Vegan Eats in Switzerland

After thinking it over, I decided to split this blog into two parts.  Part one will be Switzerland & then I’ll share Chamonix in a separate post so this isn’t too too long.

I was a little concerned about finding food in Switzerland but surprisingly had a great experience.  I have the Happy Cow app & then of course I would google vegan food in whatever place we were in.

We landed in Geneva early on a Saturday morning, after getting the car, our first stop was a Starbucks downtown near the famous found in Lake Geneva.  We were able to get our normal soy lattes, although, word to the wise, the US Starbucks app doesn’t work, at least not at the location we went to.  I wish I had grabbed a mug when we were there because we didn’t see another Starbucks during our trip.  They also had a vegan chocolate raspberry cake which was nice, a little dry, but a nice treat especially since you can’t find vegan cake in the US stores.

Next stop was lunch.  We stopped in a little town called Thun on our way to Grindlewald.  We found a vegan spot called V-mOnd.  They had 2 specials (that was the entire menu – at least that she gave us) so we got one of each.  One was a mushroom & veggie stew with forbidden rice & the other was a couscous with fresh veggies.  Both were quite good, but my preference was the stew.

On to Grindelwald where we stayed for a short visit.  We ate at Barry’s which looked quite fancy when we arrived, but it was pretty casual.  They have a special vegan menu, that is in German, with four options on it.  The server explained them all to us.  In addition, they have a salad bar & a Mongolian bar that they said we could have as well.

Sean & I both choose to have the vegan burger & fries.  It was very good although the bread was super soft which made it hard to eat.  The fries were very goo & the burger came with various sauces on the side for dipping.

The next day we stopped in Interlaken on our way to Zermatt.  We had lunch at Velo Cafe.  When we initially walked by the cafe, there were a ton of cyclists outside making it really uncomfortable, to me at least.  We walked on to look at another restaurant, that was significantly more expensive, when we went back, the cyclists were gone.  A note to anyone allergic to bees, there were a ton of bees flying around their outside tables.  We even saw a few by our indoor table.

They had a few vegan options, and one of the servers was quite knowledgeable and shared with us exactly what was 100% vegan.  We choose a falafel wrap that came with a salad & a lentil shepherd’s pie type entree with potatoes on the top that also came with a salad.  They also had smoothies & the absolute best coffee I’ve had in a long time.  I got an oat milk latte and it was amazing, so smooth & flavorful.

Next up is Zermatt, where we stayed for the next few days.  We had dinner our first night at Brassiere de Uno.  They had a few vegan starters & 2 vegan entrees.  They do have a few items that are always on the menu, but they do change the menu every day.

First up was an amuse bouche, onion tart topped with avocado.

We skipped the starters and went straight to dinner.  We decided to try both the vegan options & share them.

We got a yummy gnocchi with an amazing vegan pesto & the vegan balls which were served with mashed potatoes & lingonberries.  Both were really good, but I’m going to pick the vegan balls as my favorite.  They were the vegan version of their moose meatballs that they are known for.

For dessert, they didn’t have any baked goods unfortunately but they did have homemade apricot & strawberry sorbet.

One of the reviews we saw said that they wished they could eat there everyday and Sean & I definitely agreed, it was so good.  Note, at least in the summer they were only open Thur – Mon.

We stayed in a very nice hotel called Hotel Matthiol, which was at the back of the town, right near trails.  They included breakfast so we went down each morning.  The first day we went down and the server was like, oh, you are vegan, we don’t have many options.  I did tell them ahead of time that we were vegan since they asked when they sent me a pre-stay email.  I guess that didn’t get passed on but no worries.

The server went to chat with the chef after showing us the fruit cups they had & the coffee machine.  She said the chef would make us some veggies & some fresh bread since they weren’t sure if the breads on the buffet were vegan.  She brought us plates of yummy veggies & steaming fresh bread and assured us they would be better prepared the next day for us.

The bread was amazing! And it only took 15 minutes to make!

For dinner that night after a long day of hiking & running we headed to town and had dinner at an Italian place called Molino.  We didn’t even change, but went in our running gear with our packs in tow.  Molino is an Italian chain restaurant and it was ok.  The servers were a little snooty & I did get to speak Italian to them so that was cool.

In any case they had several vegan options on the menu, including a yummy focaccia bread with tomatoes & olive oil and then Sean & I both got the penne all’arrabiata.

After dinner we started walking home and I saw that the creperie was open! so we were able to get a vegan crepe for dessert from Stefania’s Creperie. They only accept cash but there is an ATM not far from the shop.  I talked to the guy for a short bit, there were quite a few vegan options, including 3-4 chocolate options.  After a bit of discussion, we decided on a lemon sugar crepe using brown sugar (they could use either brown or white – I wasn’t sure what the difference would be the crepe not having had either).

Now the guy who worked there was quite opinionated.  After finding out that we lived in San Diego, he was like well I guess not everyone can live here.  He also tried to convince me that Banff was in British Columbia, spoiler alert, it’s not, it’s in Alberta.

And note for vegans, he told me that I had picked the two hardest crepes to make, vegan is harder than regular and lemon sugar is even harder.  There was no line when we were there but he said that if there had been, he would have told me that they were out of vegan crepes so he didn’t have to make them.  I hope he was joking but you never know.

Back to the hotel for our second breakfast & last meal in Switzerland.  The hotel had soy milk & soy yogurt for us.  They made us soy cappuccino’s, sauteed veggies & more bread.  The bread was full of seeds and to me a bit too heavy, but I’m so appreciative of that fact that they were so accommodating.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the food that we ate in Switzerland.  Everything was fresh, well made and super yummy.  I don’t think I had one thing that I didn’t enjoy & I didn’t feel like I was going hungry at all.

Next up, Chamonix.

#GoodEats New to me Plant Based Options

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Conagra Brands. As always all opinions are my own.

I’ve been following a plant based/vegan diet for the last 18 months.  While I have started cooking a bit more, with all the travel we do & the summer heat (we don’t have air conditioning in our house) I tend to look for more frozen &/or super easy to make options.

That’s why I was really excited to collaborate with BabbleBoxx & Conagra Food.  They gifted me a box of “Good Eats” to test out a few new plant based products from 3 different Conagra Brands.

I know this post is about food, but even the packaging of the product I got was pretty neat.  Normally products coming in blah brown boxes, but this one was pretty cool to see on my doorstep.

Inside was a bag of Birds Eye OvenRoasters, Sheet Pan Vegatables, Gardein Nashville Hot Chick’n Tenders & a Healthy Choice Vegan & Vegetarian Power Bowl with Falafel & Tahini.  They shipped in dry ice & were in perfect condition when I got them.

There were a few additional treats like some cloth napkins, a serving platter & a little sauce container.

First thing I tried was the Healthy Choice bowl.  It was really easy to make, I just popped it in the microwave.  Healthy Choice makes 4 different Vegan & Vegetarian Power Bowls including this one with the crispy falafel & a tahini sauce.

Next up was a combo of the Birds Eye OvenRoasters sheet pan veggies.  This is a combo of pre-cut broccoli & cauliflower that is preseasoned & so easy to make.  You literally put it on a sheet pan and then cook for 25 minutes.  So easy & so good.

I saved the best for last with the Gardein Nashville Hot Chick’n Tenders.  Gardein has been a staple in my freezer for a while now & I love Nashville Hot Chick’n so I was really excited to see these in my box.  Gardein has a proprietary pea + wheat protein that they use.  There products are always vegan, non-GMO, dairy free & kosher.

I really liked these tenders, they were probably my favorite product in my Good Eats box.

It’s pretty exciting to see plant based products becoming more and more prominent.  And yes, I know just eating vegetables is easy, but it’s not always easy to get enough protein &/or fiber by just eating veggies so I’m always on the lookout for good tasting products that I can make quickly.

Want to try these products too?  You can buy them from https://shop.basketful.co/bundle?bundle=4df84c6f-583b-4a14-bfe2-7e51582890dc

What are your favorite plant based products?

Nuzest Protein Blueberry Muffins

This post is sponsored by Nuzest & is done through my affiliation with FitApproach.

The ladies at FitApproach & Nuzest gave me the opportunity to create a recipe using Nuzest vegan protein powder & even though I’m not the best chef/baker, I took the challenge!

What makes Nuzest Protein Powder different?

From their website: It’s a Clean, Lean Protein

Powerful European Vegetable Protein  – Up to 88% protein from premium European Golden Peas, with an amino acid profile on par with whey, and over four times the protein content of meat, fish or eggs

Easy to Digest…And FillingLow in carbs with 98% digestibility; so it’s light on the tummy and keeps you feeling fuller for longer

A Complete Protein – A ‘complete’ protein containing all 9 essential amino acids needed for growth and repair and delivering 19+ grams of protein per serving

Quick, Tasty, Convenient – Scoop, shake and you’re ready to go. All of the goodness without any fuss. Choose from four great flavors or just natural

Great for Every-Body – 100% natural, it ticks all the boxes — vegan, paleo-friendly (lectin-free) and allergen-free. No lactose, gluten, dairy, soy, nuts or GMOs

It comes in 3 yummy flavors, Smooth Vanilla, Rich Chocolate & Real Coffee.  I am not normally a huge fan of protein powders but I didn’t have any issues with the taste of Nuzest.  I might have finally found the right protein powder for me!

Now to the muffins!! Last week we got lots of yummy blueberries in our CSA box so I decided to make vegan blueberry muffins.  So being the resourceful baker that I am, I immediately went to pinterest and found a vegan blueberry muffin recipe.  I found a recipe on mydarlingvegan.com which looked really easy & modified it.

I changed the servings to 6 because if I made 12 muffins, Sean & I would eat them all & while we love muffins, we don’t need that many LOL.  This reduced the amount of flour needed to 1 cup.  I wanted to add the Nuzest Vanilla Protein Powder to the muffins so I decided to do 3/4c regular flour & then 1/4c Nuzest Vanilla Protein Powder.

I had no idea how the recipe was going to turn out, but as I started mixing the ingredients together I noticed that they seemed really thick so I added in more soy milk.  I couldn’t give you a measurement, I just poured in some extra.  I ended up with 9 delicious muffins.

They were soooo good!  I ate 3 that morning & Sean took a bunch to work.

Want to try Nuzest for yourself?  Head to nuzest.com and use code RUNNYLEGS to save 15% or click this link

Have you ever added protein powder to an existing recipe to add in protein?

Foodie Finds: Protein Version + A Giveaway

I love food!  And it’s no wonder coming from a huge Italian family :). I used to be incredibly picky, but over the years and a lot of time in the food & beverage industry have opened up my eyes to a lot of yummy foods that in the past I would have never tried.

That being said, as I’ve discussed before, I don’t really like to cook, which as a foodie is probably sacrilegious but it is what it is, right.

So when I have the opportunity to try new products that are tasty, easy and mostly healthy, I’m all for it.

In the past few weeks I’ve been sent some new (to me) products and I thought I’d share my thoughts.  Interestingly enough all 3 of these products are protein products that I could use either before or after a run.  I received free samples of each of these products, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

First up, Doughbar Doughnuts, a protein packed doughnut.  Who doesn’t love doughnuts?  These are so cute and come in a number of flavors.  The Northern California bakery sent me a few to try.  I picked Apple Pie with Streusel Crunch & Maple Bacon and then they sent me the Cookies & Cream.

Doughbar Doughnuts

Doughbar Doughnuts are baked not fried and packed with 11 grams of protein in each doughnut.  They have 3g sugar and 150 calories each.  Right now they aren’t gluten free but they have one in the works that will be coming soon.

Doughbar sends you instructions on how to make your doughnuts.  You heat them in the microwave for a few seconds and then you decorate them however you want with the frosting & crunch (also microwaved for a few seconds).

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So how do they taste?  Well they are a bit heavier than a traditional doughnut, I equate them to more bagel like than doughnut like, but they were tasty.  I was expecting to like the apple pie flavor the best, but the Cookies & Cream were my favorite!

They take orders at 8:00am on Thursdays and then ship as perishable goods on Mondays, the doughnuts range from $15 – $39 for 4 – 12 doughnut packs – there is a $9 flat rate shipping cost as well.

Next up, the folks at Mighty Organic Organic Beef Bars sent me an awesome gift pack (they were also giving away a 1000 bars via an email I received as well) with 2 of their new beef bar flavors and some other cool things.

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I was shocked at how many bars they sent and really impressed with the flavors.  I have to say in the past, I would have been a bit leary of the a beef bar, equating it to the jerky that you see in a convenience store.  I can honestly say I’ve never had one of those jerky sticks.

Mighty Organic’s beef bars are nothing like what I imagine those sticks to be like.  They have 3 flavors, Uncured Bacon & Apple, Cranberry & Sunflower Seed and Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper.

From their website absolutely no antibiotics, GMOs, synthetic hormones or toxic pesticides are used in Mighty Snacks. They have 8 grams of protein, are gluten & nut free.  They use 100% grassfed, organic cattle raised in the Channel Country of the Australian Outback.

They sent me samples of the Uncured Bacon & Apple & the Cranberry & Sunflower Seed bars, although I have to say the sea salt & cracked pepper sounds amazing & I’m excited to try it next!

The beef bars are soft and chewy, they are super flavorful.  I really enjoyed them, especially the uncured bacon & apple.

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You can find Mighty Snacks at Whole Foods, Sprouts and even 7-11 or online.  They sell them individually or in packs of 12, 24 or 48.

Lastly, local San Diego based company, Arctic Zero sent me some of their new flavors of Fit Frozen Desserts to try.

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Arctic Zero is handcrafted from Premium ingredients, no artificial ingredients, sweeteners or colors.  They use the finest quality whey protein that is lactose free.

Arctic Zero ingredients are Fat Free, Certified Gluten-Free (with the exception of 3 flavors), Lactose Free, GMO Free, Low Glycemic & Kosher and Vegetarian.  They have 12 grams of Protein per pint.

They sent me the 5 newest flavors, 3 Chunky Flavors – Brownie Blast, Banana Pudding & Snickerdoodle Dandy, 2 Creamy flavors Cake Batter & Poppin’ Pomegranate.

Of these flavors, 3 of them have 75 calories per serving, 300 calories per pint and the other 2 have only 35 calories per serving 150 calories per pint.

They recommend allowing the pint to thaw for 10 – 15 minutes before digging in to enjoy it at its creamiest.

So, how does it taste?  Well, I’ll be honest, the only one of the 5 that I really liked was the Brownie Blast.  The other flavors were very mild in taste & I had to search for the flavor, especially the cake batter.  But the Brownie Blast, was super yummy.  It tasted chocolatey and had chunks of brownie inside.

The texture is nice once it’s thawed and if you are looking for a low calorie dessert, I would definitely recommend the Brownie Blast.  With 75 calories per serving & 300 calories per pint, it’s a nice low calorie treat.  The other flavors, I would probably add to maybe some fruit or in the case of the Snickerdoodle Dandy, maybe a fruit crumble to give it a bit more flavor.

Now for the good stuff!  Mighty Organic generously is giving a gift bag, like the one I received to one lucky reader!  Want to try them for yourself? Enter below.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs from 12/9 to 11:59p 12/15/16.  Void where prohibited. Open to US residents 18+. Must have a valid email address.  Winner will be contacted and will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.  

#TeamNakamura in Italy – Venice & Harry’s Bar

Since we are on our way to Venice today, I figured this was a fitting post.  I wrote this post months ago but never actually posted it.

After a fun filled week in the Dolomites, Sean & I headed south to Venice where we were going to run the Venice Marathon which I recapped here. Most of our visit was gear towards the race, but we spent the day after the race exploring the city.

This was Sean’s first time to Venice but he had heard all about it from his grandmother who visited often.  There was a place that she always talked about that he wanted to visit and that place is the famous Harry’s Bar.

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So off we went, on a beautiful morning (unlike the cloudy day we had for the race) past Saint Mark’s Square where there was a bit of water in the piazza to the water front, past the gondolas (we would take our own ride later by the Rialto Bridge) and all the tourist kiosks.  Harry’s bar is an unassuming place, in fact if you didn’t know where it was you probably would miss it because the sign is very small.

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When we first got there we saw that it was still closed so we went off to take our gondola ride. The gondola ride cost us 80 Euro for a 1/2 hour or I believe it was 120 Euro for an hour.  They only take cash and the gondolier was very nice to walk us to an ATM so I could get some euros.  Our ride took us past the hotel where George Clooney was married, apparently it’s a 7 star hotel, I’ve never heard of 7 stars but ok.  For the most part we just enjoyed the ride, but occasionally our gondolier would tell us things about the area or the gondola itself.  Did you know that they are flat bottomed can’t really be used in deep water and that one side is longer than the other to help them steer it?  And they are only used for tourists these days. It was quite fascinating.

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We finished up our ride heading back towards the Rialto, which unfortunately was under construction. And then it was time for lunch so we headed back to Harry’s Bar.

We walked in, the lower level is just a bar, and we said we were there to eat.  We were escorted upstairs to another area and since there was only one other person in the dining room, were were able to pick our table.  We picked a 2 seat table which ended up in our opinion being the best table there.  The view was spectacular!!

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And then we opened the menus and saw that this was in fact a very expensive restaurant.  I don’t know what we were thinking, except that it was important for Sean to be there to honor his grandmother.  So a quick story on why it was important to her.  On one of her visits, she was in the bar area and someone was talking about a high school in Marin County CA and she made a comment to them.  Well turns out that someone was Robin Williams!  They got to talking and the rest is history.

So back to the meal, we decided to suck it up and have a fabulous lunch, we were on our honeymoon after all!

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So we choose 2 pasta dishes, a baked pasta dish, I can’t remember the name of it now, but it had ham in it and a crunchy cheese topping and a super yummy risotto dish.  Each of these items was over 35 Euros, I don’t remember the exact price but everything there was over 30 Euros.

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We enjoyed the view and the service was excellent.  I felt a little bad being up there in our Altras, jeans and t-shirts like we should have been a lot more dressed up 🙂 but I’m pretty sure others that we saw come in after us were in jeans too.  I read that there is a dress code where pants are required (no shorts).

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After enjoying the yummy pasta we decided to go for dessert and choose a chocolate cake and some homemade vanilla ice cream.  Both of which I believe were around 27 Euros plus 2 americano style coffees 9 Euros each.

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I love food and one day I want to visit Per Se and/or French Laundry which are both crazy expensive so I understand expensive food, and the food here was excellent, but I wouldn’t put it at the same scale either of these restaurants.  If you go to Harry’s Bar, it’s not for the food, it’s for the experience, the history the Bellini was invented here and the great Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of time there.

We had a fabulous time but would I go back?  Probably not for a meal, but maybe dessert or an appetizer :).

Review: Terra’s Kitchen

Disclosure: I received a $100 credit from Terra’s Kitchen to do this review.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you have been following me for any length of time, you are probably aware that I love food, but I’m not really a big fan of cooking.  That’s not to say that I can’t, it’s just that I don’t enjoy it and with all the traveling that we do, even just going to the grocery store is not a common occurrence.

We don’t have air conditioning and turning on the oven is a no-no during the summer and I need easy recipes that are quick to make.  I’ve seen and tried a few other meal services and I have to say that Terra’s Kitchen fulfills those needs.

So how does it work?  You start by putting in your zip code and email address.  You can either pick the recipes you’d like to cook or their chefs can choose for you.  They prep and pre-portion, pre-chop the ingredients for you.  This is a huge plus, some of the other services give you all the ingredients but you still have to chop veggies, etc. which takes a lot of time.  They deliver everything weekly, I believe there were options for Thursday & Saturday in my zip code.  And then finally you cook the healthy meals in 30 minutes or less using the step by step recipe cards.

I had a hard time picking my meals there were so many to choose from, I finally settled on 4 meals and filled my vessel.  The meals come in this super cool climate controlled vessel that looks like a mini fridge.  You can see more in the video that I made below (sorry I’m still learning how to take the best videos and I didn’t realize that I needed to hold my phone the other way, oops).

The meals I chose were Crispy Salmon & Watermelon Salsa, Tilapia Salad with Arugula & Apples, Bacon, Kale & Caramelized Onion Pasta Salad & TERRAchilada.  All the meals I received had organic grass-fed beef and sustainable fish in them.

So once you get the vessel which was sent via FedEx, you take out all the food, peel off the label and then leave it in the same place you found it for FedEx to pick it up the next business day.  You don’t have to do anything special, the pick-up has already been arranged for you.

Terra's Kitchen, Meal ServiceI got our first delivery on Thursday after we got home from Tahoe and made our first meal that night.  I picked to have meals for 2 people because it’s just Sean & I, but you can pick to have meals for up to 4 people.  All of the meals are pre-portioned & pre-chopped and labeled with a number that corresponds to the recipe card so you know exactly what you need.

Our first meal was the Crispy Salmon with Watermelon Salsa.

Crispy Salmon & Watermelon Salsa Prep for Crispy Salmon & Watermelon Salsa Crispy Salmon & Watermelon Salsa

 

I actually skipped the next 2 days because we went to Kodiak and needed to carb up and then spent the night out of town, fortunately all the meats had use by dates that went until the following Tuesday so we had some time to use them.

Next up was the Tilapia Salad with Arugula & Apples.  I did another video so here goes :).

This salad was so easy to make, the tilapia was so tender, it literally fell apart as I was cooking it.  The only caveat on this one is that I didn’t realize it at first but I received 2 containers of almonds and no honey for the dressing.  I didn’t have any in the house so I made the dressing without it.  It was still good but probably not as good as it would have been with the honey.

Tilapia Salad with Arugula & Apples Tilapia Salad with Arugula & Apples

Next up was the Bacon, Kale & Caramelized Onion Pasta.  Again super easy, I made a mistake on this one though, I don’t normally cook with sugar so I left the brown sugar out of the caramelized onions but then Sean was like you should use it so I threw it in after the fact and I felt like the sauce was a bit too sweet for me.  For some reason I didn’t take any prep photos so all we’ve got is my finished product :).

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The last meal I made was the TERRAchildas which is Terra’s Kitchen’s version of the enchilada.  These don’t look the same as the photo and were very tasty but not easy to eat.  I think I didn’t make the tortilla’s exactly right, but it was super yummy.

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I have to say these meals were so easy, I would start them when Sean said he was on his way home and they were always done before he arrived.  I felt like they were done before you knew it.  I never once had to turn on the oven and the step by step directions were perfect.

We loved Terra’s Kitchen and I’ve already placed my order for this week, on my own dime.  Sean & I cleaned our plates every single time.  This is a big deal for me because I really don’t like to cook.

Want to try Terra’s Kitchen for yourself?  You can use code TOAST30 for $30 off your first-time order.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Terra’s Kitchen. The opinions and text are all mine.

It’s time to get our #sparklingdetox on!

**I am participating in the Gerolsteiner #sparklingdetox as part of a partnership with FitApproach, I was given a case of Gerolsteiner Natural Sparkling Mineral Water to participate in the detox. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.**

 It’s time!  Gerolsteiner’s #sparklingdetox began today! If you haven’t signed up yet, there is still time. Head over to and join the Facebook Group and check out the store locator to find Gerolsteiner in your area.

All the racing, traveling, & French fry consumption (I swear every single meal in France included French fries lol) has taken its toll and it’s time for me to get back on track.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love doing little detoxes here and there and I’m so excited that this detox doesn’t restrict food, but I will be making a concentrated effort to find more healthy options and to limit my French fry intake significantly, which in itself will be a challenge, lol.

img_9117 I mentioned in a previous post that I’m going to be crewing for Sean at Tahoe 200 for the first few days of the detox so I’m interested to see how that goes with no coffee and little sleep, but I know after traveling so much in the last month I really need to make some changes with my diet. I’ve noticed that when I travel, I tend not to drink enough water so having to drink 2.5 liters per day is going to be interesting.

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Since I’ll be away from home and a kitchen, not that ours gets much use when we are home, I’ll be on the look-out for healthy options vs. the normal fast food fare. If you read my (very long) Tahoe 200 recap from last year, you’ll know that it’s a pretty easy race to crew and while there is a lot of driving & downtime, there are also quite a few spots around the lake where I can find decent food options. The detox doesn’t require any specific food choices, but since I’m using this as a way to kick-start a healthier diet, I’m going to look for better choices, even if it’s not super easy.

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Are you ready?  What’s your #sparklingdetox plan?

 

 

Sparkling Natural Mineral Water Taste Test

**This post is sponsored by Gerolsteiner through a partnership with Fitapproach, as always all thoughts and opinions are mine.**

Gerolsteiner’s #SparklingDetox is going to be starting in mid September and I’m so excited! I just spent a week in the Alps and boy are mineral waters popular in Europe.

Gerolsteiner and I want you to join us for the #SparklingDetox Challenge from Sept 12 – 15. Don’t forget to join the Sparkling Detox Facebook Group so you can meet other detoxers. Fitness Expert & Nutritionist, Ariane Hundt (link to page about Ariane http://www.gerolsteiner-usa.com/enjoy-life.html) will be sharing tips and guidance during the detox.

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Also, check out this link to a cool Mineral Calculator, http://www.mineral-calculator.com/the-mineral-calculator.html, that is on Gerolsteiner’s website. Before I left, I checked out what sparkling natural mineral waters are in that area.

Gerolsteiner’s mineral calculator compares the amount of calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, potassium, sodium, chloride & sulfate in the water and gives you a total mineral content for 1 liter of water.

Having lived in Italy in college, almost 20 years ago, yikes! I am familiar with some of the brands that I could compare in the calculator.  I picked 3 other brands that I felt like I could find in France, Italy & Switzerland and then set out to find them and do a taste test.

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 I decided to go global since we would be visiting 3 countries during our trip.  I tried Gerolsteiner Sparkling (German), San Pellegrino & Perrier.  I wanted to try a few other brands but they weren’t readily available in Chamonix – Mont Blanc.  There were however a lot of other brands of both sparkling & flat mineral waters that were sold in various restaurants.  Surprising to me, San Pellegrino was quite popular in this area of France.  We were served it at every dinner.  Perrier was also quite popular – I saw it in all the Casino’s (grocery store).

According to the Mineral Calculator here are the mineral contents of the different waters.
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Could I taste the difference? Oooh….interesting question.

I moved to Italy when I was 22 as part of a consortia program with Indiana University, 9 other US universities and the Universita di Bologna for a year of study abroad.  Do you believe I’m pretty sure when I moved to Italy I had never had sparkling mineral water?

I have cousins that live in Rome and showed me around the city and shared their favorite meals with me.  It was interesting that at restaurants, they don’t give out glasses of tap water like we do here, you would ask for either acqua naturale or acqua minerale or frizzante.  I quickly learned that naturale was flat mineral water and frizzante/minerale/gassata was sparkling and my family, at least at the time, drank a lot of acqua gassata.

I remember when I moved back to the States for my last semester at IU, I was craving acqua minerale, but mineral water here is way more expensive than it is in Europe & as a poor college student, I was buying 2 liters of sparkling water, which I later found out was nothing more than carbonated water. Insert sad face emoji here lol.

When was the first time you had Sparkling Mineral Water?  And did you notice a difference?

Gerolsteiner #SparklingDetox

I am super excited to be partnering with Gerolsteiner & FitApproach for the #SparklingDetox Challenge in mid September.  I received a free case of water for the challenge, however as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  All information on the actual water is from Gerolsteiner.

First let’s talk about who Gerolsteiner is.

Bottled in Gerolstein, Germany directly from the Volcanic Eifel since 1888, Gerolsteiner is know in international markets as the “World’s No. 1 Sparkling Natural Mineral Water”.  It is sold in 40 countries.

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What makes Gerolsteiner mineral water so special?

From Gerolsteiner: With many waters there are two criteria that are mutually exclusive. Either the water tastes neutral but contains only a small amount of minerals, or the water is full of minerals but tastes salty or bitter due to the sodium chloride or sulfate content. Gerolsteiner mineral water combines the best of both. It has its origin in the Volcanic Eifel – an area that offers soil conditions unique throughout the world: Gerolsteiner’s well-balanced water is the result of the carbonic acid of volcanic origin and the region’s dolomite rock, which is exceptionally highly mineralized. Thus Gerolsteiner neither tastes bitter nor salty – but pleasantly neutral and refreshing naturally. Not many waters contain essential calcium and at the same time essential magnesium as well.

The unique source, the Volcanic Eifel, with its naturally high mineral content means Gerolsteiner has almost 2,500 mg of mineral content per liter which is quite a bit higher than other brands.

Interestingly, the mineral water is bottled with carbon dioxide from natural springs.  This means there is no need to artificially carbonate the water.

Now that we’ve introduced Gerolsteiner Sparking Natural Mineral Water, I know you are interested in what the #SparklingDetox is.

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It’s super simple, which is great for someone like me.  I love pre-packaged juice cleanses & trying new things that are easy.  Between all the travel, work and running, I just don’t have time to do anything complicated.

So basically all you need to do is, commit to drinking Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water for 5 days from September 12 – 16.  You can eat your normal meals, exercise like normal, but you’ll give up soda, juice, alcohol and coffee (insert crying emoji here, lol) &/or tea.

When I first saw the info on what was required for the #SparklingDetox I almost started crying because I’ll be in Tahoe crewing Sean at Tahoe 200 and I was like oh, no! I’m not going to be able to eat for 3 days I’m there? But then I read a little further and found out I can eat whatever I want, I just can’t drink anything else, super easy :).

Why do I want to do the #SparklingDetox?  It’s so easy, just drink Gerolsteiner water then eat & exercise like normal? How can you go wrong?

As an added bonus, Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water not only tastes good, it also contains 33% of our daily requirement of Calcium and 25% of our daily requirement of Magnesium (per liter), which means for all of us that don’t really drink a lot of milk or don’t want to take a supplement, we can get a good amount of calcium just from drinking Gerolsteiner.

I have always been a fan of mineral water and have always known that not all waters are created equal.  It’s fascinating to me that depending on what region, what type of bedrock the spring comes from, can really have an effect on the taste.  And let me just say, I am super picky about my water and always have been.

Partnering with Gerolsteiner has really educated me on how different water can be.  There are 3 different types of water, mineral, sparkling & purified.   So what does that mean?

Want to join me in the #SparklingDetox?

A How To in 3 easy steps.

  • Check out the store locator to find a store near you that sells Gerolsteiner so you can make sure to have a minimum of 1 case to drink during the week or sign up get the chance to win a free supply of Gerolsteiner Water http://bit.ly/SparklingDetox.
  • Commit to drinking only Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water for 5 days from Sept. 12 – 16.
  • Join the Sparkling Detox Facebook Group to meet others participating in the detox and hear their experiences.

How much easier can it get?  I’m so looking forward to how easy this detox will be and how good I will feel drinking a lot more water!

Doughnut or Donut: Portland Edition

I was super excited to go to Portland for the Vancouver USA Marathon and one of the reasons for that is that I’ve always heard about Portland’s foodie scene.  I love food and trying new things.

We didn’t have an opportunity to try as much as I would have liked because we had so much to fit into our 3 days, but we did have time to try both Voodoo Doughnuts & Blue Star Donuts.

A lot of people have heard of Voodoo Doughnuts.  With lines that can go down the block, they are known for their outrageous, crazy flavors & sizes.

We went to the Original, Voodoo Doughnut One on 3rd Avenue in Downtown Portland.  Sean had been there before and we made it our very first stop (after a stop at Barista, which is just down the street, for some coffee).  As we were walking down the street, he was like oh, good the line isn’t too bad.  There was a line, but we only waited maybe around 15-20 minutes.  Of course we realized as we were in line that it was cash only so once we got inside, Sean headed to the ATM while I waited in line.

Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, OR

There are over 90 different doughnuts on the menu so it was a challenge to choose.  They all look so cool, but ultimately we decided on the following:  Maple Bacon, Memphis Mafia & the Old Dirty Bastard.

Voodoo Doughnut, Maple Bacon, doughnut, Portland, OR

Maple Bacon bar doughnut
Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top!

The Maple Bacon was my favorite of the 3.  Always a great combination, I was surprised at how crisp and crunchy the bacon was, just like we like our bacon, but it didn’t just fall apart.

Memphis Mafia doughnut
Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR, Memphis Mafia

The Memphis Mafia is HUGE! Seriously, look at it, it’s almost as big as my head!! I was impressed with this fritter type doughnut.  The banana wasn’t overpowering, the dough was moist and not the toppings weren’t overly sweet.  I really thought I would be biting into a sugar bomb and that wasn’t the case at all.

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR, doughnuts, maple bacon, memphis mafia, dirty old bastard

Old Dirty Bastard doughnut
Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo’s™ and peanut butter!

This was probably my least favorite of the 3.  I again was surprised that it wasn’t overly sweet, but I thought it was kind of blah, nothing to write home about.

After posting about our Voodoo visit, we were told that Blue Star was where all the locals go and since we saw it on our way to Vancouver on Saturday we knew exactly were it was so we could try them out too.

We made our way to Blue Star on Monday morning before heading over to Mt. Hood for the day.  Blue Star is different from Voodoo in a lot of ways.  First off, there wasn’t a line, second, their display is super clean and you are in the kitchen where you can watch them preparing the donuts.  I thought I had a photo I could share but I couldn’t find it in my photo album.  Lastly, they accept credit cards, while Voodoo is cash only.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR

From the Blue Star website: Our donuts are made from a classic brioche recipe that originated in the south of France. The dough takes 18 hours to make and is made from scratch every day; we start with a sustainable bread flour from Shepherds Grain, add cage free eggs, whole hormone-free milk, and then fold in a European-style butter. Our donuts, glazes, and fillings are made fresh throughout the day, and we only cook our donuts in rice oil. Selections change daily and sell out quickly.

Because I lost my photo of the display case and they don’t keep their donut list on their website, I’m hoping I got the flavors correct. I scoured their Instagram for the flavors. First off, they are a much more modern, clean and artisan style of donut where as the Voodoo doughnut is a more in your face and crazy.  It was hard to choose, but ultimately we went with the following 4 different types and flavors.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Blueberry bourbon basil, donut

Blueberry, Bourbon, Basil – Sean asked about which donut was the best seller and we were told this one was.  I feel like this was more cake donut than brioche like the Raspberry Rosemary below but I might be wrong, since there was frosting on it, it was hard to tell.  But it was definitely tasty.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Peanut Butter & Jelly, donut

Peanut Butter & Jelly – I had to try this one because I love PB.  This was I believe a raspberry or maybe blackberry (I can’t remember) filled with peanut butter powder and I believe a little cayenne pepper.  There was definitely a little kick in the back of my throat with this one.  Super yummy, I enjoyed this one.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Hard Apple Cider Fritter

Hard Cider Apple Fritter – I like apple fritters so I picked this for our fourth choice.  Made with apples, cinnamon and raisins and a nice glaze it was good, but in comparison to the others, it was probably our least favorite.

Blue Star Donuts, Portland, OR, Raspberry Rosemary, Donut

Raspberry & Rosemary – Sean also asked the guy helping us what his favorite was and he pointed to this one.  We were super lucky to get to try one that was still warm.  This was by far our favorite, warm and crunchy on outside while still remaining soft inside with a super yummy raspberry glaze.

After hearing about these amazing doughnuts and donuts which do you think was my favorite?

Drum roll please…

They were both good, but I have to say Blue Star was by far my favorite and the place I would recommend to anyone.  I think you have to try Voodoo because of what it is, a destination, the maple bacon was yummy, but for an amazing & unique artisan creation, I’d pick Blue Star every time.

Have you been to Portland and gone to Voodoo &/or Blue Star?  Which is your favorite?