Friday, May 15, 2015

Catching Flights and Counting Calories

I’m feeling (and looking) so good these days, that I had to share. So, this post isn’t about one special culinary experience that I’ve had, but it is about how I’m embracing a healthy jet-setting, lifestyle and still indulging in the alllll the things I love.

Unless you’re super human or have super human metabolism, chances are that you’ve had to “watch your weight” at some point in your life—by choice or by force.  Welp, that’s me.  I am currently on attempt number 234 at being healthily happy. Except this time I’m 32, travel weekly for work, and had alarming numbers at my most recent physical exam.  So, saying I had to “get it together” would be an understatement.

I repeatedly asked myself, “How do I lose weight, lower my cholesterol, and decrease my blood pressure while eating what I want?!  I love food (only the good kind!). Traveling weekly forces me to eat out four days a week (at someone else’s expense). I vehemently despise working out.  I will come up with any excuse to avoid it.  One day while sitting around, I had an epiphany!  The answer was surprisingly simple!  Below I have listed 5 key things that are helping me achieve the life I want!

1.      MOTIVATION   Sure, its hard some days. But one thing you need is a spark.  This could range from anything to a health scare,  too-tight clothing,  a less than desirable photo, being sick and tired of being uncomfortable, or someone who’s tired of seeing you be sick and tired and encourages you to do something about it. Lucky for me, I had all of the above.  So, it was easy for me to get serious once and for all.  After the results start rolling in, it’ll be all the motivation you need.

2.      PLAN   Nowadays there are so many gimmicks and seemingly easy ways out that it can be hard to decide what’s best for you. I’ve found over the years that the quick fixes and near starvation tactics are just not sustainable.   A couple of times they left me worse off than when I started. So I did some research and decided that the tried-and-true “eat healthy AND work out consistently” method was the way to go. I’ve done both independently and clearly…

3.      ACTION   As I mentioned, fitness is not my forte. I’d rather watch television, or cook, or, hell, pull my teeth one by one, than workout. I also hate to workout in front of people. The act of getting dressed and going to the gym pains me. And what the heck am I even supposed to do once I get there?!  One day, a friend mentioned!  The founders are a couple that has hundreds of workout videos FREE on YouTube for all levels of fitness—little to no equipment needed.  Moreover, they have programs that you can purchase for under $10 that actually tell you what to do everyday. Finally, I was out of workout excuses. It’s the best thing I’ve tried yet, as far as working-out goes. I’m dedicated to 5 times a week now, even if it’s merely 20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training.  Dare I say, it can be fun at times! [And there's an app!]

4.      EAT   No really, Eat! I make a point not to eat anything that is lacking in taste and to still incorporate the restaurants and food that I love. I’m not compromising on that, and I shouldn’t have to. The app MyFitnessPal is my favorite food tracker. Tracking what I eat helps me stay conscious and make better choices whenever possible. I look at menus of every restaurant before I go and research and pick what I’m going to eat. The airports can be tricky, but there’s a better choice EVERYWHERE you go. For example, who doesn’t love Chipotle?  Instead of a brown rice chicken bowl with every single topping, I get a chicken salad with black beans, fajita veggies, tomatoes and corn. It tastes juuuust as good and it’s less than over half the calories. And I still get my Chipotle fix.

MyFintnesspal (.com or app)

5.      INDULDGE   Cheat days? Don’t do it! You won’t want to anyway after you’ve done all that working out and your pants are too big. Cheat item in a small proportion? Go for it! Alcohol is loaded with calories. I’ve tried abstaining but it’s not for me. So I steer clear of the mixed drinks, and if I do have one it’s a skinny Margarita (sugar free mixer) or Jack and coke zero, etc.  There’s a certain time of the month where chocolate and sweets are not optional. But now instead of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, I have a glass of dark chocolate almond milk or, my favorite, Dole frozen chocolate covered bananas. The point is, if you’ve got to have it, have it in moderation.

Currently, I feel like I’m on the right track.  After exercising for 10 weeks, losing 15+ pounds, moving down a dress size and a half, and stalking Pinterest for healthy recipes, I realize that I’m hardly an expert. However, I’ve found something that works for me—and there’s something that will work for you too. The best part: I still get to travel the world and have my culinary adventures. Til next time, may you be encouraged.  Stay fine my foodies!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Local Eats: Bhojanic

Having been off work for what seems like forever, I've been able to explore around Atlanta a little bit. Why not make it fun and try out a few new places? So that's exactly what I've been doing. That and trying out new things to cook, but that's a whole other discussion. For whatever reason, I've been in the mood for ethnic cuisine.

There's a list of things to do and try in my phone (because lists make the world go 'round) and Bhojanic was on it. I'd seen it featured in various publications around the city, even winning several awards. And y'all already know how I feel about Indian food. Nestled in the bustling Lenox Square Mall area is a small, but bright, "homestyle Indian" restaurant. I always kid and say, "You know an ethnic restaurant is good if you see that ethnicity patronizing." There is, however, some truth to that and from the looks of things, I was in the right place.

Bhojanic Indian- Lenox Square, Atlanta

The menu was astonishing. "I'll have one of everything!", I wanted to say. It all sounded so good. I definitely had to pick something that gave me a little of this and a little of that. So I went with Thalis (Traditional Indian Combo Platter): The Bhojanic (1 meat and 2 vegetables). Out of the choices for the day, I chose Lamb Curry with Saag paneer (creamed spinach with Indian cheese) and Bhindi Masala (Sautéed Okra with caramelized onions). All Thalis were served with Rice Pullao, Chapati (whole wheat flat bread), Raita (cucumber yogurt sauce), Papadam (crispy lentil cracker) and a side salad of the day--a little of this. We also ordered the Tandoori Chicken Wings to share because you can never have too much good food--a little of that.

The Bhojanic Thalis and Tandoori Chicken Wings

Yes, yes, and yes! The presentation was overwhelmingly gorgeous, if food can be. The plump Tandoori Chicken Wings were golden orange and charred in all the right places. And the combo platter was served on a large metal cafeteria style tray but the food was a far cry from an ordinary cafeteria. There was a heap of rice and equal amounts of everything they had promised. We dug in! And by "dug in" I mean all but licked the plate. Every morsel was bursting with classic, vibrant Indian flavors. Each item seemed carefully thought of and hand crafted. There was appropriately no skimping in the spice department either, so good thing we ordered a Mango Lassie mid-way through. Plus, the Indians sitting near us swore by it.

Tandoori Chicken Wings

Bhindi Masala (Sauteed Okra and Caramelized Onions)

Saag paneer (Creamed Spinach with Indian Cheese)

Curry Lamb

Mango Lassie

A happy dance was definitely in order. I almost forgot that I wasn't in India at a grandmother's dinning room table, but on a patio in Buckhead on the first day of spring. My first time at Bhojanic most certainly will not be my last. It's already been promoted to "Favorite Indian Food Within Reach"! See you in the near future Bhojanic.

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