Lovely Lisbon

Lovely Lisbon

My favorite cities that I had visited up until this past February were London and Barcelona, until I went to Lisbon.

Lisbon is the most beautiful, clean, friendly city I have experienced! The hills, the palm trees, the architecture, the cobble stone streets, electric railway systems, castles, old world culture, Fado music, bread, cheese, wine, gingha - oh my, the list could go on, are just some of the things I marveled at.

Feel fully recharged

Feel fully recharged

I can't believe what one month away in a different country can do for the soul! Talk about feeling recharged!

It's one thing to take a 2 or 3 week vacation, but it's another when you're setting up your new home in a different world for a full month! It takes awhile to de-program your natural ways of being, and soften into the sweet spot of feeling fully recharged. 

I'm so grateful to have had that experience, and want to share with you the main reasons why.

Your diet doesn't have to be Perfect all the time.

Your diet doesn't have to be Perfect all the time.

It's not easy sticking to my self care rituals and routines when traveling.

But that's what vacation is about, right?

When I was super rigid in my vegan days, I didn't enjoy Paris, Barcelona and London the way I would now. Granted, those cities did cater to vegans, surprisingly, I just had to seek it out / do more planning.

Azores Adventures: Restaurant Raves

Azores Adventures: Restaurant Raves

If you have read my past blogs posts about this special island, or seen my instagram snaps, you'll know that we love the Azores! The last time we were there, it was my third visit - Paul's fifth. We got engaged there, and honeymooned there, and still appreciate and enjoy it more and more each time.

How to Stay Balanced while Traveling

How to Stay Balanced while Traveling

Flying across the country for July 4th weekend was harder than I remembered in years past. We flew in for Paul's cousin's wedding in Santa Barbara on a Friday and left on that Monday, and while I knew it would be a whirlwind, I didn't expect to be so exhausted by the end!

Restaurant Rave RoundUP: N.C. + FL.

Restaurant Rave RoundUP: N.C. + FL.

Ok, as most of you well know, I LOVE food – that is, good quality, made with love, can’t get enough of the scene – food!

So, you better believe, that my most favorite thing to do while on vacation, is to scout out the best food around!

It wasn’t hard in Asheville, N.C., as that is like, THE foodie capital of our country, little did I know! Florida is right up there too though, with their progressive health conscious scene, so we had a field day discovering some amazing restaurants out there!

Fave Food Find Round UP: Locally Made Goods

Fave Food Find Round UP: Locally Made Goods

Last month, my boyfriend and I jumped in the car, en route to Florida to stop in some great spots along the way, visit with friends and family, and of course, to eat good food!

I like to offer my ‘Fave Food Find’ topic because once you know how to master the food label, you can discover, and really appreciate the quality ingredients that are packaged up!

Healthy Habits: Simple Self Care Travel Tips

Healthy Habits: Simple Self Care Travel Tips

Greetings from Florida!! We have been on a road trip for the past 10 days now and are enjoying the adventure that comes with it, as I manage to stay semi-balanced with all this movement!

Movement is associated with the energetics of air/ether, and the Vata Dosha in Ayurveda Practices. It is connected to our nervous system and when aggravated/imbalanced, can lead to nervousness, anxiety or even insomnia, so it is very important to try and stay grounded when there's a lot of movement surrounding you.

We haven't stayed longer than 3 days in any one place on our trip thus far, so keeping a few simple practices in my daily routine are really important, and like second nature to incorporate. I'll share them with you here:

Health: What and Where to Eat 'When in Rome' {Azores}

4 Platanos
4 Platanos

If you haven't had a chance to check out last week's post, you can read about the highlights of my trip to the Azores. If you did read it, you'll know that one of my favorite things about the trip was the food! Duh!

The post written prior to heading to the Azores talked about my newfound place of eating without fear, and how I can now enjoy celebrating food and nourishing my body with an ebb and flow. It's such a liberating place to be, and so you can only imagine just how much fun I had with my new mantra, 'when in Rome'!

The Azores consist of 9 islands off the coast of Portugal. They are known for their agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching and fishing, so you can bet that their food is as fresh and yummy as it comes!

I have slowly made my transition back into animal products after being a strict vegan, macrobiotic dieter, easing into fish, eggs, then chicken, meat, and being okay with the occasional sugar and flour products, but dairy was always my biggest place of resistance. I just couldn't bring myself to eat cheese or butter, until very recently. Once I realized a little bit of this and a little bit of that wouldn't hurt me, I softened to the idea of eating dairy again. All in moderation, only from a good source, and of the highest quality! ;)

4 Platanos
4 Platanos

Well, Azorean cheese and butter is probably the best of the best!!! I ate 'fresh cheese' (a soft blend of cow and goat) with homemade bread at every meal we sat down to, and felt great!

queijadas de leite
queijadas de leite

I indulged in sweet pastry treats (quiejadas de leite) that I stumbled upon in every cafe! They include 5 fresh, quality ingredients of flour, eggs, butter, sugar, milk. Nothing processed. So yummy and made with love!

The fish stew from Ondos Do Mar is AMAZING! Straight off the boat daily! Super nourishing and satisfying, made with potatoes and herbs. It doesn't get much better than that!

We had the BEST steak ever one night when our new friends brought us to the local fave spot of Galego in Ponta Delgada! They serve it with a fried egg on top and pimento pepper slices and roasted garlic. Mmmm! They also serve it with hand sliced french fries ~ not fried in nasty oils!

rice pudding
rice pudding

The sweet rice pudding  we found in a mom and pops place is a local favorite in Furnas and was to die for! It's made out of milk, butter, sugar, rice, cinnamon and lemon. The chocolate mousse that we found on many dessert menus was also unbelievable! OMG! Made out of sugar, eggs, dark chocolate and butter. I mean...

caldeiras
caldeiras

The special thing about the area of Furnas, is that they are known for their natural hot springs (caldeiras). The restaurants cook their food in the ground in the caldeiras for about 8 hours. Basically like a clambake, but deep in the ground they throw in all sorts of meats and vegetables. It has a semi-sulfuric taste, but worth a try and definitely a local tradition!

There is nothing quite like the homemade bread from this island! The best part is that it's still made fresh daily and delivered to people's homes and hung on their door knobs every morning! I wouldn't be surprised if they still have a milkman making deliveries too! Such sweet european traditions still intact!

The wine is also absolutely perfect! Unfortunately, you can't find Portuguese wine here in the States, so it was such a treat to drink some of the best wine I've ever had! They love their wine and they drink it just as many europeans do ~ on their lunch breaks, and throughout their leisure days spent in good company with good food! I just love how they celebrate life everyday!!!!

We went to a couple tea factories where we sampled some of the best tea I've ever had! No additives, just pure tea leafs that taste so smooth ~ never bitter! The Azores are the home of Europe's oldest tea estate.

limpeds
limpeds
IMG_7381
IMG_7381

Our favorite dining experience was at Silva's Restaurant in Ribeira Grande where we ate limepds (shellfish-barnacles) sauteed grouper, fried mackeral and lots of bread, cheese, wine and puddings! We sat there for the entire lunch rush and had the best time people watching and seeing how everyone comes together to eat platters of fish and vegetables and drinks bottles of wine before heading back to their day. It's amazing.

chicken wings
chicken wings
IMG_7377
IMG_7377

I should probably mention just how breathtaking the view was at 4 Platanos! We sat there for a couple hours just hanging out drinking wine, eating bread and cheese, and the best chicken wings EVER!

caldos verde
caldos verde

I also made sure to eat their traditional portuguese soup (Caldo Verde) made of chorizo, kale, and potato at a local cafe. It was surprisingly really good!!!

So, when visiting the Azores, be sure to eat what they are known for ~ dairy, livestock, bananas, potatoes, fish galore and sweet treats! I know I did! For more inspiration on cultural cuisines, check out this post.

Happiness: Travel. To the Azores!

Azores!
Azores!

What a GEM of an island!!!! Seriously, I haven't experienced such beauty, such vibrancy, such love and light as I did in Sao Miguel! I had heard mention of the Azores before, but had no idea where it was until my boyfriend told me all about it on our first date! His ancestors were from there and the connection he felt while spending six weeks there last year was so strong that he couldn't wait to go back! Luckily I got to come along a few weeks ago just to see what was so special about this place that he held so dear to his heart!

Sao Miguel
Sao Miguel

The Azores are made up of 9 archipelago islands off the coast of Portugal. It's climate is moderate, ranging from 50-75 degrees fahrenheit ~the winter being its coldest, rainiest season. Since we weren't there during it's peak season, I can only imagine just how much better it could possibly be once everything is in bloom, and the temperature is a bit warmer!

The Azores are known for their agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching, fishing and tourism. Everything is so fresh, so local, and super sustainable! It's clean, efficient and has a wonderful feng shui energy to it! The people are so friendly, warm and welcoming. It's very safe and easy to get around!

My favorite highlights from the trip (also my favorite question to ask people) are as follows:

sao miguel
sao miguel

I LOVED the craftsmanship seen in all the architecture! That European modern minimalism is prevalent and so inspiring!

sao miguel
sao miguel

The farmland! OMG it's soooo beautiful and perfectly planned out ~ you can see where the cows eat the grass, so you know you're eating the best beef out there! It hasn't traveled far, it's lived in THE most beautiful place, and eats organic grass, not gmo corn! Not to mention, the BEST cheeses come from them, and you better believe I ate their fresh cheese and homemade bread on the daily!;)

I just really loved the warm people. They're so sweet! They take such pride in serving and sharing their food and culture with us! We could learn a thing or two from them! We had two different people offer to drive us somewhere, we had men sending us wine and chocolates from across a restaurant, and we had people happy to help us find the farmers market! Just a few examples of the generosity of spirit!

the azores
the azores

The views are THE BEST I've experienced in this world so far! Just incredibly breathtaking around each corner.

We went on some amazing hikes!

terra nostra
terra nostra

We soaked in some natural hot springs during the day and at night!

octopus stew
octopus stew

The FOOD. OMG the Food! The fish stews, the homemade bread, the fresh cheeses, the steaks, the pastries, wines and teas were the best I've had anywhere! And so inexpensive for the amount they serve!

That's the other thing, the island isn't about making money, rather it's about community and service. Such an evolved place!

scooter
scooter

From the flights and the amazing meals they served us (who would have thought plane food could be so good!?), to the scooter we got around on, the whole journey was magical! I was so blessed to be there and share in that experience with my boyfriend, my love! It was a special gift indeed!

To think that this gem exists just 5 hours on a nonstop flight from Boston is incredible! I highly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, european culture and good food!

Now I have the bug to get to Lisbon and the mainland! And next time, we'll be sure to check out the other islands that were highly recommended to us~ Flores, Terceira, and Santa Maria!

Til then, I'll have to brush up on my portuguese!

Bon dia! ;)

Evolve: Feed your Soul

Oak Bluffs, MVIt's amazing what a little day trip can do for the soul. One of my all time favorite things to do is explore a town or a city and find healthy, alternative, funky veg friendly spots, pop into some shops, take a nice walk or a bike ride and soak in the beauty of creation that surrounds me. This is exactly what I did in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, MA while my new bf :) made me feel like I was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as he went off to work and brought me along to play for the day! Swoon!

First on the agenda for my source of fun: FOOD! Oh my amazingness at Blissed Out! I'm telling you ~like attracts like, and it pops up all around me now!

Blissed Out, Vineyard Haven, MVI rounded the corner and poof ~ Blissed Out appeared! It's the only healthy vegan cafe of its kind on the whole island, and it just happened to be less than a block from our hotel!

The owner and I bonded over the excitement of fresh off the dehydrator raw vegan macaroons and curly hair talk! You never know who you're supposed to meet ~ just as she was a treat to me, I was a little treat to her with my curly hair expertise:)! Wahe Guru!

Blissed Out, Martha's Vineyard

Blissed Out, Martha's VineyardAfter my basking in bliss moment of enjoying these little food delights outside on the bench in the warm sun, I wandered into an art gallery and found myself enchanted by an array of greeting cards.

Ingrid Goff-MaidoffAs I was taking pictures of these inspiring quotes, I was drawn to a unique poem just as the woman who created it approached me. Our eyes locked and it was as if I was instantly taken to another life that we must have shared together ~ it was so obvious that we had known each other somewhere! It was such an awesome experience! We both agreed we had a soul connection. I thanked her for her bright light in my life that day and felt so blessed to be able to really experience the love that surrounds us always.

Ingrid Goff-MaidoffA simple smile or a thank you can instantly brighten a persons day and life. I am so grateful for her. She is such a gift to the world with her creative spirit expressing her talent through her art form. It filled me with so much gratitude for the Creator and for all of our unique gifts and talents that make this world go round.

Emily DickinsonMy inspiration continued to bubble over even more as I stumbled into more art galleries and enjoyed the beauty of the artists' perceptions, their talents and their gifts. I became overwhelmed with inspiration in art, in creation, in life, in love, in joy and in pleasure. It made me realize that all we have to do is look around, and open our eyes. Beauty is everywhere, from the food I ate that day, to the art work, the written quotes and poems, my bike ride in nature, and my time spent with my newfound bf.

My heart was fluttering with inspiration and motivation to keep writing and blogging, to keep aligning with my gifts and talents, and to feel at peace knowing that we all have a unique set of gifts and talents that expresses the light within us, which contributes to the collective beauty in this life that surrounds us.

We are all ONE and we are all LOVE. What we experience is what we are putting out there. Everything is a mirror that only multiplies as we keep attracting more of the same, raising our vibration one person at a time through an attitude of gratitude, a jolt of inspiration and a smile of joy.

So keep on shining!

KATE-SIGNATURE

Lifestyle Lessons: Have your Vacation, and Eat Well too!

Cayman Island Happy HourSpring break and weekend celebrations are upon us as summer approaches! Yay! Vacation eating can sometimes be challenging if you don't have a rough plan so I'll show you what a week (or two) away looks like for me: Luckily our family stays in a condo while we vacation (I highly recommend this over hotels) to Grand Cayman each Christmas! We can minimally, but efficiently, stock our kitchen (life saver!) for breakfast, lunch and snacks!

For those 2 weeks I lived off of:

Mary's Gone Crackers

Mary's Gone Crackers with hummus or guacamole for our happy hour snacks on the beach.

For lunch on the balcony ~A Quinoa and Bean (Eden brand) salad with steamed or blanched kale, carrots or squash, with cucumbers and avocado.

Tofu ScxrambleA tofu scramble with chopped veggies, tamari and olive oil.

Oatmeal for breakfast with raisins, honey and almonds.

Ezekiel toast with almond butter for breakfast or a snack.

Cayman RestaurantsWe ate out almost every night, and I chose either salmon or a white fish dish requesting that it be sauteed or baked in olive oil (stressing no butter, milk or cream) with veggies or rice, or a vegetarian pasta dish with olive oil and garlic.

A couple nights, I imbibed on some champagne with fruit, or a skinny girl margarita (still can't decide if it was worth it).

Tulsi Tea

I took care of myself by drinking tulsi tea with lemon and ginger after dinner when I got home, or ordered ginger or peppermint tea at the restaurant to help with digestion (especially if we were eating out late).

Cayman ChristmasI drank warm water with lemon when I woke up, had a daily stretch/yoga sesh and walk (finding sandcastles and people watching), and a good night's sleep.

It's a lifestyle folks, and a daily journey of checking in with what works and what doesn't for your highest and best self! Trust yourself and the process! Each day aim to move in the direction of health ~ each day adds up!

Cayman CoconutsCheers to Vacation!

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

Healthy Holiday Traveling

Travel Food"It's the most. wonderful. time. of the year!!!...(ding, dong, ding, dong)" (christmas song on the brain;) I'm sure most of you are gearing up for your holiday travel plans, as I sure am! Packing and planning tends to lead to lots of stress prior to the final departure, but it's all part of the fun! This might be kind of weird, but I actually get super excited about all the goodies I'll be packing for snacking on board ~ vacation has officially begun once en route, right?!

Now that I've adopted a very mindful healthy eating lifestyle, it's become second  nature for me to think a day or two in advance as to what I'll be eating. If you don't plan, you'll be likely to set yourself up for the 'hunger, grab anything and everything scenario', which typically leads to non-ideal choices. This cultivation takes time, but soon enough, you'll be in your own groove, I promise!

As a little jet-setter myself, I've gotten into my healthy travel groove, now knowing what to expect and how to avoid being hungry or unsatisfied with a little preparation!

First off, definitely pack a little bag full of treats. I make a trip to the natural foods store and stock up on a few raw, vegan, unrefined sugar treats (being the sweet tooth that I am--maybe yours are savory snacks?) ~ typically a 'chocolate tart', or chocolate bar, some raw cookies, or yummy gomacro bars, larabars or something of the like...don't be embarrassed to lug your grocery bag around, it's totally worth it in the end! Oh, and don't forget to always have some nuts and seeds on hand anytime you're on the go--raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whichever you prefer--just make sure they're not salted and there are no other ingredients in them like oils and sugar, etc. (just pure raw nuts/seeds--organic preferably)

I also bring a lunch with me. Sometimes I have leftovers to bring with me, like a roasted sweet potato or batch of steamed squash, but that can get kind of annoying when lugging the tupperware around after, so I prefer bringing a prepared lunch from the natural foods store.

Starbucks Oatmeal

Breakfast is always easy in the airport or whenever traveling, if you just find your closest Starbucks! I order the oatmeal without sugar or dried fruit (careful, it's always covered in sugar unless otherwise stated) and double the bags of nuts. I'll be honest, I usually order two oatmeals so that I can really be satisfied for a few hours ~  I like to eat, if you couldn't tell already!;).

While you're there, do yourself a favor and order a large cup of hot water. When traveling, your stomach tends to bloat due to an ayurvedic vata imbalance, reflecting the mental disturbances of the mere concept of travel and all the anxieties/stressors/altitudes that come with the territory, whether you know it or not. Hot water will calm your stomach. It's best to sip it before you eat, but throughout the whole day is great ~ keep ordering it on the plane, or maybe add a tea bag or lemon! Either way, please stay hydrated! Another way to do that is to use nasal spray (from the natural foods store ideally) to keep all the airplane toxins away!

Once you get to your travel destination, if you can make a quick run to a local market, a few essentials will do the trick for a few days: oats, quinoa, ezekiel bread, almond butter, apples, greens, berries, avocado. You should be able to make smoothies, almond butter and toast, or oatmeal for breakfast or snack, and lunch of quinoa with steamed/raw greens with avocado or any variation of the above. And please pack a Green Powder. I like Vitamineral Greens from the natural food store (or Whole Foods). Your system will thank you for it!

The holidays are for spending quality time with those you love. This is a time to relax and enjoy your company and surroundings, but still be able to be true to your center of balance. These few suggestions should help you do just that. :)

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Love,

Kate

Indulge, then re-group

well clearly i've been too busy indulging in all the glory of the fall, by eating and exploring and not writing! i'm loving being back in charming new england during my most favorite season! i've been 'peeping' my way through all the foliage and breathing in that crisp, clean, woodsy scent of autumn. the bright colors on the leaves, mixed with the low hanging sun in the light blue sky is absolutely dazzling! it gives me an extra spring in my step!

i've taken full advantage of road tripping through the state of massachusetts and you better believe, all my vegan restaurants were scouted out before hand, and ALL of them surpassed my expectations!

the little town of northampton, MA is super funky and had two delightful restaurants!

paul and elizabeth's, as recommended to me from a friend, had the best vegan burger and sweet potato fries! we started with a yummy bean soup too and were completely warmed right up from a cold, damp day!

we asked the waitress what she recommended as far as hiking/walking trails, and she led us to the most beautiful little trail through smith college campus. all the leaves were changing, and filling up the path for us to kick around, all while winding around the quaint little river...so perfect!

we then made our way out to the berkshires, and i would have driven the 3 hours alone, just to eat this absolutely, out of control with yumminess, pizza at baba louie's in great barrington.

O.M.G...seriously  never had a pizza this good - including my days of real cheese...we hiked up mountains, got lost through country towns, and eventually made our way back through northampton to try the second recommendation at bela's vegan spot.

their apple, caramel, walnut cake, was the epitome of comfort food!

fast forward to NYC.

oh, NYC, how i love you...the weather could not have been more perfect for strolling through central park, or for my bike ride along the hudson river! i was in heaven!

even though i had a lot of time to myself, i wasn't going to let that get in the way of checking out lots of vegan restaurants on my list, on my own!

candle 79 in the upper east side had the best black bean and pumpkin seed burger with a side of polenta fries! surprisingly, it was an upscale, bistro setting, with a super cool wine bar and bartender to boot!

i left with my helmet in hand, and made my way down to the east village to indulge in the BEST vegan ice cream parlour, stogo!! i looked like a little kid with chocolate ice cream all over my face and hands and was smiling ear to ear...it's the little things that excite me! i had 3 different scoops of ice cream - yes that's right, i go all out! aaaannndd i got a cookie to go with it....literally a kid in a candy shop....

i was also completely blown away by the cool, 'foodie' type vegan spot in the east village called dirt candy. my new friend who i met on the train from providence to penn station, used to live in the city and had recommended it to me. i feel so cool that i ducked into this gem of a spot like a true new yorker, without the help of any bloggers reporting on where to go that's trendy...

but, i will say that probably the highest reviews/recommendations that i came across were on cafe blossom....and it is all that it's cracked up to be, and more!! we had a yummy three course meal there and i was literally stuffed for days...

needless to say, all this food, albeit healthy, vegan food, still has sugar and flour in it, not to mention the fact that i had some wine and bourbon along the way...i needed to come back and detox...

i wanted to share with you my little go-to mini cleanse as recommended to me from my macro cooking instructor...it's only two days long, but brings you back to center in no time.

i start my day with the carrot-daikon drink for breakfast (refer to previous post on the recipe), then i have mild fish soup with steamed greens for lunch, and for dinner, i have a grain and bean/lentil soup with more steamed greens.

i repeat for day two, and it's amazing that by just eating two soups per day and drinking a detox tea on an empty stomach, to start the morning really gives your digestion a much needed rest.

the fish in the soup helps pull you back to the yang side of your yin (sugar/flour/alcohol) rush...basically just boil some water with dried shittake mushrooms and add some veggies to simmer til tender, add greens and fresh white, wild caught fish, cut into 1 inch cubes and let it simmer til the fish is cooked. season with some tamari, and enjoy!!! it's soooo satisfying! note, that you're not eating a grain with this meal...

final note on entering into this holiday season, or anytime for that matter, please keep in mind to "check yourself, before you wreck yourself"! don't think, 'oh who cares, i've already eaten bad today, i may as well continue into the next'...recipe for disaster my friend...

always come back to center, sit down to a wholesome meal, and you will be back on track...just stay mindful, and know that you have to hone it in sometimes...