Kauai Vacation – Week 1
Aloha everyone! Wow! It’s been a laid back, seamless vacation so far. We have been here on the island since late Monday night and we have been having a great time so far. Kiddo did an amazing job at the airport and on the flight. He’s always been a great traveler, but we are finally at a place where it’s becoming easy to travel with him. All it takes is a little prep work and patience. Two things I’m also getting better at 🙂
So I wanted to share with you how we are doing this whole 3 week vacation on a plant based whole foods diet. A lot of people get worried that when they travel (especially with friends and family) they won’t have options, or that they will end up eating boring salads. I was one of those people for a long time! I didn’t give up fish until just recently because I didn’t know what I would eat on our yearly trip to the islands, or anywhere else for that matter. Every restaurant has Fish N Chips, or a grilled “healthy” seafood option. That was always my safety net, plus I was terrified of eating too many carbs so pasta (often the other veggie option) was off the table completely.
We are staying in a beautiful 2 bedroom 2 bath condo with who we refer to as our adopted parents. They are amazing and have taken on the role of Grandma and Grandpa seamlessly. They are owners of the timeshare we are staying in at the Marriott Waiohai. Included in our room is a fully stocked kitchen with everything we need to be able to prepare food here (pots, pans, utensils, serving dishes, etc). The morning after we arrived Hunny Bunny and I woke up, left kiddo with Grandma and Grandpa and headed to Costco. I was trying to remember to get a picture of everything we bought to give you an idea, but of course….I forgot. Here is a basic rundown
- Frozen Organic fruit (strawberries, blueberries)
- Salad greens, spinach, cucumbers, red peppers, celery sticks, bananas, apples, limes, lemons, pineapple (duh!)
- Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk, bottled water, Mama Chia bottled juice (Kale Mint flavor)
- Frozen roasted sweet potatoes, frozen cooked quinoa, frozen Organic veggie mix
- Organic Bread
- Hummus, Guacamole, Salsa
- Organic Tortilla chips, crackers
- Tofu, Portobello’s, Aduki Beans, Black Beans
- Wine, Vodka, Organic Lemonade, Soda Water
- Portable beach umbrella ($23 to purchase or $20 a week to rent)
- 2 pack of 40oz water canteens
- A package of Gladware disposable tupperware
All told, we spent about $350. Hawaii is expensive, even at Costco. Considering that we are here for as long as we are, and eating out costs waaaaaay more, this is definitely the way to go. After Costco we stopped at Living Foods which is this awesome natural foods/deli/grocery store about a mile from our room. There I picked up:
- Canned coconut milk, agave syrup (for coffee creamer)
- Peanut butter
- Braggs liquid amino (like soy sauce)
- BBQ Sauce
- Fresh Ginger
- Another Pineapple
Now we have more than enough to make our breakfast, lunch and a few dinners for at least a week and a half.
I absolutely loved this little store. They had locally made island soaps, produce right off the farm, island made kombucha on tap, and wood fired pizza that looked incredible (and easily made vegan without the cheese). If you ever come to Kauai and find yourself down on the south part of the island check it out. They are located in The Shops at Kukui’ula.
When we got back and unloaded everything I started some prep work. I realize that the last thing you want to do on vacation is grocery shop and prep food. Seriously though, it is such a cost saver and really a time saver in the long run. I washed and prepped the fruits and veggies. Now we have snacks and things ready to grab right out of the fridge for taking the pool or beach. I used an empty water bottle to store my homemade batch of coffee creamer, and washed the rest of the tupperware. I really took less than an hour. Now I can actually relax!
So our first night for dinner we went to this great little Mexican cantina called Tortilla Republic also located in the same complex as Living Foods. They had a great menu with something for everyone. We tried the Deep Fried Brussel Sprouts which were Out. Of. This. World. Seriously! I usually steer clear of deep fried anything, but I also like to live a little. They were so delicious and had this surprisingly sweet and smoky jalapeño salsa on top. Yum! They also had a vegetarian burrito. We ordered ours without cheese and smothered in salsa verde.The portion was perfect. It didn’t come with rice and beans which I loved because it’s always too much. The burrito had fajita veggies, rice and black beans with guacamole…OMG…I ate the whole thing.
The next day I woke up early and decided to go for a run. It was about 7 am so the sun had just come up and was still rising. The temperature was around 71 with a light mist. As I was making my way around Poipu Beach I looked out over the little bay and was delighted to see spinner dolphins playing out in the surf. AMAZING. I love to start my day with some kind of sweat. It clears my mind, makes me feel energized, focused and ready to take on whatever the day is going to bring.
When I got back from my run everyone was awake. Our room has a blender so I made everyone a smoothie from all the Costco frozen fruit, spinach and almond milk. We drank those on the lanai before gearing up for our day that the pool. Kiddo is a great swimmer and LOVES to be in the water. We got a great spot right by the pool. They got in immediately and I spent the next two hours immersed in Food Over Medicine. This book is a MUST READ for anyone who cares about their health or the health of their loved ones. I included the link to Amazon for it so that you can check out the reviews. It’s an easy read, not technically written and is extremely eye opening. I finished it that day and now the Grandparents are reading it while on this vacation. I checked mine out from the library but am going to purchase it when we get back. I can’t say enough about it…READ IT 🙂
After getting half way thru the book I went up to the room to make lunch. I heated up the frozen quinoa, frozen sweet potatoes, 1/2 a can of aduki beans and added it on top of a bed of baby spinach and cucumbers that I had in tupperware bowls. Then I added about 1/2 cup of hummus into a glass measuring cup with the juice of 1 lemon and some water. I mixed that together to make a nice little dressing. I made kiddo a veggie wrap with hummus, spinach and cucumbers. We ate that by the pool and it was great!
We decided to cook dinner in that night as well. I marinated the portobellos in liquid aminos (like soy sauce) with fresh grated ginger, lime juice, a little agave syrup and some water. They sat in the fridge for about 45 min while I sliced pineapple, cut up red peppers, made some homemade pina coladas, sliced onions, and made rice. The boys took the veggies down and grilled them while Grandma and I enjoyed our pina coladas on the lanai. We had a wonderful, fresh and healthy dinner that was easy to make and very affordable.
The next couple of days we continued to drink smoothies in the morning. It’s always my go to breakfast. The blender here is okay. I’ve been really spoiled with my Vitamix. My husband played golf on Thursday morning so after we dropped him off kiddo, myself and the grandparents headed to Lydgate Park just south of Kapaa on the east side of the island. The beach park was a little rough that day, but the playground…OMG! It was out of this world. We were the only ones there (thankfully it was a weekday, the locals frequent the park on the weekends). The playground was built in 1994 by 7,000 local volunteers. It consists of beautiful stone mosaic benches and murals, a 2 story slide that looks like a volcano, draw bridges, towers, swings, monkey bars…I could go on and on…if you visit the island with little kids I would say it is a must do. Just remember to go on a weekday. The Kamalani Playground website has more information.
We headed back toward Poipu for lunch so that we could pick hubby up after golf. We ended up at the Olympic Cafe in the Poipu Village Shopping mall. It’s right across the street from the golf course and our hotel. I had glanced at the menu online before we left and remembered that it had some great options for vegans and omnivores alike. I ended up with the Tropical Salad. I had them swap tofu for the chicken, no cheese and no croutons. What I received was a bowl full of exquisite local greens, fresh papaya, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, a few slices of tofu, macadamia nuts and a slightly sweet but mostly tangy papaya poppyseed dressing. Talk about vegan food porn….It was as delicious as it looked. I don’t know if I spoke to anyone while I was eating it. They had some really great options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would highly recommend it for all of the above. The prices weren’t bad, the service was good and the restaurant was nice. Highly recommend for everyone!
Dinners the first couple of nights were about the same. We really try hard to eat what we buy. Lots of fresh veggies roasted, rice and beans. If that sounds boring just remember that adding one simple spice that you love like ginger, or cilantro can change the dish completely. Sometimes I add salsa or guacamole, hummus or whatever else sounds good. I haven’t found a combo that I didn’t like.
Kiddo and I got up early mid week and did a little beach walk while hubby went for a run. We came across a beautiful monk seal sleeping on the beach. They are a protected species here and there is a team of volunteers who make sure that the public leaves these awesome creatures alone. They set up a temporary boundary around them so that they can sleep (up to 10 hours at a time) peacefully. We stopped and built some volcanos, played in the sand and enjoyed our little mama son time before heading to the pool for the rest of the day.
Friday night we went to dinner at the Kauai Island Brewery in Port Allen. The draw to this place was that it had a game room and kiddo has been on the hunt for air hockey. It was about 25 minutes away, but not a big deal. The beer selection sounded good so I tried the Lilikoi Ale and although it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t anything too exciting. They did have a delicious sounding veggie burger consisting of black beans, corn, carrots and quinoa. It was customizable so I added BBQ Sauce and Guacamole, hubby added pineapple and teriyaki. All was going well until I spotted something in my beer. It was some kind of little brown bug. I took it out, didn’t say a word and thought to myself, you are sitting in an open air restaurant on a tropical island…these things can happen. Then I looked down and saw 3 more crawling on the table, then one crawling up hubby’s glass, then another crawling up grandpa’s glass. At this point our food had just arrived. Kiddo was getting squirrely and we all were starving. I pointed it out to everyone. The server brought new drinks and we ate our food. I know…we should have gotten up right then and left…in hindsight that would have happened. For all I know I ate a bug burger…no one got sick and all was well. We won’t be going back there, and no, they do not have air hockey.
I got up again Saturday morning and did another run, but this time in the opposite direction as the other day. I got my first 3 miles in and ended up walking back on along the beach. I regretted that I wasn’t running in shorts because I would have dove right into the ocean when I was done. It was 78 degrees at 8 am when I finished, blue skies, sun and hardly any breeze.
After getting cleaned up we headed to to the Kauai Plantation Railway in Lihue. We had taken kiddo there 2 years ago when we visited last and it was fun, but kind of rainy and he didn’t quite get the whole concept yet. Today was a much different experience. We arrived about 45 minutes early and walked around the grounds. On the 105 acres sits a gorgeous old plantation home turned restaurant and shopping, a tasting room for Koloa Rum Company and acres and acres of lush vegetation, fruit trees, goats, pigs, donkeys and chickens galore. The train runs along the perimeter of the property and includes a wonderful narrator who talks about all the different things we are seeing. Several of the animals have been rescued and rehabilitated, some just showed up and never left, but none of them will be slaughtered. The train stops about half way thru the trip and allows the guests to disembark to feed them. The pigs were absolutely hysterical and terrifying at the same time. There was a very kind and docile goat that I would have taken home with me had it even been remotely possible and a naughty little donkey that liked to pick on the other animals. Kiddo throughly enjoyed this part of the trip, as did I. When we finished up Daddy went with the grandparents to taste some rum while kiddo and I did a little more exploring. We ended up with a bottle of Coconut Rum (which I will be breaking open to make more homemade pina coladas shortly) and a frisbee for kiddo.
After all that we were starving and found ourselves back at the Olympic Cafe. I ordered the Tostada Salad without chicken, cheese or sour cream, but added rice. I’ll allow the picture to speak for itself. Hubby ordered the veggie burger and kiddo ordered a green salad. Yes, my 3 1/2 year old son orders a salad all on his own. Proud mom moment.
So as we are wrapping up this week I’m pretty satisfied with the choices we have made. I feel great and don’t have the usual vacation paunch starting that I normally do by this point. I have had a few little indulgences like fries, beer and cocktails, some gelato and more tortilla chips than normal, but balancing that with eating a lot of greens, brown rice and healthy carbs has made all the difference. It also doesn’t hurt getting up and getting that sweat happening. Even if it’s just a walk on the beach, joining in on one of the water aerobics classes offered at the pool or just heading out to the lanai for some light yoga. Do it for you and be proud that you made the effort, even on vacation. We have spent a ton of time playing the pool and kiddo is getting pretty good at his boogie boarding skills. Next week we are going to hit some of the local farmers markets, venture up to the north part of the island and spend some more time relaxing at the beach.
Until next week….Aloha!!!