Colin Folawn, editor
It could be hard for a lawyer to “eat healthy” while faced with all the demands of a busy and successful practice. All too often we find ourselves alternating between skipping meals, grabbing fast food and facing the luxury of a more lavish meal with clients or colleagues. And, all too often, the more we grab the fast food and/or eat out, the harder it seems to eat healthy.
This does not have to be the case. There are some simple rules and many new tools to help the busy lawyer (or other professional) eat out and eat healthily. But whether your diet is Atkins, vegan or omnivorous, modern technology can help you make healthy choices at almost any eating establishment.
Finding Where to Eat
Anyone who dines out frequently knows that it can be a challenge to make menu selections that fit comfortably within one’s diet. And, while there are computerized aids that allow diners to calculate the caloric content of the foods they are about to eat, it is perhaps more desirable to identify those restaurants in your area that already provide menus loaded with highly nutritious and low-calorie options.
The Internet is a great resource for identifying those restaurants and menu items. First up is local.yahoo.com. This site identifies 27 restaurants within a 10-mile radius that are known for serving healthful foods. With a couple mouse clicks, you can view diner reviews, menus and directions.
If your idea of healthy eating requires that you steer clear of, well, steer and its brethren, you will find what you’re looking for at the Happy Cow, which provides contact information, reviews and a synopsis of menu items for 36 vegetarian restaurants within the city limits – some of which are ovo, lacto and/or vegan and others that are just plain vegan “friendly.”
Yelp.com, like Yahoo, identifies restaurants having healthful offerings and provides directions and reviews, but doesn’t narrow its focus exclusively to “health-food” restaurants. Instead, Yelp points out certain menu items that fall within the “healthful” category.
What to Order
Trying to decide what to order? Free iPhone apps can help you plan ahead, order and keep track of the calories you consume.
Urbanspoon is a free app that helps you find nearby restaurants based on your location. For some restaurants, there are not only reviews but also links to menus, enabling you to scan the offerings as you walk to the restaurant.
Keeping track of what you eat can make for healthy, or at least informed, decisions when ordering off a menu. If this interests you, consider downloading Lose It! This free iPhone app allows you to track calories, log exercise and set goals for weight loss or maintenance. As you enter your meals (and exercise), the app calculates your net calories consumed and displays the results in daily or weekly views. You also can add recipes or foods into its database, allowing you to quickly log what you eat on the go.
Picking an Overall Health Strategy
As lawyers, we have egos – large egos – fighting with our smarter selves. No one wants to admit that they need help learning what to eat to get and stay healthy. While we read to learn about almost everything else we do, many avoid books on dieting, nutrition and health.
Purchasing nutrition and diet books was certainly made easier by online shopping, because the books come in the mail. But the Kindle has made it so the purchases that embarrass you can still travel with you.
The Kindle is a light-weight, electronic book reader. Equipped with “whispernet” technology, you can purchase books from your Kindle at any time, in any place. You can read any health book you want, regardless of the trashy nature of the title or cover, as you wait in clients’ office lobbies or for your turn on the motion calendar in other jurisdictions. And your copy of Skinny Bitch, the 21oth most down-loaded book for the Kindle, is $4 cheaper on the Kindle than the book’s list price. There are a number of health books in the top 300.
Places for a Good, Healthy, Client Meal
Breakfast: Portage Bay is a perfect location for a client breakfast. With the philosophy, “Eat like you give a damn,” how can your meal go wrong?
With the most of Portage Bay’s food sourced organically, the restaurant ensures that what you eat is free of toxic pesticides, herbicides and sewage sludge. We recommend the organic Portage Bay porridge – homemade rolled oats, raisins, dried cranberries, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and cinnamon; all vegan, all good.
Lunch: Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro uses no flavor enhancers, hydrogenated oils or processed foods, but does not skimp on taste. Located in the heart of Mercer Island, this place makes an excellent spot for an eastside client lunch. We would recommend the seasonal salad with mixed greens, watercress, matchstick apples, fennel and toasted almonds in an orange sherry vinaigrette.
Dinner: Sutra offers a good vegetarian meal to share with vegetarian or vegan clients. Located in Wallingford, Sutra provides fresh food incorporated in artistic and intuitive meals that connect healthy eating with a healthy community. With seating for about 35 guests, reservations are greatly recommended.
Sutra is fashioned as a supper club and its menu changes every few days. It has two seating’s a night on Fridays and Saturdays (this means everyone starts at the same time) and one seating on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Each day’s menu is a pre-set, four-course dinner.
Originally published in the June 2009 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.