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Swearing Off McDonald’s For Life!

9 Jun

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed my repeated tweets about how sick I was over the past couple days from eating McDonald’s breakfast.  Here is the offender in question:

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Yeah, it may look appetizing in that pic, but it’s not so appetizing after what I’ve experienced over the past couple of days.

Here’s how things shook out after I ate the overpriced breakfast sandwich ($2.50 – really?) on Monday morning:

  • Ate the sandwich but almost immediately knew something was off, as evidenced by this tweet.
  • Felt generally disgusted and off for the rest of the morning.
  • Around 12:30, was visited by the lovely nausea rollercoaster.
  • Rode that ride for about 3 hours.
  • After about 3 hours, I felt all the blood leave my face and knew it was go time.
  • Getting sick at work is probably one of the top ten worst experiences that I’ve ever had in my life.
  • High point of the day was when Lloyd was able to drive me home since I could barely function at that point.
  • Arrived home where I spent the next 3 hours in the bathroom.  NOT primping.
  • This is where it gets good: after the bathroom experience is over (thank you, Lord), something inhabits my muscles causing extreme pain from my back and shoulders to my calves and feet.  Yep, top to bottom extreme muscle pain.  WTF?  I’ve had aches with the flu before, but with this I felt liked I’d been drilled by an 18-wheeler semi about 10 times and lived to tell about it.
  • Fever of 101.5.  Oh, joy.
  • Unable to sleep due to extreme pain.  Unable to take Tylenol due to fear of spending more time in the bathroom.
  • Even though I’ve clearly – very thoroughly – emptied my insides, my stomach insists on cramping like I’ve got 10 periods going on.  Trying to sip as much water/Gatorade as physically possible to prevent dehydration which I can feel creeping on due the dull ache coming from my kidneys.
  • Everything starts to mysteriously subside around noon the day after.  What I’m left with is a weakness so bad it takes effort to just stand up and nausea that forces me to give up eating completely. 
  • That brings us up to date and I’m still enjoying those last two side effects of nausea and weakness.
  • I had some soup last night and rode the nausea rollercoaster for the rest of the night.  So, yep, still not eating.

PROS:

  • I’ve lost 4 pounds.

CONS:

  • See above.
  • I’m out $2.50

What McDonald’s Has To Say:

I called up ‘ole McDonald’s today to inform them of this tragic incident.

The manager on duty took my name and information and repeatedly asked me if I had gone to the doctor.  I repeatedly told her “no”.  I am sure she was insinuating that her precious breakfast sandwiches were not the culprit of my sickness and instead I had some sort of summer stomach flu that goes around all too often.  Yes, the stomach flu could be an option.  But, I felt 100% fine before the damn Bacon, Egg, and Cheese biscuit.  In fact, I went for a 3 mile run that morning and was feeling fantastic after that.  Almost immediately after I ingested the bacteria-laced sandwich was when I started to feel like I was going to die.

So, back to the McDonald’s manager.  She tells me that she’s never dealt with this type of situation before (which is odd, because so many people I’ve talked to about mysituation have said they’ve experienced something similar from the restaurant) and told me to hold on while she consulted with her Mickey D’s posse.

Well, apparently, McDonald’s doesn’t have a” “Hold” button on their phone because I managed to hear a couple juicy sound bites from the posse’s infinite wisdom.

  • “Did she go to the doctor?” (again, NO!)
  • “Then, how does she know that she’s sick?” (Seriously?!!)

After the brilliant advice that the manager’s posse bestowed unto her, she returned back to me on the phone.

She told me that she’d have to send my information to the corporate office and that they’d call me back soon with some more questions (I’m assuming along the lines of “have you been to the doctor?”).

Lessons Learned:

  • Never visit McDonald’s ever, ever, EVER again.  Or any fast food establishment for that matter.  (Chipotle does not count.)
  • Since I’ve just cut my 1-2X per year visit to McDonald’s down to 0X per year, I just saved myself $5.  Which over the course of my lifetime might add up to about $350.  And if I invest that little nugget into high-yield savings accounts, well, then who knows what the future could hold for me!

Top 7 Healthy & Budget-Friendly Foods That I Swear By

4 Nov

If you follow me on twitter, you might have noticed that I’m a bit of a health nut.  Working out keeps me sane.  I eat as healthy as possible, but definitely don’t deprive myself (balance is key, my dear readers).

There are those that claim eating healthy is expensive and that’s why our country is so overweight.  Unfortunately those people are just misguided, because healthy foods on the cheap are ‘a plenty in my grocery store.  In fact, I’ve noticed that when I don’t stock up on snack-y, processed foods and instead fill my cart with minimally (or zero) processed foods, my total bill is much cheaper.

Without further ado, here are the top 7 healthy foods that are staples in my pantry:

  1. FRESH GARLIC.  Garlic spices us every dish.  I like to saute onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil as a delicious topping for my chicken and fish.  It’s also great in stews, soups, salads, and omelets!  Garlic is chock-full of antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory compounds.  So, eat up during the cold and flu season!  Cost for one garlic bulb: ~30-40 cents.
  2. ROLLED OATS. As odd as it sounds, oats are practically a cheat meal for me.  They are so delicious and so versatile.  I eat traditional oats (i.e. not out of a bag) with cinnamon and almonds for breakfast and this keeps me full all morning long.  I also love adding oats to yogurt (a la Swiss Oatmeal), pudding, and cookies!  Be good to your heart with oats – whole grain, all natural, rolled oats help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Oats also stabilize blood sugar which means NO sugar crashes!  Cost for 42 ounces of oats: ~$3.00
  3. POPCORN KERNELS. Next time you’re in the popcorn aisle of your store, look way up or way down.  You’ll most likely see one or two bags of all natural popcorn kernels hidden behind an array of boxed popcorn.  The only catch is that in order to make these little kernels uber-healthy, you need to invest in an air-popper.  I bought one about 3 years ago for $15 and it still works great.  Popcorn is a great source of fiber (5 grams per serving), protein (4 grams, who knew?!), and healthy fats.  This is a frequent nighttime snack at my house!  Popcorn is great plain, dashed with sea salt, or topped with melted olive oil based butter.  Cost for 32 ounces: $1.35 (32 ounces lasts forever!)
  4. DRY BEANS. I challenge you to stop buying canned beans that have been processed and contains artificial ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.  Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but there’s only one ingredient listed on a bag of dry beans: beans.  We all know beans are full of fiber (maybe a little too much?), but they also contain tons of protein (a plus if you don’t eat meat), and provide that jolt from carbs without the crash afterwards.  Plus, the dark, rich colored beans contain lots of antioxidants!  There are so many uses for beans – soups, salads, dips, taco-topper, burrito-filler, salad-topper, and even brownies!  Cost for 16 ounces: ~$1.25
  5. FROZEN BERRIES. Two disadvantages to fresh berries: they’re only in season a short amount of time and they’re (usually) high-priced even when in season.  The solution: frozen berries.  I like frozen berries much better because they never go bad (well, not for a long time) and their generally cheaper.  The deep, dark color of berries means their loaded with antioxidants – especially blueberries.  Berries are a great fruit for those avoiding sugar since they only have about 5-10 grams of sugar per serving, while most fruits have 25-50 grams per serving!  Surprise, surprise, berries also boast a good amount of fiber per serving – sometimes as much as 8 grams.  I love to throw berries in my cereals, oatmeal, and yogurt as well as just have a big bowl on berries by themselves!  Prices vary: anywhere from $1.50-$3.00
  6. EGGS. Eggs are an egg-celent (couldn’t resist) source of protein at a budget-friendly price.  Many people rely on chicken, fish, and beef for protein, but – unlike eggs – these foods are usually expensive.  I eat eggs as snacks and as meals, so they have many uses, including: hard-boiled eggs as snacks, omelets, scrambled eggs, “fried eggs”, egg sandwiches, and of course, they can be used for baking.  Cost for 12 eggs: ~$1.50
  7. YOGURT. When buying yogurt, look for fat-free, low sugar, generic varieties.  Manufacturers can be sneaky and hide tons of sugar and fat in yogurt without you even knowing it!  As with all dairy products, yogurt is a good source of calcium.  However, the superstar nutrient in yogurt is really the Probiotics.  Probiotics are live, friendly bacteria that keep your body healthy and help it to fight off bad bacteria.  Probiotics also help regulate your digestive system.  As someone who’s experienced problems with imbalances of good and bad bacteria, I rely on yogurt quite a lot to load up on the good guys.  Plus, it’s more fun than taking a supplement!  Yogurt can be used as a topping to oatmeal, mixed with nuts/fruits/oats, topping to pancakes/waffles, or just right out of the carton!  Cost for one off-brand fat-free 6 ounce yogurt: 33 cents

These are foods I LOVE and swear by!  I think this is key when finding balance in a healthy lifestyle – experiment and find foods that you love that seem like a cheat to you, but they really aren’t!

What are you favorite healthy foods on a budget?

**Disclaimer: Prices may vary.  These are the prices I’ve found at my local discount grocery store.   Prices may also vary across different parts of the country.  Nutritional information can be found here.

Reason #99 Why I HATE Cooking

28 Sep

First pot-roast of the year…$9.10

Baby carrots…$1.99

1 red onion…$0.79

Chicken Broth…$1.49

Miscellaneous Spices…~$8.00

Coming home and realizing you forgot to turn on the slow cooker and realizing your dinner is now ruined…waste of money and time.

Dinner was a bust.  Did I mention I hate cooking?

New Record: Haven’t Eaten Out For Five Whole Days

16 Sep

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but eating out is absolutely one of my most favorite activities.  Call it a luxury, call it lazy, call it expensive…either way, it’s practically a hobby for me.

Eating out IS expensive, so I try to keep it inexpensive by doing the following:

  • Happy Hour – Many times I can get out of a restaurant with a tab under $10 – including meal and a drink – during the happy hour.
  • Splitting with Lloyd – How absurd are restaurant portions? We can order a $12 plate and be completely full afterwards and we’re each only $6 in the hole.
  • Restaurant.com – Lifesaver.  Not even kidding.  This website saves me a lot of money.
  • Signing Up Online – If you sign up to receive e-mails on the restaurant’s website, you’ll generally get a friendly helping of coupons.

So, to end my 5 day streak of not eating out, I’m going to celebrate with none other than a streak of eating out:

  • Thursday – happy hour with friends!
  • Friday – Lloyd and I like to go out to dinner just the two of us on Friday nights if we don’t already have plans.  The game plan for Friday is a coupon for an appetizer & splitting a plate.
  • Saturday – I offered to bring a pizza to a relative’s house for the evening.  Well, hello there $2.00 off Papa Murphy’s coupon.
  • Sunday –  Lloyd and I have already decided to order Chinese from our favorite Chinese restaurants and watch Mad Men to prepare for the work week.  I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t have a coupon.  BUT, in my defense, splitting Chinese is pretty cheap since they give you SO much food.  It will probably set me back $10 bucks.
  • Monday – (oh yes, I’m still going) I should get my score for my second CPA test on Monday (fingers crossed!) and I’m either going to celebrate or have an ugly cry in my beer. 😉

How do YOU save when eating out?

Cheers!

Where I’m Eating: La Bodega

18 Jun

I give you…the best Spanish food in Kansas City, La Bodega.

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 You are looking at probably the most adorable restaurant in Kansas City.  La Bodega is located right in the heart of Kansas City on Southwest Boulevard.

Check out their happy hour menu! 

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They are famous for their Spanish tapas (small-plates – like appetizers) and the best time to fill up is during happy hour.  Everything on the menu is half off!  Last time Lloyd and I were there, we had 5 tapas for around $20.

Their food is delectable.  In a melt-in-your-mouth, this-blows-everything-I’ve-ever-made-in-my-life-out-of-the-water kind of way.

My next favorite thing is their Sangria….

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 Don’t you love Sangria?  I can’t get enough.  They have a happy hour pitcher – yes pitcher – for $12.50!  Lloyd and I shared a pitcher and we each had about 2 1/2 glasses.  That’s plenty to get this gal feeling pretty tipsy. 😉

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Hands down one of my top picks in Kansas City for a delicious, cheap, swanky happy hour.  Visit www.labodegakc.com for more information.

Cheers!

Happy Hour At Granfalloon Did Not Win Me Over

11 Mar

Granfallon Bar and Grill Kansas City Country Club Plaza I had yet another work happy hour at the Country Club Plaza last night.  I think I’ve mentioned the Plaza (pronounced “Plahhh-zahh”) in some earlier posts.  It’s a more prestigious area in Kansas City, yet somehow boasts the cheapest happy hours of all.  Tomfooleries happy hour is one of my favs.

Last night, we picked the popular Granfalloon Bar & Grill for the get together (AKA get tipsy and loudly nickname the oddballs in our office.  “Birdwoman” and “Jersey” were a product of last night’s session.).

For starters, our waitress was horrible.  She did not smile once.  Now, I’ve never been a waitress, but I’m pretty sure smiling or acting somewhat friendly are in the job description.

Secondly, the food “special” was a select few of the appetizers for $5.00.  Yes, you read that right.  Note to Granfallon:  That’s a horrible special.

It wasn’t even the full appetizer menu.  The first two appetizers I tried to order weren’t even on the “special”.  I finally decided on “Gator Tators” which is code name for potatoes with their insides scooped out and replaced with melted cheese.  Served with a side of Sour Cream. Continue reading