The Pleasures Of Summer : A Vacation Diet Plan

August 2, 2010

I left on vacation last Friday – one of those unbelievable European-style long vacations, in fact.  Three weeks. Three weeks is a lot of time to get into diet trouble.  I’m making a goal to keep my weight to within one pound of my pre-vacation weigh in, which means I can enjoy myself a little, but need to keep a tight reign on the indulgences.

It’s important to me to really ENJOY my vacation, and that I take advantage of the pleasures of the season. It’s summer.  There are great things in the summer, many of which I haven’t enjoyed yet. Most of my indulgences therefore will be Seasonal ones (although nice restaurants might get a showing too).

A few years ago I read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and ever since have paid a lot more attention to eating seasonally.  I don’t eat exclusively by season, but I try to maximize it,  and I’ve certainly found that cherries taste best in June and clementines in December.  Playing to the seasons allows you to really enjoy things when they are at their peak (not grown halfway around the world and packed in styrofoam to reach you) and also makes you enjoy them – and then move on.  So most of my intended vacation pleasures are summer-only, or at least have very strong summer associations for me.

Some of what I plan to really enjoy this vacation

Even better : as I made this list of things I really want to enjoy before the end of Summer, I was really happy to see so many things that are NOT diet-busting on the list!

Ice cream or sorbet of truly exceptional quality :

In the US I know where to go, in France I can find good ice cream but not the kind that knocks-my-socks off.  I have a terrible weakness for ice cream, so it never enters my house, it is strictly a special-occasion out-of-the-house experience.   In our first vacation stop, we went to Langeac and stumbled upon a favorite jam and syrup producer (all organic) who was selling sorbet.  Swoon.  Too good to be believed.  Yesterday, it was raspberry and blackberry.  We went back today for rhubarb and cranberry.  Plus tastes of my husband’s & stepson’s blueberry, strawberry and red currant.  Amazing, totally worth the diet detour!  Also good news, after 2 days of sorbet, I’m done with this craving for quite a while, and I know that other sorbets will be no where near the quality and craftsmanship that I had this weekend – hand-made, organic, grown by the producer? Uh, no, not likely to find that again!
photo 3.JPG

Big plates of really excellent tomatoes

In my opinion, really excellent tomatoes only start in late July.  We hit the local outdoor market on Tuesday. My mouth is already drooling!  We’ll eat plates of these for lunch with great local olive oil and the local goat cheese! Yum yum yum!

Home Grown Tomatoes
Creative Commons License photo credit: Terry.Tyson

Nectarines and Peaches (especially white)

White peach
Creative Commons License photo credit: izik

Great apricots (finally got one of those last week)

Apricots and peaches 4
Creative Commons License photo credit: Carstic Productions

Really good corn on the cob

alas, I’m in France, at best I’ll get quite mediocre corn, more likely downright awful…

Corn on the Cob
Creative Commons License photo credit: jpwbee

Citron pressé

fresh squeezed lemon, served with water, and sugar if you must (I don’t!)

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tanya Dawn


On a day when my stepson & I both feel brave, because it’s just the two of us vs that big monster… my husband hates the stuff, and our fridge is European-size (tiny) so we tend to open & eat on the same day… which means some big-time belly-filling with watermelon, and then being so sick of the stuff you don’t want leftovers!

Big watermelon
Creative Commons License photo credit: kenleewrites

A good cold cocktail (probably a Mojito)

Hot Moscow summer cure
Creative Commons License photo credit: cre8or

Pizza from the guy in town

I generally don’t make pizza part of my regular diet, despite my success with the Pizza Tests years ago.  But I definitely enjoy it when it’s really good, and there is a hole-in-the-wall place where my husband’s family has their summer house which has really excellent pizza.  We usually have it the first and last nights of our trips here.

For the second half of our vacation we’ll be in a different climate, so I’ll need to adjust accordingly, but certainly

Fresh Coconut

will be on the list for part two!

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