My husband’s birthday is this September, and it’s his 40th. In the grand tradition of over-gifting I decided this year I would go all out and get him something he wanted really badly. Of course, chaos ensued as I tried to think of what that something would be. He really likes to ruin my surprises, though its never intentional, but this time I was way ahead of him!
He and I have a love of roller coasters, and typically we take at least one trip every year to Kings Island. One with the kids and one just us, but this year we weren’t doing that. After a random conversation over a year ago about the top roller coasters in the world, I got the idea that maybe the best present I could give him would be a trip to Cedar Point, which happens to hold several great records for there coasters. Luckily we live in Indiana, so the drive to this landmark amusement park is only about 4 hours away.
After a few weeks of planning, sneaking my purchases of tickets, hotel stay, VIP Fast Lane passes (no waiting for us!), and various other little planning components, I had it all figured out. Unfortunately, because I also am planning him a big family/friends get-together the weekend before his birthday, I knew this would have to be planned for a weekend when we would be kid-free, which happened to be this 4th of July.
I told him he would die when I gave his birthday gift this year, and I warned him that it would come early because of planning reasons. The trip was a huge success! Cedar Point was a phenomenal experience, and the water park on the property was amazing as well. What I knew would be hard was eating.
I’m no stranger to a little challenge with my newly found veganism, but I figured this trip would bring the challenge to a whole new level. Being the frugal people we are, I planned that we would probably only eat one meal at the park, and just eat something hearty before we got there, and then a late meal after we left. I also packed several pieces of almost ripe fruit to take, some cut-up green pepper, and some organic baby carrots.
I was right in some regards. The water park day was a little challenging for dinner as it seemed none of the restaurants in the surrounding area served even the bleakest form of salad, but we found a great little place called “Diana’s Restaurant” that was open 24 hours and had a huge menu, complete with at least 3 solid vegan options. I ended getting a veggie stir fry with a side salad and some french fries (not healthy, but I really wanted french fries and I was on vacay for the weekend!). Here it is, sorry about the pic quality.
I had no idea travelling could be such a challenge, but onward and upward (to the top of a coaster!).  The next day we decided, after a quick phone search about options near our hotel, to go to Taco Bell for breakfast. I ended getting a burrito with a hash brown and guacamole and pico de gallo in it. I added some Hot sauce and it turned into a decent breakfast. I also couple it with a banana so I knew I wasn’t going to feel horrible after my junk-food.

The real star of this trip was actually in Cedar Point. Yep, you read that right! Cedar Point had some great options for dining. Like other amusement parks, they had Subway, which at least always gives me one option, but they also had several stands with fresh fruit that looked really good and was fairly reasonable for an amusement park. But what totally took me off-guard was the actual vegetarian/vegan option they offered

in their ‘Frontier Village’. They had a backyard BBQ complete with large chunks of searing dead animal on this huge outside grill area, and in its own dedicated area they were grilling the biggest veggie kabob I had ever seen. Curious at just how vegan their offerings were, I actually got to speak with the manager and a chef on the spot about my choices. Needless to say from the picture you’ll see below, I had a huge meal with tons of flavor, and NO it did not disappoint. My vegan Cedar Point backyard BBQ included a gigantic veggie kabob with a large variety of veggies (3 types of pepper, onion, tomato, artichoke heart, and squash), couscous salad that I verified as vegan and was really tasty with cucumbers and tomatoes in it, bean salad with three types of beans and jalapenos, a roasted veggie salad, an ear of grilled corn with no fat added, and a vegan roll. I was stuffed and very happy.

It was so great, we ended having to walk round for at least another hour, passing the time with the petting zoo full of adorable animals. By the way, this could be an area of improvement for Cedar Point, as the animals ‘grazing’ area was a pitiful excuse for a yard and I felt they kept them entirely too cooped up. They were healthy in appearance, though, and a joy to spend time playing with. I made friends with several new species, including one very silly llama!
Sorry there is not recipe today, but I will link to another blog with a great recipe I tried this week for my lunches at work. Mock “Tuna” salad, which I find reminiscent of a chicken salad flavor and is great with some whole grain crackers for a filling and healthful lunch (with my numerous baggies of veggies and fruits). Stop by the “Oh She Glows” blog for tons of great recipes and what I can only call the ‘goddess’ of blogging for the rest of us.
Oh, one more thing! Being committed to being healthier, I decided to start Insanity, the workout, this week. I thought I was in decent shape (that pic makes me look big, but I’m actually a size 6), but the truth is, this workout is kicking my butt! So, in my belief that accountability is best found in those around you, I took several pictures of my ‘before’ body and posted it to my Facebook page.
My mom thinks I’m nuts, but if I can strut around a water park in the middle of summer at Cedar Point, then a few pre-Insanity shots to friends and family isn’t too horrible. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted as I progress, but after only 3 days, my calves are killing me from muscle soreness, and I’m wiped out! I may have to rethink my food intake a little.