Evil Genius Woman, Thrifty Mom's Diet progress slider

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I TOLD everyone I had my reasons ...

... for not giving up dairy!

If you're a regular reader you'll 'get' this (I'm a rabid Zach Quinto fan plus I'm a Paleo who refused to give up dairy), if not, you'l at least find it ... weird.  Don't ask me to explain the video, I don't understand it either, but, hey, it's got Zachary Quinto in it!  ;)
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 2 Comments

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I want to be around to see my grandkids!

Super good post by Rebecca over on Skinny Dreaming about how you owe it to your kids to get fit.

She doesn't pull punches and I agree 100%:

"I'm tired of seeing parents who can't be bothered to get fit. These people have children who need and depend on them, yet they still complain that dieting is too hard, they don't want to give up their favorite foods, and they can't find the time to exercise.

Now, before one of these parents who can't be bothered gets up in arms about my saying this, I will state that I was one of those parents! I gained a bit more weight with each child and became so completely obese that it was a struggle to get off of my fat ass and do anything."

I was this parent too!  After my last child, I weighed 322lbs and was largely (pun intended) responsible for keeping Krispy Kreme in business.

And you know what? It's pure self absorption and self indulgence. Two weeks after my last was born I looked down at my grotesque self and the huge plate of carb-of-the-moment CRAP I had in my hands and I thought: "Do you really care more about the brief moments of feel-good that this shit gives you than your own babies?"

I had had 5 kids because I wanted them. Some days it's all I can do to keep from screaming in annoyance and frustration, but I soldier on because I adore them and they're really good kids and tomorrow will be a better day. I breastfed 5 babies because I chose to. At first it wasn't fun or easy and I suffered through thrush, bad latches, and all, but I stuck with it because it was best for my children (and if you work on through the tough first weeks its infinately easier than bottles). I quit my job and halved our family income. It was bloody hard (and still is) to rely on my own Thrift, but it was that important to me to raise my own children.

I made all these big, hard decisions and yet I couldn't stop myself from eating yet another 100 calorie pack of death-by-carbs crisps?!  I was eating myself into the grave.

So I gave it all up. All the grains, all the sugars, all the refined foods.  And, yeah, it was bloody rough. Rebecca puts it this way:

"Yes, exercise is hard work. And resisting the opportunities to binge on sweets and junk food can be challenging. Losing weight and getting fit is definitely not easy! But it is worth it. I am doing this for myself, but I am also doing this for my family. Remaining fat and not doing anything about my deteriorating weight would just be selfish of me."

When my mates talk about baking cakes, noshing on chocolates, sipping latte grandes at coffee houses, I just think about the last time I stepped into a Wal Mart and watched the obese parents shuffle up to the check out with their bread and cookies and pasta and crisps and sugary sodas, their carb-packed 'diet' stuff, and 'low-fat' FrankenFood horrors.

And then I look at my sweet children.

Why do you wear your seatbelt in the car?  Why do you not smoke?  Why do you look both ways before crossing a street?  Because if you don't wear your seatbelt, smoke, or fail to watch where you're going, you have an excellent chance of dying.  And if you die, who's gonna take care of your children?

It doesn't matter how you do it: low fat, low carb, counting calories, insane workouts. It doesn't matter how you look: getting into a size 4 is NOT the point. It's not even just about what you eat. DO buckle that seatbelt, DO put down those cigarettes, DO move your body, Do get outside and get some sunshine.

The point is that you need to be around as long as possible for your kids. And that means taking care of yourself rather than indulging your selfish whims. And you can, but you have to stop all the excuses.  You have to finally do it.

What have YOU done to get healthy for yourself and your family? Do you have any tips on how to get started?
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 3 Comments

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: Emerald's 100 calorie pack nuts

So, I'm having a shufti over the nut section of my local (v. v. high priced) Bi-Lo,(the upside of this posh-neighbourhood store is the wide selection,) and I spy these:

After I got done cringing over the '100 calorie' crap (those poor poor hungry people who are still counting calories!), I just had to check it out more closely.

One was "Natural walnuts and almonds" ingredients: walnuts, almonds. Hmm. So far so good. Fat 9g, carbs 3g, protein 3g. Lookin' pretty damned good! I tossed these in my cart.

I checked the other out, just for comparison: "Cocoa roast almonds". Now, I don't like chocolate, but I know of a LOT of low-carbers and Paleo people who eat everything from tiny bits of regular chocolate to the unsweetened baking chocolate (The thought of which, frankly, makes me gag) because they just have to have their chocolate fix.

The ingredient list was bad:

The almonds are dry roasted and there's non paleo potato starch plus some frankenfood chemicals. Fat 8g, carbs 4g, protein 3g. Obviously not the healthier choice, but, out of curiosity and for the sake of comparison, I decided to try it. (I can pass them on to my chocolate loving mother.)

I started with the plain nuts. Here's the wee packages inside the box (there are 7):

And here are the actual nuts. The walnuts were broken up quite a bit, but not pulverised. There wasn't any dust or teensy pieces and both types of nuts seemed to be good quality.

I honestly enjoyed them and they made a good small snack. If I can fit them into my budget, I'll probably keep a box around as a grab-and-go quick low-carb / paleo snack.

"OK. Yeah. But what about those chocolate ones?" you ask (a bit too eagerly).

Well ... if you are dieting to lose weight, I'd recommend you NOT, repeat NOT, buy these. Don't even push your trolly down the nut aisle, ok?

Srsly. This product is exactly what is typical of the food industry today. You take a basic, wholesome food (almonds), add some chemicals, some starch, some ... SUGAR, and toss in a substance (chocolate) that has millions of Americans already addicted, and you have a recipe for repeat sales and obese customers.

The "Natural walnuts and almonds" are wholesome, convenient, and good. The "Cocoa roast almonds" are insane. I dislike chocolate but when I opened the pack that candy bar smell burst out, bringing memories of my days of eating Snickers, Kit-Kats, and Almond Joys in twos and threes. The nuts themselves are very sweet and crunchy, immediately triggering shoveling behaviour.

I had to snap out of it after the first nut and get hold of myself. Memories of myself at 300+ lbs and my 52 inch waist helped, but it was tough.  And remember: this from a person who hates chocolate!

So, again, if you are low carbing or Paleo, the plain nuts are a quick convenient snack. As for the dark chocolate healthy-disguised nutty sugar bombs? Run. Run v. far away. You'll be doing your heart AND your backside a favour.
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 3 Comments

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cake or Death?*

Two of my v. fave bloggers: Vin Miller at Natural Bias and Tom Naughton of Fat Head both happened to post about the one simple reason why Americans have been steadily getting fatter and fatter (and sicker and sicker) since the 1960s: sugar and carbs.

Vin talks about regular sugar: "Particularly in America, the modern diet is very high in sugar, and this is one of the primary reasons why obesity, poor health and disease have become so prevalent. Did you know that the average American eats over 100 pounds of sugar a year? One. Hundred. Pounds.

A large bag of dogfood generally weighs 40lbs. Over 2 of those. Of sugar. Per year. go to your pet food supplier of choice and take a look at 2 of those bags.  It will nauseate you.

And if you are saying to yourself: "Oh not me ... I hardly eat sweets!" Yes. Yes, you do. It's not just candy bars and cake. look at the ingredient lable for your katsup, your mayonnaise, your BBQ sauce, your spaghetti sauce. Hell, check out the lable of your Campbell's Tomato Soup!

Did you kow that the first ingredient of KFC's new "healthy" grilled chicken that you just congratulated yourslef on choosing over the fried is SUGAR?

Remember that refined grain products, like flours and high fructose corn syrup, are sugars, too.

"If you take a moment to consider how much processed food most people are consuming on a regular basis, the reason why so many of them suffer from obesity and poor health should be obvious. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are a major ingredient in nearly all modern foods and are being consumed in record proportions. Many people are unaware of the associated risks and even believe that highly refined foods such as bread and pasta are healthy choices! "

Sugars, starches, and carbs all do the same dreadful thing to our bodies.They spike our blood sugar, get stored as fat, trigger an insulin response, THEN, when your blood sugar bottoms out an hour later, you become ravenously hungry again ... starting the cycle anew.

Don't forget that your fat cells are not like jars of marbles. It's not like if you eat a second helping of Red Velvet cake only then will your body store it as fat - drop some marbles into the fat jar.

NO!  Your body constantly all day and night, no matter if you're fat or thin, moves those glucose marbles into and out of your fat cell jars. They are little dynamic systems, constantly gathering fat and releasing it. Your body cells don't wait until mealtimes to get their energy, they get it all the time. Energy is freed up one way or another - from the low-fat, organic, whole grain vegan snack bar you just choked down with a cup of soy 'milk', from the fat in your fat cells, even from the protein in your own muscles - to 'feed' all your body's cells.  All day and all night. No matter if you're Kiera Knightly or Michael Moore.

So how is it that some of us get fat?

Vin says: "Sugar is our primary source of energy, and when consumed, it can be converted to glycogen and stored for future use. However, many people consume an excessive amount of carbohydrates that significantly exceeds their storage capacity for glycogen, and when this happens, the sugar resulting from carbohydrate digestion is stored as body fat. The large amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates that exist in processed food is the primary reason for this excess and the people who consume it on a regular basis are often significantly overweight. "

But it's not that they're eating carbs, right?  I mean all that whole grain bread and low-fat wraps and lean meats are good for us, right?  It's because fat people just eat too much. America is fatter cuz modern Americans can't be trusted not to supersize, right?

NO!  Diet understanding FAIL.

As Tom says: "We don’t eat too much because we’re more gluttonous than our grandparents. We eat too much because in the 1970s the McGovern committee convinced us we need to live primarily on low-fat grains and other starches. We eat too much because our insulin levels are too high. We eat too much because we’re storing too many calories as fat.

In other words, we eat too much because we’re too damned hungry."

But you can't tell Carb Addicts that can you?  How many of you low carbers have seen people's eyes glaze over when you say : "no bread"?  I confess that I am just astonished that people just REFUSE to listen and believe all the proof that their cookies, cakes, crisps, crackers, bagels, pasta, wraps, crusts, rolls, and bread are not only making them obese, but damaging their health.

But they will look at those of us who have lost startling amounts of weight, see that we are thinner, healthier, have more energy  - but most of all are not hungry! - but they refuse to give up their Carb Crutch. From Vin:

"Minimizing the consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates is truly one of the easiest ways to lose weight, but many people are unwilling to give up processed foods and choose to compromise their health even further by overexercising instead. "

It's sad, and what's worse is that the FDA could be helping rather than hurting the health of Americans, but won't. Vin pointed out: "As the food industry enjoys incredible profits from sugar, and the pharmaceutical industry benefits from all the health problems that it causes, the rest of us are stuck in a never ending cycle of wanting more sugar, gaining more weight, and becoming less healthy."

Tom summed it up best: "from a public policy perspective, emphasis should be shifted toward encouraging people to drastically reduce their consumption of carbohydrates; do that, and the “eating less” will take care of itself. But in a country where sugar, wheat and corn are all subsidized by the taxpayers, I don’t expect this kind of policy shift to happen anytime soon."

Unfortunately, I believe this is true. :(

Here, again, are the links to the posts of Vin Miller at Natural Bias and Tom Naughton of Fat Head that I quoted here. Check them out. They rawk.

*Thank you to the fabulous Eddie Izzard for this line which I snarked. It made the perfect blog title and he's an amazing person who deserves the linky love!
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 6 Comments

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Does Jillian Michaels have the right attitude?

Jillian Michaels on weight loss. I  don't watch television, so I have never seen this show, and I don't agree with everything she says (I don't think bunches of cardio is nessessary AT ALL for good health or weight loss - much less intense uber-workouts), but I confess that I love the "quit whining and bitching and get on with it" notion.

(Note: Remember, I don't watch television, so I've never seen the show they mention. Several people say she's a real bitch with a mean streak.  I'm basing this post on that interview.)

"You were overweight as a teenager. Does this make you more sympathetic to the contestants on The Biggest Loser?

I'm not sympathetic. I have zero sympathy. I understand about emotional eating, I understand how painful the process can be, but I also understand that change is possible. In my experience, honesty is the best policy. And being a friend to somebody is not always the best way to help them."
Right on!  I am empathetic to anyone struggling to lose weight - been there, done that - but I have no sympathy for any excuses. I've heard (and spouted) them all.
"You recently said that by the time The Biggest Loser contestants come to you they're half dead. What did you mean by that?

Yes, I said "half-dead" And everybody was like, "oh, I can't believe she said that." Are people just not tuning into the show? We've got 30-year-olds whose internal organs are 60. If we were having this conversation about somebody who was a drug addict or somebody who had anorexia or bulimia, we would openly admit that it was suicide. "

Agree! Why is overweight not viewed as the horrible health hazard that it is?

"So what do you think is the number one worst thing people are doing to their bodies right now?

Oh my God, they eat processed food and it is horrifying to me! You look at people, they'll be having a sandwich on white bread with turkey. Okay, well, the turkey's probably processed, meaning it's got nitrates in it. And of course white bread doesn't grow white. It's stripped of all its nutrients and all its fiber. High fructose corn syrup: poison. Artificial sweeteners: poison. Artificial coloring: poison. MSG: poison. Nitrates: poison. Unload all those things and you're off to a good start."
I don't care if she's the biggest bitch on the planet, she's totally nailed this one. America is killing itself one forkfull at a time. Refined carbs, chemicals, HFCS, and soy products are knocking us out like flies.  How many people died of diabetes or heart disease yesterday?
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 1 Comments

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A musing on WASTE.

Great post by Wendy Thomas of Simple Thrift on how much edible food we throw away.

As I said in her comments, with 5 kids under the age of 8, we have a LOT of 'accidental' food go to waste: the 2-year-old drops half his sandwich on the floor, the clumsy 6-year-old knocks her milk over ... again, the picky 7 year old refuses to eat something and plays with it till no one else will eat it either, and so on.

But all recoverable bits of organic matter in our house go either into the slop buckets to go to the pigs or the chickens, or onto the compost heap.

I don't consider this waste as it goes to make more food for my family.

But most hoseholds aren't like Wendy's and mine - or any other of the thrifty folks I follow on Twitter or whose blogs I read. Most people make WAY more food than their families will eat. They cater to their overindulged children by fixing even more, different, food when they refuse what was cooked.  Many will carefully save leftovers (in expensive matching plasticware, natch!) but then it rots in the fridge because no one can be arsed to - or most likely - is too prissy to, eat leftovers.

A huge number, like some of my inlaws and their married-ins; simply chuck it, still warm, into the garbage disposal. (Then they toss those paper plates, napkins, paper towels, plastic cups, forks, spoons, etc into the most expensive brand of black plastic trash bag you can buy so it all can hurry to bulk up the landfill ... for the next 30 years.)

This behaviour makes me retch.

OK, fine. You don't have pigs or chickens: cool.  You live in an apartment: no problem. The closest you come to gardening is paying some people darker than you to cut your lawn. WhatEVER.

Then stop making so much food. Stop buying stuff that's on sale just because it's on sale. Stop buying stuff just because you have a coupon for it. Stop starting yet another diet that's doomed to fail and going through your kitchen throwing out all the 'bad' stuff and then running to the store to buy loads of the 'good' stuff (much of which you'll turn out to hate.) Plan meals. Make lists. Stick to them. Use simple, basic ingredients.  If you buy washed, chopped lettuce in a plastic bag, that's going to go bad quicker than a humble head of lettuce that you actually have to *gasp* break up yourself.

Do you really want your kids to watch the news of thousands of children their age in 3rd world countries who die of starvation every day, then watch mom blithely scrape plates loaded with food into the garbage?

Wasting food is just as bad as wasting electricity or petrol. Every bit you waste of anything not only impacts your purse but affects the environment in the form of waste treatment and landfills. PLUS, the more you waste the more the companies cheerfully produce, using resouces, damaging our planet, and so on.

Most of all, you are illustrating to your children a horrible lesson: "I don't give a damn".  "I don't care about waste because it's all about me and what's convenient and easy for me right this red-hot second. Who cares what the economy, society, or the planet looks like 30 years form now. It's all about Me. Right. Now."

Nuh-uh. Not me. Not THIS mom.

And you don't have to either.
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vacuous celebs, ketosis, and media FAIL

OK, so this made me laugh out loud.

Mia Farrow went off her liquid fast (function of which was to "call attention to the crisis in Darfur") because it was "affecting her health". 

Now, I will NOT comment on the notion of some wealthy, white actress going on a fast having ANY impact whatsoever on the tragic lives of the people of Darfur.  I'd like to, but this is a diet blog.  Political nonsense will have to be adressed elsewhere. On to the diet nonsense.

So, anyway, after 12 days of fasting:

""Mia's health has taken a downturn over the last couple days and her doctor has asked her to stop immediately."

Oh, dear. So she became ill from this courageous undertaking?  Well, apparently not:

"On CNN's Larry King Live Tuesday night, Farrow said her doctor told her Monday she was healthy except for low protein."

Huh. So she's fit and fine?  Then what's the big deal?  Ohhhhhh, something with a scary name!

""Ketosis or something like that," Farrow said. "Yes, but it's reversible.""

Well, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for THAT!  That horrible state of ... what was it? kee TOE sis is totally reversable!  They must have barely saved her life!!  Here's more info on the tragic state:

"Ketosis is a state in which the body burns its own fat for fuel and can "cause health problems, such as kidney failure," according to the medical Web site WebMD."

GREAT SCOTT!  A person's body burning it's own fat for fuel?!  How bizarre!  Who wants to get rid of her own body fat?! And it can cause kidney failure?!  Let's run over to WebMD and check it out: (cuz all thinking people trust that source for medical advice ...)

"By restricting carbohydrates drastically to a mere fraction of that found in the typical American diet, the body goes into a different metabolic state called ketosis, whereby it burns its own fat for fuel. Normally the body burns carbohydrates for fuel -- this is the main source of fuel for your brain, heart and many other organs. A person in ketosis is getting energy from ketones, little carbon fragments that are the fuel created by the breakdown of fat stores. When the body is in ketosis, you tend to feel less hungry, and thus you're likely to eat less than you might otherwise. However, ketosis can also cause health problems, such as kidney failure" "

Uh huh, uh huh ... fascinating.  Hey ... when did we start talking about low carb diets?  Was Mia's fast low carb?  I thought her protein was low? Why are we referencing an article about high protein, low carb diets?  Oh, well, whatever. Tell us about the kidney failure!

"Kidney failure. Consuming too much protein puts a strain on the kidneys, which can make a person susceptible to kidney disease."

OK, so, wait. I'm confused again. Ketosis will not cause kidney disease, high protein will. So that was a big fat load of bullshit. Plus, wasn't Mia's diet -again, I ask - lacking in protein?  Gosh. So puzzling. Maybe I need to read more 'facts' from CrapMD:

"It is well known that high protein diets (consisting of red meat, whole dairy products, and other high fat foods) are linked to high cholesterol."

Yeah? Why is it that after 2 years low carb and 8 months Paleo (and eating 90% fatty meat and eggs every day) my personal cholesterol dropped to 136, ten points lower than it's ever been in my life?  Hmm. perhaps I'm a freak of nature. Let's move on.

"Unhealthy metabolic state (ketosis). Low carb diets can cause your body to go into a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis since your body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can cause organs to fail and result in gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure."

Ketosis is NOT unhealthy. It is NOT dangerous, you dolts.  It is the body's mechanism for supplying energy during periods of no food.

Dr Michael R. Eades sez:

"Early on, the metabolic system doesn’t know that the starvation is going to go on for a day or for a week or two weeks. At first it plunders the muscle to get its sugar. [snip] But we wouldn’t want it to continue. If we could reduce that amount and allow our muscle mass to last as long as possible it would be a help.

The metabolic system could solve its problem by a coming up with a way to reduce the glucose-dependent tissues’ need for glucose so that the protein could be spared as long as possible.

Ketones to the rescue.

The liver requires energy to convert the protein to glucose. The energy comes from fat. As the liver breaks down the fat to release its energy to power gluconeogenesis, the conversion of protein to sugar, it produces ketones as a byproduct. And what a byproduct they are. Ketones are basically water soluble (meaning they dissolve in blood) fats that are a source of energy for many tissues including the muscles, brain and heart."

The dangerous state is ketoacidosis such as happens with diabetics and I am sick of the brainless wastes of carbon in the media who apparently can't be arsed to actualy research anything and instead regurgitate the stinking vomitus of popular diet misconception so that all the idiot blockhead Tweeters and bloggers and friends and co-workers of us Low-Carbers can trot it out in a big, roiling dish every time they see us.

Dear media: get your shit straight, plz. kthxbai.
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 2 Comments

Monday, May 4, 2009

Transitioning to Paleo

Superb post by one of the Paleo guys I follow on Twitter on transitioning to Paleo.  V. succinct and to-the- point.

I was one of those people who researched the plan, it made sense to me, so I switched, literally, that day from a low-carb plan to Paleolithic.  But a lot of folks need more time and this article really will help.

I love how he points out that there are many different versions of Paleo and that you can tweak it to suit you (which is why it rawks as a way of eating!)
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 0 Comments

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Your Saturday morning diet rant

Just a couple of teensy vents for you today.

Number one, what's up with the people who say to me "well, I don't know what Lacto-Paleo is" (said to me in a totally arch and snotty tone as if I'd made those two words up) or "what's Lacto-Paleo?"

OK, you know what Paleo is (this is assumed in this rant, lol), why can't you suss out the lacto part? There are lacto-vegetarians, ovo-vegetarians, pesco-vegetarians, and ovo-lacto-pesco-vegetarians (!)(otherwise known as regular people who want to feel all cuddly and warm about themselves) so what's so puzzling about lacto-paleo?

Do you really not recognise the root "lacto"?  As in "lactate"?  As in the making of the milk?  Hello!

Last of all: You haz de Googlez. Look it up for fark's sake!  Don't stand there acting like you just don't have time for all this tin-foil hattery that I'm pulling out of thin air. It's a legitimate WOE, people. Many, many low carbers are enjoying what is essentally a Lacto-Paleo lifestyle.

Second vent:

Why is it that many restaurants have low calorie and even vegetarian choices but almost none have low-carb choices? (Feel free to comment and tell me "Blue, it's because people are idiots!" LOL; alas, I know that's true!)

Seriously. I should be able to walk into a Burger King and say: "I want a number 3 and could you Low Carb that, please?" and they'd bring me my whopper made sans bun, NO fries, and a drink.  Instead, if I'm running late and I dive into the Micky Ds for breakfast I have to have this convo:

"Good morning. May I get a sausage McMuffin with the cheese on the side?"
"May I get a sausage McMuffin with the cheese on the side."
"You don't want no cheese?"
"No. I want the cheese but I want it on the side, not on the McMuffin."
"You want extra cheese?"
(gritting teeth) "No. I want a sausage Mc Muffin and I want the cheese that goes on it, separate."
(turns to other cashier) "So she don't want no cheese?"

If you ever hear of a 45 year old mother of 5 strangling a cashier in South Carolina, that'll be me!

(In case you're wondering about the cheese, if I just order it and try to remove the muffin myself, my lovely cheese sticks to it and gets wasted. If i try to order one without the muffin, I have to endure the "whut?' factor plus they inevitably just yank one apart that's been made, throw cheese on it and nuke it in the back - yuck!)

We need to start a campaign and demand that restaurants offer low carb choices!  It would actually be quite easy for most of them and it would make them money. Think about it - most of us primals avoid all restaurants for this reason.

What do you do in a pinch when you're out and need a good primal/paleo/low carb meal? Any good low-carb friendly restaurants or meals that you know of? Tell us in the comments!
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posted by MrsEvilGenius at 3 Comments