The goal of this post is to provide you with a recap on the 2015 Low Carb Cruise—what it is, what I ate and answer the questions I’ve been asked since my return!
What’s the Low Carb Cruise? It's an annual trip on a ship that brings the real food/low carb community together to learn (seminars all day on sea days—20 speakers including myself and nearly 200 attendees), dine (obviously!), network (the one time of the year we’re all in one spot!), and have fun (especially at the ports!). This year we visited San Juan, Puerto Rico, Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Basseterre, St. Kitts. People of all different places in their journey attend: those intrigued by this way of life but haven’t started making changes yet, the seasoned crowd who's been living and eating this way for years, and those teaching others how to start and overcome roadblocks. People from all nationalities were represented, which is so much fun! It's always humbling to meet guests we've had on the podcast, and have people who have been following my work for years introduce themselves.
Why low carb? Since I was a keynote speaker on the Low Carb Cruise I should clarify my stance on low carb in comparison to my coined way of eating, PFC. I'll start by pointing out that everyone has their own idea and opinion on what a low carbohydrate diet means and how many grams that constitutes. PFC certainly can be low carb, and is definitely low carb in comparison to most “diets,” especially the SAD (Standard American Diet). My PFC approach is just finding the right balance of protein, fat and carbs that works best for you, your lifestyle and your goals. The takeaway message from the seminars this year was that the research is clear—lower carb and higher fat is the key (more balanced!) and at the same time, there's more to health, than just food (see my presentation topic below.)
Was the food all low carb? Nope, the food on the cruise isn't anything special for our group (our group eats the regular food served), but there were plenty of low carb options. This is my second time on the Low Carb Cruise (the first one I attended was with Carnival and this was with Royal Caribbean) and I’ve gotta say, while both were fantastic at accommodating special requests (such as not bringing bread, bringing pitchers of heavy cream and melted butter, making sure the meals were gluten free, etc.) the food was a heck of a lot better on Carnival. I didn’t think this would be the case, but in my opinion, it was!
How do you eat healthy on a cruise ship? Really, it was so simple making all of my meals PFC balanced. My favorite protein was seafood, seafood, seafood! I always topped my food with extra butter or sliced avocado, and healthy carbs were plentiful—fresh greens and lots of non-starchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. Yum! I ordered two full meals and an appetizer at every single meal (best part of all-inclusive!) for variety and trying different options—and the portions weren't huge.
Did you splurge? Wine is my weakness, not dessert! I ordered dessert twice, and both times I had one
bite and called it good, wasting the rest (*reminder why I don’t order dessert! Since I'm in control of my sugar addiction, it's just not worth it!). I was so satisfied from the meal(s) that I had no reason to eat all of it. Besides, I love wine and felt better about having a glass of wine later if I didn’t splurge on sugar at dinner. I didn't drink any alcohol for the two weeks leading up to the cruise, so I felt better about having a glass (or two) of wine daily. It's all about finding a balance that works for you, and this balance was right for me.
What did you speak on? My presentation was "10 Non-Dietary Reasons Why You Aren't Losing Weight & Getting Healthy.” Out of all the speakers (most of whom were docs and nurses) I think I was the only one whose presentation was NOT about nutrition (and I’m a dietitian!). Spoiler Alert! The 10 reasons I covered were inflammation, thyroid, gut health, food sensitivities, hormones, sleep, vitamin D, artificial sweeteners, stress and alcohol (after I just confessed my wine splurge!).
I actually put my best tips from my cruise talk into a beautiful guide that you can download by clicking the pink button!
Did you stay active? My goal is to always maintain a balanced lifestyle—even on vacation! I believe there are many facets to a balanced life other than food (as you can see from my presentation topic!) and one of those components is being active. I don’t exercise to “burn off" the calories I eat—I just love how I feel when I’m active, and it’s especially important to me when I’m sitting for hours on end (at the conferences). I managed to get to the gym (for 15 minutes- efficiency is key! See weight and box jumps below) and did some makeshift arm workouts in my room. Oh, I also went on an excruciating five hour volcano hike, which I'm trying to forget about.
A 5 hour volcano hike? Yes, I'm serious. I hiked to the top of a summit, 4,000 feet in the air. It was intense! Brutal. One of the most challenging things I’ve ever done! I compared it to marathon running, which as you may have an inkling, is not a pleasant experience. Marathons are better than volcano hikes, though. The views are different, but just as great (especially my third marathon (Grandma's) running along Lake Superior) and you have thousands of cheerleaders on the sidelines the entire time. Not the case with volcano hiking. It's dangerous, intense, it was a last minute decision for me and I didn't realize the others in my group had trained and bought special shoes! So not to be a downer, but I didn’t particularly enjoy that experience! My favorite excursion of all was a getaway day on a private little island (I’ve been asked to keep it a secret!) with a few of my favorite people.
Did you wear sunscreen? Okay, so you may not have thought to ask this, but on the ship they were asking what I was using! I've publicly shared my stance on sunscreen before (not for it—most sunscreens contain harmful ingredients and we need to be just as careful about what we put on our bodies as what we put in them!), so when I was lathering up with sunscreen it sparked a few questions! For me it was always a catch 22: I don’t want to put toxic ingredients on my skin, and I also don’t want to get skin cancer. Well, good news! My favorite skincare line came out with a natural sunscreen made with organic real food ingredients like avocado and coconut...yay! I brought two bottles of it with me on the cruise—and I'm so glad I did because the sun was beating down on my skin the whole time! This stuff leaves your skin moisturized, nourished and does its job of protecting it from the sun. So thankful for this sweet find!
So there you have it! That was the gist of my week in a nutshell. I’m not a very emotional person, yet even I shed a few tears on the last day. You get so close to folks in your community after a week of bonding, that it’s hard to say goodbye! That said, I was certainly excited to be back in my own kitchen again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in my opinion, dining out is fun, but nothing beats the control and comfort of one's own kitchen. That's my recap!
Now go download my best tips to boost your metabolism and skyrocket your energy levels! Just click the button below to get your free guide.