guest post -> danielle {danielle abroad}

by Holly on November 6, 2011

in guest posts

Hello, hello fellow Everythingtarian fans. I’m the Danielle from Danielle Abroad who is not currently abroad but planning her next international adventure. I’m so glad to be here! Holly is one of the most fabulous people I’ve ever met and was an incredible host when I swung by Madison on my solo cross-country road trip just one year ago. Giving her time off of blogging while she’s in Europe is the very least I can do.

As you may have gathered, I’m very passionate about travel. I love learning about every part of culture, especially food. But between the full-fat yogurt in Turkey, pizza in Italy, fruit juices in Ecuador, goulash in Hungary, rice pudding in Chile, and crêpes, croissants, chocolate and quiches in France, you’d think I came back the United States with a pound from every country I visited.

I didn’t.

You see, in addition to enjoying myself thoroughly, I also began to pay more and more attention to the way people in these foreign countries approached meal time. And it’s definitely different from our American ways—rushed, on-the-go, ridden with calorie and fat and sugar anxiety.

Most countries appeared to have figured it out a long time ago. There was a fundamental appreciation for whole, local and seasonal foods, hunger and satisfaction, needs and pleasure. They also seemed to appreciate active lifestyles that didn’t always include a gym membership but rather consistent daily movements like morning stretches and afternoon walks. It was amazing!

And it worked.

1. Visit the market. Even if you buy just half of your groceries from your local farmers market, you’ll eat healthier for yourself and the environment. Fresh produce is cheaper when its in season and it tastes a whole lot better. I nearly stopped eating tomatoes when I came home from Chile because I’d gotten so “spoiled” from eating bright red tomatoes a mere one or two days after it’d been picked nearby.

2. Question yourself. First, make sure you’re hungry. Then, get into the habit of asking yourself not what you should eat, but what you feel like eating. If you really listen to your body, you’ll be surprised to find that it’s probably craving whole foods with the nutrients you’re running low on.

3. Bring pleasure to the table. Yes, you need to sit down to eat. Also, take the time to make your food look and taste good. Sure, it sounds superficial, but you’ll be surprised with how much more satisfied you’ll feel. Liberally use spices from whatever your favorite cuisine may be: Indian, Mexican, Italian, etc. When serving, plate your meal nicely, and divide into more than one course if you’re feeling ambitious. In France, for instance, we always had a soup, salad, entrée, dessert, and usually wine. Dare I say it made lunch and dinner that much more… fun? Plus, it gently forced me to become more conscious of not overeating.

Speaking of…

4. Eat until you’re satisfied, not full. In my studies of romantic languages, I’ve found that it’s actually rude (or incomprehensible) to say that you’re full. It’s not only Europe where they honor  feeling content and satisfied either; The Japanese are notorious for leaving food on their plate because they stop eating when they’re about 80% full. Try staying tuned into the way your body feels while you’re feeding it. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite a pleasant way to eat.

5. Live your life. I’m not exempt from having had a disorderly relationship with food, but watching others enjoy their meals and then leave the thoughts of them behind was truly inspirational. It’s our innate American culture to “be the best we can be” as we’re in the constant “pursuit of happiness.” For the most part, these motivational ways of thinking are positive, but they can also create more pressure than we’re able to deal with. Let yourself get excited about a new recipe, but don’t let it keep you from pursuing your other passions. Paint, laugh, dance, read, watch, play, my gosh, you can even work out if you’re in the mood; Just make sure you’re having a good time. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.


Lori November 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm

This was a great post, Danielle — I’ll be adding you to my reader for sure. It really hit home for me. Some days I have an excellent relationship with food and sometimes I’m completely ignoring how I feel. It’s a huge work in progress. (Holly, hope you’re having fun!)

Diana @ frontyardfoodie November 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Wow, I can’t you how much I enjoyed this post. Usually I don’t comment (or even read, sorry) on guest posts but this really reminded me of something.

For the past few weeks I’ve been sick and feeling sort of unsatisfied with my eating. Thanks for reminding me what it’s all about.

Allison's Delicious Life November 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Wow, this was an incredible post to read. I don’t know why, but it just spoke to me! I really loved learning about your experiences abroad and the bigger picture you left with. I’m traveling to Europe this summer—my dream come true. I hope to walk away with some wisdom like you.

Herbalife Products November 7, 2011 at 5:16 am

I felt like your words somewhere tried to speak of a relation between food and life. Healthy eating helps one keep fit and live longer. Appreciable post!

Sarah November 7, 2011 at 9:21 am

Danielle, I love your approach to eating and living life. You seem so balanced and well…full of life. Great guest post. (I’m with the above posters- I’m usually not a big fan of guest posts, but yours is fantastic!)

Danielle November 7, 2011 at 10:53 am

Holly, I’m thrilled to see my name on The Healthy E! So exiting. I only hope that I meet your best blogging voice standards ;). Congratulations on the award!

Lori: Thank you! I think being conscious of our fickle relationship is most important. We’re the only ones that are checking up on ourselves. Best of luck and enjoy :).

Diana @ frontyardfoodie: Oh, I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Thank you. I hope that you are able to take away positive things from this post.

Allison’s Delicious Life: I’m sure you will! So happy to hear that you enjoyed the post and perspective.

Sarah: Aw, thank you! I certainly try my best to maintain balance but I too am human. Like I said above, I think being aware of our habits is most important.

Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel November 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Great post! I’m studying abroad in Spain this spring and, as someone working toward becoming an intuitive eater, have admittedly been a little nervous about not going crazy eating all the delicious food without having access to the gym every day! I think going abroad may actually HELP me eat intuitively, though…Europeans have such an appreciation for the food experience.

Hillary November 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm

This was wonderful, Danielle. I traveled to Italy at the height of some crazy, disordered food and working out mentalities, and it threw me completely off balance (in a good way). I ate when I was hungry, and meals sometimes took hours. I ate deliciously rich foods, but just enough to make me feel content, not stuffed. I had no time to work out like a maniac because I was spending all of my time walking around, taking in all the beautiful sights (and probably got just as good of a workout in the long run). I tried to bring all of those lessons home with me, as you did.

Happy travels to you in the future!

Lauren @ The Climbing Chef November 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

This is a great post :)

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

Wonderfully written! And LOVE that last pic! Makes me want snow!

Danielle November 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel: Thank you! You’re going to have an amazing time in Spain, food experiences and all. Try not to go crazy and just enjoy your life there. Eat the delicacies as the Spaniards do :).

Hillary: Thanks so much! It sounds like we had similar experiences. I hope that the lessons have helped create a pleasurable eating style for you at home.

Lauren @ The Climbing Chef: Aw, thanks!

Lindsay @ Lindsay’s List: Thank you! That was at the top of a volcano in Chile. If you can believe it, we were at such a high altitude that it was hot, in spite of the snow :).

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 11, 2011 at 7:04 am

WOW!! I love learning little facts like that! Amazing that there was snow!

glidingcalm November 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm

what a fabulous post , Miss Daniele!!! I love your outlook, philosophy, and insight gained from traveling… this was beautifully written and with such a good message!!! Adore you! (And Holly! :D)

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