Spreading the love one person at a time

Austin Bunless Burger Review August 18, 2013

Filed under: Eating out,Uncategorized — mwelker42 @ 12:13 pm
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There are a countless number of places to grab a burger in Austin. The hard part is finding a burger that tastes good without the bun or all the extra things they put on a burger to make the meat taste better. Being on SCD I cannot have any processed sugar, and a long list of things. So I usually get to eat my burgers with nothing to hide. I thought I would add a review of the burgers I have tried around Austin to help any other people on the SCD diet that wants a good burger.


1 fork ratingRed Robin: 13000 North IH35 SBFR, Building 5 Austin. This is a good representative of a big chain restaurant, and one of the only I will put in my review. The standard and cheese burgers are good as long as you remember to have them leave off the mayonnaise. You can get fruit cup substituted for the fries, but I think the fruit is packed in syrup so if you are SCD you may want to skip that as well. The burger itself is passible and makes it a safe burger in a pinch.


4 fork ratingElevation burger: Great Hills Market 9828 Great Hills Trail. This is a good tasting patty. Well worth the trip. You can taste the seasoning without being overpowered by it.  The menu has a lettuce wrap burger that can actually be eaten as a lettuce wrap. The cheese has that Sharp cheddar tang. If you go, check out the cinnamon orange ice tea it is an added bonus.


5 fork ratingnxnwNxNW: 10010 Capital of TX Hwy N  Austin, TX 78759  This is where I fell in love with burger salad. If you go, order the angus burger, cheddar cheese,  no bun. Ask them to substitute a side garden salad for the fries. Place the burger on the salad and enjoy life. This is my favorite place to grab a burger for lunch. I can get more than just a burger for lunch.


1 fork ratinghutsHuts:  807 W 6th St Austin, TX 78703, I could not have done a burger review without stopping by Huts Hamburgers.  I had “Arnold’s Best” burger. It certainly looked tempting from the menu, bacon, jack cheese and guacamole.   Of course I had it without the bun.  The Longhorn beef was excellent, and prepared well. The guacamole left a little to be desired. Luckily it was on the side and not on my burger. The bacon was there, but very thin and had very little taste.  I would tell you that longhorn beef is worth the try, just try another burger.



2 fork ratingHopDaddy Burger Bar: 2438 A WEST ANDERSON, AUSTIN, TX 78757.  I am going to anger a lot of people but I do not like Hopdaddy. Hopdaddy is a great place if you can have a burger with a bun, and all the extra special sauces. But if you are eating just a burger, “The Classic Burger”, you may be disappointed. I have been there a couple of times and both times left me unimpressed. The burger looked like it was a pressed grey piece of meat. It was overcooked and had no flavor.   I tried this twice because so many people love HopDaddy’s.

4 fork ratingWholly Cow Burger. original location is located inside the new ZEN Food Mart Convenience Store at 3010 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX  78704. This is a bun less burger treat. I eat at the original location and have “The Fit Cross”. This is a burger between two grilled portabella mushrooms, grilled onions, bacon and mustard.  It is a mess to eat, but grab some napkins and deal with it. This is worth the mess.

3 fork ratingPhil’s Ice House:  5620 Burnet Rd # B, Austin . Phil’s are located next to Amy’s ice creams.  I had the Swiss mushroom burger. The patty was a little dry and it had overall average taste. Nothing to write home about, but a great change of scenery to allow your eating companion to enjoy some of the other items on the menu.


4 fork ratingtavernThe Tavern: 922 W 12th St Austin, TX 78703. This is a quaint little bar on Lamar in the downtown area. I was looking for a burger and did not feel like Huts, and just had Counter Café a couple of days ago.  I had the PattyMelt. A burger with Swiss cheese, grilled mushroom and onions, no bun. I was pleasantly surprised to have this be one of my top burgers. The meat was cooked well and you could taste the meat without all the extra things that some places put in their burger meat to make it taste different. This burger qualifies as comfort food on Lamar.


4 fork ratingCounter CafeCounter Cafe: 626 N Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78703.  If you are next to Whole Foods and you have a burger craving, this is the place to go. This is a great little hole in the wall burger place with a great burger. The Counter burger is a simple good tasting burger. When you order it with the side salad it makes the perfect burger salad. The cheddar cheese on top is a perfect medium cheddar. The meat itself has all the taste of a burger that’s not afraid of having a little fat. There are no extra special spices to hide a bad burger taste. Because this burger has a great taste


4 fork ratingross cafeRoss’s café: 11800 N Lamar Blvd Ste 6 If you are up in the north part of town and want to try a good burger you must stop by Ross’s. This is a little mom and pop burger place that has a great classic cheese burger. Their salad is fantastic for making a burger salad. The small shop atmosphere is relaxing.


I’ll keep trying burgers around town. Let me know your suggestions for a good burger with no grain no sugar and no gluten I will make sure I put it on my list to eat. If I get enough to write about there will be an Austin bunless burger review II.


Chicken soup is good for more than just your soul July 14, 2013

Chicken Soup

A couple of weeks ago I had a routine colonoscopy. Before the procedure I was doing well because of the SCD diet, no flare for more than a year.  After the prep-work, and a lot of biopsies I had a flare. This time I decided to fight the flare when it first appeared and not hope that it goes away on its own.

We decided to make chicken soup, hamburgers, and ginger tea for the weekend. We made up a good chicken soup that cooks for 3 hours and watched my diet. In two days the bleeding had stopped and the pain was going away. By the time I got on a plane five days later I was feeling fine and the flight did not cause any pain on landing.

Here is the chicken soup we made, it is similar to Elaine Gotschall’s Chicken soup recipe from “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”


  • Whole organic chicken ; cleaned, and cut enough to fit in your pot. Remove the skin to reduce the fat in the soup. Cut off the wing tips.
  • 10 carrots peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 2-3 stalks of celery cut into pieces large enough to fish back out.
  • 2 large onions peeled and quartered
  • Parsley about 1/2 cup  rough chopped.
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger


Find the largest pot you have. Place all the ingredients in the pot. Cover them with water and turn the pot on med-high.  Once the water starts boiling  turn it down to a simmer to keep it at a light boil. Let it simmer for 3 hours. Chicken will fall off the bone. Remove the chicken and let it cool. After the chicken is cool enough to touch, pick all the meat from the bones and shred it, then return the meat to the soup pot. Remove the onions, celery, and parsley. ( If you are not having a flare and are later in the SCD diet you can put these in a blender also but the extra fiber is not good during a flare.)   Place the carrots in a blender with some soup  and create a puree. Place the carrot puree back into the soup pot.  Stir the pot, because you know you love stirring the pot. Serve it hot.  It looks more like a carrot soup with chicken but it tastes great and will help reset your system.

Since starting the SCD diet I have learned that doctors are not trained to reduce your medicine and will discourage you from doing so. When I asked my GI about eventually stopping my medicine, a doctor I trusted compeletly, he asked me if I went to Vegas and gambled. He said that 1 in 1000 people would not flare if they stoped their medicine. I thought the SCD diet has gotten me this far and if I stop the medicine and I flare I can go back on the medicine. But if I do not try I will not know. Wish me luck as I reduce my meds slowly. If we do not listen to our bodies when they tell us we are well, then our only choice is to stay on medications and endure the side effects.


Traveling on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. June 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — mwelker42 @ 6:34 am

Before I went on the SCD diet I paid a lot less attention to what I ate, but I had to pay a lot more attention to pain and my flight plans. Landing on a plane trip was painful and would take a day or two to go away. Multi-stop flights or traveling within two days would compound the pain.  The SCD diet allowed me to fly without pain, and helped with a lot of other things, like reducing medications, being less grumpy and sleeping better. I am not saying the diet will work for everyone, it just did great things for my life. Less pain, less medications and freedom to travel equals a more balanced life.

When I started the SCD diet, I was concerned that I would not be able to travel because I could never find food I could trust. But my daughter’s college graduation was 1200 miles away and in just 3 months from when I started the diet. So with the same determination that allowed me to start the diet, I figured out a way to make my daughter’s graduation. The first few months of the SCD diet consisted of very limited choices and meals always prepared at home.  One goal was to get to the third phase (See my “When I started my SCD diet” blog to explain the phases) that would allow me to eat a salad.

One of the ways I found to provide meals on my first trip was to buy food at Trader Joes or Whole Foods that I ate in my hotel room.  Almond butter gave me a lot of protein and fat and fresh fruit and vegetables balanced my diet. Eating at a restaurant was either grilled fish, steak, or burger with a salad. It was tough but I got to see my baby walk across the graduation stage.

Since that time, travel has gotten a lot easier for two reasons, I have advanced on the diet which allowed me to eat more items, and I have learned how to order in restaurants to help avoid illegal food.

Here are a few steps I try to follow to ease travel.

  • Book a room with a kitchenette. At least a refrigerator
  • Plan one day to cook 1 meal for each day you are there
  • Cook your own breakfast
  • Check a large piece of luggage
  • Bring precooked baked goods
  • Carry portable snacks with you during the day. ( In your coat,  purse, backpack)

Eating out

Tell the restaurant you have food allergies. It is not a lie, your gut has a reaction very similar to allergies, or a Celiac’s reaction when you eat something wrong. Be careful how you explain it. I tell them that it is not a severe allergy reaction, the food can touch other food but I just cannot eat Gluten, Grains, refined sugar (table sugar), some dairy (I can eat cheese if it is aged 6 months).  This typically brings the chef or a manager out. If they get really lost they bring out a binder with all the ingredients listed in their food.

Do not worry about talking to the chefs, of all the chefs I speak to only about 1-2% act like they do not want to be bothered.  The best chefs like the challenge, and they love it when I tell them I can have butter, and spices. Take your cues from the chef’s attitude, if he is standoffish or seems like he is being bothered by your requirements I would recommend you leave the restaurant.

When all else fails I order a burger on a salad. Make certain you tell the restaurant people no croutons, no bread, and no salad dressing. You can have cheese on your burger just make sure it is SCD compliant.

Enjoy your vacations:

Food is not the most important part of a vacation.  Traveling now on the SCD allowed me to be part of my daughter’s wedding in Boston, my 30th wedding anniversary in Hawaii and great trips for pleasure or business to Chicago, Seattle, Orlando, San Antonio, Europe and even Copenhagen. Soon I could be exploring Asia. SCD requires some preplanning when traveling but, it is also the reason I can fly now without urgency or pain as the plane descends.  I still enjoy a lot of good food when I am on vacation; I am just more involved in what I eat.  Bon voyage!


SCD diet and Eating at the Magic Kingdom April 20, 2013


Vacations can be scary if you follow the SCD diet. Thanks to all the cross trainer people following The Paleo diet and the people with Celiac disease following a gluten free diet it is becoming easier to travel with SCD.  I still precook a bunch or breads, muffins or blintzes to help with breakfast. Then I bring nuts and raisins, Kit’s Organic bars by Clif or LÄRABAR’s  to stuff in my pockets. We even try to find hotels with kitchens or at least refrigerators and microwaves so I can cook for a meal or two. But you have to eventually stop in a restaurant and eat.

I have found it is easier to tell the staff at the restaurants that you have food allergies to grains, refined sugar, some dairy products, but I can have butter and hard cheeses.  I have ulcerative colitis so it is not technically a food allergy, but if I eat these foods my gut reacts like an allergy and I have a day or two of pain.  A side benefit is that most good restaurants will send the chef out to make certain that they have food that you can eat.  The conversation with the Chef is typically very pleasant. Most good chefs like the challenge of a special dish.

As a rule you need to stay away from Barbecue places because they typically have added sugar on their meats. I have found that most restaurants have sugar on their roast chicken or grilled chicken so chicken is not a given to eat.

If you take the time to make reservations you can usually tell them about these allergies and the Chef will be prepared for your meal. We made reservations at all the restaurants we tried to eat at in Disney.

Disneyworld lets you make reservations in their parks. I would highly recommend that you do this to make certain you are not without food in the Magic Kingdom.

When we went to Epcot we ate lunch at the Le Cellier Steakhouse  in Canada. The chef came out and asked if there was anything I thought was good on the menu and helped me modify the menu to what I can eat. The experience was wonderful. For dinner in Epcot we went to Teppan Edo. The show was very wonderful, and they were accommodating. ALL of their food that they cook Teppan style uses soy oil so you cannot eat that way. They managed to find some cottonseed oil and cooked an absolutely wonderful swordfish with Stir fry vegetables.

In Disney world we ate at The Plaza Restaurant for lunch and I had the angus burger over a salad. The chef was very friendly and made certain I did not walk away hungry.

For dinner we tried to eat in Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty square. We had made reservations and informed them about the no added sugar allergies. After waiting ½ past our reservations to seat and then waiting for the chef to come speak to me because of the allergies he told me that ALL of his food had added sugar.

It was getting late, but I think that worked in our favor. We worked our way past the castle to the Be Our Guest Restaurant. The lady’s up front had the chef come out and talk to me before they would make a reservation so we would not have the same problem that we just had at the Liberty Tree Tavern. The chef was fabulous and was convinced it would be easy to feed me. After being seated he stopped by the table and worked out what I could eat. I had the salad trio, the Cornish hen, with a side of spinach and mushrooms in butter that was to die for. They even brought me a bowl of fruit with no added sugar for desert. This was the first meal I had had out where I felt full, not bloated from eating something wrong but actually full. It was truly a pleasure.

With some prior planning and good luck Disney was able to accommodate all my dietary restrictions. So you can go on vacation and eat out with everyone else. You just have to be prepared to talk to the chefs and answer a lot of questions about what you can eat, and why. The better chefs are very understanding and make you feel like it is their pleasure to do something special for you.


When I started the SCD diet July 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mwelker42 @ 8:03 pm

I started the SCD diet because my Ulcerative Colitis was not under control and I was required to take yearly high doses of prednisone to keep it at bay.  The high doses of prednisone would make me VERY aggressive (Susan was not happy), and it was destroying my body. I have already had bad enough cataracts to have both eyes operated, bone density loss etc.. The next step medical was some really nasty injections once a month or every other week that had a lot more side effects.

Susan had found Elaine Gottschall’s website and the SCD diet. SCD was great for Celiac’s disease and looked promising to get rid of all the bad things for the colon to digest. My doctor said he would not recommend it because it was a VERY difficult diet to follow, but did say it may work because it eliminates all the difficult to digest foods.  I made a deal with my doctor, if I could stay off of prednisone for a year and keep my Colitus under control than we would not change to the new medications. It has been over a year and my colon is doing well.  The biggest change was the pain I had for over 15 years went away. It was a life changing event.

 The diet is difficult at first, but once you learn how to cook, and how to read labels it is not that difficult. I could not have gotten through the first portion of the diet without Jordon and Steve’s book “SCD lifestyle surviving to thriving” , Elaine Gottschall’s website for the list of legal and illegal foods, and the pecan bread website for the phases of the diet.

Once you get past the first days of the diet you start the phases. Whatever you do, take your time. Introduce one thing at a time for a couple of days then see if your system tells you it is ok. PAY ATTENTION to your system. Even if you think you crave something or miss it, do not let old habits allow you to ignore the fact that your colon is telling you to stop eating the new food.

I am going to try to attach the Stages printout, reformat from the pecanbread website. Print it and tape it to your pantry door, or someplace obvious in your kitchen. It helps to mark off the food you can eat and note the ones you cannot. stages

I have also attached the reformatted version of the legal and illegal list I made into a PDF so I could carry it on my phone, and put it in the front of my new recipe book. We had to start a new binder of things we could cook on the diet that we both thought were tasty. legal illegal list

I will be writing more on things I found out the first year, and things I find along the way. Like cinnamon (U.S. Europe Cinnamon is good, US is bad for me) and kale chips MMMM. And I will be sharing the links to great sites I have found, and the recipes we have tried. More on that later, This post is getting too long.


Blueberry peach smoothie July 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mwelker42 @ 1:19 am

Smoothies are not an exact science for me, but most of them come out pretty good.

Tonight’s specialty is a blueberry and peach smoothie. Here is what I did.

Cut and place the items in the blender in the order listed.

2 oranges. I use small navel oranges
2 peaches sweet Georgia peaches are good for this.
1 Mcintosh apple
1/4 – 1/2 cup honey
1 ripe banana
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup cashews dry roasted. Optional
1 cup ice.

I have a Vitamix that will liquify anything. But any stout blender should work.
Set to smoothie and step back.  Partially because those vitamix’s are so loud.

Makes about 3 large glasses.

These things have a lot of calories. But they are all natural and good for you. Besides the scd diet can use a few calories.



scrambled eggs could have sugar July 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mwelker42 @ 2:23 am

If you eat scrambled eggs in a restaurant they may contain sugar. I found out when talking to a cruise ship chef that they put sugar in prepared eggs used for scrambling. I have found out that it is done in a lot of restaurants so make sure you ask.