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Day 5: Friday Night Syndrome

What is it about Friday nights? You spend the first part of the week being so healthy you could be the pin-up in a juice bar, only for the clock to strike 4 on a Friday and your resolve crumbles faster than a full fat chocolate chip cookie. Friday. Night. Syndrome.

The typical Friday night conversation

The typical Friday night conversation

Friday nights are my Achilles heel. My way of unwinding after a long, hard week of working is to go out, meet some friends and chit-chat over good food and some sort of alcoholic beverage. If I just went home and watched TV I would feel cheated and probably spend the night crying into my broiled white fish and broccoli supper. That’s what Sunday through Thursday is for!

So, realistically I’m not going to give up my Friday night socialising – I just need to find a way to healthify it.

The plan this Friday was to go to Zeitgeist in the Mission for a few drinks and then on to Burma Love, which just opened recently. Perfect I thought, planning it all out in my head – I’ll have no more than two vodka tonics at happy hour, before heading to the restaurant where I would opt for the healthiest option on the menu and then head home at a reasonable hour and get the requisite 8 hours sleep. HEALTH MASTER!

Emmmm…didn’t quite pan out that way. The primary cause – I forgot how ridiculously strong the drinks are in the States. They’re even stronger when you engage in a bit of friendly, Friday night flirting with the bartender. So, my first vodka-tonic was most likely worth three normal (Irish) ones. And this tickled me pink enough to order two more. And then of course, the banter with the friends got even better, so food was forgotten about until around 10. We actually did end up going to Burma Love, but were tipsy enough and starving enough to order the slightly less than healthy option…with a side of wine.

So, not an amazingly healthy night, but also, not a complete disaster. A disaster would have been to drink beer rather than vodka tonics and then not eat until midnight when you stop and get a burrito. This kind of disaster has struck before.

I’m not quite sure how to cure myself of Friday Night Syndrome though. Maybe buddy up with a fellow health warrior and only do rounds of drinks with them? Any tips or strategies out there?

A note on Zeitgeist and Burma Love. It was my first time at both and I had a blast.

Zeitgeist is a fun dive bar, with a great outdoor area and lots of benches. Not too many annoying hipsters either. If you’re not trying to be healthy they have a BBQ pit as well where you can get some burgers.

Burma Love was great as well. I had never had Burmese food prior to coming to San Francisco, but now tea leaf salad is one of my favorite dishes. As with most restaurants worth going to in the city you need a reservation. We got lucky and got a table with no reso!

Comment on healthy living

Despite a relatively un-healthy ending to the day it started quite well, with lots of fresh, whole foods. No exercise though. I was still exhausted and knew I’d be doing Barry’s Bootcamp on Saturday so I decided not to push it. Outside of food and exercise the other healthy thing was chilling out with friends and laughing. Food for the soul, so it is!

Food and exercise

No pictures of my lunch, drinks or dinner so you get a selfie instead

No pictures of my lunch, drinks or dinner so you get a selfie instead

  • Snack: Green Juice from Thistle (ordered the night before)
  • Breakfast: Kefir with berries (AMAZING)
  • Lunch: Salad with chicken, edamame beans and a slice of rye bread (bold, bold, bold)
  • Snack: Sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, large handful of walnuts
  • Drinks: 3 (large) vodka tonics with a splash of cranberry
  • Dinner: Green tea salad (split by three people) Tablespoon of a chicken/noodle dish, 2 tablespoons brown rice, eggplant prawn dish (YUM) and one large glass of wine
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Day 43: Strategies for eating out in San Francisco

As anyone living in San Francisco will tell you, this is the best city to come to if you are a foodie. Not only are there amazing restaurants and food trucks, but also talking about food (and being a ‘foodie’) is a legitimate past-time…As well as blogging about food, instagramming food, yelping about restaurants. You even start to choose a potential date based upon how much they like to eat out!

foodie

Food plays an integral part of the socialising over here, and I love it!

(But not to the point where I instagram my food. I’m not that much of a douchey Foodie. Anyone else so bored by this?)

Obviously, however, to eat the healthiest you need to be at home cooking your own meals, so you know exactly what you’re eating.

BORING!!! How depressing would that be? Can you imagine turning down an opportunity to try out the latest hip restaurant in favour of eating a bowl of kale and broiled chicken on your tod. You’d want to kill yourself!

(Oh my God, I have the feeling that sounds like something a douchey Foodie would say).

So, really, if you want to go out and have a social life AND be healthy, you just have to get clever and have a few strategies up your sleeve. These are the ones I’m trying out for myself

1. Choose and reserve the restaurant beforehand.

Because there are so many options in San Francisco, it can get overwhelming and difficult to make a decision about where to eat – especially when you’re out and about. And when that happens you inevitably spend a good hour walking around in circles, until you get hangry, then you panic, have a fight with your dinner companions and end up storming into the nearest taqueria for a burrito, that you eat in a huff.

This is not fun for anyone and can lose you some friends.

So, instead do your research and choose the restaurant online beforehand. If you’re going with a group, offer to find and reserve for everyone. They’ll love you for it. My go-to in SF is OpenTable or Yelp (sorry Google+…).

Any other good sites out there?

2. If you can’t choose the restaurant, look at the menu before you go

Most restaurants will have their menus available online, so you can plan exactly what to order in advance. By doing that, you save yourself from getting swept up in the ordering frenzy and going for something unhealthy.

3. Load up on veg beforehand

Maybe even just before you go out. The French or Italians would freak at the thought of potentially ruining your meal by eating so close to dinner-time, but don’t mind them. It’s survival tactics here. And they’ve probably had 12 chocolate pastries already today.

4. Choose your vice

There are many fun things to indulge in at dinner – the bread, the wine, the pasta dishes the dessert. Decide which two of the four you want and don’t go near the others. Ie if you have wine and bread, avoid the tortellini and tiramisu.

5. Go for whole foods

Go for the steak, chicken or fish. They’ll be the healthiest because you know they probably won’t have added anything nasty into them.

This week is jam-packed with dinner dates, so I’ll get an opportunity to try out these tactics myself.

Tonight’s restaurant was Bistro Aix, in the Marina. This is a charming place, with great food, beautiful wine (chosen by the very dashing Johnny, who works there) and a lovely atmosphere. Complete with an indoor tree! I love indoor trees like you wouldn’t believe.

i had one slice of the bread, wine, beet and goat’s cheese salad and lamb meatballs with baby potatoes. I avoided the dessert, as per rule number 4. It looked so decadent…

Let’s see how I get on with the other dinners!

Day 16: That Friday Feeling

  • Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites and eggs, pineapple, berries, coffee with milk
  • Lunch: Mixed salad, roasted veg, Grilled chicken breast, balsamic vinegar
  • Snack: Pineapple, cherry tomatoes, sugar snaps
  • Dinner: Appetizer – mixed meat, main course – vegetable cassoulet (smoked chickpeas, corn, green beans) and arugula salad, 2 x glasses of wine

Photo Collage Maker_PKpKH2

What is it about Fridays – you always feel like you want and deserve a treat! It’s the end of a hard working week and all you want to do is kick back with a glass of wine and something nice to eat.

Or, as has been my habit of late, go out for happy hour, not eat any food and finish up at around 1.30am in the pizza joint.

Guess what I did not do! (The pizza one).

But I did kick back with something relatively nice to eat and a glass of wine (x2). Not 100% healthy but I think it’s healthy enough. Just to be clear – I still want to live my normal life by going out on the weekends and going for dinners and drinks. I just need to healthify the norm.

It was a slightly special occasion as well – my parents’ last night in SF. And we had a lovely time!

We had an aperitivo in the sun at Noeteca in Noe Valley. Such a cute little wine bar if you’re in the neighbourhood with good food.

We then went to Precita Park Cafe in Bernal Heights. Sweet little neighbourhood, with a great dog park if you’re that way inclined, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for a Friday night. Full of kids (actually the perfect spot for a family on a Friday eve) and they totally rushed us through our meal. The food and wine were tasty though.

Then afterwards we went back to my parents’ Air BnB to chill on the couch and watch TV. There’s something so lovely about doing this with your family – so comforting, so normal, so relaxing. So precious.

I’m going to miss them loads.

Also, one last point to show you what I’m up against when it comes to healthy eating.

This is what I was faced with when I walked into the work cafe this morning:

Death by doughnut holes...

Death by doughnut holes…

Thankfully they also had this, so I was easily able to be healthy.

Yum!

Yum!