For the past two weeks, hubby and I have been vacationing in the hot, sunny, beautiful island of Bonaire — an idyllic Dutch Caribbean island located just 50 miles from Venezuela.
Bonaire is blessed with an unsurpassed natural beauty. From the depths of their pristine waters to the height of their tallest peak, Brandaris, we felt Bonaire’s magic wash over us from the moment we arrived and throughout the days as we became attuned to Bonaire’s unhurried pace.
Unlike, my hurried existence in New York City, in Bonaire, there is a peaceful ambiance to daily life, without the hassle of traffic lights, hustle and bustle, or normal, day-to-day worries. Next to other activities such as, kite surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling, Bonaire is recognized as one of the top destinations worldwide for its sustainable tourism — which is one of the reasons why we decided to vacation there.
A Commitment to the Environment
Bonaire has a long history of nature preservation, and always seeks to find the delicate balance between environmental protection and growth, while maintaining nature and culture. Bonaire was one of the first Caribbean islands to collaborate with the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) to conserve our reefs.
By initiating a program for cultivating new corals, specifically the stag horn and Elkhorn corals, Bonaire will be able to preserve the reef’s genetic diversity. In this way residents, visitors and future generations will be able to enjoy an enriched marine environment.
But conservation and preservation is not limited to the marine environment. Bonaire continues to pursue initiatives that will reduce the CO2 effects on our planet as they work towards fulfilling a promise to remain an ‘Eco-Friendly’ destination. Bonaire plans to lead by example and strengthen its commitment to sustainable tourism practices.
Trying to Eat Healthy on a Coral Reef
We love to travel to hot, sunny climes, especially when it is winter in our home state of New York. I try to make the most of trips like these by taking long walks in the sun, splashing in the gorgeous blue waters — in fact, diving is the number one reason tourists love this island — enjoying the culture and of course, eating.
However, eating a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet is not always as easy as one might expect. Most restaurants serve fried local dishes, fish, chicken, beef, pork, rice or potatoes — but few green vegetables — although decent salads are available in most good restaurants and at our hotel: Divi Flamingo Bonaire Resort.
On an island that is basically one huge coral reef — where you are more like to find cactus, than kale — I was told that there are no fruits and vegetables grown here. All food is imported from afar and the grocery shops have to wait for ships and planes to arrive with fresh produce and packed goods to restock their stores each week.
On an island tour we saw failed attempts at growing corn, for example, but the harsh, dry climate and the birds, seemed to be winning. I made a mental note that if we lived here, we would have to focus on indoor and outdoor organic container gardening and sprouting in order to expand our access to fresh, organic produce.
Making the Most of What is Available
I love to stay in an accommodations with kitchens so I can prepare my own food and have more control over what I eat. It also helps to save money, but when I went to the local grocery store I was surprised to find very few green vegetables or fruits. On my first trip to the nearby grocery store, I did manage to buy some bananas, avocado, pineapple, oranges and a couple of apples and pears. I also found some iceberg lettuce, onions and cucumbers — but no tomatoes, kale or other green veggies on my first shopping trip. Later in the week I located a larger, better-stocked supermarket with romaine lettuce, broccoli, cantelope, watermelon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I usually carry my own organic almond milk in my suitcase when I travel, but I was unable to squeeze it into my bags this time, so I was happy to find some soy milk to use until I was able to find almond milk in a larger store later in the week.
I forgot to pack my vegan green powder so I searched the shops in the tiny town of Kralendjik, where we stayed, and rejoiced when I finally found a container of non-GMO vegan protein with spirulina, pea protein and other nutritious ingredients.
I always pack vegan staples when I travel, so I had almonds, pistachios, sea salt, matcha tea and turmeric with me.
Luckily, I also scored some dried split peas and black beans to make batches of bean soup–great sources of plant-based protein for me–I’ll share those recipes later.
Suffice it say, once I found the basic ingredients for a nourishing daily smoothie, I was gratified. To boost my daily nutrition, I made a healthy protein smoothie using whatever fresh fruit I could find. Here’s my basic recipe for an energy-boosting Pineapple Banana Bonaire Matcha Protein Smoothie.
Pineapple Banana Bonaire Matcha Protein Smoothie
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 large scoop vegan protein powder
1 tablespoon match green tea powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
A dash of black pepper
1 cup coconut water
1 cup almond milk
Ice cubes, optional.
Add all of the ingredients.
Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Taste to make sure all ingredients are pulverized and blended.
Blend longer if necessary.
Pour into a glass.
I love to sip my smoothie out on the balcony and savor the spectacular view of the ocean — but this rich, creamy smoothie will taste great anywhere!
Drink up and enjoy!
How do you manage to eat healthy when you are traveling?
Share your tips, thoughts and comments with us.