Eating right on vacation . . . part II

How do you spend your vacation dollars? This is my breakdown of vacation expenses for my family of six (not including boring stuff like gas):


Attractions: $729 Disneyland two days, $329 Universal Studios, $570 Wicked = $1,200

Bang for the buck:Lots of fun, family bonding time, and memories–PRICELESS

Souvenirs:$28 Wicked CD, $40 t-shirts = $68

Bang for the buck:Memories, fun singalongs on the way home, and something to wear

Food:Room service/hotel restaurant breakfast ($60) + 2 in-park junk-food meals daily ($120) + $4 Mickey ice cream snack per person ($24) + fast food for driving days ($120) = $936

Bang for the buck:Weight gain, regret, loss of energy, constipation, misery


Ha, fooled ya.Here’s our real food expenditures:


Food:Live, whole plant food we brought for 2 meals and snacks daily ($80 total), 3 Souplantation dinners and 2 Subway dinners ($180) = $260

Bang for the buck:Not much more than we’d spend at home anyway, lots of energy


The food cost savings of $776 don’t tell the whole story, because we also didn’t feel horrible and sleep 10 hours at night to recover from a day of trans fats, chemicals, food dyes, and sugar.Our digestive function didn’t shut down, we didn’t struggle with blood sugar lows and resulting crabbiness.All in all, we may have enjoyed our vacation much more, in addition to saving a boatload of money compared to what we saw others doing.

Tips: One, Mapquest Souplantation / Sweet Tomatoes into your driving schedule.They’re everywhere.We love that place!Two, don’t drink your calories, even with juice (still lots of sugar). Subway is cheap at $5 for a footlong right now at most locations, so just don’t add chips and a drink there or at other restaurants. You’ll save money and fill up on veggies instead of sugar.

eating right on vacation . . . part I

Nobody wants to slow down to eat, so we eat in line at Universal Studios.   My DH developed a new hobby: taking photos of us eating whole plant foods, with people in the photo eating more typical amusement-park, processed food.   Our children found this new hobby MUCH less amusing than we did.   Can you see the lady with the Cheetohs behind us as we eat a big bag of cucumber slices?


Almonds are high in fiber, and I made these soaked and dehydrated, so they’re giving us live energy, too.   They’re higher in calories than many plant foods (while lower in fat than most nuts).   Can you see the cotton candy being sold behind us?


We’re eating Tonya’s For Cryin’ Out Loud Onion Bread here.   Somebody behind us is eating some kind of fried dough thing.


Apples and plums are the perfect fruit for the backpack because they don’t get banged up too easily and require no preparation or mess.   See the lady eating a push-up popsicle behind us?


We did more on vacation than just eat, believe it or not.   For instance, we also took disapproving photos in front of candy stores.


 After DH took a million photos with junk-food eating going on in the background, Kincade grumbled, “This has gone far beyond ‘research’–it’s become some kind of sick fun for you two.”   Well, I’m  about to get the last laugh now.   Here’s what happened when Shaggy and Scooby Doo saw Kincade: Shaggy said, “MY TWIN! Where have you been all my life?!” and Scooby put his arm around Cade and walked away, waving goodbye to the “real” Shaggy.



Tonya’s For Cryin’ Out Loud Onion Bread

This is a recipe Robyn made for traveling this week, contributed by 12 Stepper Tonya, whose husband loves to each this for lunch every day. Thanks, Tonya!

For Cryin’ Out Loud Onion Bread/Crackers

3 large yellow onions

2 handfuls spinach

3 cups flaxseeds, ground in BlendTec

3 cups raw sunflower seeds

½ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

¼ cup extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil

Soak flax and sunflower seeds overnight in 6 cups water. Peel and quarter onions and slice them in food processor with “S” blade (or shred them using the large shred blade—this will somewhat “juice” the onions). Slice/shred spinach. Add Bragg’s, olive oil, soaked seeds, and stir well. Spread mixture on teflex sheets in dehydrator (4-5 trays). Dehydrate at 100 degrees until desired consistency is achieved. Flip to dry on the other side. Unless you made them very dry crackers, store in fridge.

Tastes great with tomatoes, sprouts, raw mayo, and/or avocado!

Eating right, even at Disneyland

Hi, Ben here—’s webmaster. Robyn’s on spring break in SoCal, seeing Wicked and doing the theme parks with her family. But she left me her list of what she packed, to give you some travel ideas. She keeps her family’s energy high and digestion strong on vacation, while saving money on restaurants, by packing this stuff for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.


Bags of baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, raw sweet potatoes

½ gal. homemade yogurt

2 bags Costco spinach

1 bag Costco frozen mixed berries

pint of soaked/drained sunflower seeds (to add to granola for breakfast)

quart of alfalfa/radish/clover sprouts (to add to granola for breakfast)



Plastic cups, straws, bowls, spoons, and baggies

Knife and cutting board for smoothies (I use it even on hotel room tables or vanities)

Lexan mugs for smoothies

Backpack for taking food to the parks

3 loaves whole-wheat bread

organic peanut butter-honey mix

gallon bag of homemade granola

3 boxes Rice Dream

gallon bag of soaked/dehydrated teriyaki almonds

Tonya’s “For Cryin’ Out Loud Dehydrator Onion Bread” (post to follow)

bananas (for green smoothies and to add to yogurt for breakfast)

bags of washed apples, pears, plums


5-gallon jug of filtered water

Good, Better, Best . . . Part II


Good: eat whole grains and quit eating white flour.

Better: eat soaked whole grains (this requires planning a little ahead, as my cousin noted).

Best: eat sprouted, raw nuts, seeds, and grains.


(Note, that I am uneasy about fructose, xylitol, “organic sugar,” or dehydrated cane juice crystals—ways to spend extra money on refined options that really aren’t much better.   They’re maybe a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, whereas sugar/corn syrup are a 1.   So I don’t even include them in the “good” category.)

Good (4 on a 1-10 scale): use Sucanat and honey  and real maple syrup instead of refined sugar and corn syrup.   They have a high glycemic index but also good nutrients and are not terribly acidic like refined sugars.

Better (7 on a 1-10 scale): use raw agave and stevia and molasses.   They have higher nutrition and  lower impact on blood sugar.

Best (10 on a 1-10 scale): use little or no concentrated sweeteners, just fruit and dates as treats or sweeteners.   They are high in fiber, lower in sugar, and highest in nutrition.

Your body and spirit will tell you when you’re ready to transition to the next level. If everything in you is resisting the “best” levels, then start with “good” and congratulate yourself, for now, rather than anguishing or beating yourself up.

Good, Better, and Best in Nutrition

I want to talk about good, better, and best in nutrition.   I got an email yesterday from my cousin who said that the idea of soaking/sprouting grains in advance is overwhelming to her.   She probably read my three-part blog on phytates in whole grains.

If my cousin’s comment describes you, then don’t worry about it!   Some of my readers (group #1) are mostly raw, longtime vegans.   Some eats lots of plant food (group #2) and consider themselves “healthy eaters” but are struggling to get off processed food and meat.   Many of my readers, though, (group #3) are eating the SAD (standard American diet)–they know they don’t feel good, they want to change, but they’re starting with limited knowledge and most of the information on is new to them.

If you are in group #3, know this: you are who I think about every time I write.   If I can help you climb to a better place, my mission with this site is being accomplished!   That’s not to say I’m not keenly interested in group #1 and #2 also, because I am, but those folks are already on a good path.

Group #3, the big thing is to DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. Bestselling author Stephen R. Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) once said something like, “The main thing is to always make the main thing the main thing.”   Let’s not get sidelined with fear about this or that or the other thing.   If you see someone from group #1 or #2 asking questions on this site you’re not ready for, just file it away.   The MAIN THING is to get more plant-based food, especially raw, especially vegetables, especially greens!   More this month than you did last month.

The main thing isn’t in the details—or the fact that we make mistakes. (You and me both!) Get on the path and just put one foot in front of the other and DON’T QUIT.

Tomorrow: good, better, and best for GRAINS and SWEETENERS.