Eat at Home Challenge

by Ashley on March 26, 2012

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I have eaten in more restaurants in the past two weeks than I would prefer to in a year. A few delicious, healthy meals, however most, not so much.

While in Mississippi for the conference, we went to Bakers Burger, a vegans dream as you could imagine. NOT. While I was impressed with the fact that they claim, “everything is made from scratch: from our fresh-baked buns, pies and cookies, to the hand-formed burgers, to our scratch chili and spicy ranch dressing,” that was about it. There was, however, one vegetarian (not sure if it was completely vegan) option on the menu: the Black Bean burger.

Whenever I am dinning out with a crowd of people, I don’t even like to mention that I eat any different from them. I never want people to associate “annoying, picky, obsessive, etc.” with vegetarian/vegan eaters. I want them to see that, hey, I’m just like you, I just choose not to eat animals. No big deal.

That night, I simply ate my bean burger while everyone else enjoyed their beef burgers and carried on with the meal. My professor is a vegetarian too and apparently either while order or while leaving, she noticed that they were deep-frying all of their burgers. Long after that burger was in my stomach she said, “Ashley, did you know that those burgers were deep-fried?” REALLY? Deep-fry a black bean burger??? Who in the world does that? Vegetarian/Vegan or not, anyone that orders a black bean burger usually does so for health reasons, so why in the world would a restaurant deep-fry it?

Because it taste good, it’s that simple.

When we eat out, restaurants don’t consider our health. I can make you a delicious, healthy meal, however, it might not keep you coming back to my house night after night after night.  They produce their food with one goal in mind: money. If it tastes good, you will come back which means revenue for them. It’s all about the money. We all know that just because something taste good doesn’t mean we should eat it. We must be more responsible than that when it comes to our health.

Remember that the FDA recommends that most healthy adults consume approximately 2,000 calories and 65 grams of fat, maximum 20 of those grams saturated, daily.

Keep that in mind and check out these DISASTERS (from :

  • Applebee’s: Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine – 1,510 cal, 43 g saturated fat
  • Chili’s: Southern Smokehouse Burger with Ancho Chile BBQ – 2,290 cal, 139 g fat
  • Chili’s: Quesadilla Explosion Salad – 1,300 cal, 87 g fat
  • TGI Friday’s: Jack Daniel’s Salmon – 890 cal
  • TGI Friday’s: Kansas City BBQ Burger – 1,510 cal, 29 g saturated fat (before fries)
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Italian Deli Sandwich with Herb Cheese – 1,260 cal, 23 g saturated fat
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Pesto Cream Penne with Chicken and Shrimp – 1,631 cal, 58 g saturated fat
  • Olive Garden: Tour of Italy: 1,450 cal, 74 g fat (33 g saturated fat), 3,830 mg sodium (we should aim for 2,300 mg per day maximum)
  • Outback: Baby Back Ribs – 1,539 cal, 38 g saturated fat
  • The Cheesecake Factory: Factory Burrito Grande – 1,840 cal
  • The Cheesecake Factory: Grilled Chicken and Avocado Club – 1,400 cal
  • Chipotle: One burrito + meat + beans + rice + sour cream + cheese + salsa = 1,000+ cal

Atrocious, right? Again, just because something tastes good, doesn’t mean we should eat it. Some of those items are more than a days worth of food, in one meal.

Another problem I have with restaurant food is the price. As a, yes, I’ll say it, selective eater, usually whatever I order, I could make better at home, with the exception of the Vegan Pot Pie from the Jekyll Island Club. If I can’t, then I know my mom can. I end up paying the same price for a grilled chicken salad as I would for a entrée salad without the meat, because for whatever reason, an entrée salad without meat just isn’t an option. It’s as if I commit a crime when I ask for, “No chicken, please.”

“Oh, you want the fish?”

“No thank you.”

“Oh my gosh, you would love our shrimp.”

“No thank you.”

“Then what do you want?”

“The salad, please, just as I ordered.”

And that’s when remarks come in like, “Ohhhh….you must be with the turtle rescue team,” as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Lately, Dustin and I have been looking through our bank statements and noticed that almost all of our money goes to food: not only grocery money (I’m completely fine spending my money there) but also poor quality restaurant food. I don’t mind paying for a meal if it is delicious, however, most of the time it is not. This poor quality food is only robbing us of our health.

This spending habit has really begun to bother us, however, we have to eat so there is only one thing we can do: collectively, we’ve decided to take a break from restaurant food. We are challenging ourselves to see if we can go for the rest of March and all of April without eating out. There are of course going to be exceptions, like when I go to Charleston next weekend, but when the choice is ours, we will choose against it.  Other than that, home cooked food it is. Do you think we can do it?

I sure hope so!

Anyways, I hope you have a wonderful day to the start of this week!

Good health!

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