Restaurant Review: Tokyo Joe’s: Denver, Colorado

Tokyo Joe’s is known for their local cuisine, hence their slogan: Colorado Grown, Colorado Owned.

 

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My family was looking for a super quick+healthy+gluten free friendly place to eat one cool Spring day for lunch in the Denver area. We have had our eye on Tokyo Joe’s for quit some time and today was the day.

We arrived around 11: 30 am and immediately walked right up to the counter. As new customers, we took a minute to familiarize ourselves with the menu and its ample choices. I was giddy with excitement to see that there was more than one section to choose from, as a ‘typical’ gluten-free consumer would have to choose from.  I could choose from ‘on the spot made ‘sushi, several noodle bowls and sauces and too many to count salads with a list of yummy dressings of my picking.

The server was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable of the gluten free options as well as ways to change up menu choices that were not labeled gluten free, to make them gluten free. He was extremely patient as I finally made my choice of one of their signature dishes the Tiger Shrimp Bowl which had grilled tiger shrimp skewer, spinach, red pepper, water chestnuts,  snap peas, red onion and replaced the (not gluten free) Spicy Aki Sauce with the Curry Sauce that was mild, tropical, no sugar, and gluten free.  I, of course, substituted rice noodles for this dish. My celiac daughter ordered the Joe’s Roll off the sushi menu which encompassed grilled shrimp, avocado, cream cheese and cucumber, recommended by our server.

 

The restaurant is extremely hip with ambient lighting, funky bar seating as well a comfy family style setting. My kiddos chose the cool bar seating, of course. The stainless steal tables were clean and like new. My daughter ran over to the sushi bar to watch her meal being prepared. The server was especially friendly, smiled a lot, and even held a conversation with her as her sushi was prepared.

I was super impressed that our food was quickly served by the same gentleman that placed our order. He explained which dish was gluten free and what was not. I especially liked this attention to detail, concern, and customer service.

We literally inhaled our food in silence, all 4 of us. It was hot, fresh, delicious, and best of all GLUTEN FREE!  They did not hold back on the size or number of shrimp in my dish and the sushi was super fresh and presented beautifully. We left very satisfied and will come back again and again. Especially for their hot tea bar!

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To check out how to become an Tokyo Joe’s addict, how they support local schools or to find a location near you, click here.

For more gluten free eats, click here!

Inspiration: Believe Beyond Your Own Belief

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My Wellness Care Plan: 
Month Three: Let Your Light Shine

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson

Did you know that these kind of thoughts can stop you from being the best YOU that you can possibly be?  We often look at others and see what we would like to be and never can imagine that we can be anything beyond what we are right now. I first recommend to take your eyes off of others and back on you and how wonderful you already are! Second, start believing that you are enough and you can meet your goals of wellness, or whatever goal you have in front of you.

You are no small potatoes! You were not meant to be small and you are not able to serve yourself nor those around you when you continue to think that you are small. You are capable and strong and able to reach goals that you never thought you could reach. And when we do so, you encourage others.

Marianne continues to say “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Keep up the food diaries and keep up the water intake.  If you have slowed down or quit, restart, you will be the one who benefits from this. The learning curve is almost complete. Next month we focus of what nutrients we actually get out of food and how to supplement if we are not getting those essential vitamins and minerals.

On a side note, have you started to move yet? We will also introduce the thought of exercise to promote not only weight loss but weight maintenance.

Goals for the Month:

1. Water intake

2. Food Diaries

3. Writing your Exchanges for each food you eat.

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Restaurant Review: Steuben’s: (Uptown) Denver, Colorado

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Have you ever found a place that you feel like you could eat every meal for the rest of your life and be very happy. Well, I have and it is Steuben’s of Denver, Colorado. I am not the only one that shares this feeling. Upon our 11:30 am arrival on a weekday, the place was packed with locals. I just love the scene of Denver. Everyone to me looks so important. Each person has their own style and absolutely do not apologize for it. I love that in a person.

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We were quickly greeted by a friendly waitress and and served the cutest decanter of water. If my glass was half full, there was someone there filling her up. This feature is actually a favorite of mine at any restraunt.

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I was drawn to Steuben’s initially for their gluten free menu, yet was especially impressed with the variety of allergen-friendly menu options.

“Steuben’s prides itself in offering a variety of choices for guests with allergies. Allergy menus available include: garlic, gluten, lactose, onion, shellfish, soy, and celiac for both our lunch/dinner menu and our brunch brunch menu. Please be sure to request a specific allergy menu when you come in and let your server know so we can be sure to accommodate your needs as best as possible. Below is our Gluten Free Lunch/Dinner Menu, please call for specific information on any of our other allergy menus.”

A simple request of their gluten free menu…

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…and my taste buds were abound and riding the roller coaster of flavor with choices like shrimp and grits, deviled eggs, trout amadine, herb roasted chicken, breadless sandwiches and soups and salads ‘o plenty. I had a hard time choosing. Seriously, I asked the waitress twice to give me just a few more minutes to decide. She was so gracious, of course.  Of all the yummy salads to choose from (greek, chef, cobb, chicken chop, beet and arugula, and the iceberg wedge with blue cheese and bacon) I chose the highly recommended greek salad to start.

When this rather large mouth watering plate of goodness arrived, my hubs immediately scooched over to join me. I normally am not a sharer of food (wink) but the sharing of food would save room for my featured entree. This greek salad had just the right amount of dressing and reminded us of the salads we had back in Greenville, Mississippi at Doe’s Eat Place (a very small not so gluten free, but favorite, place of the hubs).  We managed to lick the plate clean. Not a problem.

My featured entree arrived just at the right time and boy, was I impressed. Shrimp and Grits baby! I am a true Cajun folks, New Orleans, Lousianna native. I have had several versions of this meal and this was the first time I experienced the flavor and heat of a true cajun Shrimp and Grits. I am used to the shrimp swimming in a pool of melted butter surrounded by creamy grits. Instead, I was greeted with a mound of perfectly cooked shrimp blanketed in a spicy, broth-y, tomatoe-y roux. YUM-O! It was a kick in the pants to eat, but I, again, had no problem pacing myself so I could finish it off.

Pure gluttony, not gluten-y my friends! I left so stuffed, yes this dietitian overate, but was so well worth it. I’d do it again and outside next time!

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Thanks to the great ambiance, awesome people watching, tremendous food choices, and out of this world cuisine, I will be back.

To check out Stueben’s history, menus, and order-out options click here.

Stay tuned for more gluten free eats!

 

Inspiration: Journaling a Food Diary

My Wellness Care PlanMonth Two: Doing the Dirty Work 

journalHow’s month 2 going? Bliss or Diss? I held a meeting last week and as we ate our lunch we openly discussed the ups and downs of Month 2 of My Wellness Care Plan which is recording food intake in your personal food diary.  Some of the group was finding great joy in recording their intake into their food diaries, yet others found it not so fun (to say the least) {wink}.

I want to encourage you by empathizing with those that relate to the latter. Journaling a food diary is, let’s say, an enlightening experience. It just ain’t purty (as some of us Texans say). Writing down everything you eat can be tedious and revealing which can make you feel vulnerable, not up to par, and down right discouraging. Why do this anyway if it seems so deconstructive?

Let’s look at writing a food diary as having a personal organizer come into your home and make sense of your chaos of your pantry, office, basement, or kids rooms! We welcome them to come in and take charge to make life a little more manageable, but you must first allow them to see your messes, the very messes you would never even let your best friends see. You gotta get to the dirty work to reveal the golden plan!

One thing I can promise you, your secrets are safe with me, or your consulting dietitian. Your journals will not be posted up on her wall and she won’t use your name in her next book as as an example of the worst eater in the world! She knows your incredible intention to make changes in your life or you would not be here. Most of the time, however, the struggle is not with her,  it is admitting to yourselves that its time to clean up your diets, admit where your triggers are, or finally confess of that coke float habit before bed. I am going to help you reconstruct your eating, one meal at a time.

Rarely will you find that person that eats text book perfect. We assume that if that person is “skinny” in our mind then they must eat super healthy. It’s time to give ourselves a break, have grace on ourselves, and remember why we are here, in month 2, learning what our goal caloric intake is, what an exchange is, and why we a peeing 6 times a day! To be a healthier you!

Goals for the month:

1. Continue to drink water.

2. Start a food diary. Include the date, time, portion, and food. The more detail the better!

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Inspiration: Am I Worth It?

My Wellness Care PlanMonth One: Feeling Worthy for Health

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Have you ever re-read a book and found that you were reading a new book all together. You were reading it, perhaps, in a new light? I was reading a story in the book Song of Solomon and a particular line jumped out and danced on the pages with me. If you are not familiar with it, let me share a bit of background, if you are, let’s look at it in a different way.

This book is often referred to as the “lovers” book that you read to your soul mate. In the first few lines of the first chapter, the woman is professing to her lover that she is aware that she does not measure up in the looks department to the other fair maidens in the land, but does measure up in value and integrity.

Often times when we see the “prize” we look around and see who else may “deserve” this prize more than us for one reason or another. Convinced of our immediate defeat, it is easy to take that step down, give up,  and and allow the “more derserving one” the chance to run to the prize and claim it.  For whatever reason we do this, it is time to take the step forward and not backward. To see that you are worth that prize because you hunger for it! Do you thirst for the quenching of the feeling of victory?

When embarking on any plan, wether Wellness Care or a business plan, motivations run high in the beginning, but this soon wears off and we start seeing others be perhaps a little (or alot) more successful than us and we slow down and can even quit. Don’t get distracted. You deserve and are worth that prize, however long it takes to get there, you are worth it! Remind yourself of your worth every day.  Write you “word for the year” on your wall, post inspirational quotes and scripture everywhere you can see in your home and office to renew your mind daily. Be the woman who chases her desire and professes her worth to, and your desire will be yours.

“You is kind. You is Smart. You is Important.” – Aibileen Clark, The Help

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Inspiration: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

My Wellness Care PlanMonth One: Trusting the Plan

crosswalkHave you ever crossed a street without looking both ways? I was in downtown Denver with my family headed to the Museum and something caught my eye. I was in the passenger seat and saw a woman and her, what seemed like, two year old walking on the sidewalk headed to a busy intersection.

The mother felt that it was time to cross the street, grabbed her toddlers hand, and proceeded to cross. I was immediately startled at this action because it was not time to cross the street. The walking man had not turned white and the opposite traffic still had a green light. Yet, the boy never looked up. He simply grabbed his mother’s hand, trusted her, and went forward with her lead. Meanwhile, I am looking frantically to assure their safety. Obviously, the mom knew what she was doing. She had looked both ways and would never place her child in danger. But from my perspective I was thinking “Wait! What are you doing! That’s not how you are supposed to do it!”

Since you have started this Wellness Program, how many on-lookers have said “What? Just water? Where is your calories count? What in the gimmick that will make you loose the weight?” Maybe you have even asked yourself these questions.

I have a feeling however, that week three of drinking your water {especially if you have not been doing this as a habit} you can see the importance of starting slow. How many of us have hit the 100% mark for getting all our water in each day? I know I have not, and that is the honest truth, but I am aware.  I know what I need and I actually miss my water when I don’t get it in! That is the lesson! I am glad to start this new habit slowly. It is preparing me for next month!

Next month is when we dive deep, set calorie goals, LEARN the importance of each food group, and how much of each group we need to be absolutely the healthiest we can be! The key to that boy crossing that road with his mother was TRUST! Thank you for handing over your trust to me as we journey through this evolution of a mind and body experience! Keep drinking your water and looking ahead to our next goals!

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Inspiration: Am I Drinking Enough Water?

My Wellness Care Plan: Month One: Water Logged

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Water Logged? Funny question to ask someone who lives in the middle of “Whoville”, in the middle of mountains, far far from a beach or a pool. But I’m curious if you have given water consumption much of a thought lately? Do you hear the same voice I hear on a daily basis? “Oh, I need to fill that water bottle up again. Maybe I will just order water for lunch. I could skip my morning coffee and still be nice, right?”

Let’s face it, we as a general population do not drink enough water for our bodies to actually function properly. Did you know that water participates in all the physiological and biochemical processes that are essential to life?

  • Your muscles that move your body are 75% water
  • Your blood that transport nutrients is 82% water
  • Your lungs that provide your oxygen are 90% water
  • Your brain, the control center of your body, is 76% water
  • Even your bones are 25% water

You knew it was important to drink water, but now you have the facts as to why. If we do not have an adequate supply of this free-flowing abundance, irregularity, headaches, fatigue, lack of concentration, and muscle cramping can settle in. These symptoms can be ignored and coupled as “aches and pains” and not given the attention it is needed.  Water is essential, but adequate water is, without a doubt, the most important wellness goal you could ever set for yourself.

What is your water prescription? Its easy! Take your current weight, divide it in half and that is how many ounces you need in one day. Add 8 ounces per hour of moderate exercise. For example: A 160 pound woman would need 80 ounces of water a day. That’s 40 ounces before lunch and 40 after. Or one water bottle on the way to work, one before lunch, one after lunch, and one on the way home. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Your body is actually in a state of mild dehydration.

Many of us start our day with coffee or tea. Moderate amons are actually proven to have improved health benefits, but keep in mind that these beverages, usually containing cafienne, act as diurectics and you loose water. So, a rule of thumb to remember: NEVER count anything you drink other than water your water intake and anything with cafienne should be comlimented with the same amount of water.

If water does not taste good or makes you too cold, warm your water up and add lemon or ginger. Try drinking water when you first wake up when you are most dehydrated and to flush the toxins in your body.  Establish a habit of keeping a water bottle at your desk or in your car. Set a timer to remind you to drink.

Your organs need water!  The stomach depends on water to help digest food, and lack of water makes it harder for nutrients to be broken down and used as energy.  The liver, which dictates where all nutrients go, also needs water to help convert stored fat into usable energy.  If you are dehydrated, the kidneys turn to the liver for backup, diminishing the liver’s ability to metabolize stored fat.  The resulting reduced blood volume will interfere with your body’s ability to remove toxins and supply your cells with adequate nutrients.  If you are looking to weight loss, I bet you just might see a few pounds drop this month!

Whew! There is so much more to say about water, I could go on and on! (Pardon the pun!)  Who knew how important water was to our complex, yet beautiful bodies! Drink up water my friends! Let me know how you are doing by placing a comment below! I’d love to know!

Goals for the month:

1. Forget everything you know about nutrition.

2. Drink water!

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Inspiration: Having Trouble Focusing?

My Wellness Care Plan: Month One: Re-Focus

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The beginning of this year, in the world of social media, the buzz is to come up with a ‘word’ for the year. In our initial meeting for the Wellness Care Plan there was actually a word that seemed to float to the top, “re-focus”.

Isn’t that word genius? This word ignited me. There is no shame in ‘refocus’, no guilt, no weight attached to it at all. It is a word that actually gives you permission for a do-over. A way to re-start without any obligations or a feeling of defeat before you even begin.

Taking this approach to the Wellness Care Plan is key. We already know that we “should” eat more fruit and less chips, but doing it is hard. When my son tried to ride his bike for the first time, he knew at the age of 5 that he should be able to do this thing, ride a bike, but realized quickly he needed help. He fell more times than this mother can bear in the beginning, but, we as his parents, gave him do-over after do-over after do-over until he no longer needed our help. And guess what? He finally was able to ride his bike with assurance and confidence he would make it down the sidewalk without the 100th fall. Although there is no guarantee that he will never fall off his bike again, we taught him the tools to ride his bike safely and effectively, with the option to always come back for a brush up course in bike riding 101.

We all need help to “re-focus”. We need to reach out and get the right tools and knowledge to live a healthy lifestyle.  He knew the basics of riding a bike, but needed to know how to pull it all together. That is what the Wellness Care Plan is all about. Brushing up on the basics, re-focusing, learning new approaches to proper health and wellness, and to have someone bring it all together for just you.

Is there a word that seems to linger in your mind. A word that is really quiet that may need to be turned up in your life? A word that you could keep on your screen saver on your phone or computer, taped up on the wall, or crafted and made a centerpiece in your home? If a word is not coming to mind, you are welcome to own the word “refocus” for yourself , its my gift to you. Enjoy! It will make a difference in your life.

I would love to know what your word is.  Leave a comment below and I just might borrow your word!

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Inspiration: Rethinking Your Health Plan?

My Wellness Care PlanMonth One: Time to Rethink Your Wellness Plan

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Have you ever remodeled a room in your house, or your house for that matter? Once you captured the vision of the changes you wanted to make, did you close your eyes and upon immediately opening them, did you actually see that vision right there in front of you? If your answer is “yes”, then I’ll have what you’re having.

My husband and I remodeled homes before we had our children and the last remodel we encountered was of our entire home about 9 years ago. We walked through the house and said, “This house has good bones!” Made an offer and next thing we knew we were peeling wall paper, knocking down walls, and plumbing was being pulled and relocated. It was a complete remodel.  In order for the house to last, this was the only way to do it, and do it right.

I can’t help but relate our remodel experience to how I look at learning how to implement a healthy lifestyle of ‘diet’ and exercise. We see that we have good “bones” right, but over time, we believe diet plans and exercise routines that are out there that promise weight loss through pills, eating one food group, or eliminating exercise all together. These beliefs create the deep rooted lies (the plumbing) that weigh  us down on what is the best eating and exercise plan. These beliefs create giant walls that need to be knocked down that prevent us from seeing the truth in healthy eating and exercise. We need to peel back all the layers of confusion that those ‘fad diets’ have created and get down to basics of the right and best way to fuel and exercise our bodies.

We must put all our preconceived ideas of what is considered “healthy eating” and start from scratch. Start with the bare-bones approach of nutrition 101. We must learn what a carbohydrate, protein and fat is and what they do for our bodies and minds. Once we understand this basic foundation of nutrition, we can build from there and pic the very best “materials”, or foods, that will rebuild your body and make a stronger, newer, healthier you.

This process may take a little longer in the begining than a typical ‘fad’ diet, so patience is key. You will see, however, the results will last a lifetime, not a season. Let’s take our time together tear down the old beliefs, and re-build your new you with knowledge. Afterall, we all learned as young pups from “School House Rock “Knowledge is Power!”

Join me on this 12 month journey of rediscovering you. Let’s learn the basics in nutrition and exercise that will change your life forever.

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Cheers to your new approach to diet and exercise and to the NEW YOU!

Inspiration: Breaking Free From Old Habits?

My Wellness Care PlanMonth One: Be Free

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Have you ever seen the TV show Friends? If so, do you remember the episode that Rachel and Phoebe went running in Central Park and to Rachel’s surprise, Phoebe ran like “no one was watching.” It was a serious yard sale of a run. Arms flying, feet kicking, head bobbing. She was completely uninhibited. After a strong convincing by Phoebe, Rachel gave this kind of run a try the next time she was out and found it was so freeing! So freeing, that this was her new and only style of running.

What keeps us from taking this approach when embarking on a new health and wellness program? Often, we take all the information we have learned in the past about diet and exercise and mix it with he new program we are trying out.

Wow, that sounds difficult. It was so much easier as a child when we would learn with fascination for the first time what the solar system was, or what Egypt looked like.  What if we tried this approach this year? What if we learned how to eat and exercise as if we have never eaten or exercised before. We might actually learn something new. Especially if we got down to the very basics.

That is what My Wellness Care Plan is about this year. It is a 12 month program that brings us down to the basics of  healthy eating and exercise. We are going to learn how to choose the very best foods for you and your optimal exercise program. The results? Never dieting again and learning to LOVE exercise. Now that sounds freeing to me!

Subscribe to the mailing list and the My Wellness Care Plan will be emailed to you directly and you’ll get the latest each week! Look for the mailing list subscription button on the upper right side of the web site!

…and just incase you are visual like me, here is the clip from Friends…

Phoebe and Rachel Running

Let’s run together and Be Free! Join me in this new adventure!

Subscribe to the mailing list and the My Wellness Care Plan will be emailed to you directly and you’ll get the latest each week! Look for the mailing list subscription button on the upper right side of the web site!