How to Eat Healthy When Visiting Key West, Florida
Happy Friday, my friends! I hope your week was good and you have great things planned for the weekend. When I wrote this on Monday I was catching up on reality after four glorious days in Key West, Florida. My brother and his partner of twenty-two years were finally able to tie the knot, and let me tell you, those guys know how to get married. Out at sea, on a two level catamaran with their closest friends and family members, at sunset; that’s the way to celebrate.
As beautiful and tropical as Key West is, many of the restaurants that I visited are not ahead of the times when it comes to putting a veggie entree on the menu, and it doesn’t seem as if non-dairy milk has caught on down there either. There are a few veg restaurants on the island but most places cater to seafood and meat and dairy loving people. No Bueno.
I had to be creative and do a lot of explaining as to what I couldn’t eat when I ordered.
The rehearsal dinner was at a beautiful sea side restaurant, our server was lovely, but she didn’t really get the whole vegan thing, so I got a plate of gorgeous grilled vegetables soaked in butter. So sad. 🙁 I felt like I was taking communion that night because I ate a lot of bread and drank a lot of wine. My bro kept apologizing, as if it was his fault, of course it wasn’t, but still so sweet of him. I have to say that incident made me realize that I have to spell it out when I order so I don’t get slipped a dairy mickey.
Other than that, all was good, and we had a wonderful time. And it was so glorious to feel the sunshine and heat after the cold winter and chilly spring in Chicago.
This week I’m not going to share my workout schedule with you because I don’t have one to share. I didn’t get a lot of running in because it was hot, and I wasn’t used to running in the heat and humidity. However, I did do a lot of walking, biking, and swimming, so all wasn’t lost. My body probably needed a little break from all of the strict training, and I know that my mind certainly did.
Since eating healthy is just as important as training when you’re preparing for a marathon, I’m going to show you what I ate and just how creative I needed to get while eating out.
How to Order Vegan Food in a Non-Vegan Restaurant
We arrived in Key West at 6:00 PM and met my brother and his fiance at The Cafe, a vegan friendly restaurant that has really good food.
The Breakfast King and I shared vegan spring rolls and fried Brussels sprouts. Both were amazing. My entree was a kale salad with grilled tofu steaks. Delicious! I also had a glass of sauvignon blanc and water.
As always, I began my morning with water.
After a few glasses of water the BK and I ran from one side of the island to the other. It sounds like a big deal, but it wasn’t. We ran a total of three miles, but it was so hot and humid that if felt like six.
We ate breakfast at the patio restaurant at our hotel. If you ever get to Key West, The Marker is a fabulous place to stay!
I had a bowl of steel cut oats with a small bowl of mixed blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They didn’t have non-dairy milk so I just put a little brown sugar in my oats. I learned to like my coffee black on this trip too. I forgot to take a picture so I’m going to share one of my oatmeal pics instead. You get the idea.
After breakfast we shared a double chair next to the pool and soaked up some sunshine until it was time for lunch. I swam quite a bit too so I did get in some exercise.
For lunch we shared an order of guacamole with chips and I had a spinach and kale salad with asparagus, citrus, and sunflower seeds with citrus juice and virgin olive oil. I drank water and a margarita. Hey, I was on vacay!
After lunch we went for a long walk. I brought a big bag of almonds with me so I had a handful of almonds for a snack in the late afternoon and a couple of bottles of water.
This was the night of the rehearsal dinner and our server didn’t understand that vegan meant NO animal products, and that butter is made from dairy. She brought me a beautiful plate of grilled vegetables that were drowning in butter. I took one bite and felt horrible that I couldn’t eat it. What was really wild was the fact that I used to love the taste of butter, and after not eating it for over two years it tasted horrible to me. I gave the BK my veggies, so he was happy. I literally ate about four pieces of bread, water, and wine.
When we got back to our hotel after a night of karaoke at one of my brother’s favorite spots, I dug into a bag of potato chips and drank a big bottle of water. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
I woke up and chugged water because I had so much salt the night before. Potato chips.
I had a cup of coffee at the hotel and then we walked over to The Cafe for breakfast, only they don’t serve breakfast on week days, so we went to Sarabeth’s, an adorable James Beard award winning restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio. The BK and I started with champagne cocktails, coffee (black because they didn’t have non-dairy milk), and water. Instead of going the typical oatmeal route, I ordered off of the sides menu. I had their breakfast potatoes with peppers and sweet onions, a bowl of fresh strawberries, and their jicama slaw. The slaw was AMAZING! It was a medley of jicama, mango, orange, and mint, with citrus juice. I’m going to make it and share it on the blog soon. You’re going to love it.
We stopped at Walgreens on our way back to the hotel. Like I said above, my brother was married on a catamaran, and I’ve been known to get sea sick, so I picked up some natural ginger Dramamine. They had beautiful bananas so I bought a few and ate one for a snack later in the morning. I also drank several bottles of water because we walked a lot.
We had a late lunch at a cute restaurant near the harbor because my brother warned me that there wouldn’t be a lot for me to eat on the boat. We shared an order of guacamole and I had a delicious mixed greens salad with corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, and plantain chips. I also had a beer. Again, I was on vacay!
The wedding was beautiful. Everything was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, the boat was really nice, and the ceremony was so emotional. This is a picture of the happy couple and my mom watching the sunset.
The food was tapas style so I did get to eat quite a bit. I had tons of hummus, veggies, fruit, and crackers. No complaints from me.
The day always begins with water, then coffee. I really started to get used to drinking black coffee, it wasn’t bad. We had breakfast at the hotel and I went with the steel cut oats and berries again.
We rode bikes to the public beach on the other side of the island and ate lunch at the Southernmost Beach Cafe. It sits right on the sand next to the ocean. I had a delicious veggie sandwich with portobello mushrooms, hummus, pickled onion, red pepper, lettuce, and tomato, and fries. I ate the entire sandwich and about a quarter of the fries. I had a glass of sauvignon blanc and water. After lunch we hung out on the beach for a while and relaxed, then rode the bikes back to the hotel and sat by the pool.
We had a mojito at the pool and it was AWESOME!
We went to dinner with my brother and his husband ♥, my mom, and their close friend. The server was so nice and knew what vegan meant. She had the chef make me a lovely pasta with fresh vegetables.
Time to go home.
The BK, my mom, and I went to The Cafe for breakfast before we drove to the airport. I had water, coffee with soy milk, and a grilled tofu Benedict. It had kale, tomatoes, whole grain bread, and avocado “hollandaise” sauce, and a side of breakfast potatoes.
As you can see, I was able to get my daily allowance of veggies and grains in, but in some cases I had to be really creative so that I didn’t eat the same things every day. Ordering off of the sides menu is a great idea because you can construct a meal that suites your tastes.
Overall I ate fifty percent healthy and fifty percent unhealthy. Restaurant food has a lot of salt and oil, which isn’t ideal, but if you only eat like that once in a while, and the things you are eating are plant based whole foods, you don’t have to feel too bad.
Here are a few more photos of Key West if you’re interested. One of my favorite things about the island was that there are roosters roaming everywhere. This cutie pie hung out with my mom and I at the beach one morning. I think he felt safe next to me.
Is your favorite vacation spot somewhere on a beach, a mountain, or in the desert?
What was your most creative dinner put together with sides?
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