Want to eat healthy while visiting Chicago? Stay with my sister Laura. Seriously. I’ll give you her number if you want. (No I won’t.) I stayed a few days with her after the Hancock race, and she made making good choices while traveling super easy. And her dog Conrad is a cutie!
Conrad is 13 years old and completely blind, and I love hanging out with him! Laura has been on her own health kick for quite some time, and she’s still going strong: exercising, counting calories, measuring out portions… she’s doing everything right.
Laura had made a pot of her Miracle Soup the day I arrived, so we had that for dinner. Chicken + Vegetables (including kale) + homemade broth. A bowl is usually under 200 calories but this time she added some pasta, so the calorie count was more like 250.
For dessert, she cooked some strawberries with 2 tablespoons light agave syrup, and we topped it with whipped cream and 1/4 cup granola. A 300-ish calorie dessert that tasted like strawberry pie!
One morning Laura made a big spinach and onion omelet, which we shared.
Another morning, I made my own scramble. Two eggs + bell pepper + cherry tomatoes + spinach + 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese = fantastic!
That picture perfectly exemplifies a great trick: put your meals on smaller plates, and they’ll seem bigger. That’s a salad plate!
On Sunday afternoon, we went to the movies, and that night Laura cooked a great dinner, that we ate while watching the Oscars. Roasted spaghetti squash (instead of pasta), plus a sauce that had ground turkey, bell pepper, onion, and kale, all topped with an ounce of freshly-shredded Asiago cheese.
I should point out that Laura really did most of the cooking. I helped with chopping and cleaning and stuff, but they are basically all her ideas, and what good ideas they were!
One lunch was leftover Miracle Soup, but I added a fried egg on top. I’ve never thought of doing that before, but that’s an idea Laura swears to, and it’s fantastic, especially with you break the yolk and it mixes in with the soup.
For exercise, I took it easy, since I spent the weekend racing up tall buildings. I went for two long walks, each around three miles. For one of them, I walked to a grocery store, where I saw my very favorite vegetable on the planet: ROMANESCO BROCCOLI!
Isn’t it beautiful? I think it’s one of the most gorgeous things found in nature. Learn more about it here.
When I got home, Laura used it in a delicious meal. Romanesco + baby bok choy + onion + water chestnuts + frozen Trader Joe’s teriyaki chicken, all over a mix of white and brown rice.
I had been craving Diet Sprite ever since, on my flight to Minneapolis, I asked for it and they were all out. So I also came home from the store with a bottle of Green River Diet Lime Soda, which satisfied the craving, and was delightful. And a deep shade of green!
Both Laura and I had to work, so we didn’t really have any fun Chicago adventures – certainly nothing like the mirror maze madness I experienced in Minneapolis – but we did go out for dinner one night, and my friends Leslie and Derrick joined in. It was an early birthday celebration for me – I turn 38 on Sunday – and we went to a downtown restaurant overlooking the river, called South Branch Tavern. I started with an alligator gumbo…
…and then the grilled mahi-mahi entree, which came with veggies and a little quinoa.
Laura’s boyfriend Chuck came over later, so the party continued at Laura’s place with some cupcakes.
I ate 1/2 the carrot cake one, and 1/2 the cookies and cream one (they came from Whole Foods), and they were spectacular.
They were the perfect choice for a small birthday event: no leftovers, and a filling sweet bite, without feeling stuffed with excess calories.
I almost forgot! I happened to snack on a purple carrot while wearing a purple shirt, and now I want to color-coordinate all my outfits with my produce.
I’m back in Los Angeles now, inspired by Laura’s diligence. Gonna wrap this up, in fact, so I can go make a salad!
Keep it up, David!
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