Riddle me this: What do fitness and fried ice cream lollipops have in common?
BUT, I can tell you the secret to banging out the best muscle-pumping workout of your life.
And it all happened after allowing myself to enjoy a sinful sweet treat Sunday night.
Okay, let’s be clear: I am not declaring fried ice cream lollipops the secret to jacked arms. 😉 Heck to the no, frans! I eat clean and sweat dirty every single day.
However, I also occasionally eat dirty AND sweat dirty.
And by dirty, I also mean DELICIOUS. 😉
The reason I’m telling you this is to prove that it’s 100% okay to indulge from time to time. In fact, I’d argue that indulging is good for the soul—it strengthens the soul. Soul strength can than be used to push through that last rep in the gym. 😉
There will be more on that in a moment, but first let’s get to the food. In my last post, I promised that I’d share the amazing dinner that I enjoyed on my mom’s birthday Sunday night.
So let’s continue the party, shall we?
Since today is Wednesday, I thought I’d link up over at Jen’s food extravaganza. This month’s theme is “summer staples,” which doesn’t quite fit with my restaurant recap! Jen, forgive me from deviating from the theme today? Next WIAW will most definitely feature my summer food favorites.
DINNER AT BARBACOA
Barbacoa is, in my opinion, Boise’s best restaurant.
That may sound like a loaded statement, but everything at this dining establishment is near perfect—the artsy decor, the impeccable service, the romantic ambiance, the mountain views, and of course, the fan-freaking-tastic food. 😉
My brother, mom, and my mom’s boyfriend (err, “manfriend, as she insists he be called), Dave, enjoyed an incredible meal Sunday night.
We started with the tableside quacamole, which was fresh and chunky—just how I like it.
Our waiter, Ryan, brought us a delicious bottle of Shiraz—and a cute smile to go along with it. 😉
For their entrees, Dave and Alec ordered the Coulotte Steak and Cajun Shrimp, which came with the largest onion rings I’ve ever seen (the steak must have been shy; it’s hiding behind the mountain mound of mashed potatoes!)
Instead of ordering a traditional entree, I made a meal out of several appetizers: shrimp ceviche, tuna tower tartare, coconut crab mojito and an arugula-tomato and goat cheese salad.
The salad was a perfect balance of spicy arugula, tangy goat cheese, juicy tomatoes, and sweet red onion.
Shortly after finishing our meals, Ryan surprised my mom with a birthday treat!
It’s been years since I’ve eaten cotton candy!
Inside the hollowed center, was a miniature brownie, which held a birthday candle.
We didn’t stop there though. I had my sights set on the fried ice cream lollipop tree.
The outside of each pop was slightly crunchy, and the vanilla ice cream inside was perfectly rich and creamy.
Thank you, Barbacoa, for a fabulous evening!
HOW RESTAURANT DINING FITS INTO MY CLEAN EATING LIFESTYLE
I love making choices that benefit both the environment and my body, inside and out. Healthy living has become lifestyle, which happens to be a whole lot of fun! However, I used to have a very different (and very unhealthy) food mentality. What I ate, and how I ate, was dictated solely by numbers; I always chose the lowest calorie option. Whether it was at home (sugar free jello and egg whites for breakfast, anyone?) or at a restaurant (green salad with no nuts, no cheese and no dressing, please!), calories were the name of the game.
Praise sweet potato fries that those days are over. 😉
Now, I believe healthy eating means enjoying the foods I crave in balance and moderation. Food is one of life’s greatest joys, yet our society has managed to turn it into the enemy—something associated with fear, gluttony and deprivation. What was created to nourish our bodies and bring joy to our hearts now instills a tremendous amount of anxiety.
Should I eat this? Does it contain too much saturated fat? Does it fit into my diet?
It doesn’t have to be black and white. All or nothing. Good or bad.
When my relationship with food was black and white, I feared eating at restaurants more than anything; either I’d begrudgingly order that one sad little “light” option and watch everyone else enjoy what they really wanted to eat, or I’d see it as a license to go all out, stuff myself silly, and feel tremendous guilt afterward.
Now, my food philosophy when I’m dining at a restaurant is this: eat what I want in a balanced, moderate way, be mindful about it, and listen to my body’s cues to know when to eat and when to put my fork down. I order what I want, stop eating before I’m stuffed, and try my best to balance my restaurant meal with other healthy choices throughout the day.
My meal at Barbacoa was an excellent example: lean protein from the tuna, crab and ceviche; healthy fats from the avocado, coconut milk and sesame oil; antioxidant-rich veggies from the tomato and arugula salad; a few bites of rich steak and potatoes; and then a full sugar-containing dessert. It doesn’t always happen that way, but I really strive to eat whatever I want in moderation. It was a satisfying, nicely balanced meal, with a delicious treat at the end.
When natural ingredients are used—and I realize that “natural” is a blurry label—to make salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place on our plate. We just need to rediscover our innate ability to live and eat in balance. If you absolutely LOVE fettuccine Alfredo, ordering an occasional bowl of cheesy pasta will not blow your diet…or your body!
If I “overdo” it at a restaurant meal (or at any meal, for that matter), I recognize it as a learning experience and pay close attention to my hunger and fullness at the next meal. I don’t beat myself up. I let it go and move on; I remember how much I enjoyed my meal, and focus on feeling grateful for having access to an abundance delicious food.
We all deserve to be good to ourselves—to nourish our bodies and hearts. We’re given one life, and it’s our responsibility to keep our bodies healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually. That means piling our plates with nourishing foods, getting plenty of exercise…AND enjoying a fried ice cream lollipops, when the desire strikes. 😉
What’s the best dessert (healthy or unhealthy) you’ve eaten recently?
Guacamole: smooth or chunky?
Have you ever left your phone number on a receipt for a waiter?
I left mine for Ryan! 😉
How do you “balance” your meals when you’re eating out at a restaurant?