PLANT-BASED IN THE BIG APPLE
Four years ago, Dusty and I went to New York City together for the first time, and we were sold. The energy, the people, the architecture, the shopping, the smells, the sounds, and the FOOD! We made a pact when we got home, that somehow we'd make a yearly trip to the Big Apple, and the rest is history! This fall, we made our annual trip, and we left energized and inspired, with plenty of unfinished business for next year.
Being plant-based while traveling can be tricky, even in a big city--yes, there are more options, but there are also more temptations! With the holidays on the horizon, many of us will be traveling near and far, and it can leave us feeling weighed down and bummed out at the start of the new year. I'm going to share with you some of our top healthy travel hacks that have helped us to successfully navigate both abroad and right here in the good ole U.S. of A., so that you can EatMoveRest your best during this sometimes-stressful-should-be-cheerful time of year!
AN APPLE A DAY, ON VACAY
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, just imagine what a whole day's worth of fresh fruits and veggies will do for you! New York City is a plant-eater's paradise--boasting a plethora of juice and smoothie shops and fine, vegetarian dining. When traveling, though, finding balance is key. Dusty and I allow ourselves to loosen the reins a bit, relax, and indulge. Some of our favorite eateries we visited are listed below--feel free to check them out!
- Juice Generation - juices, smoothies, and vegan to-go lunches
- Sweetgreen - casual dining/to-go salad bar
- Double Zero - fine dining, all vegan pizza and Italian cuisine
- Candle 79 - Upper East side fine, plant-based dining w/ amazing brunch
- Quantum Leap - Greenwich Village quaint dining, classic vegetarian dishes
- Two Tablespoons - vegetarian, fast-casual pop-up
- by Chloe - all vegan fast food, burgers and fries
- Rockin' Raw - quaint cafe w/ raw vegan Peruvian Creole dishes
- Playa Bowls - tropical açaí and pitaya bowls near NYU
- Whole Foods buffet in Columbus Circle
- Chinatown fruit market & any classic Italian restaurant in Little Italy
The great thing about Manhattan is that you can get virtually anywhere by foot. Even though you're most likely eating more on vacation, you're also walking far more. Some of our must-see spots and favorite things to do include:
- jog the loop around Central Park
- get quiet at the New York City Public Library
- gaze up and snap a shot at the Flatiron Building
- people watch at Washington Square Park
- get inspired at the Met
- witness the city that never sleeps in Times Square
- shop til you drop on Fifth Avenue
- find one-of-a-kind pieces at boutiques in SoHo
- get dressed up on the Upper East Side
- wander through NYU
- bump into locals and grab a bite to eat in the East Village
- cab across the Brooklyn Bridge
- ride the subway to the last stop at Coney Island
EatMoveRest Your Best
- Before you leave the house, pack some travel snacks. Airport food isn't always the healthiest, and sometimes short layovers don't provide enough time to find adequate fuel. My go-to's are: a baggie filled with romaine leaves and celery sticks, and a mason jar filled with mixed fruit, like berries, grapes, kiwi, and pineapple. I also love to bring a bag or jar filled with mixed nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit--think walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, goji berries, dates, and dried mulberries, which can easily be kept in your purse or backpack while exploring your location, as well. I always bring my re-usable bamboo utensils with me. Many people don't realize that airports will actually let you bring prepared fruits and veggies through security--just make sure they're easily visible!
- Try out Airbnb instead of a hotel--you typically get a lot more bang for your buck! Many apartments and homes for rent are more spacious and less expensive than a hotel room, and the kicker is that you get your own kitchen! Dusty and I love having the option to cook while we travel!
- If you stay in a hotel, check to see if the amenities include a mini fridge, and if not, request one; much of the time there will be no extra charge. I also like to ask for an electric tea kettle, and bring my own tea bags to sip on in the evenings. I recommend traveling with teas like ginger and peppermint, to help soothe your stomach and aid in digestion, especially while traveling. Chamomile and lavender are also good options, that will help you to relax and sleep better on a bed that isn't your own.
- Once you've settled in where you're staying, find the nearest supermarket or grocery store and stock up on necessities that will at least get you through breakfast and keep you from ordering room service. I like to stock up on pre-cut fresh fruit, romaine leaves, and veggies with hummus.
daily + Often
- Stay near a park or somewhere that lends itself to being active outdoors. We always love to stay right by Central Park in NYC, so that we can get up bright and early and run the 6-mile loop around the perimeter, or just take off our shoes and walk barefoot through the grass. Connecting with nature in the most literal of ways does amazing things for our bodies--check out the research on grounding, also called earthing!
- If outdoor exercise isn't an option, check to make sure the hotel you choose has a gym. If you stay somewhere without a gym, no problem--bring your workout with you! Dumbbells are an obvious no-go when traveling, but a resistance band is the perfect, lightweight alternative. Even without a resistance band, though, you can find plenty of free fitness apps and YouTube videos--I love the 7-minute Workout! (Watch our 7-minute workout YouTube here!)
- Find a fitness studio and book a class! I always scope out the nearest cycling or yoga studio--my favorite in NYC is SoulCycle! One word of experience, book at least a week in advance, because chances are, the class will be filled up by the time you get there!
- When all else fails--WALK! Let's face it, sometimes we just need a break from our at-home routines and there are too many new and exciting things to do and see on vacation. Instead of gearing up and getting sweaty, try your best to walk from place to place. Especially somewhere like Manhattan, you can spend a whole day walking up to 20,000 steps, easy--and that most definitely counts as exercise!
- While flying, I like to get settled in and immediately plug in my Bose noise-canceling headphones--they are a game changer! For someone who is a reluctant flyer, these headphones provide the perfect, quiet environment, which helps to calm the mind and cut down on stress. I also recommend bringing a neck pillow, eye mask, and a peaceful playlist. I love to listen to spa or nature sounds, or my Headspace meditation app!
- It's easy to rest on vacation if you're on a white sandy beach, but if you're in a busy city like New York, take some time to find green space and decompress. I love to find one of the big rocks in Central Park, post up, and do a quick meditation. Dusty and I also love to get lunch to-go, like a big Whole Foods buffet salad, and head outside, find a park bench, and listen to the musicians scattered about the park.
- Try putting in your earbuds walking the streets. All of a sudden, everything is transformed into a more romantic and magical version of itself.
- Even though you're probably anxious to get up and get out to see and do things, be okay with switching your alarm off and sleeping in. I like to remind myself to slow down, dine out, loosen up, and take style risks! On that note, be someone you're not, or better yet, be the best version of yourself! Pack an outfit you're too afraid to wear back home, or buy something edgy while you're traveling! One of the most liberating things about travel is being unknown, and unafraid of judgement, especially in a bustling city like New York!
AS SEEN ON YOUTUBE
Be sure to come along with us on our Big Apple adventure on the EatMoveRest YouTube channel!
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The Apple Of MY Eye
The City that Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, The Empire State--New York City is no doubt, the apple of my eye! My favorite part about The City is being whoever I want to be--the version of myself that I'm, at times, a bit more afraid to be at home. However, traveling here year after year has helped me to come out of my shell back home, and reminds me to always embrace the bolder, edgier, more vibrant me.
No matter where you travel, overseas, state-to-state, the next city nearby, or a simple vacation in your mind, find the best version of YOU while you're there, and bring it back home with you.
Next time you venture out into the world, remember: slow down, indulge a little, keep the balance, be you boldly, and seek to find all that is true, good, and beautiful.