Sunday, February 15, 2009

Food and travel logs Feb. 10-14

The eating opportunities in Portugal were fine given that I don't eat much at restaurants anyway, since I try to avoid salt as much as possible; so I wasn't expecting great vegan meals.  The only vegan thing you can get in a restaurant is a salad with no dressing, specifying no meat, fish, or cheese, or eggs; and maybe some fruit.  Portugal is very much a meat and fish-eating country.  But I had plenty of other food to eat.  There are a lot of shops selling fruit and vegetables and dried food and nuts.  I brought my own  dried fruit and nuts as described in a previous post.  I did buy some more of that, and that was too much.  I also brought three cans of chickpeas.  That turned out to be too much.  So in the end I overate.  I had chickpeas and banana for breakfast, along with my portion of nuts and dried fruit.  It was good but way too much food!   The chickpeas made me bloated and gassy.   However, it did make it easy to eat nothing but salad at the restaurants. One night I had dinner at my host's house and had a salad with oil on it and a (white) rice dish with no salt but probably oil, and bread and wine.  Then the next night I had a very good salad at a restaurant that had all kinds of things in it like a few black-eyed peas, some boiled potatoes (with salt), a mango (I asked for that), lettuce, carrots, red pepper, other good stuff, and other stuff I didn't eat because it was cheese or eggs or really salty.  But it was very good.  I also had some (too much) sticky bread that was made from corn meal and flour.  It was okay but I should have stuck with 1 piece instead of..4?  Then for dessert I had a roasted apple in port wine.  That was fantastic.  I had a small glass of wine with dinner--I could take it or leave it.  Then we went to hear some Fado music and had a glass of port.  That was fantastic too (both the port and music). I think most people don't care for port much because it is so sweet.  But that is probably the only discretion that I would say was worth it.  I have lost my taste for bread.  Now it just tastes gooey and salty and makes me feel bla afterwards.  But that didn't stop me from eating it.  Hopefully next time I'll be better.  The wine was okay but I don't think it was worth it.  The day after the wine + port, I felt it.  Then the last two days I ate healthy food, but ate too many of those chickpeas again.  Oh, I forgot--yesterday, before getting on the plane ride home, I ate four small pieces of dark chocolate that were samplers in a store (no milk).  Wow, I got a buzz off that, and felt it for the next several hours.  This was a mistake because it prevented me from napping on the plane which would have passed the time.  And I just wasn't relaxed anymore.  I really can't handle the sugar-caffeine bolt anymore.  This means I probably have to avoid chocolate.   On the long flight home, I had run out of food so just had juice whenever I could get it, a tiny portion of fruit from the first meal, and a cherry tomato from the second meal (after wiping off the dressing).  So I was hungry when I landed but fortunately it's easy to get fruit nowadays in airports.  So I had an apple, banana, orange, and fruit cup after landing in Chicago.  Then a smoothie when I got home.  And since it was valentine's day, a bowl of banana-walnut-pomegranate ice cream.

Lessons learned for next time:  1)  There's no need to bring the canned beans.  I wasn't very active and didn't need the extra energy/protein/fullness these provide.  Plus, that bloating makes me wonder if we really should be eating something that seems to be so hard to digest.  A portion of nuts/seeds and dried fruit is enough to give you a sufficient dose of calories/nutrition/fat to satisfy.  2)  It seems to be pretty easy to get enough fruit to get you through a short trip.   And then you can have salads at restaurants.  3)  I hope to eventually cut out the white bread and alcohol.  I didn't think they were so great and not worth how I feel afterwards.  However, I will make an exception for a good glass of port.  4) One problem I had was I would eat a lot of my own food like the fruit and nuts in preparation for the low-calorie foods in the restaurant, but then I would eat more than I was expecting to at the restaurants, like the bread and rice etc.  So I ended up eating too much.   So I guess I should just bring less and eat less.  Easy to say.   5)  On a positive note, when I got home and went to the co-op, I didn't get a "cowgirl chocolate chip cookie" or a "nothing muffin" (these are whole grain and use non-hydrogenated oil, but still, not really healthy) and tell myself  "I'll start eating healthy tomorrow."  And today I don't feel like I missed out (the banana walnut ice cream was way better anyway!) and I didn't suffer the after-effects of eating that crap.  In fact, I felt just fine today, interesting.  This is quite a difference from my previous trip to Europe, where I had caffeine and alcohol and felt like total crap for several days when I got home.

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