Dedicated to Pupps: Thanks for helping this American not be so…American.

Before you ask, yes Brazil was amazing! Rio and Sao Paulo are unique cities that hold so many of Brazil’s iconic attractions: Sugarloaf, Christ the Redeemer, Ibirapuera Park Ipanema and Copacabana Beach and others. While I didn’t have a chance to visit them all I did visit some lesser-known spots like the museum of tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro and the and Crossfit Brazil in Sampa, which is how the locals refer to Sao Paulo. All of them beautiful and filled with beautiful people. And being surrounded by so many gorgeous and toned people I came prepared to brave the beaches in Brazilian style swimwear. This was easier to do than maintain because in a country that is equally famous for its beautiful and fit people as it is for its Churrascarias and Caipirinha your hard-earned beach body and can slip away from you. The following is a look at how that happened. enjoy!

I ended 2017 a proud an resilient herbivore with wide-eyed intentions of becoming fully vegan by January, Brazil had other plans for me. Although Brazil is doing a lot in the way of healthy eating, they have health food shops and restaurants and acai bowls are sold on the beach, it’s hard not to indulge when you are on vacation. I went from eating an entirely plant-based diet to never touching a vegetable. If it wasn’t a garnish on a drink I don’t think I ate it. This later proved to be a problem for my bowels but as they say in Brazil, “that’s a problem for future Don.” In short, the food was amazing and some of it really familiar with what I grew up eating like Okra. I didn’t like all the pairings I encountered. For example, I was having brunch with a friend and on the plate was a beef in a sauce, rice, Farofa, Okra and half a banana. Half a banana? What was this? I don’t know what it was about that banana, but that banana was hostile and I did not want it on my plate. My Brazilian friend ate it and all was right in the world.

We ate out a lot in Brazil, at least two or three times a day. Food in Brazil is not super expensive, even during the New year when things are typically marked up for tourists. Even the more expensive restaurants were still affordable when you’re used to paying Bay Area prices. However, that doesn’t mean that I passed up the chance to try what a Brazilian friend of mine called the worst that Brazil has to offer–Bob’s. Now a little back story about Bob’s. You remember back in 2016 when US swimmer Ryan Lochte lied about being robbed at gunpoint at a gas station? Well, that gas station was connected to a Bob’s. A Bob’s where I sat down to have a burger. Now the reputation of Bob’s in Brazil is something akin to if Walmart got into the burger business but try not to judge because there’s a reason they’re still in business. And that reason is the cheese sauce. Well, it’s not quite cheese sauce so much as cheese paste. It’s a little too thick to dip anything in but tasted delicious, and they put it on everything. Imagine my surprise, and delight, to see the Brazilian cousin of Cheese Wiz ooze from my Bob burger. In my defense, I was on vacation and it was the year of the omnivore.

Brazil was a trip of healthy eating choices, and some unhealthy eating choices, and I regret nothing! I knew that I was coming home to the network of healthy eating support and accountability partners. With the 28 Day challenge starting up again and our new Partnership with Territory foods, I could afford to have a little more fun on my trip. In the days leading up to the next challenge which starts January 22nd, I encourage you all to sign up and check out what Territory foods has to offer. Set yourself up for success and don’t give yourself an excuse not to follow through on your New Year’s resolutions. If you did well in our last challenge and think you can do better sign up again. If you feel like you fell short be kind to yourself and give it another try. 2018 is your year. It’s the year of the Omnivore.

To Your Continued Success,

Coach Don Gilbert