A Week of Food In Greece

I have been sitting here for a while thinking about how I would best showcase all of the amazing food I ate while in Greece. I could post each picture, each memory, with a detailed description of the meal from the first step into the restaurant to when I was so satisfied I was in a state of euphoria. I could go into detail about the ambiance in the restaurant, the presentation of each dish, the taste of the first delicate bite which you can never replicate no matter how many more bites you take. I could talk about the tips and tricks I took when ordering to try and stay healthy, how I watched my portions, while still trying every last thing I wanted. Ultimately I decided pictures speak louder then words. This is by no means every meal I ate on the trip, however it is some of the more memorable ones.

BREAKFAST

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As we know I am obsessed with yogurt. Whenever a restaurant or cafe had yogurt as an option it was a mindless decision on what I would be ordering. This breakfast was by far one of my favorite’s on the trip. Creamy, smooth, and an amazing collection of fruit. It hit the spot.

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 I love little treats, so I knew I was going to fall in love with Greece when every time I ordered a beverage I received a goody. On this day it was a little cookie with my morning coffee. Nothing like a little sugar to start your day.

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Just another amazing fruit and yogurt breakfast. This one came with a little treat of baked goods. I sampled a small bite of each. So good!

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 This was my only morning having eggs for breakfast. Dustin and I walked almost 2 miles to get to this cozy cafe recommended by our Air BnB host. The ambiance of this place was amazing just like their food.

LUNCH

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Over the entire trip we did not end up eating a lot of lunches. Instead we would eat a larger breakfast and an even larger dinner. Then we would typically split something as a snack throughout the day or enjoy a treat with our beverage order. Here is just one example of a beautiful salad we shared. The fresh citrus with the greens hit the spot.

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This was by far one of our favorite meals on the entire trip! Nothing like a big plate of gyro meat, pita, and onions after a morning run and walking. The meat just melted in your mouth.

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Stopping by a street vendor one day to share a pork kabob in a bun with ketchup and mustard. This is the Greek take on a hot dog, but way better.

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Overlooking the ocean we enjoyed a fresh crab salad for lunch. This place was recommended by my yoga teacher as one of her favorite places to eat in Santorini. We loved trying to eat only where the locals ate throughout the trip. I cant even put into words how refreshing this meal was.

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One day we took the bus to a little town Peza in Crete to do some wine tasting. Although the wine tasting was dismal at best, our highlight of the day was finding this local spot for lunch. Workers were on their lunch break ordering meat on a stick accompanied by bread and ketchup. We also stopped by a little market vendor to pick up some fresh strawberries and grapes to eat with it.

SNACKS

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Again I love how in Greece your beverages always come with a snack. When ordering wine fruit was paired, nuts or chips was common with beer, and a small baked treat with coffee. There were many afternoons where this snack and drink would hold us over till dinner.

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With every meal we ordered we received bread. For me this was heaven and hell since I love bread, but I also have little to no self control with it. However once I learned I would be getting bread with every meal it made me stop, pause, and eat only the bread I truly loved. If it was not amazing I knew another loaf would not be to far away.

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Wine tasting with cheese, olives, bread bites, and a tomato dip. A perfect afternoon in my opinion.

DINNER

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We wanted to make sure we got at least one very traditional Greek meal in. This was a platter of all of the different mezzes we are accustomed to in the states. The difference from back home to Greece is obviously the taste. There is really no comparison.

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This was my favorite greek salad on the trip. The produce was so fresh, it was swimming in olive oil, perfectly baked croutons, and cheese that melted in your mouth. The portion was huge and came in a giant wooden bowl. I could eat this salad every day for the rest of my life and be happy. It was that good.

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At the same restaurant as the best greek salad of my life was this amazing lamb dish. It was served with smoking sage rising and twisting it’s way up engulfing every last ounce. The presentation would have been enough, but yes the food tasted just as good as it appeared.

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I have never been one to eat anchovies, however Dustin loves them. We ordered this dish at the pier and although I was not looking forward to it as much as others I ended up loving it. The fish were salty and perfect. The olive oil and onions just made all of the flavors come together.

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Another amazing traditional greek salad. This one had a balsamic glaze on top. We paired it with the dish below.

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Our last meal on the trip. This was a pork dish in a sweet glaze. Tasty, but not my favorite on the trip. What made this meal so memorable though was the view we had while enjoying it. We were in Santorini watching the sunset as we finished off our last bite. A perfect date to end an unforgettable trip.

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 05/26/15

In Busy Silicon Valley, Protein Powder Is in Demand– This is one of the more interesting articles I have read of late. I had never heard of the drinkable meal Soylent until reading this article. At 500 calories a serving this meal replacement is suppossed to offer enough nutrients to replace meals. I for one am always skeptical of new products like this, however it will be interesting to see if this is just the begging of a new trend. “Boom times in Silicon Valley call for hard work, and hard work — at least in technology land — means that coders, engineers and venture capitalists are turning to liquid meals with names like Schmoylent, Soylent, Schmilk andPeople Chow. The protein-packed products that come in powder form are inexpensive and quick and easy to make — just shake with water, or in the case of Schmilk, milk. While athletes and dieters have been drinking their dinner for years, Silicon Valley’s workers are now increasingly chugging their meals, too, so they can more quickly get back to their computer work.”

Why Good People Do Bad Things – This article talks about temptation and how if we think about consequences before we are less likely to participate in bad behavior. This could be applied in many ways, including temptation with food.”We think part of the explanation for why people occasionally don’t behave ethically is their failure to confront and realize there’s a temptation,” Sheldon said. In addition to acknowledging the temptation, the study suggests that people have to see it as one they might have to struggle with repeatedly, and that could potentially jeopardize their reputation and integrity.”

5 Rules of Snacking Before Dinner– I for one have this issue. I love snacking. I do it before dinner and I do it after. This means for myself I am usually eating something relatively small for dinner. I love the tips in this article, simple, and easy to follow. I practice quite a few of these myself.

See Spotify Run– Spotify has unveiled a new app to help runners with their music. The app takes music you have listened to previously, takes your running pace, and makes a playlist for you. Spotify has also recently joined forces with Nike, so this is probably just the beginning of a new music/workout segmentation.

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A Week Of Fitness In Greece

 

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View from our sunrise run in Athens

Before going on any vacation abroad I always get anxiety about fitness. Call me crazy, I know, vacation is about rest, relaxation, and getting away from your normal routine. The problem is exercise is a way for me to rest, unwind, relax, and frankly is just how I like to start my day. I travel enough within the states that it has become easy to figure out ways to incorporate fitness in. You can almost always find a gym somewhere or if you are lucky enough a new studio is close by to try out. Every now and again I can end up in the middle of no where and that’s when lacing up my sneakers and going for a run works perfectly.

I have found this does not hold true for foreign countries though. Europeans for example are active in many other ways outside of the typical treadmill run or spinning class. They walk everywhere, take the stairs, and just live a balanced life of moderation. This is a cultural way of life I envy and try to embody for myself when I happen to be on the other side of the ocean.

This leads me into my most recent vacation, a 10-day trip to Greece. Even though I was worried about finding my way with fitness, I just pushed myself to find my own routine abroad and enjoy a change of pace from my normal workout regime at home. So how did I incorporate fitness into my day to day?  Well it was a lot of walking, running, and moving. In fact in 10 days I had over 215k steps. This is about 108 miles to be exact. Although this is a lot of steps, my workout intensity was less then what it usually is. Instead of pushing my muscles to a point of exhaustion, I did lower intensity runs half of the time in order to make sure my muscles had the stamina to walk everywhere my heart desired.

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Viewing Athens after our first morning run

The 10 day trip was spread out over 3 different places in Greece; Athens, Crete, and Santorini. First up was Athens for 2 days. Dustin and I went on 2 morning runs for our daily workout. In total we probably ran about 4-5 miles each day, but stopped and walked to explore as we went. The first day we ran all around the Acropolis, dodging and diving tourists as we went. The next morning at about 4:30am Dustin and I were wide awake. We attempted to g back to sleep unsuccessfully and decided since we were already up we might as well get out of bed and go on a run to watch the sunrise. This was by far my favorite workout of the trip.

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Yoga on the beach

 

Next up was Crete.  We checked into a hotel, which happened to have a gym. This meant the 4 mornings in Crete I was able to do morning treadmill runs. It was nice to get into a semi-routine and not have to map out where I was going. Of course the first time I got on the treadmill I didn’t even think about the fact that Europeans use kilometers over miles. This meant the treadmill was speaking a completely different language then I was. I just ended up going with what felt like a push and ran for my usual time. Later I converted and found I had ran the 5-6 miles  I was intending to do. I stuck with this quick morning run the whole time we were there.

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My private yoga class from my hotel in Santorini

By the time Santorini came around I decided it was time to relax and enjoy vacation a little more. For the first morning I had a private yoga class at my hotel. I had found Veronika my yoga instructor for the morning on yogafinder.com, a site that tells you various yoga classes and teachers around the globe. I had also used this when I went to Portugal a couple of years ago. For only $40 Veronika came to me at my hotel for a one on one sessoin. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to do Yoga outside with an amazing view. It just happened to be a bigger bonus it was in a foreign country. Veroknia’s teaching style was pretty mellow and not very strenuous, however in my mind it was money well spent. The next day I went on a 5 mile run exploring the Island. There is no better way to see what a place has to offer then getting out and exploring on foot. This was my last workout before we headed back the next day.

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View from my morning run in Santorini

I typically never take airplane travel days off from working out as I know I am going to be sitting for long, extended periods of time. By the last day though I was just too mentally tired to try and get up early and run outside. Plus it was vacation. However with a 13 hour plane ride ahead I had to get creative to get all my 10k steps for the day in. I ended up walking around the airport a lot on our layovers and on the plane I got up every hour or so to do some laps, stretch, and run in place in the back of the plane. I have come to a point in life where I don’t really care what other people think. I hate sitting for long period of times, so if jogging in place for 5 minutes helps my legs I am going to do it. Mission accomplished, I ended the day with over 11k steps!

All of this running, moving, and walking also served another purpose besides just being healthy and wanting to see everything the cities had to offer. It was so I could eat and drink my way through the country. Up next I plan on sharing all of the amazing food I ate!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 05/17/15

7 Tips for Healthy Living on a Budget–  This is an article Dustin sent over to me this week as he thought it would be a good one to share out and I agree. Eating healthy can be expensive. especially when you try to eat more organic food. However this article gives some great tips on how to make it more budget friendly. I personally am excited to look into the website Thrive more!

A 2-Minute Walk May Counter the Harms of Sitting– There is a lot of information right now on sitting vs standing vs walking and the benefits of each. This brings to the forefront research being done on just this. “In fact, if they replaced as little as two minutes of sitting each hour with gentle walking, they lowered their risk of premature death by about 33 percent, compared with people who sat almost nonstop.”

I Traded Carbs for One Exquisite Piece of Toast– I personally love this post as for me it hits the nail on the head. I have always loved carbs, I can go without dessert, fried food, you name it. However I can never pass up bread. I struggle as my mind always craves it. I have tried low calorie options and they are just not the same. A couple of years back I made the decision if I was going to eat bread it was going to be amazing. I was going to enjoy every last bite of it and make it worth it. This article is very much in that vein. I think for anyone struggling with giving up 1 thing you love, read this. Know sometimes it is worth trading everything else in for that one thing you can look forward to all day.

Why Order a Salad at IHOP?– I have no other words then this is just disturbing. In my mind there is no reason 1 meal should have more calories then one person should eat in a given day, especially something like a salad which is marketed as a healthy food option. No wonder our general population struggles. “A new report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine points out 100 restaurant salads that are “worse” than a Big Mac. The group defines “worse” in terms of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories, of which a Big Mac has 550, according to PCRM. (McDonald’s says the famous burger has only 530.) According to PCRM, a Big Mac also contains 29 grams of fat, 75 mg of cholesterol, and 970 mg of sodium.”

Higher Altitude May Lead to Lower Weight– A quick read, but seeing I am from Colorado where the altitude is higher I thought it was worth a quick once over.  “Previous research has suggested that lower concentrations of oxygen in the air at higher altitudes are associated with lower obesity rates. It’s believed that lower concentrations of oxygen in the air may suppress hunger, according to the researchers.”

 

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 05/10/15

Sorry about the delay in posting! Traveling for over 2 weeks will cause delays, especially when most of the time you are overseas. Enjoy!

Why ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore– As courts are starting to face law suits against food manufacturers using the word “natural” in marketing, it makes everyone start to think about what the word means. This article dives into the complexity of trying to define the word natural. Very interesting. “When the federal judges couldn’t find a definition of “natural” to apply to the class-action suits before them, three of them wrote to the F.D.A., ordering the agency to define the word. But the F.D.A. had considered the question several times before, and refused to attempt a definition. The only advice the F.D.A. was willing to offer the jurists is that a food labeled “natural” should have “nothing artificial or synthetic” in it “that would not normally be expected in the food.””

Study: Creativity Can Reduce Stress — And Become A Habit– I for one spent most of my life in creative endeavors. I painted, did photography, stamping, card making, re-doing furniture, decorating, etc. As I got older I started to let this side of me slowly decline to a point where I feel like it is almost not existent. Part of the reason I started this blog was to bring back creativity in my life. I love this article because it highlights why creartivy is important and ways to start incorporating it back into your own life.  “Essentially, creativity and productivity, far from being opposed, go hand in hand. Productivity on meaningful work encourages engagement with that work, and this engagement fosters creativity.”

Can Music Be Used As Medicine?– This is an interesting article that brings to the forefront the new research being done on music and how it can affect our health. There is still a lot more that needs to be looked at before there is conclusive evidence. However if you are like me, music definitely can affect my mood, so why not my health? “Imagine if those apps could predict exactly which song would be best to help you focus, or to slow your heart rate after a run. (“You seem stressed. How about Sigur Ros?”) And if technology could predict how music affects the body, could it suggest music to treat symptoms of a disease?”

If You Love Yogurt, Then It Is Time To Explore Its Global Culture– I am obsessed with yogurt. I eat it every morning without fail. I am constantly trying new kinds and varieties to see which one I like the best. When traveling I love trying new food, but I also love trying different countries yogurts. With different pasteurization laws compared to the US, you get a completely different taste. Richer, creamier, and just better. So of course when I saw this article I had to read it. It is a pretty simple article, but what I like is all of the recommended yogurts at the bottom. I have tried almost all of them and currently have 3 of the kinds recommended in my fridge. For yogurt lovers it is a good little read.

How Filthy Is Your Beard?– I for one love beards on men. I have always found them to be attractive and endearing. However I have never stop to think about the bacteria in them. This article talks to just that. All in all, it sounds like mean might want to make sure they are spending extra time on cleaning the glorious facial hair. “Several of the beards that were tested contained a lot of normal bacteria, but some were comparable to toilets.”

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Reflection After A Week Abroad

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With every new year I always set our goals for myself. I like setting a new year with a new purpose, something to strive for. I find I am one who thrives off of pushing myself. Testing my limits. I am also a believer goals dont wait till just the new year. I will make them throughout the year when I feel like I need a change, motivation, or a purpose. These goals can sometimes be big like getting promoted at work or they can be small like reading a new book a month. Sometimes I achieve my goals, other times I start off strong and then like most start to fall off over a few months. However the one commonality my goals have is I set an intention for what I need in that specific moment in time. Even if I only end up reading 3 new books and then stopping for a few months, I look at it as 3 more books then I might have read had I not made the intention. I dont beat myself up, I move on and set my next goal.

One of the goals I am most proud of achieving in my life is my weight loss. Over four and a half years ago I set out to lose 20lbs. That 20lbs ended up becoming 70lbs. The weight loss part was easy. Once I saw the benefits of my hard start to pay off I became a machine focused on one sole purpose, to become the best version of myself possible. What I didn’t know when I started this simple goal is it would change me forever, in ways I would never imagine. Mostly the change would be good, however like anything there is always a downside as well.

What I never considered is my weight would become an obsession. I guess to be fair I shouldn’t say just my weight, but all aspects of health and fitness. How many miles I could run, how fast I could run them, eating “clean”, practicing constant self restraint, etc. One might think it all stems back into just how I look, but in reality to become so obsessed with a new way of life you have to get a lot more out of it then just aesthetics. For me it is that self worth I would get, the high from feeling good and having more energy. Knowing I could run farther and faster then I did the day before, not being scared to try something active and new, the way I feel after a day of eating healthy. It is all with the sole purpose of finding the best version of me.

Going into this new year I decided to make a new goal for myself. How do I bring down the intensity, learn to find balance, and bring back more of the care free girl I was prior to knowing just how many calories was in everything I consumed. The goal I set out was simple, however the execution is a lot harder then one might think. To most I probably seem the same, just as intense as always.In reality though I have slowly started to make what I consider huge strides for myself.

Although I could spend days writing about the progress I have made, I dont think it would be enjoyable for anyone to read. Lets just say it has taken me months, years really, to get to the place I am at today. What no one tells you when you go to lose weight and keep it off is the mental struggle you will have. For some it is the constant weight loss and re-gain and the feelings associated with that struggle, for others like myself it is learning how to live a normal life without the fear of becoming the old version of yourself.

I am a big believer you have to work hard for what you want in life. No one gets ahead at work without putting in the effort, but that does not mean you have to kill yourself with long days, working every weekend, and never saying no. The same is true for being healthy and fit. I for one have always been able to maintain balance when it comes to certain areas in my life like work and finances for example, two ares I know a lot of people struggle with. If I can balance out here why cant I with food and fitness? My journey is constantly evolving, changing, and I am always learning. Having just spent 10 days on vacation in Greece I am proud of the balance I was able to achieve. To feel a greater sense of freedom mentally is exhilarating. For me it is all just a start to what I hope will be the new version of the old me. The blending of two extremes into what can hopefully be a new and better way of life.