And Then We Came to the End
August 15, 2010

Greetings from O’Hare

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The flight departing from the gate next to me is going to New Orleans. I am tremendously tempted to sneak on it right now and go see Chloe. Unfortunately, I don’t think the stack of work on my desk in New York likes that idea. (And I’m not sure I’d like the 113 degree heat index.)

Mara and the roomstar picked me up soon after my breakfast post. For the second time in less than a day, we were Whole Foods bound.

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Mara and the roomstar enjoyed yogurt and fruit

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…while I dug into yet another salad beast (Gina, I think it’s sticking): marinated raw kale, carrots, celery, and pine nuts. They were out of the raw kale when we arrived, but I waited till another batch came out. Nothing comes between me and my raw greens.

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Guess who strolled by as we lunched?

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That’s right, the fabulous Bender. I’m sure she appreciated my snapping a photo of her just as she came back from the gym. You love me, Jenn. You know you do.

As Mara kindly drove me back to my hotel, she gave Gina and I what could have been a professional tour of Chicagoan architecture. Mara, if you should ever wish to stop shaping the minds of America’s youth, you might have a career in writing travel guides. I’ll publish them.

Parting ways with Mara and Gina was sweet sorrow. I’ll miss them! And after three days of being joined at the hip, it will feel strange not to have the roomstar by my side tomorrow morning. We’d better plan my visit to Orlando soon 😉

In my typically foolhardy travel fashion, I planned on leaving for the airport a mere hour and thirty pre-takeoff. Mara managed to persuade me that this would end in tears. She was right: traffic was nasty, but it was made far more pleasant by the fact that my cab driver was blasting Johnny Cash the whole time. Thank you, cab driver, for making the ride badass.

As soon as I got through security, I set about procuring this:

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Though Gina and I were just talking about how little we enjoy boxed coconut water (we’re both devoted to the real deal), ANY coconut water is a sight for sore eyes in the parched desert that is air travel. I chugged this down in less than a moment. And then, a little while later, I purchased this:

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Blueberries and bananas blended with water, ice, and a packet of this:

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Earlier, when Gina and Mara and I were at Whole Foods, I had remembered that the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare has a smoothie stop. I knew my salad beast would hold me over well, but not completely, till my late landing tonight, so I planned on eating something else before takeoff. I can’t stomach a big meal before or during flying—it tends to disrupt the Choosing Raw digestion—so lately I’ve taken to having a smoothie or shake, if I can, right before I hop on the plane. I picked up the Vega individual smoothie infusion at Whole Foods and asked the folks at the smoothie place to mix it in, and they were happy to. Vegan and semi-raw travelers, take note! Having smoothie infusions or protein powders of choice on hand can be the difference between a smoothie-snack and a smoothie-meal. I personally prefer nut butters and hemp seeds to infusions/powders, but powders travel better, and I think they’re fantastic when one needs a protein boost. Try to pick some up (or scoop some into baggies) before you fly. Vegan dining at airports is getting much better, but it’s still not a piece of cake.

And now, I speed toward my beautiful, beautiful hometown. Hope you all enjoyed my weekend of HLS recaps! If you missed any of it, you can find my recap of Friday night’s cocktail party (and dinner at Karyn’s on Green) here, my thoughts about the Summit itself and a recap of my presentation with Caitlin here, and a recap of today’s stellar Chicago breakfast here. I feel lucky to have been a part of the weekend’s events, and to have seen so many cool folks in such a short time (Katie: next time). Thank you, HLS organizers, for the tremendous hard work you put into the weekend’s events. We are all grateful.

And now, I think my neighbor on the plane thinks it’s a little strange that I’m editing smoothie photos. My cue to sign off and get lost in the new Arcade Fire album. I’ll be back soon with some regular food talk!


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  1. Looks like you had a great time! I love me some raw kale salad too! And you’ll be glad to know, today’s heat index wasn’t as high…only 107 🙂

  2. as nauseating as all the chi-town talk got to be, your posts were actually the ones i did read. thank you for the thoughtful, profound and informative highlights…as opposed to just 100 million pictures of the same thing i saw on 40 other blogs. i really enjoyed reading about the speakers and what they had to say because, as usual, your eloquence makes the recaps better than some of the speeches probably were in the first place. anyways. i AM jealous that you got to hang out with some of the people who i think would be really fun in person. i want to meet mara and jenn and the dinner at karyns on green looked yum yum yum. the oatmeal sitch kinda is a bummer, but i guess theres not much you can do after the fact. pathetic that the staff wasnt more aware since it was a health summit after all. sorry to ramble, but ive been meaning to say all these things and havent been able to comment for a while. im potentially making the plunge and getting a macbook today or tomorrow.

    thanks so much for the hummus tips btw. im lucky to have both a food processor pro and hummus lover as a fountain of knowledge.

    ps i really enjoyed that book never let me go, but i remember being so confused for so much of the start of the book (which i know was kinda the point but still…). interesting concept. i am usually not so into that genre but i got it at an airport once and ended up being pleasantly surprised by it.

  3. my chicago buddy! i miss you so much already, but i had such a blasty gabbing, exploring, devouring salad beasts and shenanigan-ing with you this weekend <3
    yes, let's plan your orlando vacay asap!
    have a great week, friend. love you!

  4. I miss you already!!! I’m so glad it worked to hang out this weekend, it was oh-so-fun! I’m hoping we can make an orlando weekend happen!

  5. Don’t feel bad – on my plane ride back from DC, I had to alternate between editing my food photos and my architecture photos to keep my coworker who was sitting next to me from giving me the strangest looks! Oh the life of a food blogger 😉

  6. I don’t love boxed coconut water either. Sometimes I buy the ones that have other juice in them as well (mango or pineapple is nice), and I much prefer them to plain coconut water. I have only had fresh once when in Cuba, and I didn’t really like it – so maybe I am just not a coconut water person.

    I like that smoothie infusion, I have used it before and it makes my smoothies much more filling.

    Every time someone mentions Arcade Fire, I regret missing their live concert this summer. It was 15 minutes from my house, I already had a ticket, but it was so rainy and I was so lazy…I stayed home. Silly me.

  7. it sounds like you had such a fun weekend, gena! it looks like the hls really grew and progressed from the inaugural year. i’ll of course be waiting to hear more about your talk!

  8. I feel like we’ve seen another, wholly personal side of you this weekend. I’m only sad I didn’t get to experience personally. Love you, Gena. Hope the return to normal life is as fabulous as your weekend seemed.

  9. You had me laughing out loud with your commentary. Of course I love you. 🙂 It made my day to run into you ladies at Whole Foods again. Can we make it our mission to eat at every Whole Foods location in the Chicagoland area? I think that is a fabulous goal.

    Hope you are home safe and sound tonight. Thanks for making this weekend awesome. Good luck with that stack of work – I’m right there with you. Hopefully we can escape reality again sooner rather than later with a trip to Disney World.


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