Category: Business Travel

Paleo / Primal On the Go. Grand Rapids 01142014

One of the things I’m plan on being very conscious of in 2014 is the choices I make around food and fitness, more fully live the “paleo lifestyle” of what I eat, how I sleep, lifting heavy things, managing stress. A key to this is making better and more mindful choices as I travel. Recently, a Facebook friend asked how I manage paleo eating while traveling. From that question, I realized I could force myself accountable on my trips via this blog. I would not only make better decisions, and might help others as they tackle the same decisions and choices.

My plan to is capture what I eat and drink along with how I handle (or avoid) activity, fitness and workouts while I travel. As you read these posts keep a couple of things in mind. First and foremost, I am not, nor ever will be 100% paleo compliant. I routinely use heavy cream in my coffee and enjoy butter. At home I stick to grassfed dairy. On the road this is difficult. I avoid all vegetable oils at home, sticking to butter, ghee, olive oil, tons of coconut oil, palm oil, and bacon grease in cooking. I make homemade olive oil mayo and all salad dressings. On the road, I eat out and while I do attempt to avoid inflammation causing vegetable oils (soybean, canola, peanut, etc.), they are an inevitable part of my diet. I refuse to lose sleep over this.

Oh, and I work for a beer company and love beer. So you’ll see beer and ciders. I’ve found if I avoid all other gluten, I don’t have any real effects outside of some temporary bloat. I understand that beer is not paleo or primal, and can be a major problem for those who are more gluten sensitive.

That said, here’s my most recent trip – a one nighter to Grand Rapids.

Had a nearly 3 hour layover at O’Hare. With exception of the time spent eating, I typically spend my airport time walking around the terminals, right up until boarding time. Podcasts and Pacing is how I put it.

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As my instagram followers saw, O’Hare is one of my least favorite airports to fly through – both for the number of cancelled flights I seem to get and for the general airport amenities and food options. For lunch here I went with a Gyro “sandwich ” – telling them to skip the pita, and I added a side of veggies. Ate just the meat and a bit of the tzatzaki along with the veggies.

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Meet up with co-workers for a pre dinner drink, and enjoyed a Crispin Cider. How nice that the lobby bar’s blue glow matched the label.
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Dinner was a NY Strip with some veggies – asparagus, carrots and mushrooms. Skipped the starches and any alcohol, instead drank San Pellegrino.
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Back in the room, I ate the turn down “dream bar” along with an orange from the concierge lounge (forgot to shoot the orange). The turndown bar is the smaller version pictured below. This is JW Marriot’s new specialty turndown item. I’m kinda meh on it. Has oats, chia, berries and dark chocolate. I’d so much rather just have a small square of dark chocolate.
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Some stats for the day…according to my Fitbit tracker, I’d walked 13,726 steps/6 miles and burned nearly 2900 calories on this day. I had done a 30 minute “Body Pump” workout in the morning, but that was only around 200 calories of that. Walking as much as possible in my day is important. Airports and airport wait times are great for this!

The following morning I had my typical concierge lounge breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon and some berries. My coffee had half and half.
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Lunch was with a client and the account team. I ordered the restaurant’s chicken salad, and asked for it on greens versus a sandwich or wrap. Not olive oil mayo, but whatever.
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Late afternoon, early evening was back in an airport. This time a 2 1/2 layover in Cleveland. I like how they encourage travelers to walk. And walk I did, hitting all terminals at least once (A, B,C, and D) and a couple of them multiple times. I paced around my gate as boarding got close, but never did sit down, except while eating dinner. (Yes, I check my bag, just easier on the walking, but do wear a laptop backpack.)
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Dinner was at the airport’s version of Chipotle/Qdoba. A bowl with double meat (pork and chicken), a small amount of white rice and black beans (yes, I know, not paleo) , lettuce, pico de gallo and hot salsa. Water to drink.
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On my flights, I do not eat the peanuts, pretzels or other snacks. Thankfully, I’m not a real snacker. I always drink Club Soda as my beverage choice.

Fitbit stats for that day – despite sitting in 6 hours of meetings, 14,848 steps/ 6.49 miles walked, 2774 calories burned. Compare this to Monday which was an office day  6132 steps and 2249 calories burned. Airport walking. Do it!!!

Chicago DivvyBikes #fail

20130807-225850.jpgI love bike share programs. As someone who adores being able to tour a city by bike, or sneak a quick ride into a business trip, they provide a great option to me. I also think they help embed the idea of using a bike as transport into many people who wouldn’t think of them as such. I love when I hear about another city adding a bike share program, be it New York City or here in Milwaukee, and hope the concept becomes the norm in all cities.

It was sad when the B-cycle experiment in Chicago ended after a single season a few years back. Due to that and my frequent visits there, I’ve been following the news and buzz about Chicago’s new bike share program called Divvy Cycles. I was excited to give the system a try during this week’s business trip to Chicago.

I thought ahead to bring my helmet (personal preference, saw tons of people on the bikes sans helmets all around the city).

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Having downloaded the Cycle Finder app to my iPhone, I headed from my hotel around 5:30pm to the Divvy station at Grand and Fairbanks Court , which was the nearest station and had 11 bikes available. The touchscreen on the rental kiosk seemed very slow to respond, and kept looping back to the initial language choice welcome screen. Finally it asked me to “dip my card” (swipe my credit card), and began to process. And process, and process. Back to welcome screen. One more try, same thing. A young man came up, tried with his credit card. No luck. Said same thing happened previous day. App in had we both headed to the station at Illinois and McClurg. This time we both got a screen with an error message suggesting we contact Divvy via phone.

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Divvy’s customer service rep told me that machines often time out, and to try again, try another station, or come back another time. No exactly helpful advice. Off to the next station at Illinois and Streeter. Same thing. Although here we did see a person successfully take out a bike – but using a credit card already in the system. By this time, between the other guy and I we had tried 4 different credit cards at 3 stations, multiple times.

I had planned the stations with a Plan B in mind, as I was determined to ride a bike. Off to Bike & Roll at Navy Pier to rent a “fitness” bike (a Trek 7.2). A more expensive option, but at least an option.

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My plan of touring around the city for a couple of hours from Divvy station to Divvy station swapping bikes every 30 minutes, turned into “go for a long ride along the lake”. Off to the Lakefront Trail I went. Which was PACKED. Still was a great ride. Navy Pier is roughly in the middle, and I planned to ride the entire 18 mile length for a 36 mile round trip ride. First headed north to the zero Mile marker at that end.

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About 15 miles in, I paused at the Ohio Street Beach to eat an apple, and watch the swimmers train along the breakwater. As a former competitive swimmer and lifeguard, I’ve always been fascinated by these swimmers – water is so cold.

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Shortly after passing the Shedd Aquarium, my phone rang repeatedly. Again and again. Enough that I couldn’t ignore. It was Bike&Roll calling to warn me of an incoming storm and requesting I bring the bike back ASAP. Turned around at the 10mile southbound marker, making my ride an even 20miles. Was sad I couldn’t do the entire length – but realize even though no storm appeared, the crowds had slowed me so much that it would have been very dark when I made the trip back from the 0 marker south.

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A couple of notes about the Strava from this ride. First, the elevation map (or lack thereof) makes me laugh…so much grey space with the tiny bumps at the bottom, but seriously, 0 feet gain, I don’t see a flat line. ;-). Secondly, it makes me sad to see there were 43 visible segments in this 20 miles and 27 hidden segments. This is a very, very crowded path with bikers, runners, walkers, dog walkers, rollerbladers, skateboarders and clueless tourists peering through cameras mid path. This is not a path to earn KOM/QOM. Tracking mileage is fine. Going for record speeds, dangerous. Don’t be a Stravasshole

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Oh, Balls

Is there some golf event or something coming to Chicago?

Oh yeah, the Ryder Cup is here next weekend. Chicago seems to celebrating with their latest street art series, remember the cows that started it all? This year it appears to be Golf Balls along Michigan Avenue.

My Kinda town…


Blackhawks:

Mrs O’Leary’s cow and the Chicago Fire:

Golf, of course:

And others:

Taking A Bite Out Of The Big Apple

 In addition to a lot of walking around New York, we did a bunch of eating and drinking. This was a work related trip (hubby’s work, not mine). Good food, good company and good drink was guaranteed.

 Being the Top Chef fan girl I am, I couldn’t go to New York without visiting Tom Colicchio’s restaurant CraftBar. Naturally, we had walked there. Taking a path up Fifth Avenue with a walk through the Union Square Greenmarket. The Andy Memorial brought a smile to my face.

We were at Craftbar mid-day, so enjoyed a cheese plate, along with some craft beers. Hopefully, on a future trip to NYC, we can add dinner at Craft or Craftbar to my list of Top Chef restaurants where I’ve dined. Tho’ I can already add this to the ones I’ve enjoyed.
One of the highlights of the trip was the “Neighborhood Nosh Tour”. 8 of our group choose this as an excursion on a Saturday morning in early May. We began the tour at Ferrara’s  in Little Italy for coffee and cannoli, which we enjoyed outside the restaurant.

After eating our fill of these delectable sweets, we needed to walk a bit to work up an appetite for our next stop. A tour through Little Italy and on the Chinatown, with a stop along Canal Street to haggle on “real” Rolex, Coach, Louis Vitton, Chanel did the trick.

I found the shops and street vendors in Chinatown fascinating.
Our destination was Columbus Park where we ate Tasty Dumplings while watching people young and old perform Tai Chai, play chess, and mingle in the park.
A quick bus ride brought us to the East Village to Yonah Schimmel’s Knishery. I’ve never had a knish. As knishes go, I’m sure these were quite good. BUT….while I love potatoes, knishes just went to my been there done that, checked the box list. Not a fan. The Egg Creams, tho’, I could do again (but I’m a huge fan of Chocolate Phosphates)

We ended the tour with a trip to Empire Candy. Was so stuffed at this point, going to a place to buy something for later ws just the ticket. Bought several treats to bring home to Kiddo while here.

 One of the more unique experiences happened on our first night as we walked to the restuarant the group was met by the trip sponsor’s, and asked to sign the “Cask of Dreams”, which was then rolled down the street to Public, our restaurant of the evening.


This was Derby weekend, so we had to find a place to watch the race and drink a mint julep – Brinkle’s worked out well for that. And, of course, I worked in a Blue Moon or two (including on Broadway at Million DOllar Quartet).

 On our last morning in NYC, we walked back to the East Village for sandwiches at Katz’s Deli. Made famous in the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene of ‘When Harry Met Sally’, this Ny Deli is known for their pastrami sandwiches and salami. Loved it.

In fact, loved this trip. Can’t wait to get back to NYC!
This is part 2 of a trip report on NYC, part  1 is here

New York City State of Mind

Hubby and I spent a recent weekend in New York  City.  Despite all my traveling, I have only been in Manhattan one other time. While only 8 or 9 years ago, that trip seems like a lifetime ago – I was such a different person, out of shape, not likely to venture out and explore on my own. On that trip, I was in the city for a meeting, and went from hotel room, to meeting room, to bus with a large group to take us to restaurants or a show. I hadn’t yet discovered how even in a large city like New York or Chicago, biking or walking to explore a city brings it all down to scale. Makes the city more human, more accessible.

 And so on this trip we did all the touristy things, but for the most part we walked. A lot. My pedometer said I walked nearly 6 miles on Thursday, over 11 miles on Friday, another 9 on Saturday, and 7 on Sunday. The Trump SoHo hotel was our home base, putting us in a pedestrian friendly spot. On Friday morning, we ventured out with the group on Liberty/Ellis Island tour.


Rather than sticking with the group and riding the bus back to the hotel, we cut out of Ellis Island on an earlier ferry, walking through Battery Park to catch a subway uptown. A subway ride complete with entertainment.

From the subway station it was a short walk on a beautiful spring day to our destination of Central Park with a planned stop at the Boathouse. Our path to the boathouse took us past the Central park Zoo. I was surprised and fascinated by the rock outcroppings within Central Park. 
After lunch at the Boathouse, we headed to the Mall area of Central Park, and south towards Columbus Circle. 
Naturally, I was drawn to the flowers, particularly the flowering trees.
From Columbus Circle, we wandered south down Broadway past the Ed Sullivan theater (where close by Mario Lopez was filming for Entertainment Tonight), through Times Square, by Madison Square Garden to Greenwich Village.
Shed a few tears at the Tiles for America Memorial
I wish on this trip we’d had time to rent bikes and explore New York by bike. I’d really like to bike the New York City Waterfront Greenway which makes a 32 mile circle around Manhattan. All through the city, I saw bikes, and evidence of a surprisingly good bike infrastructure.  Loved the bike specific traffic lights, and was especially impressed with the re-design of Broadway with the separated bile lanes.
The Trump SoHo Hotel made a great home base for the weekend. Slick, modern lobby. Outdoor pool deck on the 7th floor. Location was great for shopping, restaurants and exploring. For New York the rooms seemed huge. Bathrooms had a separate two headed shower and water closet. But best of all, the bathtub overlooking the city, and the construction of what will be World Trade #1 was such a great touch.
Of course, all this exploring works up an appetite and makes one thirsty. And since eating and drinking is kinda what we do, I’ll cover the food and drink portions of the trip in part 2.
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