I haven't wanted to say much about the vegan thing since I got home because I didn't want to jinx it. I knew I was going to have a junk food fling in Europe and boy did I ever. But I was also rather careful, got the smallest cups of gelato and threw them away when I didn't want anymore, ate vegetarian and tried my best to get as many veggies as possible, etc.
Vegan is the wrong word for what I am, anyway. I mean, it's sort of my goal and I like thinking of myself that way because it helps me steer clear of a lot of food that makes me feel lousy. But I'm not in it for the animals. And if I order veggies and don't ask for them butterless, hey, I don't care. I am pretty strictly vegetarian now. It makes me feel sick just thinking about eating meat. I can't handle the texture or something. I ordered a shrimp pasta dish one night in Italy because I really wanted everything else in it and I thought I could handle it. Oh no I couldn't. It didn't help that they were big un-beheaded prawns, so their googly black eyes were looking at me. Sam had to take them away quickly.
Anyway, I was worried when I got home that it would take me awhile to get back to the eating habits I'd been trying to establish pre-trip. But I'll tell you what, my body was begging, just begging for healthy food when I got home. The night we got back I bought a watermelon, cut it up for breakfast the next morning and ate mounds of it. It felt wonderful. Since then, with few exceptions, the healthy eating has come naturally and joyfully to me. Easier than before by far.
Speaking of watermelon and joy, we came across this little watermelon stand in Rome the last night we were there. We were wandering around, trying to decide where to have dinner, but when I saw it I knew it would be my appetizer. I had an defining experience with that watermelon (yes, I have defining experiences with produce). For the whole month I'd been eating exquisite pastries and crepes and ice cream, but I swear that nothing I tasted even came close the sweet, complicated yet simple flavor of that melon. It was perfect.
Oh, and here's Sam doing his David impersonation with the rind. Silly man.
In line with that watermelon stand, I've been discovering all these gorgeous flavors at home. The day after we returned I bought a juicer off craigslist, and Sam and I have been juicing our little hearts out. His favorite is carrot/apple, and that is good and sweet. We juice before dinner and drink it for dessert--yes, it's that sweet. Tonight I made a monster green juice with celery/parsley/green apple/mint/cucumber/beet greens/lemon. For myself--Sam doesn't drink green things, he says. I was worried it would be too green for me, and the color of it was certainly funky, but oh I loved it. Love love loved it.
Also, allow me to recommend Almond Breeze almond milk. While I can tolerate soy and rice milk IN stuff, I've never been able to stand drinking them alone. Almond milk is drinkable, deliciously so. The last few days I've made myself breakfast and dessert shakes with it. For dessert: almond milk, frozen berries, the tiniest bit of stevia. For breakfast: almond milk, berries, stevia, mint, and spinach. I know the mint might sound weird in there, but it's delightful. Even Sam liked the sip he had of it, which is all I was willing to share. It wasn't green because of the berries, so he didn't break his no-green rule.
So here's to beautiful fruits and veggies! They are my friends.