Balancing Act: Managing Your Weight On Vacation
Or…How To Stay Healthy In The Land Of Meat, Potatoes & Bread.
Fighting to keep fruits, vegetables and whole grains at the center of my family’s diet is about to be challenged. We’re heading to Hordorf, Germany, a little “willage” of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, where my husband grew up. Our daughters, 4 and 6, have been raised on a diet that consists mainly of fish, produce and whole grains. Uncommonly, they’ll have meat and potatoes when their Papa needs a fix, but that’s a rare “treat.”
This is part one of our family travel blog about our adventures staying healthy on the road. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Now, back to you…Think about your bank account for a moment, if you will. You put money in, you take some out, and you make sure your account stays balanced. Taking out more than you put in can lead to bankruptcy. Don’t bankrupt your health by poorly balancing your input and output. This concept is going to be the key to staying healthy on our vacation. We may lose some health points by having some desserts, juice and plenty of meat & potatoes, but we’ll add to our healthy balance by doing lots of hiking in the forest, running around farm country and filling up on fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets.
Speaking of eating more vegetables…its asparagus season in Deutschland, and as a Chicagoan, I was previously unaware of the way white asparagus is grown. Northern Germans cherish their white asparagus. That’s right, its white asparagus. Here’s how they grow it. The stalks are underground, beneath a mound of soil. The farmer inspects the top of the berm daily, watching for disruption of the soil. As the asparagus spear approaches the top, seeking sunlight, the dirt starts to part. It is at that moment that the farmer pokes a long straight tool into the ground and uses the sharp end to slice the asparagus spear, pulling it to freedom. Pretty cool. I’m counting on new stories and experiences like this to make the ubiquitous fresh vegetables appealing to my daughters.
White asparagus is not grilled, the way I prepare our green asparagus at home. Rather, it is boiled and then at my mother-in-law’s home, the leftovers are made into a fabulously creamy white asparagus soup. Rather than offend by asking to minimize the butter, I’m going to balance our health checkbook by suggesting a long and brisk walk after dinner. Here’s how you prepare the asparagus, according to “Oma.” Use a vegetable peeler to peel the stalks. Boil water with a pinch of salt and sugar and a bit of olive oil or butter (just a little bit). Add the white asparagus and turn it down to a simmer for 20 minutes. Oma serves it with melted butter, but you can skip it. You’ll love it even without the added indulgence.
Don’t forget to balance your health checkbook at home or on holiday. Engage your family and make it a game. If you permit dessert for yourself or your family, decide together how you’ll pay back the calories. Will you reach equilibrium with more exercise? More fruits and vegetables? Will you pay back your calories in advance or after you indulge? I suspect we will each balance in a way similar to the way we balance our bank account.
Thanks for listening and I wish you the best of health!
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