Category Archives: Eating Out

Heroes and Villains

Superman has Lex Luthor. Sherlock Holmes has Moriarty. Spiderman has the Green Goblin. And Kermit has Miss Piggy. Every superhero has an archenemy – some villain that is a constant thorn in his side. Where Batman has the Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman, Two Face and Mr. Freeze (I don’t know how Batman rates all those villains, really. It’s not like he’s Superman, for crying out loud.), Resolve has Fatigue and his sidekick Convenience.

Capitan-America-obeseAs we’ve discussed several times, making healthful food choices isn’t necessarily easy and it certainly isn’t convenient. For whatever reason, last week, I got less sleep than usual. I also did not take the time I needed to take to prepare foods like I normally do. As a result, drive-thrus all over town talked to me as I drove past. It wasn’t that I even craved a burger or fries or a banana milkshake; I was just hungry and didn’t want to fool with making anything. While I resisted the temptations – even the milkshake, a heroic feat if ever there was one, resistance grew more difficult as the week wore on and my level of fatigue increased.

Well, there’s only one way to deal with that. That’s right. I had to put on my Big Goddess Panties and suck it up.

I went grocery shopping on Sunday to stock up on good fruits and veggies again. Some of those veggies, including a butternut squash, are roasting in the oven right this very minute. (I had to buy the biggest butternut squash they had to repair some soup I made with the gourd last week. I put WAY too much garlic in that batch; so, I have to dilute it. Good thing that soup freezes well!) Yellow squash, zucchini (staples in my kitchen) and eggplant also found their way into the basket. Sadly, they had no large portobellos that I can eat like a steak. The small ones still make for a great stir-fry, though.

In addition to the vegetables, I soaked and cooked some beans. I prepared chickpeas, black beans and lentils. The chickpeas will become hummus, soup and this wonderful chickpea salad that I just love. The black beans will be seasoned to serve with rice. They will also become black bean burgers as soon as I find a recipe that I like. The lentils will be a lentil loaf. I’ve never made one before; but, this recipe sounds wonderful!

I can’t say that this week I’ll get any more sleep and/or rest than I did last week; but, I can say that I’m better prepared to deal with the snacky feelings and temptations that the fatigue brings.

Fatigue Man and Convenience Boy, you’re on notice! I’m still in my Big Goddess Panties. You’ll not find me at your evil Drive-Thru lair, regardless of how tired I am or how strong that pumpkin pie milkshake tractor beam is.

Corning’s Loss, Our Gain

This is the United States where eating out is a national pastime. When I was growing up, there were only a couple of places in Brookhaven open for breakfast – Kerns Cafe and Brown’s Cafe (neither of which exist anymore).  The Round Table and Dog N Suds were open at lunch.  The Dog N Suds was also open for dinner. Sometimes, we would drive to Hazelhust to have dinner at Max’s or over to Georgetown for fried catfish at Al’s Fish Camp.  I think we might have had a Kentucky Fried Chicken in those days, as well.  But, you get the picture.  We ate out infrequently and had few choices when we did.  Now, I have a choice between Backyard Burger, fried chicken, eggrolls and Dunkin Donuts all at a single truck stop in the middle of nowhere!

corning casserole dishMarketing students hear how Corning Glass nearly failed because it didn’t see that Americans weren’t cooking at home anymore.  My grandmother and my mother both had complete sets of Corning casserole dishes.  You know the ones I’m talking about – white with either white flowers or vegetables on the side and that heavy, heavy glass lid.  Every pot luck, church dinner, holiday meal, supper club and family get-together saw tables laden with them. Check your cabinets. Do you have any of them?  I don’t.

And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we cook less but are fatter than ever.

I’ve talked before about cooking and how cooking your own food is vital to weight loss success and a healthier body.  I am convinced that this is true.  Hidden sugar, salt, and god-knows-what make us gain weight and retain water.  They subject us to cravings.  They alter our body chemistries in ways we don’t even understand.

Friends encouraged me to start this blog because while Valerie Bertinelli and Oprah Winfrey can lose weight and look great, most of us do not have personal trainers, chefs or life coaches on speed dial.  Pre-packaged diets are successful because we don’t have time to plan.  We don’t know what to plan.  We just don’t know where to start.

I am coming to believe that a great part of my earlier success was that I was working from home.  Planning nutritious, balanced meals was much easier then than it is for me now and, frankly, I’m not doing all that great a job of it yet.  However, this weekend, I began to take my personal life back in hand.  I am a creature of habit, a person of routine.  I am still developing one that contains time for housework, laundry, exercise, meal planning and preparation, work time and networking time.  Oh, and sleep.  Sleep would be good, too.  While I’m nowhere near done, I made significant progress this weekend and that feels good.

I would love it, though, if you would continue to share what works for you!

Dressing Up

Yesterday, Christina commented, “Isn’t it crazy to look at nutrition facts and realize how many calories things can have?! Especially at restaurants!” Yes, yes, it is.  I think that salads are the biggest mine fields.

You go in, sit down, order a salad so that you can have a healthful meal. A Cobb salad – mmmmm.  Tasty and (at Chili’s) 720 calories.  You read that right. 720.  A Caesar salad with grilled chicken? 650. At Appleby’s, that same salad is 820! WHAT?!  It’s a salad!! The culprit, as you already know, is the dressing.  A grilled chicken Caesar salad at Appleby’s without dressing is a very reasonable 370.

Condiments are flavor boosters; but, we don’t tend to think of them as food.  As a result, we also don’t tend to think of them as having calories.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I pulled out some condiments from my refrigerator:

  • CondimentsKraft chipotle mayo – 1 tbsp – 35 cal
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s honey barbecue sauce – 2 tbsp – 70 cal
  • Sriracha sauce – 1 tsp – 5 cal
  • Vava hot ajvar – 1.4 oz (just over 2 tbsp) – 69 cal
  • Naturally Fresh bleu cheese dressing – 2 tbsp – 170 cal
  • French’s yellow mustard – 1 tsp – 0 cal

Obviously, mustard is a better calorie choice than mayonnaise and just about anything is a better choice than bleu cheese dressing.  Here’s the thing, though – you may adore bleu cheese dressing.  And if you do, there’s therapy available, I’m sure. Um, what I mean to say is that it may be worth it to you to cut something else out so that you can enjoy that on your salad.  Just like it’s your money in your bank account, it’s your calorie budget.  You can choose to spend it how you like.  Buying clothes on Rodeo Drive is going to blast through my budget faster than shopping at my local mall and leave my closet emptier.  Similarly, pouring that bleu cheese on is going to blast through your calorie budget faster and leave your belly emptier.  Still, Armani may be worth it to me and bleu cheese may be worth it to you.

There are ways to have a little of both worlds, though.  I can make my budget go further by dressing up an inexpensive dress with an Hermes scarf.  You can either thin your dressing or leave it on the side.  Rather than pour the dressing over the top, dip your fork into it before each bite.  You get a little of that taste you love without carpet bombing your calorie budget.

It’s your budget.  Just look before you eat so that you can be an informed consumer.

Not Such a Smart Cookie

chocolate walnut cookieYesterday, we had a training session during lunch; so, my company brought in boxed lunches from Panera Bread.  Yum!  All of the lunches were half salad and sandwich combos, which was great.  I ate my salad, ate the meat from my sandwich and I ate half my bag of chips.  That would have been a good lunch, and at 221 calories, at a great calorie count. However.

You see? There was this chocolate walnut duet cookie in there, too. (Insert movie music indicating danger.)

I ate half the cookie and congratulated myself on eating only half.  Not so bad, right? Huh.

That HALF of the cookie had 220 calories! TWO. HUNDRED. TWENTY. As much as the whole rest of my lunch!

When I got home, I walked/ran 1.3 miles in 18 minutes.  I burned about 150 calories.  I was gasping for air, sweating like a horse, and smelling like a goat herder.  And I didn’t burn off that half cookie.  It was a good cookie, don’t get me wrong, but, sugar, ain’t NO cookie THAT good.  I should have done what I used to do which was to check the cookie’s nutritional information BEFORE I put it in my gullet.

Plan food. Check the nutritional information before eating. Spend your calorie budget wisely.

Now THAT’S a smart cookie.