I’ve been at a teensy bit of a halt in my physical activity lately. For one, I got booted from The Biggest Loser program, but it was for a noble and good reason, so I am fine with it. Family trumps the gym every time, and my family needed me, so I forgot to weigh in. I am now sitting home with clogged nasal passages and crummy feeling body aches, etc. I will probably start back on my workouts tomorrow or the next day, depending. The uncontrollable coughing is really what holds me back when I have this kind of sickness.
I want to cover two topics in this post. The first of which is tips for the whole food eater when eating out at restaurants, and the second is why surgical means and nutritional support from doctors might not be the answer for you, if you feel like you’ve reached the end of all options.
Eating out is really important for a lot of people who work or who have busy lives. We don’t eat out as often as we used to because we are more strapped for cash now, but we do still have to eat on the go. When you are trying to eat whole foods, this can prove difficult. You’d like to avoid hormone laden meats and dairy, but you still want to eat good, fresh veggies and for your food to taste good.
My best eating out experiences have come from going to places where you can assemble your own food. Now, a place like Chipotle is ideal because they use really good quality ingredients, and truthfully, nothing they serve is bad news bears for your dietary lifestyle. Even their meat is ethical. I always order a bowl instead of a burrito, but that is simply because I like eating with a fork when I eat. It cuts down on the processed stuff, though, because there is no tortilla.
Moe’s is a good second runner-up for this, but I wouldn’t trust their meat and dairy to be ethical or hormone free. They have too low a price point for that. You don’t really need it, though. Usually I will order a bean burrito (black beans because the pintos have lard in them) in a bowl and skip the dairy products. Instead, I will ask for double guacamole and eat the whole thing by scooping it up on a few chips. Yummy!
We had a new experience this week. If you live near Buford, try out Ghengis Grill. It’s beside the Mall of Georgia, and it’s great. You go in and go through a line, choosing your protein (they have tofu!), your veggies, your seasoning, and your sauce. Then you choose your carbs (they have brown rice, oh yes, they have brown rice!). They then stir fry it for you and serve it up. It’s delicious, and you can make it healthy. They will even clean off the grill for you if you have a food allergy or are a vegetarian/vegan. It’s a franchise, so check your area for restaurants.
One of my favorite Atlanta-based restaurants is The Flying Biscuit. They have free range chicken sausage (hello!), and really super good breakfast fare. They do lunch and dinner dishes, but you can order breakfast all day long. If I’m given the option, I ALWAYS choose breakfast, but then, I’m kind of a sucker for their rosemary potatoes and creamy, dreamy grits. Not sure if their dairy is safe, but I’m thinking it probably is pretty good quality, since they care about such issues.
If you don’t have these specific places, you can just follow a few simple rules to eating out wherever you are:
1. Look for things on the menu that are freshly prepared rather than frozen and reheated. Salads (minus all the nasty dressings, or with whatever dressing you bring or request is great!)
2. Eat half a portion. They are always enough for two people, unless you order a half order.
3. Ask for sauces and dairy items to be removed or put on the side. You may want a little, but you may not want the gobs that they think you will want. Yick. I’d like to taste my food, please!
4. Order off the menu or request for changes to be made. They are typically happy to oblige, and it’s not unheard of. Folks with allergies do this all the time, and it works for them. I usually just tell my server to please be patient with me for being complicated because I promise him or her a good tip in the end. That is typically met with a very positive response and courteous service.
On to the second topic. Weight loss surgery or medical intervention/dietician intervention.
So I have been curious this week, with all the folks I know who have had bariatric surgery or have sought out medical advice on nutrition. I decided to call a dietician, and I found some kind of disturbing information. The recommendation that they give is to go on this shake diet and use nutrition bars instead of eating real food. This is stage one, and breaks sugar addiction, etc. Then later on, they move you to one meal a day, and so on and so forth. I’m not sure about you, but I wonder how many people this helps longterm, since you’re not fixing the root of the problem, which is that folks don’t generally know how to prepare and eat healthy, whole foods.
So, I moved on from there, and looked into bariatric surgery. This basically forces you to eat right because you will feel gross and miserable if you don’t. Ok, perhaps some people need this, but if I can transition on my own, anyone can. Sure, I mess up, but I don’t need debilitating pain or vomiting to remind me I messed up. I just need to feel crappy and gain a pound. The thing with the surgery is that you still have to change your habits regardless or you will simply not lose weight.
The bottom line is that these doctors agree that changing your eating habits to a lower fat, burn more calories than you eat regimen is the only way to lose weight. Go figure. They say you need protein, but it’s not so strict as to force you to eat meat. It really and truly is all about caloric intake. The whole foods, getting all your vitamins part is just icing on the cake, or should I say hummus on the carrot stick.
To prove my point about calories, a professor spent ten weeks eating junk food, but keeping it low-calorie, and lost 27 pounds. Interesting stuff. His levels were even improved!
So, if anyone tells you anything about your micronutrients or acts like they have some magical secret to weight loss, just laugh at them derisively because you understand science, despite their best efforts to sell you crap.