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.

 

 

 

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!

Binging, Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

Culture Shock – Primal Living in the USA

Whole Foods MarketAfter a 3 year tour in Bavaria, Germany, we finally set foot on U.S. ground again.  Since then, my mind has officially been blown with the low-carb opportunities that are available to me here in the States.

During our move, I have been off my primal plan, not only because I wouldn’t be able to eat many of my favorite German foods for a long time, but also, because I knew it would be extremely difficult to stay on track while living in hotels for an extended time, with only microwaves to cook with.  It was a conscious decision, yet my body did not thank me.

As soon as I went off program, I immediately started to feel puffy, sluggish and irritable, although, the crankiness could be attributed to all the stress of getting the house ready for the movers to come, selling the cars, and working until the last minute.  We’ve been living in hotels for 3 weeks until we moved into an extended stay place, where we actually have a small kitchen to make our own meals.  I never thought that I would ever get tired of eating in restaurants, but over the last 2 weeks, my body was screaming for real food.  Yes, the fresh waffles and bagels in the mornings at the other hotel were nice, but come lunch-time, I was a shaky, wobbly wreck… I hate when my bloodsugar drops like that and my addiction runs rampant.

Today, I made an effort to stay off of sugar and flour.  I didn’t have much suitable food in the fridge, but I made it through the day.  Not surprisingly at all, I felt calm and my head seemed clearer for the first time in weeks.  Then, while we were in town in the evening, we ate at a restaurant.  I had no problems with staying on plan.  I wanted something light and stuck to a Cobb salad, which left me comfortably full and satisfied. In retrospect, I easily could have been back on plan as soon as we arrived here, because most restaurants will work with their customers, but it just seemed too tempting to try to eat all these foods I thought that I missed out on in the last 3 years.  Again, that’s the addiction talking.

Culture shock really hit me when we walked into the Whole Foods Market for the first time in 6 years.  The assortment of primal foods in the store were overwhelming, and I didn’t buy anything other than some coconut hand creme for my psoriasis on my hands.  I did try some yummy salmon samples and a small cup of sports tea, while cruising the isles, but my head is still spinning, when I think about the massive inventory of foods they carry.  I made a mental note to do my homework before I shop there again (some of the food, I saw at our Commissary for much cheaper.)

Finally, now that we’re in Colorado, I want to explore the nearby farms and farmers markets for free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and local produce.  I can’t wait to get started with that.  I’m ready to let go of the junk!

Until next time,

Nickie

Low-Carb Diet

Me, exercise, who would’ve thought?

Bgpictures yoga 01
Image via Wikipedia

I hate exercise, can’t stand to sweat, and don’t like to feel exhausted.  Yep, that’s me.  Sound familiar?  Imagine the surprise when, one day out of the blue, I had a strong urge to do some yoga – not the strenuous power-yoga, but more like the stretching type.  Ya know, a girl gotta start somewhere.  So after work, I cooked dinner as usual and after we ate, I still had yoga on the brain.

Determined to do a short, mild session, I scoured my shelves for old workout tapes and DVDs, when I remembered that I still had that WiiFit Plus game floating around in our guest room.  I know, it’s not the perfect tool, but for my purposes it was great.  After changing the batteries in my controller and board, and figuring out how to setup my workout, I did two short sessions of basic yoga poses.  To my surprise, it felt very good to stretch out and I noticed that especially my arms and legs seemed to have gotten a bit of a workout in that short amount of time.

Once I finished my programmed sessions, which lasted only 15 minutes or so, I didn’t want to stop “playing” just yet and decided to try my skills with a few of my favorite balance games (ski-slalom, balance table, etc.)  Considering that I haven’t played this game in a couple of months, I did pretty good.

What do I credit this burst of energy and weird behavior to?  I may be wrong, but I think that changing to a grain, sugar and starch free diet, and consuming mostly whole foods (again, did not kick the diet coke habit yet), not only helped me to shed some pounds (almost 20 so far), but I also feel like I need to move around more often.  My legs are no longer swelling up like balloons and for some reason my body is so much more flexible, probably because the swelling is gone.  This lifestyle really works for me and I have no plans of going back to my old bad habits.  I’m going to stay primal for life.