Those words were ringing in my ears yesterday as I sat in the San Diego airport waiting for my flight back to reality in my comfy home in the Northwest. I would be leaving a lot of new friends, a terrific resort in an unbelievably beautiful part of the country and re-entering “normal” life without a personal chef.
Yes, I have returned from the Dr. Fuhrman week-long Health Getaway. Let’s just say it was an amazing week. I suggest that if you are thinking about attending one of his events, start budgeting and saving for it now! This is my second event, the first one just this past December, and I must say it was well worth the time away and the money spent. The week-long getaway is much more relaxing with a great deal of free time to explore and absorb what you’re learning where the weekend immersions are packed with great information and more of a whirlwind. The same basic information is conveyed, similar meals are served and you get to meet so many people of like minds and interests. If I share EVERYTHING with you in just this one post, it will go on for pages and pages, so I’ll hit the highlights and in future posts I will reference the information I picked up.
First, I have to give a great shout-out to my friend Amy who recently transplanted to the San Diego area and picked me up from the airport, fixed a terrific Nutritarian lunch for me that we enjoyed by her pool and then took me on a walking tour of a few different areas, including Little Italy and the Waterfront. It was so sweet of her to spend the late morning and afternoon with me. Oh, and lest I forget she then took me out to the beautiful Loew’s Coronado Resort where I stayed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the forethought to grab a picture of the two of us. I was just so happy to take in the sights and enjoy her company for a few hours, it slipped my mind… kind of like applying sunscreen slipped my mind that day. Ahhh!
Day 1: We were welcomed with a terrific reception of appetizers followed by a scrumptious dinner of one of my favorite Dr. Fuhrman recipes, Veggie Mushroom Loaf topped with healthy ketchup. Dessert was a summer fruit pie with an almond, date & coconut crust. This is just proof that you can have a terrific dinner that is fancy enough for special guests, but easy for the host/hostess to prepare. Who knew that watermelon topped with grated horseradish, lime juice & basil would be so delicious as an appetizer?!
Every meal (including breakfast) was accompanied with a salad bar that would put Ruby Tuesdays to shame. The breakfast salads were complete with berries, nuts & seeds as well as romaine lettuce leaves to make little rollups if you’d like. I preferred getting my greens through the daily smoothies and large salads at lunch and dinner; focusing more on fruit and oatmeal at breakfast. It’s just the way I roll.
Day 2: Jumping right into the core concepts on the second day (first full day) of the conference was a great way to start off. You’ve got to learn the basics to understand why we Nutritarians eat the way we do. We want to get the most from the food we eat. The basic equation is this: H = N/C or Health Expectancy = Nutrients/Calories. Basically, getting the most nutritional bang for the caloric buck. In order to avoid heart disease and cancers, slow the aging process and reduce the risk of getting other diseases, it is important to eat a plant-based, whole-food diet.
Later in the afternoon we heard from people with amazing success stories. This is always the inspirational part of the program for me. I also heard many other stories at mealtimes while chatting with folks at the table. One man I spoke to was diagnosed with cancer, went through treatment and began a plant-based diet and for 25 years has been in remission. He is in his 80s and looks amazingly healthy, is sharp as a tack, and lives a very active lifestyle of hiking and gardening. On Day 2 I had my health screening. I am happy to say that all my numbers were excellent, either in the normal or ideal range. One thing I had never heard of before that they tested was the level of alpha-carotene in your blood. Higher levels are associated with longevity. I was in the above-average category but not quite ideal. I just have a little bit further to go. I can increase my levels by eating just a few more colorful veggies.
This day’s food highlight is a toss-up. It was either the black cherry sorbet served at lunch or the apple strudel at dinner. Funny how both of those are desserts. Hmmmmm… 😀
Day 3: Each morning we had options of exercises. I chose to walk each day. One day I joined others, but mostly I took advantage of the quiet time to be alone, reflect & spend a little bit of time with God. I did walk with my friend Carrie one morning on the beach. It’s so nice to catch up with girlfriends, isn’t it?
Presented on the third day were sessions on emotional eating (Randi Carbone) and how to live the Nutritarian lifestyle (Lisa Fuhrman). Both topics were great and full of valuable information. Randi is Dr. Fuhrman’s sister-in-law and is an R.N. She runs the Motivational Outreach program available through Dr. Fuhrman’s office. Lisa Fuhrman is Dr. Fuhrman’s wife and has lived this lifestyle for 34 years so had a lot of great tips for keeping things family friendly and how to eat out. Hint: Choose a steakhouse over a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. She says her kids have NEVER eaten at McDonald’s. Wow! I wish I could say that. 😀
Again, Day 3’s food highlight for me was a toss-up. This time only one dessert… that was the mint gelato served at lunch. The main dish highlight were the better burgers that we had at our Patriotic Dinner. I will have to try out the mint gelato (but I might add in a few raw cacoa nibs).
Day 4: This day we learned about winning the war on cancer. Did you know that cancer is the largest threat to a person’s lifespan? You would think heart disease is, right? Well, if you eat healthy, you can keep heart disease at bay, but the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with invasive cancer is 44% for men and 37% for women. I want to do everything I can to change that statistic now, before I become one. We also learned that more medical care increases your risk of cancer. Just receiving 2 to 25 prescriptions for antibiotics in 17 years increases your risk of developing cancer. How many antibiotics were you given as a child? Wow! And another thing that always amazes me is that it’s not too late! You can repair damage that has already been caused by either unhealthy lifestyles or by poor eating choices. You can start today!
Today’s greatest food choices for me were the scrambled tofu for breakfast and the heirloom tomato and cheese tarts that were served with lunch. They had an herbed “goat cheese” made from tofu and cashews that was out of this world! The desserts were good, but not something I would go nuts for. I just can’t love black bean brownies for some reason.
Day 4 also was the highlighted day of the week with the excursions. I chose to not participate in the planned excursions but rather spent the afternoon with Carrie and her husband on a little trolley tour of the city. You know, those open-air bus things that you see in big cities that take people around and are narrated by the driver? Yeah. That’s what we did. It was really fun. We hopped off in Old Town and walked around all the little shops. I think if we would have had all day we would have jumped on & off the trolley more and spent more time in each location, but I learned a lot about the city and it was a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures of that tour. Wow! This post is getting really long. Sorry, but I want to share everything I can with you today so you’ll come back on Friday and get some more details after I have a chance to put my notes together.
Day 5: Sunday is usually my day at home for cooking and prepping for the week, so it was appropriate that we gleaned a few tips on cooking and meal planning. We also had a demonstration by Chad Sarno, Whole Foods chef & educator. He has recently left Whole Foods to embark on a new job, but he hasn’t lost his talent or charm. We wrapped up the afternoon with a Q&A session with Dr. Fuhrman. He answered lots of questions and shared some of his humor. The humor really came out at the evening’s talent show. The show takes on the air of America’s Got Talent, complete with judges and all, but I think next year’s should be called the Gong Show. Some of the acts should never have made it as far as they did! Many, though, were amazing displays of nutritarian talent. I laughed a lot! Dr. Fuhrman was seen like never before. Imagine a rap song about kale. Yeah, well, you’ve got it.
By Day 5 I wasn’t sure the food could get any better until I had roasted vegetable pizza at lunch. Then dinner took on an Asian flare with apricot brown rice, many other dishes, and dessert was the outrageously delicious carrot cupcakes with cinnamon raisin frosting. I promise, I only ate one!
Day 6: The week was winding down, but not before a very informative session, again with Chef Chad, on sauces and seasonings. Did you know all those sauces we make (red, white, brown) can be frozen? Basically, anything without vinegar or tofu can be frozen. We got quite a few recipes in our handouts that I will be trying over the next few weeks. Samples were passed out and we tried them; I hope I can make them just the same at home! We had another opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Fuhrman. One of the things I learned during this time was that if you have a trigger food that causes you problems, the best thing to do is to avoid it altogether. Abstinence is your best bet. I’m not sure that chocolate is a trigger food for me, but I will probably be avoiding it for the time being as it seems to be setting off some stomach pain for me. This was re-affirmed at Day 6’s dinner when I indulged in the healthy chocolate cake. It’s one of my favorite Dr. Fuhrman dessert recipes that I make on special occasions that call for cake (i.e. my birthday is coming up!) I especially liked the sweet potato pancakes served at breakfast. I think if I make them, I’ll leave out the onion, however, so that H³ can enjoy them!
The afternoon called for a nap! I skipped the beach games and rested. Learning all this stuff can wear a girl out! We wrapped up the evening with country line dancing lessons. What a fabulous way to get some exercise. Dancing is so good for you. It helps you build a strong brain. Remembering all of those steps in sequence isn’t easy! And no partner is needed for this style of dancing. I might have to find a place to continue practicing my new skilz. My living room might just have the best dance floor right now though!
Day 7: Well, this marks the end of a fabulous week. After a five-mile run/walk along the water, I had a quick breakfast. There was no hot oatmeal and I just couldn’t bring myself to eat a salad with beans, so I “stole” some almond butter from the kids table to go with a pita bread that was meant for something else. Accompanied with fruit, it was a satisfying meal to get me going so I could pack up, say goodbye and head off to the airport. To-Go boxes were available for the travelers who were anxious that they wouldn’t have a healthy meal later in the day (Jan raises hand here) and so I packed it up with nutritious treats and away I went. Here’s a picture of my mid-afternoon meal being consumed at the airport.
I do have to say that my favorite smoothie of the week was served on this last day. The orange creamsicle blended salad smoothie was THE BEST!
So I’m back to life, back to reality. I was happy that my Handsome Healthy Hubby ate most of the food I prepared for him. I warned him to eat all the food in the fridge before I got home and, well, he did. I was left with three apples, a few romaine lettuce leaves and not much else. After an adventure to the grocery store, we have a refrigerator full of fresh produce to continue our renewed love of eating healthy. I think H³ got even healthier while I was gone. He looks amazing! Maybe it’s his new love he found while I was gone.
He finally broke down and got himself his dream bike. And he’s off today enjoying the sunshine with his friend.
I’d better wrap up this post because I know it is so terribly long. Check back here on Friday and I’ll share some in-depth information from my week. For now I’ll leave you with how I will remember San Diego.
If you made it all the way through, thank you for reading; I appreciate you! “See” you Friday. 🙂