Dining Out, Low-Carb Diet

Low-Carb Dining at HuHot Mongolian Grill

Every girl needs a little pampering every once and a while. Today was my day to do a couple of things for myself. First, I got my hair colored with a few burgondy low-lights, treated myself with a new dress (on sale) for formal night at the upcoming Low-Carb Cruise, and finally had time to sit down for some lunch.

Slight Problem #1: Deciding Where to Go

All this running around left me pretty darn hungry. I was in a shopping area where I had plenty of restaurant choices, so I did a search for restaurants near me on my phone and On The Border popped up. Ooooooh! Chips and salsa sounded pretty darn good at this point and I was so tempted to go. A couple chips won’t be so bad… Then I had a moment of clarity and remembered how a couple of chips usually turn into a lot of chips (like 2 baskets, no kidding) plus half the rice and beans on my plate. Last time I went for Mexican, I checked my blood sugar 2 hours later, knowing it probably was going to be high. I didn’t expect to be in the 230s. So I discarded that great idea. As I continued to scroll the the options on my phone, Ultimate Buffet came up. Even though it’s a Chinese buffet, I figured that I could have shrimp & crab legs with butter and can be perfectly happy. Unfortunately, they were closed for their dinner reset. Finally, I came upon HuHot Mongolian Grill, still Chinese, and I can pick my ingredients. Yes, HuHot would definitely do the trick and it’s a place that I can stay on track with my low-carb lifestyle.

Slight Problem #2: What to Eat at the Mongolian Grill

IMG_0238Since I no longer drink diet coke, which has always been my go-to soda until a month or two ago, I ordered an unsweetened iced-tea with a lemon and helped myself at the buffet. I picked mostly meat (shaved beef & pork), added some cabbage, onions, and mushrooms, and decided to go with oil-based sauces (garlic, chili-oil, sesame oil, and a touch of green curry sauce made with coconut milk). The mix tasted delicious and I was glad I picked HuHot for my meal and to take a break from shopping.

*** For full disclosure, half way through my meal I added a little bit of rice to my plate, maybe 2-3 tbsp worth, but to be honest, it tasted kind of bland and next time I’ll just tell them that I don’t want any at the table, unless I have others who want rice accompanying me.

So Exactly What Was the Carb Count?

Well, I don’t really know. I can give you an educated guess, but other than the little bit of rice (about 10g of carbs) and maybe 2-3g carbs from the onions, mushrooms, and cabbage, I would say it had around 13g of carbs for the entire meal. Either way, it was a hell of a lot better than going to a Mexican place, which I find a lot more difficult to stay on track at, since chips and salsa are still trigger foods for me.

Finally, I’ll leave you with something warm and fuzzy…

4-up on 4-14-17 at 17.34 #3

… his name is Trouble and he approves of my new hair color!!!

Dining Out, Low-Carb Diet

Low-Carb Dining at Applebees

IMG_0236Hubby suggested dinner at Applebees tonight. Eating out low-carb has become fairly easy for me at most places. I usually get a meat and a salad or a vegetable, and then I replace my starch with a second veggie.

Today I had the Shrimp ‘N Parmesan Sirloin with broccoli and the garlic green beans as my 2 sides. My meal was satisfying and hours later, I’m still comfortable and could’ve actually done with less.

Here’s the carb breakdown:

  • Shrimp & Parmesan Sirloin, 8g
  • Garlicky Green Beans, 11g
  • Steamed Broccoli, 6g
  • Total Carbs for Meal = 24g (OOOPS!)

Well, that really didn’t come out as well as I was hoping. As you can tell, even as a seasoned low-carber, I’m not perfect. It’s still lower-carb, but due to my blood sugar issues, my goal is to stay below 4g of carbs at each meal and I actually had 6x that amount tonight. So I’m really glad that I checked. Thank you readers for pulling me out of complacency!

Lesson learned for next time: 

So, next time I will look up the carb counts before I order, not after, like I just did. I’m also going to try going halfsies with hubby or pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Wow, I’m still trying to get over the carb count of garlicky green beans. I really didn’t expect that.

To stick closer to 4 carbs, next time I’ll order:

  • 8 oz Sirloin, 2g
  • Steamed Broccoli, 6g
  • Extra butter for Broccoli, 0g
  • Total Carbs for Meal = 8g (split in half, 4g)

I’ll enjoy 1/2 of the meal at the restaurant and pack the leftovers for lunch. Alternatively, I can split my meal with hubby and let him have his starch for the second side. A 4oz. serving of protein is actually more appropriate anyway, so I’ll give that a try.

I’d like to hear from you what low-carb meals you like to order at Applebees.

 

 

 

Diabetes, Food Addiction, Hypertension, Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet, Nutrition, People Pleasing

A Year of Putting Myself First

20160519_170133000_iOSFood addiction, pre-diabetes, hypertension, people pleasing… sound familiar?  This is the kind of stuff I’ve been struggling with for years – some of these conditions I have had since childhood.

In the past 2 years I entered an eating disorder recovery center for several months, where I was officially diagnosed with a binge-eating disorder. After “graduating” I did a few more months of therapy, saw a nutritionist, and spent some time in OA.

While in recovery, I learned a lot of new skills to deal with life, emotions, people, and how to take time to take care of myself. Unfortunately, somehow the busyness of life took over again and old habits snuck back in…

Putting Myself First Again

For the next 12 months, I want to practice putting myself first again. This is not at all a selfish goal. For most of my life I wanted to make sure everyone around me was taken care of and ignored my own needs. I had a hard time saying no to others, even if I didn’t want to do, whatever it was they wanted. Food always made everything better, but only for a short time. Never mind that my way of dealing with negative emotions, stress, or life in general made me gain weight, got me depressed, and eventually ran my blood pressure and glucose levels up. In treatment I learned to be more assertive, feel my emotions without needing food, and how to take time for myself without feeling guilty. My goal is to build on these new skills, strengthen my recovery in the coming year, and share the practical things I’m doing to get peace back in my life with you by my side.

Make Life Amazing Again

In the coming year you will see posts about how to handle difficult situations as an introvert, how to get pre-diabetes and, hopefully, high blood pressure back in check, what to do when tempted to go on a full-blown binge, and finally how to relax in the evenings and weekends with feeding your soul and not so much your stomach.

In the meantime, you can read some of my older posts below. I’ve written about how a low-carb lifestyle has helped with my binges, even before I entered official treatment.

Now Your Turn…

Along the way, I’d love to hear about your stories, your struggles, your victories. How do you practice self-care to bring a few moments of sanity in your life? Is there a specific topic you’d like me to cover? Do you have any questions?

You can comment below or send me a private message via my contact page.

*** Remember, I can only share my own experience and cannot give you professional advice. I’ll leave that to the specialists. ***

Hugs,

Nickie

 

Dining Out, Low-Carb Diet

Who Said You Can’t Eat Low-Carb at Carrabba’s?

Sirloin Marsala with Sauteed Spinach, topped with Fresh Parmesan

Eating out low-carb is not really that difficult at all.  Today, we went to Carrabba’s Italian Grill.  At first, I thought my choices would be limited, since pasta and bread are part of most Italian dishes (at least here in the U.S. & Germany, but not so much in Italy – but that’s another story).

Before we left, I did a quick online menu check and discovered that Carrabba’s actually has a gluten-free menu.  I looked it over and actually found several dishes that I would like to try, like the Shrimp Scampi, the Sirloin Marsala, or the Chicken Bryan.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I asked the greeter if they have a gluten-free menu I could look at.  She nodded and brought me the menu.  A few moments later, the waiter took our drink-order and I asked for my usual unsweetened ice-tea with a lemon, no sweetener required (I quickly adapted to the slightly tart taste when I quit diet coke).

I looked over the menu again and decided to go for the Sirloin Marsala.  I let the waiter know that I was ordering from the gluten-free menu and to please let the chef know not to use the basting sauce for the meat.  He nodded and asked me what veggie I’d like with it.  I opted for the sauteed spinach, something I have never tried before.  He then asked me if I wanted soup or salad, and I chose the side-salad with Parmesan cream dressing.  My husband, a non-low-carber, then ordered his baked Seafood Cannelloni and an order of Shrimp Scampi as an appetizer for us to split.  The waiter kindly asked if we wanted the garlic bread that comes with the dish, so I told him that he can bring it and my husband would eat it.

A few minutes later, the fresh dipping bread appeared.  Don had a slice, then put it aside.  I, then, took my spoon and took a taste of the seasoned olive oil.  I know, it sounds strange, but I did get the flavor without the added carbs and wheat, that makes me swell up like a balloon.  Yes, I love that bread, but it was not worth the set-back and puffiness, so instead, I was looking forward to the shrimp scampi.

When the waiter brought the shrimp, we set it in the middle of the table and we ate it straight out of the dish.  The sauce was so flavorful and creamy, the few pieces of shrimp were gone way too soon.  I took one more spoon-full of the sauce and hubby mopped up the rest with his garlic bread.  It was so tasty, that I tried to taste out the ingredients and wrote them down, so I could replicate the dish at home one day.

Side Salad with Parmesan Cream Dressing

Next came the salads.  Mine was a basic lettuce with tiny bits of celery, a few olives, and a few pieces of shredded carrots, topped with a creamy Parmesan dressing.  It was wonderful and light.  I’m not a fan of olives, so I pushed them to the side of the plate, and I took it easy on the carrots, though there weren’t that many slivers on the plate to begin with.

Once we were finished with our salads, the main dishes arrived at our table.  I looked at my plate and then said to my husband: “Whoever said that you can’t eat good stuff on low-carb, doesn’t know what they’re missing.”

My dish was a nice piece of sirloin steak, cooked medium done, and was covered with a creamy mushroom sauce.  My sauteed spinach looked yummy, too, with oil still glistening on the perfectly cooked leaves.  The waiter offered some fresh, grated Parmesan for my husband’s dish, then I asked him to put some on my spinach.  It was a new taste for me, the spinach, not the cheese, and I really enjoyed it.

When I was finished, Don snuck the last bite of steak off  my plate (I done anyway).  The waiter offered us some dessert, but  we have gotten out of the habit of eating desserts at restaurants, especially since I started eating low-carb, so we declined.

We left the restaurant comfortably full.  The outing wasn’t exactly cheap, since we basically ordered 3 entrees, but it was well worth it.

Hints for the road:

  • Check online for a menu to see what foods are available.
  • Check if the restaurant posted a gluten-free or special menu for people with food allergies.
  • Decide or narrow down beforehand what you will eat.
  • Remember why you are eating low-carb, before you order and when you’re tempted to eat off of someone else’s plate.
  • Make the best choice from the items that are available.

Enjoy your next dining out!

Hypertension, Low-Carb Diet

A Low-Carb Friendly Military Healthcare Provider – Really?

English: Blood pressure measurement.
English: Blood pressure measurement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, I scheduled an appointment at the clinic of our new duty station to get some blood work drawn, mainly to have a baseline to measure my progress for next year’s low-carb cruise.  I was so inspired by the success stories of this last cruise, that I made a promise to myself to make this year count.  I was particularly inspired by the stories of Andrew DiMino from Carbsmart, Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, Susan Winkler, Kent Altena, Kim Eidson, and Vanessa Romero, just to name a few.  With all this motivation, this is definitely the year to get healthy!

At first, I was worried about the reaction of my new doctor, because every time I went to see one at the military clinic at our last duty station, which was usually a different physician each time, and mentioned that I was eating low-carb, they were appalled that I did not eat any HEART-HEALTHY GRAINS and that I ate SATURATED FAT.  Of course, they told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy.  At that time I didn’t have any ammo to counter with yet.  But this time would be different!

Before my appointment, I made sure to do my homework.  I asked my new expert buddies at the Low-Carb Cruise Facebook Group, which additional blood tests I should get done, and made my list:

  Standard tests
  Full Panel Thyroid
  LDL Particle Size
  A1C
  Vitamin D Level

 I also played out in my mind what I’d say to the doctor, when the low-carb thing would come up.  None of my previous physicians were open to this lifestyle, so I wanted to be ready.  Some things I wanted to say were:

  I eat more veggies than ever in my life.  What’s wrong with that?
  Isn’t this how diabetics should eat?
  Isn’t this how food addicts in recovery eat?  Nobody says that that’s unhealthy.  Why can’t I?

So, confident that I was ready for my appointment, I drove to the post hospital, ready for battle, if the need would arise.

At the clinic, a Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs.  I was shocked that my blood pressure was 154/105.  What?  It’s never been that high!  Yes, I had high blood pressure for years around 145/95, which was easily controlled by meds.  Then, after I lost some weight by eating low-carb, I stayed off my low-dose HCTZ and monitored my blood pressure, which was usually fine.  When I returned from the cruise, it was still normal for a few days, then shot up to the 150s/90s and I thought my machine at home was broken.  Since I had no way to test it, I just waited a few days for my appointment to verify that my blood pressure machine indeed went belly-up.  But I was wrong.  We checked twice.  Yep, I was really up there.

The volunteer then told me that my physician assistant will be with me shortly and left the room.  What?  I’m seeing a PA?  Nothing against PAs, but I really expected a doctor.  Oh well, nothing I could do at that point.

A few minutes later, the PA came in.  After some small-talk, she asked me why I was here.  I told her that I’m due for a physical and that I just came off the Low-Carb Cruise with a lot of experts and that I wanted some blood work done, so I can compare results right before the next cruise.  She nodded and got her pen ready:  “What tests do you want?”

Really?  No push-back?  I like that lady!!!  So, I rattled off my list to her.  She repeated the tests to me to make sure she got them all, did a quick physical and then we discussed the blood pressure issue.  She thinks that it could be the altitude, since I just came from a week at sea-level back to Colorado at 6200 feet.  She wants me to come back in two weeks for a follow-up and to see if my pressure goes back down.  We’ll then discuss my test results and if I need to get back on blood pressure meds.  As I went down to the lab, I was still amazed about my PA’s reaction, or non-reaction.  That was easy!

Update:  Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from the nurse.  My PA wants me to come in sooner to discuss my thyroid test results.  Great, now I have to wait until Tuesday to find out what’s off on my results…

To be continued…