Everywhere I go I'm talking to Members and Fans who are stressed out! There's a family party next weekend, a church get together, a BBQ or other event coming up.
Every summer it's the same thing, I stare into the mortified eyes of folks who are just trying their best not to eat the fruit roll-ups in the top right cabinet above the fridge. (I have no idea who that'd be btw)
"I don't know what I'm going to do, I've been doing so well the last few weeks but this..." and the dread that overcomes them looks like someone just unplugged their life source from their back like robot doll. Shoulders droop, eyes fall down to their shoes, and I can feel the weight of their worry.
The question always boils down to "what can I eat?". And truthfully, I think that this question isn't a question. It's more a cry for help, begging for someone to save them from the doom of pies and mac n' cheese, your friend's best deep fried turkey, soda, chips, Aunt AnnaMarie's cherry pie or.... you get the idea.
Then there's the images that appear. You know the ones, where everybody keeps telling you to eat, that "it's okay.. come on!" or that you HAVE TO try so-and-so's homemade fat and sugar delicacy. And here you stand, alone like a pillar in the masses of paper plates, chewing sounds and the fragrance of burgers and dogs in the air. Alone on the dance floor.
Fast foward to when everybody's eating and you're just sitting there with a few raw carrots and a cup of water you got from the sink inside. Or worse, you imagine yourself giving in and sitting at that same table, but this time your "the fat girl" who's eating pie and neglecting the salad. You feel like you're going into a war without a winning chance.
When people ask me "What should I eat?" They're usually really asking me "How do I overcome my fear?"
If you'd like some basic Tips for Surviving a Summer BBQ, click HERE. If you'd like your superficial question of "What can I eat?" answered, keep reading.
Instead of using hamburger or hot dog buns, go bun free! Dig in lazy Heather's pre-made salad and grab the biggest lettuce leaves. Perfect for a super messy and awesome sandwich, minus the flour and yoga mat putty. (you do know that's why your Walmart buns never go bad right?) You can also slide a hotdog down the middle of a lettuce leaf's crack to hold it in place... hey look... you're the one who asked here pal, I'm just giving you the answers. You're the one taking it to a weird level. Lastly, you can make a burger salad! Lettuce, tomato, cheese and fresh veggies with a chopped up burger on top. Aren't you glad I didn't call it a tossed salad? You sicko.
If there's a BBQ, there's sure to be the classic and reliable cooler of ice that doubles as a stool for the chairless participants. And what happens the second you arrive at John's house with your well meaning tofu salad? He points you right to the cooler to "get a couple of drinks...." and proceeds to shout out various drink selections over the music and through the wading crowd.
You know what lies beneath that rectangular cover... mounds of ice and water loaded with the usual suspects: beers, Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, and sometimes, by well meaning souls, you'll find some flavored water or apple juice. And that's where it starts. Just one sip and a chain reaction inside your body begins.
So be the cool guy who trashes the tofu and brings homemade lemonade! All you need is water, lemons and sweetner like raw sugar or honey, and a freezer. Make a large pitcher the night before, freeze for a few hours and boom you're done. I've done official lemonade research and it's a proven fact that everyone on the planet loves nothing more than ice cold lemonade made from scratch. No, the answer wasn't beer or sweet tea... I should slap you with my lettuce wrapped dog!
Admit it. When you think of a cookout, you think of burgers, ribs, hotdogs, and other hunks of flesh on the grill. And just because Tiffany's all into hunks of meat, doesn't mean you have to be. There are other ways to get just as much pleasure from your barbecue without all the... hamburgers and hotdogs. You can grill carrots, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, onions, squash, and zucchini to name a few. Feel like making it into "a group thing"? Make skewers for the grill and watch how fast they get taken and enjoyed instead of Oscar's wiener. Less fat and ground up bone with all the grill pleasure and no regrets. But, if you can't help yourself....
Everybody always forgets about the poor chicken and fish options. Did you know they make up at least 30% of the cookout meat options? It's not just about the burgers, even if that's all you see on tv.
Choose to have some plain grilled chicken. Choose to have Hawaiian Salmon on the grill with pineapple. Mix it up and realize you have choices out there, it doesn't have to be burgers or nothing at all. There are quite literally, a lot of fish in the sea.
Sure, everybody wants the 3-layer cheesecake with chocolate sauce dribbled on top. Hell, I'd like some myself. But want I don't want, and I'm pretty sure you don't want either, is a fat gut the next day.
There's nothing worse then waking up in a sugar drunk stupor wondering what happened last night. As you look down at the crumpled clothes at the foot of the bed, you see the stain. The cheesecake stain, and like a horrible laughing nightmare the evening flashes before your eyes. People laughing, solo cups clanging and your fork softly and intently pushing into the creamy thickness of cheesecake on your plate.
As you fully realize the error of your ways, you get up and look yourself in the mirror. No longer are you innocent like you were yesterday, and as you stumble to get dressed, realize you no longer fit into your $46 dollar denim jeans you wore last week. The horrors!
So instead, don't do what I did, don't make my mistake, make the smart choice of abstinence. Choose to indulge in something more mouth watering without all the questions of "how long will it take to walk off 4 slices of cheesecake?" in google.
Fresh cut berries and fruit with real home made whipped cream is to die for... add some all natural chocolate shavings on top and I didn't just die, I went to heaven. Too complicated? There's always watermelon, pineapples, or homemade fruit parfait with yogurt, granola and berries. You have other choices, so don't let anyone force you into any cheesecake you don't really want to eat.