[center] I Love/Hate You, Outback Steakhouse[/center]
For we shallow, physique-conscious gym monkeys and obsessive-compulsive health freaks, there’s no better place to eat out at night than a good steakhouse. Back when I was formulating the <a href="http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_program/sports_body_training_diet_velocity/velocity_diet_30?utm_medium=Banner&utm_content=HomePage&utm_campaign=vDiet"target=“new”>Velocity Diet, I had three of my four HSMs (healthy solid meals) at steakhouses.
Why? Because you can easily get a nice big sirloin, a salad, a side of steamed veggies, and a sweet potato there. Good protein, good greens, and a decent starch. Not bad, especially compared to some restaurants where the only “healthy” thing they offer is a glass of water and a pile of questionable lettuce.
Problem is, steakhouses are full of health-destroying, abs-wrecking foods as well, so you have to go in with a plan and be able to resist the baskets of free bread and deep-fried appetizers.
One such creature is the “Bloomin’ Onion,” a near-3000 calorie appetizer that combines over 200 grams of bad fats with about 200 grams of fried-flour carbs. This and its cousin, the “Awesome Blossom” at Chili’s, have been named one of the worst foods in American by Men’s Health magazine.
Now, this is really not that big of a worry. I mean, the solution is pretty simple: don’t freakin’ order it. Thing is, restaurants know that to get repeat business their foods have to taste really good. No shit, right? But to achieve that, they sometimes slip things into your healthier choices that you may not know about.
For example, ever had a side of green beans at a restaurant and think, “Wow, I’d eat a lot more vegetables if they all tasted like this!” Well, that’s because that innocent side of veggies is often covered with a mixture of fat and sugar. And remember, this combo, according to the fantastic book, The End of Overeating by Dr. David Kessler, triggers an addiction-like reaction that short-circuits our satiety mechanisms.
Yep, if you don’t say “steamed” then you’re probably getting a few hundred extra calories from bad sources that you weren’t expecting. Now, I don’t blame restaurants for wanting to make you really enjoy their food, but adding “secret” sugar to veggies and meats is tricky business for those of us who give a rip about how we look and our health.
Salad dressings can be tricky too. I always have to laugh when some misguided dieter chastises me for ordering a big steak while she eats a “healthier” salad that contains more fat, sugar, and overall calories than my sirloin. But we can fix that.
Outback Steakhouse is known for their signature tangy tomato dressing. People go crazy for this stuff, and no wonder: it contains the magic mixture of fat and sugar.
Here’s my lightened up version. Put it side by side with the real version and I bet you can’t tell the difference.
[center]Outback Tangy Tomato Dressing, Healthed-Up[/center]
2/3 cup reduced-sugar or “1-Carb” ketchup
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Splenda or XyloSweet
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin organic olive oil
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 pinch thyme
1 dash natural sea salt (RealSalt)
Combine everything in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking often, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cover until cool, then refrigerate it until chilled. I like to store mine in cleaned-out vinegar bottles.
Low-calorie, almost no sugar, healthy olive oil… now this will make you increase your vegetable consumption! Great on chicken as well.