this weekend, steve and i were fortunate enough to be able to visit two countries i never thought i’d get to see: sweden and denmark.
i did not bring warm enough clothes. but these countries are absolutely gorgeous, particularly the city of copenhagen, where we met up with a few of steve’s friends and got to view the city through a local’s eyes.
of course, on our way to copenhagen (taxi, plane, bus, train, metro, train), we stopped in the swedish city of malmo for lunch at a little place called victors, and had a chance to wander around a bit before our train to copenhagen arrived.
when we finally arrived in denmark, we were fortunate to be able to stay with two different and wonderfully kind couples, who showed us around the city, brought us to fabulous restaurants, and put up with my constant photo-taking.
copenhagen is beautiful. buildings can only be built to a short height of six stories, so the city has an open, breezy feel to it. every street has wide bike lanes that are slightly raised from traffic, and absolutely everyone seems to ride their bicycle around town. while this dynamic makes things a bit hectic when walking for hours, it also gives the city a delightfully charming feel.
one of steve’s triathlete friends, david deak, was even kind enough to cook a few meals for us with his girlfriend, sharing his plant-based diet and food philosophy with us. one of our meals were these absolutely delicious buckwheat and quinoa pancakes. you must try them, immediately.
despite the cold wind that refused to die down, we were able to see all of the major copenhagen sights: the little mermaid, the opera house, the royal palace…
…and the free town of christiania, one of my favorite sights from the trip. there’s nothing quite like seeing hash and marijuana for sale in a display case. of course, i couldn’t take pictures inside this autonomous, rebellious little community, but i did get a photo of the gate separating the commune from the rest of the city:
we even visited the carlsberg brewery, and saw the largest collection of unopened beer bottles in the world.
as we took our hundred and one trains, buses, and planes back to budapest, steve and i couldn’t help talking constantly about how many animal products we consume on a daily basis. it’s easy to think that i eat a well-balanced diet because i like fruits and vegetables, but i’ve realized just how many quick sandwiches and bowls of pasta i often eat in my hurry to get out the door and explore the city. as much as i love veggies, i’m not consistently eating in a healthy way.
as a girl who finds it hard to imagine a day without smelly cheeses, crusty bread, or rare steaks, i was intrigued by the idea of plant-based eating. and while i’m not sure that i could completely give up meats, fish, and dairy for good, it seems like my diet could use a change. hungarian food is mostly chicken, with serious amounts of pasta, dumplings, and cream-based sauces on the side, and i’ve been struggling a lot with finding a healthy balance between the veggies i love and the rich, delicious local cuisine. but i think it’s time for me to stop eating meat and cheese at every single meal and get healthier, especially if i’m serious about eventually completing a marathon. it may even help my knee to heal completely and let me finally start running on a regular basis. and if limiting my intake of meats and cheeses will also help me lose weight, how can it be a bad thing?
so we’ll see what the future holds. going fully vegetarian over the summer wasn’t a completely successful experiment, but it did show me that if i want to try limiting my weekly intake of animal products, i need to spend more time and research planning my daily meals – something i tend to avoid. perhaps something as simple as meatless mondays is just what i need to get me on track.
would love to hear thoughts from some of my fellow foodies! how much meat, fish, and dairy products do you typically eat during the week? would you ever consider a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet, or have you ever followed one? and am i nuts to think about starting this while still living in europe?