My weight loss software, Weight Tracker ODS, says I’m actually losing weight faster in April than I was in March. It’s not as evident because it all didn’t come in one fell swoop. Instead it was gradual, two steps forward, one step back changes. But I’m in the next smaller size of pants (a little snug, but wearable) and my whole wardrobe will need to be replaced shortly if I continue at the same pace (1.9-2.1 pounds a week, or so the spreadsheet says).

I spent a little time in the Snellville Red Lobster, so a review of that restaurant is upcoming.  I’d also like to talk about varieties of canned salmon sometime in the near future, with a focus on good tasting fish to use for lunch.  But for now I need to do some research on the topic ;). Suggestions for resources are welcome.

This is a brief review of dieting and some dieting options I’ve run across. To note I really don’t eat diet food. I eat regular food in controlled amounts. That isn’t to say my wife hasn’t gone out and bought this diet food or that diet food; she has. But if they look like snacks my daughter eats them, and I have no clue who ate my sugar free jello. So, in practice, I am having a hard time even trying to live on anything specific. I make do with what is at hand.

We’ll start with the 2000 calorie ADA style exchange diet I was given, which was:

13 starch/carb exchanges.
6 vegetable exchanges
10 (lean) meat servings
6 fat servings.

This is a fairly balanced diet, with a ratio of 42% carbs, 24% protein, 34% fat. If you’re not carb restricted, you might want to pull up an exchange calculator (here or here) and try replacing some fat with carbs. I am carb restricted so that’s a reasonable baseline diet for me to work with. If the exchange concept confuses you, the link on the side bar to the ExRx site gets you to a great list of exchanges.

The 1800 calorie exchange diet I was given is not much different, something like:

13 starch/carb exchanges
5 veggies
9 (lean) meat servings
4 fat servings

And right now, according to Web MD, my optimal calorie intake for 1 pound a day weight loss is a just a bit more than 1900 calories. So I can sit anywhere in between 1800 and 2000 and be pretty happy.

The 13 starch/carb exchanges fold in fruit exchanges and milk exchanges. That was kind of mind blowing to me, because I thought meat and milk were more similar than milk and potatoes. But the kicker here are the 12g of carbs in a cup of milk. Yes, milk is full of protein but it’s also full of milk sugars, so it gets lumped into the carbs overall.

With these kinds of diet numbers, I have to eat a lot of meat. It doesn’t matter too much what kind of meat I eat, but keeping track of how much and what kind matters. A single “serving size”, or exchange is usually one ounce. A single lean meat serving has approximately 7g protein and 3g fat. Medium fatty meat has 7g protein and 5g fat. A fat exchange is 5g fat. So, using these definitions, chicken without skin is called a lean meat. Chicken with skin is treated as a medium fatty meat. Salmon is lean meat without skin, I suspect it’s medium fatty with it.

A hot dog is both a medium fat meat exchange and also a fat exchange. It has so much fat two exchanges are needed to handle the “cost” of it. But in hot dogs size matters. The hot dogs served at Target are so big they count as 2 medium fatty meats and two fat exchanges; they’re twice the size of a typical hot dog.

Cheese fits in as filler. When I don’t have the inclination or desire to eat huge servings of meat, I pad my diet with cheese. Since cheese lacks carbs, it’s generally treated as a “meat” in an exchange diet. Lighter cheeses, like the Baby Bel light cheese, have a protein to fat profile similar to lean meat. Baby Bel Lights are 6g protein and 3g fat, so I treat them as a lean meat serving. One mozzarella stick (specifically, Andrew and Everett Mozzarella String cheese) is 8g protein and 5g fat, so mozzarella sticks act as one medium fatty meat exchange.

One ounce of the Kraft reduced fat cheddars are 7g protein and 7g fat, so they fit pretty well as one lean meat plus one fat. Also in this category is parmigiana reggiano, at 9g protein and 8g fat per ounce. Cheddars (a good tasting example is Black Diamond old cheese; Kerry Gold Dubliner is in the “cheddar category”) are usually 7g protein and 10g fat per one ounce serving, so they break down pretty well as one medium fatty meat exchange and one fat exchange. In other words, cheddar is about as good for you as a hot dog, and should be used the same as you might a hot dog in a diet. The light Laughing Cow “pizza slices” are 2.5 g protein and 2 g fat, so if you ate 3 of those, the sum would be 7.5g protein and 6g fat.. pretty close to reduced calorie cheddar. Softer cheeses, like camembert and brie, probably have to be treated in ways similar to hot dogs, as meat-fat hybrids.

At one extreme of the protein to fat cheese scale are products like Alouette Gourmet Cheese spread. They have so little protein and so much fat they’re a pure fat exchange. The other extreme are products like cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a choice that can be used for no fat, high protein, some carb additions to diets. Another interesting choice are the plain Greek yogurts available. They add servings of milk, but their protein content is so high they are treated as a milk-meat hybrids.

So why not just eat fatty stuff all the time? You can take care of your meat and fat needs at the same time. The answer is you really want some “good fats” in the diet, vegetable based unsaturated fats, and you also want some omega 3 sources in the diet as well (i.e. wild fish). So trying to keep your meat (and cheese) profile as close to lean as possible gives a dieter the versatility to add things like olives, olive oil, nuts and so forth – even chocolate – into the diet. And as can be seen, if you’re a cheese lover, you don’t have to lose out either.

This is wild coho salmon, a daily special, from Cafe Gourmandises:

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In other news, the La Times has a nice article on truffle hunting in Australia. And for those who would like an overview of recent attempts to cultivate the French truffle, the online magazine Salon has an excellent article on the subject. Georgia, as it turns out, has its own native truffles growing in groves of pecan trees, called a pecan truffle.  Links detailing more about the pecan truffle are here (AP article) and here (NYT article).

Bonefish Grill is located in the Avenue at Webb Ginn, just a stone’s throw from the large Barnes and Noble there. Inside, Bonefish Grill is a good looking restaurant, with a good looking bar. They have bar seating on stools, and long tables with marbled black stone surfaces, and booths, whose tables are covered with brown craft paper. Above the bar are a pair of television sets, and wrapped around the bar area are dozens of wine bottles. Compared to McCray’s Tavern, which we recently visited, this place is focused on wine sales.

And surprisingly, compared to McCray’s, this place is noisy. The music is a little loud for my tastes. Now, that means that table conversation doesn’t drift, but it also means that Bonefish Grill really isn’t about a quiet romantic dinner.

In seafood choices, however, this place excels.  You can get food grilled, sauteed, baked and fried. The fish and seafood offered included grouper, chilean sea bass, tilapia, tuna, scallops, shrimp, squid, mussels, lobster tails and rainbow trout.  If high end doesn’t impress, they offer shrimp tacos and fish and chips. For those inclined to land bound fare, they have two good looking chicken entrees, pork options, filet mignon and a steak special.

My west coast in-laws commented on the imperial longfin on the menu, and ordered it. We also ordered swordfish, grilled rainbow trout, chicken,   some house salads, and their corn chowder (with bits of crab). The corn chowder turned out to be really good. It was creamy, and the bits of crab added that hint of seafood to the dish. My daughter commandeered the cup and finished it quickly. The salads were good. The pine nuts were a nice touch, the olives quite good, and I’m partial to palm heart myself.

Among the entrees, we liked the grilled rainbow trout the best. It was really good, thin filets, with the fish opened as if it were a book.  The grilled taste of the trout really came through. But everything was good, really. We all shared tastes, and almost nothing was left behind, but for a bit of the chicken. We were all quite full at the end, and I’m not sure how we would have saved space for their desserts (which also look really good).

Service is very good. Waitstaff wear white tops with the Bonefish logo. They are friendly, helpful, and notice when drinks are empty.

Verdict: This place is a winner in the Snellville/Lawrenceville axis, with really good food and seafood choices that can’t be found within miles.  Highly recommended.

Bonefish Grill
1350 Scenic Hwy, Suite 200
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 344-8945

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