Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Donna's Blog- An American Raw Foodist in Paris!

Bonjour! A raw foodist is found in Paris! I recently visited Paris, France for 10 days and had a splendid time. Prior to leaving, I told my veggie friends about my trip and their first reaction was “What will you eat in Paris?” In the land of croissant, cheese and wine how would a veggie gal like me survive? No problem. I have camped in the midst of the Rockies eating out of a cooler for 3 weeks and have survived visits to meat eating Relatives homes and social gatherings of all kinds. Never Fear! Donna’s got this one figured out!

What made this trip very enjoyable was that we rented an apartment. The price was no different then renting a hotel room. Search online and there are deals to be found. We had a fully equipped kitchen with a refrigerator that allowed us to make and prepare our own food. This generated a huge savings instead of eating out for every meal.

Any excursion whether a day trip or a vacation will need some thought and planning in advance. So, I packed the essentials needed for any veggie raw foodist needs and wants. First, think Zip Lock Bags. Yes, nothing glamorous. Bringing glass bottles of algae, seaweed, green power enzymes and vitamin supplements would be a Big Mistake! Also, think of those nasty x-ray machines at the airport. ZAP! Bring just the amount you will need for your trip. Search for sandwich and snack size ziplock bags. This will be and easy way for you the carry your powers with you in a purse or backpack. Label them if you need to.

What’s for breakfast? My breakfast in NYC is a choice of a green juice, green smoothie/energy soup or fresh fruit. Go ahead, try and find a green juice in Paris. Dare you! No way, No Luck! So, I packed my Magic Bullet, which is a small, light in weight mini blender. This is by far my favorite gadget next to my I-phone. It comes with several different canisters. Some canisters even have a handle to drink out of and included are screw-on lids. At home I use the Magic Bullet to make yummy raw dressings. Just pack the Magic Bullet with veggies, herbs, nuts/seeds/oils/avocado and water and blend to make just the right amount of dressing to cover a delicious salad. While on a vacation use the Magic Bullet to make a morning green smoothie or energy soup. Make a green smoothie with fruits, leafy sprouts, green leafy vegetables, algae, green power, goji berries and water and blend. I fill the container two times to make a satisfying drink. If traveling overseas don’t forget to pack a converter!

There is a manual travel juicer I own that uses no electricity that is easy to carry and clean. Contact: Hippocrates Health Institute to order it. It can juice all vegetables including carrot but all ingredients must be cut into small pieces. A countertop or table is necessary.

After a glorious morning viewing some the world’s greatest art in the numerous Parisian museums this gal is ready for lunch. Unfortunately, Paris is not as salad friendly as NYC. The Parisians love their veggies and the markets are so amazing. The produce is farmer’s market quality and stamped with no GMO’s! I packed my favorite Tupperware that fits perfectly in my knapsack and a little plastic bottle that can be found in any hiking/camping store. I made a salad in advance and carried it with me till lunchtime and I put olive oil in the little bottle to use as a dressing. I put the little bottle of oil in a ziplock bag just in case of any leaking problems. This salad is not boring! Back in NYC, I prepared several different blends of my favorite seasonings in ziplock bags all ready to be sprinkled on a salad at a moments notice. Some blends included onion powder, garlic powder, caraway seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, black pepper, Celtic salt, curry powder, cayenne powder etc.. Avocados can be found in Paris! I am in heaven! Also, I carry a spork that is part fork and spoon and a swiss army knife that can be found at any hiking/camping store. Make sure to pack the knife in your bag that goes underneath the plane. And don’t forget a cloth napkin. Please save a tree!

You can use a cold storage insulated bag and cold packs to keep your food cool. This will add some weight to your knapsack, but is a nice idea. If you do not have access to a kitchen, and are staying in a hotel room, then ask for a room that has a refrigerator. Bring a small flexible cutting board that is light in weight and a knife with a protective cover.

Indeed, life is good. Cruising the streets of Paris. Went to Versailles, Rodin Museum, Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Latin Quarter, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Picasso Museum, and the Pompidou. Such fun! Need a snack? Good idea to pack fresh fruit, raw bars, or raw crackers. Just in case a munchie attack comes on. Bring your favorite treats with you from home.

I ate in parks, on benches, stairs, cafeterias, and even went to a Chinese restaurant where my friend ordered food and I ate my salad there. I ordered a side of steamed vegetables at the restaurant that sufficed my taking up a seat. Leave a generous tip! Day after day, the French peered onto my gorgeous salad with envy as I watched them eat cheese and bread sandwiches! No match!

Are you wondering if I was tempted to eat any of the rich Parisian foods? Actually, I felt very content with my own food. I have been eating primarily raw food and vegan for 20 years now. For easy packing at dinner I ate germinated pumpkin/sunflower seeds with celery sticks, fennel slices, baby spinach, and cherry tomatoes. This keeps well in my bag all day. Simple eating is always best!

Or by dinnertime I allowed for other options on my plate. In advance, I researched on any veggie restaurants or natural food stores found in Paris. There are approximately 10 restaurants in Paris, France. I visited several that were very accommodating to my vegan diet. As I am a happy 80% to 100% raw foodist there were many healthy cooked options to be savored. Such as: cooked vegetables, soups, salads, potato, and healthy grain options. We also visited ethnic style restaurants and ate vegan Japanese, Middle Eastern and Moroccan foods. I consider myself a purist at heart that lives with balance. When away from home make the best of the experience. Don’t be too rigid or you will become a rigid person! What truly matters is that you are making great choices at least 80% of the time. In these instances find the cleanest options on the menu. Good choices are side dishes of vegetables, leave the sauce on the side, use lemon or olive oil instead, and steam rather then fry your food. Please no soy or seitan! Pack those enzymes in a ziplock bag!

The big question on everyone’s mind is, “Did you drink wine?” I rarely drink alcohol. I occasionally do on holidays, special occasions like a wedding, or when on vacation. Yes, I drank a little wine on my trip and believe me one glass of red wine definite relaxes this very busy NYC gal. I will admit that whenever I do drink I see the appeal and addictive aspect of alcohol consumption. Wine may have bioflavonoids and some positive aspects on the body, yet it is a highly acidic substance, which taxes the liver and assaults the immune system. Truth be told, on occasion this gal feels the need to break out of the routine and this Rebel desires a glass of wine. So, I let my hair down on occasion, and am back on my healthy lifestyle the very next day. Find balance with yourself to nurture your body and your emotional side. It all depends on whether you tend to be more addicted to food or drink or not that is the deciding factor to consider.

After any vacation, this Colon Hydro-therapist is happy to return home for a Colonic! Traveling can interfere with good elimination. Traveling by airplane effects digestion due to change in air pressure that generates gases. Traveling on long train or car trips generates lack of movement that can leave a colon a tad sluggish. Many people go off their healthy eating habits and slack on exercise while on vacation. It is a great idea to schedule a colonic to remove unwanted gases and waste that can linger after a trip. Replenish yourself and feel renewed!

Dear Paris,
Thank you for a wonderful time! Until we meet again!

Donna Perrone is a Colon Hydro-therapist and co-owner of Gravity East Village. Donna is a raw food educator and community leader and organizes raw food events for Accent on Wellness in NYC.
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