Monday, August 27, 2012

Diet Schmiet: Protein Bars

I used to count calories, but I've learned that a 50 calorie "low fat" cookie doesn't equal healthy. Once I stopped counting calories, and focused on eating clean, I started to feel (and look) so much better.

The biggest change I've made is watching my sugar intake. I rarely eat regular or whole wheat pasta (I am currently reading about health implications of wheat) or bread products. Simply speaking, carbohydrates turn to sugar, which turns into fat. I focus on eating fresh veggies, protein, and occasionally fruit. If I do purchase something pre-made or canned, I try to limit the sugar to 2g.

I used to carry protein bars with me just in case I got hungry, but I recently switched to bringing almonds and dried cranberries in a ziploc to put in my purse while I'm on the go. Think Thin bars were my snack of choice for months, and I thought I was being smart about my choice to eat them if I was in dire need of a snack as I spent a long time reading and comparing ingredients and nutrition facts of all the different options. The front of the package says "0g sugar, 20g protein, gluten free", which sounds amazing. I recently realized that Think Thin bars contain 11g of sugar alcohol...not as bad as sugar, but not ideal.

The majority of energy, protein, and snack bars claim to be "healthy" and "natural", yet they are packed with 100,000 ingredients I can't pronounce and contain lots of sugar and sodium. I have yet to find one that is actually "clean"--Think Thin is the best I've found. 

I thought I'd share some photos I took at Whole Foods of popular protein/snack bars that claim to be healthy...prepare to be disappointed...

Power Bar Performance Energy Protein Bar

Kind Fruit and Nut snack bar

The sodium in these are remarkably lower than most, which is great, and a large portion of the sugar  content is from the fruit.

Luna Chocolate Chunk Bar

Lara Bar (Chocolate Chip Brownie)

Have any of you found a zero/low sugar protein bar? I'd love to know!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Honeymoon in Playa Del Carmen

My husband and I went on our honeymoon 8 months after our wedding simply because we couldn't make up our minds about where to go, and since I did most of the wedding planning and DIY'ing (and graduating within the same month), there wasn't a whole lot of time to plan a honeymoon.

I was browsing Livingsocial one day in October and saw a great deal for one week in Playa Del Carmen at the Grand Mayan Resort. After a little research, we decided to finally nail down our honeymoon plans. We booked a week in Playa Del Carmen during the first week of February, and it was perfect.

I loved that The Grand Mayan resort had everything we needed on-site, including several restaurants, a grocery store, deli etc., especially because I was super paranoid about going out into town. We went to just relax, so it really was the perfect destination to do just that. 

There were several pools to choose from, each of which had swim-up bars. My favorite place!

2 for 1 drinks at happy hour!

My husband on the other hand...

....signed up for almost all of the extra curricular senior activities. Poker, tennis, ping pong, bingo...he was there!

I had an amazing massage at the Brio spa, and spent most mornings in their gym overlooking the ocean.

The restaurants at the resort were all amazing. 
Del Lago: 

Bread display

Churros, donuts, and cinnamon sugar for breakfast

Nutella, salted carmel and hazelnut for dipping churros and donuts. So amazing!

Fondue station

The bar at Tramanto, where I had the best pasta I have ever had (in Mexico of all places, ha!)

Gong Restaurant:

Yes, I realize that we are dressed for two completely opposite seasons.

There were flamingos and crocodiles on site

We did spend a little time away from The Grand Mayan. One of the standout days was spent on a tour of Chichen Itza, which was breathtaking and fascinating. First stop on the tour was a swim in this gorgeous Cenote.

Chichen Itza

I regret not spending much time on the beach, but when there are beautiful pools (with bars) overlooking the ocean, I am pretty content. 

If you're looking for a relaxing trip and want to be pampered, definitely check out The Grand Mayan in Playa Del Carmen!