran, organic kamut, psyllium, flax, millet), chicory root inulin, fruit juices, rice dextrins, rice, canola oil, peanuts, apples, plums, natural flavors, wheat protein isolate, salt, baking powder.

But I think the happiness kind of ended there. Once I took my first bite, I was less than impressed. The texture was pretty darn grainy, and I didn’t really get a taste of peanut butter. I got banana bread-y with a hint of flour-y wheat-y flavor.

Overall, if given the choice, I probably wouldn’t buy this bar again. For $1.50, it was only marginally cheaper than a Larabar, and I can easily get my fiber from other sources. The taste wasn’t too peanut buttery, and if I’m going to get a peanut butter bar, I want some peanut butter darnit. I think perhaps this bar was intended for people who eat nothing but white bread and meat?

Either way, the bird on the wrapper was right.

Fruit Huggin’

July 16, 2010

Hello from New York!

I’ve got a lot to tell you guys about, but I’ll save it for later, because for now we have more pressing issues. Did you know that July is Hug a Fruit Month? Thanks to the oh so beautiful Katie and her amazing brain, we have the opportunity to post our favorite fruit huggin’ pictures.

Roomie and I did hug a fruit in Times Square last night, but I’m not sure it was the right kind..

Perhaps this is!

Chillin with a Pac Man shaped watermelon!

I am aware of the fact that I look like a mega creeper, thank you.

A new kind of milk mustache from my epic banana and spinach smoothie.

Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring…. banana phone.

So there you have it. Me hugging/doing various activities with my favorite fruits. Now it’s your turn. Grab your camera and your melons and snap a picture. Erm, not that kind of picture.

I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with Shmew Shork Shmity.

And it looks a little something like this:

Yep. NYC, baby.

My fabulous roommate offered to take me to Boston and New York with her in July. Of course I obliged. NYC is on my bucket list, dudes. We’ll fly into the city, then take the train to Boston a few days later. Her momma has a convention in Massachusetts, and so while she’s gettin’ her conference on, the roomie and I will be taking Boston by storm!

So here’s my question to you… what’s a vegan to do in Boston and NYC (but especially Boston, seeing as I’ll be spending more time there)? I’ve googled stuff to do, but I’m definitely interested in what you guys have to say! I’m interested in anything vegan or anything funky. Seriously, try me. Shops, parks, restaurants, anything! I’m hoping we will be in the area near One Lucky Duck at some point in NYC, but that’s all I have on my list so far. I know I’m not going to be able to do absolutely everything I want (because it’s their trip, I’m just lucky enough to be tagging along), but I need more things to do so that I can avoid doing work for my online summer course. 😉

Thanks in advance, lovelies!