January 31, 2014

Dried Fruit = Sweet Tooth Satisfaction

Earlier this week I finagled my way into a ticket to a dinner event to which tickets were supposed to be $95.00. One of the greatest things about being a law student is the opportunity to volunteer to help at networking events which means a free ticket! Woo hoo! All we had to do was set the programs up on each place setting... I'll take that over $95.00 any day.

The night did come with one challenge... a piece of key lime pie sitting in front of me ALL night. Let me tell you... it took everything I had not to eat just one bite. My stomach was really trying to impose the "Just one bite..." logic, but somehow I came out stronger than the pie. I didn't even touch it!

For obvious reasons, I was feeling pretty deprived after dinner, which was paleo-friendly with filet, shrimp, a scallop (Yes, only one.) and veggies. I tried to ignore the possibility of sneaky butter on the plate. The only thing I had to skip was a stack of potatoes. Easy! We were then invited to an "after-party" at a local bar/lounge, so I needed to get cash just in case which led me to Publix. So, I went straight to the GreenWise section of dried fruit. I debated which fruit I should grab and eventually went for the dried pineapple (low sugar).

Be careful when buying dried fruit - A lot of them have added sugar. As a good paleo does, check the ingredients, and you'll instantly know whether or not there's any added sugar. These said "Ingredients: pineapple" Tip #5: Check dried fruit for added sugar. I know cranberries usually always have added sugar because they're naturally so bitter. A lot of banana chips have added sugar as well. Be sure to look for the "Unsweetened" versions. I bought four rings, and it only took two to satisfy my sweet tooth craving. And, they have the thick/chewy consistency that satisfies your body's need to chew something. Do you all get that feeling too? I don't know how to explain it in a not weird sounding way, but I get that craving for something between my teeth.

Last week I bought dried Turkish apricots from Whole Foods which has a GREAT dried fruit selection, and they serve the same purpose. Although, they're not as sweet as the pineapple. My mom recently bought Just Grapes from the Just Tomatoes brand at Whole Foods and said they're awesome! I haven't tried them yet, but I would take her word for it.

Some dried fruits I've tried and enjoyed are: pineapple, papaya, raisins, apricots, mango

January 29, 2014

Jersey Mike's

A few friends from school and I met for lunch today - It's only appropriate that we take a 2-hour lunch break on our "Snow Day," right? We actually went to Chick-Fil-A, but I was not feeling chicken and fruit. I feel like that becomes a pretty consistent meal with paleo. So, I stopped at Jersey Mike's before heading to Chick-Fil-A. I walked in thinking I would get a turkey and/or ham Sub in a Tub (breadless option) but ended up calling an audible. Sub shops can be an easy way to eat with friends and stay paleo because you can get all the vegetables/deli meat you want, and just skip the bread. By the way, my best friend and I did a taste-test for almost every chain sub place. Jersey Mike's tied for 1st place with Publix. It's the best!

My order: #17 Philly Cheesesteak without bread, no cheese, with lettuce and banana peppers. You can obviously add any vegetable you would like. I thought about tomatoes, but I wasn't sure how they would pair. Basically, it's a Philly salad. I actually really enjoyed this and would totally get it again. I had never ordered a Philly anywhere but am happy I did today. So you know, I asked a few questions before I ordered. The Philly is only made with steak, peppers, and onions and is not cooked with any hidden oils. I almost felt like I was cheating, but I'm 99% sure I wasn't. Bonus: It was less than $7.00, and Jersey Mike's has a rewards program that eventually leads to free food.

Jersey Mike's Menu 

Stairs = Warm & Dry Workout

School was cancelled today for a "Snow Day" which really just meant "No one around here knows how to drive when the roads are wet, and it's near freezing. So, stay home." But, we law students were more than happy to get a few extra hours of sleep and a whole day to catch up on reading assignments. Not to mention, my schedule went from non-stop to completely free. I figured I should use my extra time to get in a work-out, considering I otherwise have no time this week. But, there's no gym in my apartment building, and it's wet and freezing outside.

So... There's only one thing to do in this situation... Run stairs! Tip #4: Stairs are a great replacement when circumstances won't allow a run.
Three great things about this workout: 1) It is warm and dry. 2) You don't have to go anywhere. 3) You're not in public, so wear whatever you want. It was just my iPod and me. I actually came up with this idea about a week ago when a 5K was cancelled due to rain, and the campus gym was closed. My running buddy and I went to a parking garage on campus and ran the stairs a few times.

For those of you who talk themselves out of a workout unless you have something to go by (Trust me, that's how I usually am.), here's what I did:
  1. 5 flights up, running
  2. Walk down.
  3. 5 flights up, running
  4. Walk down.
  5. Run 3 flights up, Walk 2 flights up. Repeat until at the top (For me, that was 15 flights.)
  6. Walk down 2 flights, Run up 1 flight. Repeat until you're back at the bottom. Treat these running flights as sprints. Pump your arms and raise your knees as high as you can on each step.
And, here's the reward (view from the top and realizing you're working out and staying dry):

January 28, 2014

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse

Tonight, I had a dinner meeting at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. I had never been to a BJ's before but heard that they have a pretty extensive menu. So, before I went I did a little research. Tip #3: Look up the menu before you go! Looking up the menu before you go will lessen the number of questions you ask when ordering which may be awkward in a meeting setting and lets you get an idea of what your options will be at meal-time. I have to say the menu is just as extensive as I thought it was.

My order:
Chicken Lettuce Wraps from the appetizer menu without wonton strips. The sauces automatically come on the side. I have to say, I was slightly disappointed. The waitress said I should get them over the Enlightened Thai Mango Salad. But, I think I'll get the salad next time. The lettuce wraps were good, but there was only enough chicken for 2.5 wraps, and it was not very filling. I didn't use the brown sauce that comes with them, but I did use a small amount of the spicy mustard which was definitely spicy. Overall, the dish is great! I just didn't think it was enough for dinner. I came home and ate strawberries and blueberries with some almond milk. I contemplated the Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wrap, but I presumed the sauce in which the shrimp are cooked is a big no-no. If you're not super strict, I think they would be suitable!

BJ's Menu

Jason's Deli

Ever since I was introduced to Jason's Deli this summer, I have been obsessed! Specifically with the "Nutty Mixed-Up Salad." Every time I have the choice of where to go to lunch, Jason's Deli is usually at the top of my list. The Nutty Mixed-Up Salad is paleo-friendly - Just order it without the feta cheese and dressing on the side which you won't even need. This salad is AWESOME!

But, the most recent time I was at Jason's Deli, I dared to be adventurous and got something new. My order: Salad Bar with 4oz. of grilled chicken. They have an awesome selection of vegetables and seeds. My salad was composed of spring greens, mushrooms, cucumbers (my favorite!), tomatoes, a hard-boiled egg, sunflower seeds, the AWESOME trail mix that's on top of the Nutty Mixed-Up Salad (walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds), almonds and a few apples on the side. I got a tiny cup (from the ice cream section) of Balsamic Vinaigrette to dip when needed. Other applicable toppings I remember being available were bell peppers and olives, and you can also get 4 oz. of wild salmon to go on your salad (SUPER-PALEO!). And for those of us usually dining with non-paleo friends, they have free ice cream (which used to be really exciting)! Oh, and the salad bar is unlimited. I was so full! Tip #2: Salads are your friend (and food, for you Nemo fans).

3/7/2014 Update: My order: Nutty Mixed Up Salad; I forgot to order it without cheese, so I picked off most of it. And, I stocked up on trail mix from the salad bar.

4/30/2014 Update: My order: Salad Bar (lettuce, hard-boiled egg, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, peas, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, broccoli & a small bit of balsamic dressing) with a Cup of Organic Vegetable Soup; The soup was perfect for a rainy day. Surprisingly, it doesn't have rice or noodles or anything like that. It does have beans and corn, but those were easy to eat around. Yum!

Jason's Deli Menu 

Outback Steakhouse

So, this year was pretty exciting for me as my little sister pledged my sorority chapter and was initiated in October. Now, we are "Sisters Squared," as we like to say. The even cooler thing is that I was a charter member of our chapter, meaning I was one of the founders. So, for her to be a part of something I started makes me so happy. Being a new chapter meant we didn't have a chapter house, until this year. Saturday was the Ribbon-Cutting ceremony for our chapter's BRAND-NEW HOME!
All dressed up and STARVING after the festivities ended, we debated on a place to eat and finally agreed on steaks from Outback. I'm telling you, this must be butter's hang-out spot. We had to say "No butter" for everything we ordered. But, it ended up being a great meal!

My order:
6 oz. Signature sirloin (no butter) with a sweet potato (no butter or brown sugar or toppings at
all, for that matter) and broccoli (no butter). My sister ordered the sirloin with grilled shrimp (no butter), grilled asparagus (no butter) and a sweet potato. We told the server there was no need to bring us bread and waited for our meal. My sister was shocked to finally experience the reality of what restaurants use to cook the food. Although we were starving before, we were both satisfied and full after our meal, and everything tasted great! Steak places should usually be pretty paleo-friendly, as we can always go for a piece of meat.

2/14/2013 Update: My sister and I went to lunch at Outback today. I had a $4 coupon off of two lunch entrees. My order: Sesame salad with grilled salmon (no butter), dressing on the side. Unfortunately, it was terrible. It was an "American" salad blend dumped on a plate with about 3 oz. of salmon covered in salt and a side of sesame oil. I choked it down while staring at my sister's plate with envy. She ordered a 9 oz. sirloin (not butter) with a sweet potato (no topping or butter).

Outback Menu

Bonefish Grill

My mom, sister and I started were inspired by the 30 Day Paleo Challenge about a month ago and cold-turkey decided to start the paleo diet. Since then, all three of us have noticed tremendous changes. We have more energy; we don't feel so bloated after eating - it's more of a light and satisfied feeling; and, we have all lost more than 5 pounds! One of the biggest challenges the diet poses is what to order when eating out. Since I became more health-conscious in January 2012, I have picked up tips and tricks from here and there about hidden calories and how restaurants actually make their food. The main thing is that restaurants usually put BUTTER on EVERYTHING! So, as smart dieters, we have to know to watch out. Or, that sirloin and broccoli which seems so healthy and diet-friendly could be scary. Why do you think Outback's broccoli is so good? It's that special ingredient. Same thing with salads... Restaurant dressings can make some salads worse than just biting the bullet and ordering a burger.

So, my first paleo ordering adventure was Bonefish Grill. I was on a "business" trip, and with two other girls. After asking what seemed like 25 questions, I came up with this:

My order: 
Filet (no butter) and crabcake (The waiter said they make their crabcakes with minimal breadcrumbs.) with steamed veggies (no butter) and a House salad (dressing on the side). This meal was wonderful, and the meat was so tender! There is no need at all to upgrade to the filet. A sirloin would be just fine! Think about what I would have eaten if I didn't specify "No Butter!" Tip #1: Ask what veggies and meats are topped with and tell the waiter you do not want any added butter.

Bonefish Grill Menu