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My Way: Anita Avalos


This week's My Way feature comes to us from the lovely Anita Avalos. Anita describes herself as a "yoga-loving, raw rood eating, Kindergarten teacher who is passionate about healthy living, healthy eating, and having a healthy mind." Anita is based in Los Angeles, but her My Way feature comes to us via a recent NYC trip. Anita blogs at anitaavalos.blogspot.com

My Way- Anita Avalos

When Dhrumil asked me to share My Way, I was thrilled! When he told me it would be during the week I was traveling in NYC, close to New Year’s Eve none the less, I got nervous. I knew it would not be the same diet as when I am at home or even with family. I knew that it would be hard to maintain the same discipline and I would have a lot less control over how I stocked my fridge, etc. But he explained to me that it did not have to be about being perfect, just about being real. So here it is - one Natalia Rose enthusiast’s travels in the Big Apple, eating a mixed diet of raw and some cooked foods, sometimes getting off the path with a few questionable choices, but like the great New Yorker Frank Sinatra said, I did it My Way!

Monday, December 29, 2008
I wake up early and excited, knowing that today I will be going to NYC for the first time. I will be staying with my friend Gemma in Greenwich Village and will be joined by my two friends, Dave and Eric. I am bit worried about how my eating/drinking will play out while traveling and have already decided that I will be having one indulgence for sure- NY pizza. Never had it, always wanted to. For my last morning visiting my family outside of DC, I make a kale, almond milk, oj, and strawberry smoothie. I pack an apple and a Natalia Rose “Sandwich Salad” for the long bus ride.  I arrive tired but instantly stimulated by the city. Soon after, my friend Randall, who’s from NY, takes me to the Coffee Shop Bar where I have a glass of wine and a mixed green salad alongside some steamed kale. We end the evening by getting an amazing tour by his friend Frank of the fire station right by Ground Zero.  It is hard to sleep after such a stimulating day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I wake up in unfamiliar surroundings and quickly realize that I am about to have my first full day in NYC! I hear the sounds of Gemma cooking ,and it is so strange to be in an apartment full of people, since I live alone in LA. Gemma is so sweet and makes sure that I get my day going with some fruit and juice - oj, a banana, and an apple. Because she is a personal chef and works out of her own kitchen, I really don’t want to be in her way and accept that my usual morning green smoothies will more likely than not be my breakfast while I’m here. However, she has a ton of raw snacks at her house in relation to her job and this is a welcomed surprise!  Eric and I decide to go to see the Empire State building. The line is so long I have to have a salad while in line. After a 3.5 hour wait, I get to see some of the most amazing views of the city. David, Gemma, Eric, and I  meet up at the bar below  and I have a refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio. We take a little tour of the Times Square area and then grab some dinner. I have mixed veggies with a bit of marinara sauce and half a baked potato.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
It’s New Year’s Eve!! I awake to my first falling snow ever!  I start my day with a glass of green juice, a banana, and a handful of raspberries. I feel like a real New Yorker, walking in the East Village to take a class at Yoga To The People. The class has such a great community feel. After, I meet a fellow GI2MR member, Mike, for lunch. We go to One Lucky Duck, and it is  by far the best raw food I’ve ever tasted. We split some Sushi Rolls, Zuchini  and Tomato Lasagna, and the S&M Salad. For dessert, we have the most amazing Tiramisu and Moon Pie. I feel happy, warm, and my taste buds are buzzing! After, Mike gives me a bit of a tour of the Lower East Side. A bit later and freezing cold, we part ways and I begin my New Year’s Eve festivities. I am so glad that I had such a sweet and informed guide for the day. I meet up with new and old friends for drinks and NYE celebrations, starting from the East Village and ending in SoHo.  By 4 am, everyone is hungry and we end up at 7A. Even though I pick at a few French fries, I get a nice big salad of mixed greens, veggies, and avocado. I don’t get to bed until 6 or so. I have been a naughty girl, drinking a bit too much vino, picking on fries, and staying out too late. I give myself a break since it is NYE. All in all, a great to end 2008 and start 2009! And I am officially in love with NYC.

Thursday, January 1, 2009
It is New Year’s Day! I wake up around 11 am, glad that I do not feel the negative effects of last night’s overindulgence, but ready to start the day off a bit more cleanly.  I can see that the sun is shining and so I am eager to start the day. I put together a smoothie of acai, spinach, oj, almond milk, and a bit of blueberries and get rockin. I feel like I’m back on track.

I get a text from Mike and he invites me to go to Brooklyn to have that forbidden slice of NY pizza. So I start having the inevitable inner debate of whether or not I should have it today.  On one hand, it is January 1st and I know I overindulged yesterday, so maybe I should start fresh today.  On the other hand, I am planning on having this pizza anyway as my one food cultural indulgence so why not now. I do realize it is forbidden fruit but I decide to go anyway.  I like that Mike gets why I want to try it and doesn’t judge me.

Things don’t workout as planned. The pizza place is closed for the New Year Holiday, so we take the train back to East Village and instead I get to experience my first time in a bath house (great!!) and we grab dinner at Quintessence for some yummy raw food: Guac and salsa with corn and flax chips, a Buddha salad w/ sundried tomatoes and mushrooms, an Indian Platter, and a dessert of raw ice cream and soaked chia seeds all in a yummy banana split. Heaven.

Friday, January 2, 2009
I wake up to another day with the roomies and help myself to some oj, a banana, and an apple. Then it’s off to the Natural History Museum with my friend Eric. Amazing. It reminds me of how small I really am in this big, beautiful universe. I get hungry so I grab a salad of mixed greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli with just a bit of butternut squash.

But now the time has come for the big foodie experience of having that NY pizza. The roomies and I head down to Brooklyn. We order some chianti and two pies, one vegetarian (which I will eat) and one not. The pizza comes and wow! It tastes so good. I thoroughly enjoy it. I get over my sense of guilt and shame, knowing that I usually eat very healthy and am happy that at least it was a whole experience: the friends, the new city, the novelty. And I realize that I still ate in a conscious way, that even though it wasn’t vegan or raw, I thought through my choice, savored it, and that made it special.  After, we meet up with some friends. I go to bed way too late but still set my alarm to make a 10 am yoga class, because I still have every desire to keep on my path towards the well being of the mind, body, and soul.

Anita Avolos loves healthy living, healthy eating, and maintaining a healthy mind. She is a Kindergarten teacher based in Los Angeles and is loving every minute of it.