Que Pasa?

Spin class kicked my butt. Intervals. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Well check out this workout:

  • 40 second intervals with the first 20 seconds being faster than the normal pace, then the last 20 seconds as fast as we can (medium resistance- 6 out of 10).
  • Followed by 1 minute of “flat road” recovery.
  • Repeat 3 times total.
  • 1 minute standing climb, resistance 7 out of 10.
  • New set of intervals: 50 seconds of intervals, first 25 fast, then 25 seconds maintaining the same speed with hard resistance added.
  • Followed by 1 minute of “flat road” recovery.
  • Repeat 3 times total.

It was a hard one! I was glad I worked up a hard sweat though. I had plans afterward!

There are a lot of good restaurants in Portland, but honestly it’s rare that both Michael and I walk away from a meal gushing. “Oh my god, that was so good.” And then hours later, “That dinner was really, really good!” Not only that, we both agreed that it was a good enough Mexican restaurant that we could take his parents when they visit from Texas…that’s high praise considering they refuse to eat Mexican food outside of Texas. Que Pasa Cantina in Portland raised that bar.

Michael and I went recently to use up a Groupon that was expiring soon. (We’re running low on our Groupon purchases!) I’ve been to Que Pasa before, but it was at least 5-8 years ago. It was a distant memory and I couldn’t remember whether I liked it or not. The recent visit will always be in my memory now!

The place is trendy and in the SE Hawthorne neighborhood (warning: parking is a nightmare, be prepared to walk). It’s right next to the Hawthorne food carts. Que Pasa also has outdoor seating.

The typical “chips and salsa” is not brought automatically, in fact it costs a few bucks extra to have it. At first we were going to skip it, but decided to try it and it was totally worth it. The chips were homemade and they are probably the best tortilla chips I’ve ever had. They were thick, warm like they were fresh out of the oven, and had a mysteries seasoning on it that made my mouth water. The chips were thick, almost like pita chips. The salsa trio was delicious: a regular one, a creamy avocado salsa, and the middle one was so spicy I could barely stand it.

I had a hard time deciding what to order. Everything sounded delicious but I was trying to make a good choice–a sensible choice. Thankfully, I did not order a burrito which was humongous (but looked amazing). I thought about the Mexican Chopped Salad but it came in a fried shell. I thought about the Jalapeno Mac n’ Cheese but at the last minute I ordered the corn tacos.

My dinner was two soft tacos–one was carnitas and one was steak. I skipped the refried beans and got the pinto beans instead. The rice was tangy and delicious (Michael even commented that he loved the rice and he usually doesn’t like it).

The steak had a sweetness to it but it was mild. The carnita taco is where it’s at, though. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth soft with a little bit of smokey crunch. For the life of me I could not figure out the spice they used on the carnitas but it was mind blowing.

Michael’s dinner was the winner of the evening. He got the chicken enchilada. At first our portions looked tiny, but they were so incredibly filling I was full all night. His enchilada was decadent and the sauce was a cross between tangy and spicy as hell.

We walked out of the restaurant into the blinding sun, our bellies full and happy and slowly strolled back to the car. We were both satisfied and incredibly impressed by the meal. We will be back. By far, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Portland.

QUESTION: What do you think is the “healthiest” choice at a Mexican restaurant?

A Tale of Cheesy Enchiladas and Tears

Michael and I had a moment of conflict recently. I will preface this story with a yes I had a minor meltdown and yes I was already feeling overwhelmed and overstressed leading up to this “moment.” (Note to Self: listen to my body and my stress and do more self-care, perhaps verbalize some of the frustrations before they become overwhelming!)

It was a Rest Day for me and all week long I’d been doing my best to cut down my calories. I wasn’t restricting myself drastically, I was just being mindful of just how MUCH I was munching on the “extras” throughout the day. You know those extras–they are the bites, nibbles and tastes that we fail to count during our day. Sometimes we forget to record them, sometimes we trick our brain into thinking that they don’t count. For whatever reasons we do it, those calories do count and they do add up. I was trying my best to become more accountable to myself.

After a crappy day at work, an even longer week of exhausting obligations on top of cutting down on my sugar intake, I just snapped. We were in the kitchen making dinner together. Michael decided we were having veggie enchiladas–which was awesome because I’d been craving Mexican food for awhile. He cooked down the spinach and onions. I chopped the black olives and jalapenos and got the sauce and black beans ready.

We began assembling the enchiladas. Stressor #1 – I realized that we bought the much larger tortillas than normal and they were 210 calories each. I shuddered as I started to add up the math in my head and realized I could only have one enchilada instead of the two that I really wanted.

Stressor #2 – Michael was stuffing the enchiladas with shredded Colby Jack cheese. Handful after handful went into them until it was heaping.

“Can we put less cheese in two of those for me?”

Michael said no. “Stop it. Lots of cheese is what makes these good! You can have cheese.”

I felt annoyed that he was dictating what I should and could eat. I said it was too much cheese. His response: “If we ate this in a restaurant it would be twice the amount of cheese.”

“But we are at home and I can make it healthier.”

“Come on! That’s not fun!”

This was the breaking point. There were tears. I was frustrated and angry. I felt like a huge, wet blanket because I couldn’t “have fun” with my food. I said, “I need you to stop belittling my food choices and making me feel guilty for how I eat. I have been living a life of moderation for years now and I will always count my calories and be concerned about my intake. It will always be a struggle for me. I will always want more food and I make choices every single day to stay on track. I am aware that my food is not fun or gluttonous. But I need you to be supportive of me and not push food on me. Please don’t make me feel guilty for trying to be healthy.”

Michael apologized profusely. He admitted he made a mistake with trying to pressure me and apologized for adding to my stress. He was compassionate and understanding. We resolved it and made up. There were hugs and then we enjoyed our cheesy enchiladas.

Michael isn’t normally a food-pusher but every once in a blue moon we do have this conflict. Michael can only relate to my struggles so much but he’s never been obese and never knew me as That Girl. He didn’t see how hard I worked to lose the weight. He didn’t see the process of working so hard to lose one pound after another. He’s proud of my accomplishments and supports my efforts but he really can’t relate to what my struggles are with food.

It sucks that the argument had to happen at all but once in awhile it’s good to remind our partners if we need help. Please don’t push food on me. Please keep my triggers out of the house. Please support my efforts. Don’t feel like you can’t speak up and ask for support!

We enjoyed dinner. The veggie enchiladas were delicious and pretty big. I was full but definitely wanted to eat another one. I resisted. I recognized that I did NOT need a second one, I WAS full and satisfied. The conflict isn’t always there, but in times of stress it’s easy to turn to food, or to revert back to old habits. Sometimes those old habits lay dormant for years, and then boom! Stress, or something happens and it’s harder to resist those temptations.

QUESTION: How do you handle food conflicts with your significant others/family/friends?