Staying Tough in The Big Easy

I just got back from a week in New Orleans to celebrate Christmas and New Years! New Orleans…the biggest, baddest food city in the country. I mean, that’s a city where good food has been elevated to an art form and a civic duty! And so, so much of it is fried, battered, and alcoholic! Here are the things I did to try to counteract and avoid a big gain:

  1. Seafood! The biggest, best thing to eat in New Orleans is seafood – oysters, shrimp, crab, and crawdads are on every menu, and if you don’t get them fried or smothered in butter it’s a healthy meal! I ate oysters almost every single day. Raw or chargrilled, they are delicious in NOLA.
  2. Walk it off! Avoid getting a car or taking taxis, and ride the streetcars everywhere you want to go. Once you get there, you’ll be walking. A lot. If you’re not getting enough walking, pick up a guide to walking tours and see some sights that aren’t in the French Quarter. The Garden District, Uptown, Audubon Park, the CBD, Carrollton – there’s way more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street.
  3. Dance it off! Head down to Frenchmen Street for some excellent live music and hit the dancefloor for some bonus exercise. Most of the clubs featuring swing and jazz have a space for dancing. Use it.
  4. Speaking of Bourbon Street – avoid it. That scene is played out and sad these days. All you’ll get there are shitty frozen cocktails and drunken crowds. Ugh. Believe me when I say you’re not missing anything by not staggering around with all the other tourists carrying a plastic novelty mug and a weak, sugary mess of a “drink” in your hand.
  5. Make room for some treats, but make them the good ones. You know you’re going to want to get some beignet at Cafe du Monde, but make it an event that only happens once. A treat’s more special for being rare. Go for it and enjoy every bite, but not every day.
  6. Slow down and savor. Don’t skip out on the headline experiences – go to the finest restaurants, like Commander’s Palace, but really take your time. This is some of the best food in the country so let your palate linger over every bite, and be mindful of how full you are. Stop when you feel sated – that’s easier to do when you’re taking your time with every nuance of flavor.

Am I up a pound or two? Probably. But not much more – my measurements say I’m a little bloated but not badly and nothing that won’t come off in the next couple of days. I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my trip and my efforts to navigate the food landscape in the toughest food environment around.

I made the decision that I would enjoy my trip (within reasonable boundaries like those I listed above) and not beat myself up afterwards for enjoying myself. I have a plan, I’m back on target this week, and excited to see what 2016 has in store for me!