A Guest Post by Dr. Torsten Stein B.S.D.C
As a chiropractor, many of my patients are either healthy eaters, vegetarians or vegans. So when I went back to Germany just recently, I kept my eyes open to see the options overseas to report back. I wanted to examine how the generally health-conscious Germans eat, shop and live.
Germans love walking. You can see them walking everywhere. If they don't walk, they take their bikes. It can rain or shine, and Germans will be outside moving around. One of the reasons that they don't like taking their cars are the insanely high gas prices as well as the severely limited parking spaces. Many streets are several hundred years old and existed long before the first automobile appeared. So streets generally aren't very wide. When you have to maneuver backwards into an empty space with cars coming and going from both directions, you too will wish you were walking. A Tip: Practice, practice, practice your parallel parking before visiting & driving here.
The best places to walk are the inner city places where no cars can go. They are called "Fussgaengerzonen" and besides a few small regular stores, you will see lots of bakeries (even the dreaded gluten and sugar filled chain - Dunkin' Donuts). Traditional German bakeries often bake their own bread and it is fresh and spectacular! There are gluten-free options and bakeries if you plan ahead to find these hidden gems before you travel. The pastries are yummy too and less sweet than in the U.S. These places often have a coffee shop attached and there will always be a few tables and chairs outside because Germans love eating pastries and drinking coffee.
Now the biggest mark of health conscious behavior you'll see is when people buy BIO products. BIO Products are similar to what we classify as "organic" food here at home. Even though there are specific BIO stores around, most of the stores carry BIO products. The same goes for bakeries or better restaurants.
One of the things I did during my recent trip was visit my old dentist from when I used to live there. I also signed up for a teeth cleaning, and at the end, the dental hygienist asked me if I were a vegan. After telling her that I am not, she told me that one of her polishing creams is dairy based and she didn't want to mess with my beliefs. How great is that? To sum it up, if you desire to visit Germany, please do so. It's a beautiful and friendly country - covered in green. There are trees and greenery everywhere and it's a general rule to have fresh flowers in the home.
Fitness is also popular as people walk a lot and are generally in pretty good shape and very health conscious. Another tip: The one thing that will surprise you is how many people smoke in contrast with the healthy lifestyle they portray otherwise. Especially in the summer time, you will want to sit outside while eating your food at the cafes to avoid the smoke exposure.
You can also visit Gluten Free Travel for printable gluten-free restaurant cards in German to take with you when you travel.
We would love to hear your experiences if you've visited Germany and your favorite healthy finds.
An accomplished chiropractic doctor, Dr. Torsten Stein is known for being the world's tallest chiropractor. Standing at 7'2" the tall doc practices the Gonstead method and practices out of Glendale, AZ - treating patients from around the world. More on Dr. Stein and his methods can be found at. www.72doc.com.
Mr. Charming and I have visited Las Vegas many times. Especially last year, when we spent almost the entire month of September there for our Anniversary and the Food Allergy Blogger Conference. It's also where we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. It's only a four hour drive from our house and provides tons of entertainment.
Although we arn't drinkers or gamblers, (I know a lot of you are thinking, what else IS there in Vegas?) we enjoy seeing the fun themed hotels, the shopping, (oh the shopping!) and all of the yummy eateries. There's actually a lot to see and do, even if you aren't into traditional "What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas" antics.
Initially, finding restaurants here that are Paleo or gluten-free proved to be more difficult than some of our other West Coast travels, but I have picked out some of my favorite places, as well as some of my favorite sight-seeing spots that can take you away from the "sin" side of the city, and more to the fun, innocent side of it. (OK, innocent may be reaching, but you know, it's Vegas, so always proceed with caution, haha)
Since we take Route 66 part of the way, we usually stop off at some of the BEST antique stores. Right before getting into Las Vegas there is a strip of stores that always has fun "Old Vegas" memorabilia. As far as accommodations, we always opt for a time-share type resort, as it's best to have a kitchen when staying in Vegas. I don't trust the buffets, (although I'm sure some are fine) I don't do it. So I try to plan my breakfasts in the hotel room and find safe eateries for lunches & dinners. And there is a Whole Foods Market at the end of the strip which has been a life saver for me on many trips when I needed to stock up on extra supplies or snacks!
For a sweet, refreshing treat, Caesar's Palace has a yummy gelato stand that offers dairy free options. I went with a strawberry sorbet, and although they aren't sugar free, it was my one splurge vacation treat. For in room meals we usually bake turkey or chicken breast with veggies, and breakfast is usually eggs or oatmeal with fruit and healthy fats like coconut or avocado to give us energy. The strip is A LOT bigger than you may assume, and it is A LOT of walking. So wear comfortable shoes and pack snacks!
I was pleasantly surprised to see Buddy V's (as in Buddy from Cake Boss) restaurant inside the Venetian had gluten-free options when I was craving Italian food. The restaurant is really cute & I think that's the main reason why I wanted to go. It reminded me of Italy and was hidden away from the busyness of the casino.
There is an incredible amount of things to see and do in Las Vegas. Some of our favorite sights include:
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay - It's inexpensive and I love sea creatures. It's a cool & relaxing walk-through to give you a break from being out in the sun or walking through smokey casinos.
Paris Hotel - You can take a ride up into the Eiffel Tower, giving you a 360 degree view of the Strip. It's best at night, and don't forget your camera!
Venetian Hotel - This and the Palazzo are some of my favorites for shopping. Or browsing, since some of the stores have the top designers in the world, such as Gucci and Jimmy Choo. But it's fun to play Carrie Bradshaw and browse. The architecture here is also breathtaking and it's romantic to take a gondola ride. They are pricey but worth it. You can choose outdoor or indoor, we prefer doing the indoor, as I didn't feel like the outdoor ride with the traffic of Las Vegas Blvd. felt like Italy. haha. Our gondolier sang us a love song as well and we got to kiss under the kissing bridge. (cue the collective "awwws" or gagging noises. Whichever. I don't care that we are nauseating sometimes. haha)
Caesar's Palace Show - Inside the hotel, aside from the MASSIVE shopping mall, there is an animatronic show that is a MUST SEE, starring the Greek God's having a battle. It's one of Mr. Charmings favorite things to see. It's what we usually sit and watch while enjoying our aforementioned dairy-free gelato.
One of the MANY shows. - Las Vegas is known for it's shows. We prefer the music or comedy shows or the epic Cirque Du Solei shows. Again, quite pricey, so we only opt for this on big splurge trips or if we are traveling with others. We usually keep our Vegas trips on a budget since it's like a stay-cation for us, being so close to home.
Siegfried & Roy's Dolphin and White Tiger Habitat at the Mirage - This is one of my FAVORITES and we go here each time. It's small, but still worth the money because it's very interactive. You can have up-close dolphin encounters for an extra fee, and sometimes you can see the baby white tigers and lions. When we took my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Siegfried was there and we got to talk to him about how the habitat came to be and get our photo with him.
Other Places To Eat:
Margaritaville at the Flamingo Hotel - They serve Udi's Gluten Free Buns with their burgers and use a dedicated fry fryer.
Hecho En Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel - The chef's daughter has Celiac, so they use good practices and offer a gluten-free menu.
Yardbird at the Venetian - Upscale, southern, gluten-free goodness.
There are also PF Changs, Pei Wei, Sammy's Woodfire Pizza and BJ's nearby for more options.
What are your favorite tastes and sights in Las Vegas? I'd love to hear from you!
It's no secret to ANYONE we know that Mr. Charming and I ADORE Disneyland. Since we were both kids its been a regular family vacation destination. Living in California, and having friends in the entertainment industry, most of whom danced or perform in the parks, it was a monthly, sometimes weekly trip for me.
More on me and Mr. Charming's Disney story will be found on the future Disney for Couples blog. This post is focusing on Disney with littles, particularly infants and toddler aged. When my niece turned one I told my sister that it was time she visited Disneyland! [haha] Some people may argue this is too young, and I honestly thought she wasn't going to get into it just yet.
Boy was I wrong!! She recognized SO many characters already from films and Mickey's Playhouse. And she LOVED the rides. Tip Number One: Try to get pictures with characters early in the day. You'll miss some of the long lines, and when the littles are tired or cranky they may be more susceptible to being apprehensive of them. And if you are a thrill seeker, take turns staying behind with the little ones. I'm not a big scary ride person, so I happily took the little one shopping for stuffed animals while the fam rode the big rides.
It was so fun to see my sister with her very own happy family, making memories like the ones we made when we were little. It was special to be able to share in that vacation with her. I know, I'm super mushy. Sorry about that. Onto the food! Tip Number Two: Snacks are important. We always rent a locker and pre-pack a backpack before going to the park. For a great gluten-free breakfast in the Disneyland park, visit The Plaza Inn at the far end of Main Street. They serve eggs, fruit and breakfast meats, and they have gluten-free Mickey Waffles. They also host a morning character breakfast that the littles LOVE! Characters like Minnie Mouse, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh will come to the table to get photos with you and sign the kiddos autograph books. It's a bit on the pricey side, so we usually do this for our big splurge meal of the day and then keep it cheap the remainder of the day. Tip Number Three: Healthy snacks are SO easy to find within the parks. There are fruit and veggie carts throughout the lands. This is where we stock up on sliced apples, grapes, bananas, apples and broccoli packs for when we want to nosh in long lines.
After breakfast & snack time is out of the way, the best lands to spend time in with little ones is Fantasyland and Toon Town. My niece loved Toon Town, getting to visit Mickey and Minnie's homes and playing with all the fun cartoony props. My sister and I had a little fun of our own as well, trying on many hats at the Mad Hatter shop and shopping for clothes and toys! For lunch we went back to the lockers to our backpacks. Tip Number Four: To save money and to ensure healthy eating all day, we pack our lunch. It's fun to splurge on breakfast and dinner, and we make sure to fill up on fruits, nuts and veggie for snacks. We packed rolled lunch meats and veggie chips that we enjoyed outside the park in Downtown Disney and shopped a bit before heading back into the park. Just make sure you get your hand stamp for re-entry! Also, Disneyland will allow you to bring in your outside snacks and drinks, let them know you have food sensitivity issues or allergies if they question anything.
Before taking in the World Of Color, which left my little one year old niece awe-inspired and me a puddle of emotional goo seeing how in LOVE she was with the colors and music, we had dinner at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante in Frontierland. The fam enjoyed tacos and enchiladas while the chef came out (they'll do this!) and prepared me a custom gluten-free steak salad with unseasoned grilled steak (that was PHENOMENAL) over a bed of fresh greens, topped with avocado and sliced tomato and drizzled olive oil and sea salt. It was fresh, healthy, delicious and filling enough to get us through fireworks and a few more rides before the park closed! Tip Number Five: Always pack extra clothes and layers for the littles. And for you as well! Mr. Charming and I always keep a change of shoes and hoodies in our lockers. For the littles it's an extra blanket, outfit change and hoodie. We had a random rainstorm and it was good we had extra clothes and an extra blanket for the baby because her stroller got quite wet!
It was a memorable trip that we will always cherish as her first Disney experience!
What are YOUR favorite Disney sites when traveling with babies & toddlers? Would love for you to share!
Mr. Charming and I LOVE Hawaii. Although, who wouldn't love an island where the temperature is always perfect, the scenery is breathtaking and fresh food outweighs the access to processed food? I previously published my series (Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4) on Oahu, Hawaii... but this post focuses on our adventures on the Big Island. Our friends Perla & Manny invited us to join them on a week trip at the Wyndham in Kona.
Mr. Charming and I started Day One really early and enjoyed scrambled eggs at the airport to keep us full with protein for the flight. Once landing at the cute airport in Kona, we got ourselves floral leis and snapped our first photo. He brought his pro camera to take tons of pics!
We didn't end up renting a car until half-way through our trip since there was SO much to do SO close. After meeting up with our friends at our hotel we went to the welcome party the hotel was having for us and enjoyed salads and drinks (this was before I cut out alcohol 4 years ago) and got a swag bag of awesome Hawaii things! Like beach towels, a book on the history of the islands and Kona coffee.
We had this beautiful beach just down the road from our hotel and attended a luau one of our first nights in town. Aside from getting EATEN ALIVE by the mosquitos, the walks were so pleasant and we got SO MUCH exercise.
When attending a luau, there are so many delicious Paleo options! Stay away from the rice dishes and focus on the meat and veggie dishes that are always in abundance. I enjoyed Luau Chicken (chicken breast cooked with coconut milk & taro leaves) - Kalua Pig and salad.
At the locals farmer market we picked up HUGE avocados & white pineapple to have as a hotel room snack. White pineapple doesn't contain the acidity of regular pineapple, so we ate bowls of it! It was a yummy & filling breakfast before a day of boating and snorkeling. As always, check your city of travel ahead of time to see what restaurants, cafes or stores will have food for you to eat. We found both casual eateries and fancy date night spots where I could have fish, fries, salads and chicken. And Kona has a Natural Grocers Market, which made it convenient for stocking up on healthy eats to take on our boat trips, beach trips and traveling around the island.
The Hilton Waikoloa Village also has one of the most selective gluten-free menus I've seen in Hawaii, and is included in their in-room dining as well. From flourless cake to gf pancakes, burgers at the grill and a full omelette station, healthy eaters can choose from many options.
Do keep in mind that Kona & the western cities have many more options for healthy eats than Hilo and the eastern and norther regions of the island, so make sure to pack a lunch! We packed a lunch to go see the volcanoes and black sand beaches & I'm glad we did because even though the island isn't very large, it takes a long time to travel due to the mix of winding roads and modest speed limits.
Sometimes I fantasize about living on the islands. Getting a small beach condo, letting the doggies run free on the beach and seeing Mr. Charming open a dental practice in town. But then I realize how very far away it is from all those I love, and it makes me happy to be where I am. Right here, right now.
I am obsessed with Carlsbad. There a few beach towns I am simply in love with. Carlsbad, Santa Barbara and some little coves in the San Diego area just have my heart. My dad owned a condo in Carlsbad for many years, so Mr. Charming and I were fortunate enough to get to spend quite a bit of time here. I've eaten at almost every restaurant in the area, as I was fortunate to sample all the fare before I got sick, but the good thing about classy beach cities, is there is always something for everyone. Especially those on strict diets, Paleo or vegan diets.
Carlsbad has your normal GF-chain options such as PF Changs and Rubios, although I never opt to eat at either of these. I like smaller cafes, with more organic ingredients. The charming place that is Carlsbad Village, has many little shops and eateries with the top for eating healthy being The Naked Cafe. The earthy quaint cafe offers an allergen menu where every item is clearly marked.
One of my favorite high-end eateries is 333 Pacific. I was in town staying with my dad when I had a concert in Hollywood and we had a dad & daughter date night here. It was fun. The atmosphere was upscale and relaxing and the food was AH-MAZING. They have many gluten-free options such as salads, veggies and meat courses. Though the portions are small, that's the only down side.
I also love any city that has my Top Three, as I call them. Sprouts, Trader Joes or Whole Foods, and Carlsbad has all three within a reasonable distance. They also have a weekly Farmer's Market where I can stock up on fresh fruits and veggies to snack on throughout the week, as well as some beautiful fresh cut flowers for the condo.
My dad is one of the most active people alive and fitness is never a question when we visit. We are always being active and having fun. Whether its playing on the sand or in the water or hitting up the Tennis Club for a couple of hours, we burn our calories. On this particular visit we took the bikes out of storage and took a leisurely bike ride on the trails around the city. Mr. Charming was on photography duty, and that's my dad and me in the back there below.
If you're craving a burger by the beach, the best of the best is Pure Burger. The eatery uses locally sourced grass-fed beef and even offer gluten-free buns!
If you are looking for some entertainment to enjoy with kiddos, visit the city's Legoland, which offers some of the best in theme park allergen-free food finds. I personally haven't been, and I LOVE Disneyland for eating clean & safe, but Legoland has received amazing reviews from moms and people with allergies and sensitivities.
For me & Mr. Charming, we prefer a quiet walk on the beach.
One of my favorite things to do with my husband is travel. Seeing new places with him is such an adventure. We were both born with an urge to travel and we try to take on big trip a year and a few little ones spread out throughout as well.
California is a regular place to visit for us, because not only is my record label and magazine based there, but it's where I'm from. I've lived in Orange County, Northridge, Valencia, Pacific Beach in San Diego and near Mission Beach in San Diego so I'm no stranger to the City of Angels. What I DO love is when we explore something new.... and that, for us, was Long Beach.
After spending a few hours on the ship and enjoying the scenery of the surrounding waters, we grabbed some mexican food for lunch. There is a Chipotle nearby which also offers yummy options that are gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo if you skip their rice. One of the best of the best places to visit and grab a dairy-free latte or gluten-free lunch is Roots Gourmet. The earthy cafe offers extensive gluten-free and dairy-free options.
After lunch we walked around the shops & checked out the amazing Long Beach Aquarium. Since we decided to park by the ship and walk the whole city, we got plenty of excercise! We always like to work in something healthy wherever we go. We walked and walked until the sun went down and as we perused the local hotels and shops we came across a hotel with a rooftop bar where I ordered another latte. I can't even remember the hotel, because it was dark and we were just exploring and not really paying attention, but I do remember, Mr. Charming and I taking a look at the hotels chapel. Which was adorable, because we weren't engaged yet at the time and it made me dreamy, and swoony, and all the other feelings we women get when your boyfriend starts talking about marriage.
After we explored for hours and hours we grabbed some Italian fare downtown. Some of the best gluten-free/dairy-free Italian eateries include ZPizza, that offers gluten-free crust and Daiya cheese veggie pizzas, and certain cafes tucked within the city streets will usually offer a gluten-free pasta if you ask. They usually take a lot longer to prep, but its worth it to have something yummy if you aren't on the Paleo diet. If you are, opt for a yummy salad packed with veggies. Even better if you can find an organic cafe.
We were super-tired from the day and our feet were exhausted so we hopped on the local city bus to take us back to our car. (Also a first experience for me!) All in all, an amazing and adventurous day that we still talk about often. Spontaneity always wins in my book.
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.