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How often have you gotten this question from someone regarding your eating? You could be doing Body for Life, eating vegan, eating nothing but apple fritters for a month, or in my case, using Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan as my base for building six pack abs this year.

The concept is simple. Eat food (meaning cut the processed, pseudo foods we find all over the place), not too much, and mostly plants. On first blush, this seems pretty simple if you've been eating healthy. Right up to the point where you realize that your unhealthy stuff is basically coming from boxes. So what's a Food Ruler to do? Even Pollan realizes that you aren't likely to stick with just low processed, whole foods day in and day out. You'll visit family and friends who don't eat the way you do. And frankly there are things you just are not going to be able to make at home. I mean I'm not going to be able to replicate the exact taste and look of my beloved Habro Gummy Colas.

Staying with any meal plan requires flexibility. Most fitness based meal programs build in off plan meals. I typically eat 4-5 meals per week that don't fit into the "healthy" category. That means I've got candy, sugar sweetened beverages, ice cream, excessive amounts of cheese, or creme brulee french toast in the plan. It helps me ensure that I keep these items in my life, in moderate portions. I've had great success with this model over the years and see no reason to toss food items I enjoy out the window. I don't need to. It's okay to enjoy treats. It's okay to eat things in colors nature never intended in SMALL and I do mean small quantities. So first pass it looks like I really don't have to make that many changes.Or do I. Just because I don't have to, doesn't mean we can't make things interesting.

Rather than eat most of my unhealthy food out of boxes, I've made the decision to rework how eat my fun food. So I'm attempting to make these open meals as times where I go out and explore area eateries. The last one I explored gave me a 4 day case of gastric distress. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I picked this weekend's location

P.terry's is an Austin original. They started up as a response to Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation The good folks at P.Terry's like to call themselves anti-fast food. Which doesn't mean you sit around all day waiting for your burger and fries. They use locally sourced ingredients when possible, get their beef from a better beef producer, and make their own fries.

I ordered myself a cheeseburger and fries today for lunch. P.Terry's also stocks Dublin Dr. Pepper which is the oldest Dr.Pepper bottler in the country, and happens to be located up in Dublin, Tx. Close enough for me to call local. As a bonus, they still make their sodas with cane sugar. I decided if I was going to have an off meal, by gum I was going to enjoy it.

The secret? Not too much. Also known as portion control. I poured about half a 20oz cup full of soda, then poured out around half. Probably ended up with 6-8 ounces of fizzy beverage.


The result! A classic American combo. I finished the burger, and left 2/3rds of the fries. I think the only non local item on the plate was the American cheese on the burger and the Heinz ketchup. Both of which are things I can live with. Healthy? Absolutely not. Tasty? Interestingly, not as tasty as I anticipated. It was a bit on the plain side for me. I'm taking that as a hint that my poor tastebuds are still recovering from years of food abuse. I'm still learning what things taste like without any assistance.

So does eating according to Food Rules mean I'll never eat a burger and fries again? No way! Who wants to spend a life time hiding from food? They goal for me is to find ways to make eating interesting, either making it about quality food or making it about fun food. I never again want to eat just because the food is there. 

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