Hello all!!!! Just a quick peek in from San Diego - happy February to you all! We're having a great time, exploring and hanging out, but I really miss you all and hanging out at our regular hangouts. It's amazing how lonely it can feel when you don't know where to shop, where to eat out, where to visit - always being a tourist can be draining! Plus, I wasn't really expecting it, but there's a fair amount of culture shock going on too - who knew?!!!!
As for diet, I agree that celebrating the steps towards a healthy diet is the way to stay positive - one thing that I started doing was introducing a morning smoothie that we all drink chock full of good stuff, and then I'm less worried all day long about what everyone is eating! Choices has frozen wheatgrass in their freezer section (pricey!), I'd add juice/almond milk/frozen berries and protein (we used hemp buds, found at Choices, Capers and Mainly Organics on Main St - my kids barely noticed this in the smoothie, but I haven't been able to find it here in the states and the stuff I did buy was powder and they HATE it!). Another trick I use is I cut up a bunch of veggies, or steam edemamae, and have an 'appetizer' while I'm making dinner - amazing how much they'll eat when they're hungry and there's nothing else to eat quite yet! Or baking crisps and cookies with ground up nuts, flax seeds, wheat germ, etc to boost the nutrition.
snacks: small yoghurts, nuts, edemame, frozen berries, homemade popsicles, popcorn, banana boats (nut butter inside a banana), toasted pumpkin seeds, veggie or pirates booty, nacho chips with avocado or yoghurt, granola, hummus and pita or veggies, dried fruits.....and of course, sometimes cheddar bunnies!!!! Or cookies/pie/cake/crisp - I love making those with the kids too!!!!!! (OR walking down to the nearest bakery as an outing when I'm too lazy to bake!)
Overall I agree with mariah, less processed is better. It's been a challenge eating here in the States, and finding quality food. We tend to google Whole Foods when we're going somewhere new, but when we end up with whatever is closest (ie in Anaheim) it's challenging to eat healthy. And I'm aghast at what people eat around us. When we were in the checkout at a Safeway one day, this couple behind us commented that we ate far too healthy, and everyone was looking at our kids unloading the cart. And we were chuckling, because we were stocking up on our 'junkier' travel foods there - mini flavoured yoghurts, crackers, nacho chips, etc along with fruits and veggies. Perhaps it was the fruits and veggies that threw them?!!!!!
I also think that re: vegetarianism, there's probably different types of people that it works well for, and others who need meat. Isn't it based on blood types? Also, there's vegetarians who eat well (lots of beans and various grains, tempeh, etc) and those that go for processed, convenient foods, and that probably affects their overall health. I was born and raised vegetarian, and I have many (not always positive!) memories of lentil loaves and eggplant dishes. We did eat fish and chicken off and on, but the majority of my childhood was meat free. We were always really healthy.....I mainly started eating meats as I was curious about what they tasted like, there were more ethical sources available, and I found it such a challenge to travel and really experience the culture as a vegetarian. Now I'd say 3/5 of my meals are still vegetarian, but more bean focused than soy.
Elisa, no great sources for you re: quilting, but while we were in Anaheim I needed a break from the Disney machine so we went to a little local museum - and there was an exhibit on 200 years of American quilts. Amazing work, and so very inspiring. I too would LOVE to take it up, but it'll have to stand in line behind my many other ambitions, and for a time when I have more time (will that ever happen?!!) I'll live vicariously through you for now!
okay, off to bed - sleep well everyone!