Essentially all my life, I have been a health-conscious person always carefully deciding what to put in my mouth to feed my body. When I say all my life, I mean literally all my life since I was a small child. At the age of 6, I was already becoming a pretty competitive little wrestler and while wanting to be the best and maintain weight for my class, I would always make the leanest and healthiest choices I knew (or thought) to be the best for me at the time.
Even my own mother and father would get many laughs at how I would not have any interest in McDonalds or any greasy fast food while out and about, but would express interest in eating real food at home. If my mom wasn’t cooking, I was grabbing a can of tuna fish and vegetables and making my dinner with it. I know, not normal and very odd for a young kid to be doing this.
Eating healthy and despising the typical unhealthy fast food continued with me through till this day as I am coming up on the age of 40. And not surprisingly, as I exited my teen years and entered my 20’s I eventually ended up working and making a career in the health and fitness industry over the last 2 decades.
Quick Background on Balance Pan-Asian Grille
The concept and idea of this pan-Asian grill Balance, was devised in 2009 after the two co-owners, then 26-year-olds newly out of college, spent almost a year traveling the country, experiencing different restaurants, and polishing up their idea of what they envisioned as the better fast food alternative for Toledo.
The first Balance Grille was opened in February 2010 by these two University of Toledo graduates, HoChang Jang (a.k.a Chef Banger) and Prakash Karamchandani.
There were 3 goals they set for themselves:
1. Give birth to a better version and the concept of an Asian dining
2. Refresh the perception of what Asian food was about
3. Provide a more modern dining experience for Toledo
Over these last 7 years, Balance Pan Asian Grill has been featured on several news outlets while also receiving awesome reviews on sites such as Yelp, City Search, Urban Spoon and more (as they deserve too).
“You Will Do Better in Toledo”
When I moved down to Toledo in the winter of 2016 from Michigan, I didn’t quite understand how much better the west side of town where I reside would be from my home town of New Boston, MI and how much the area really offered a health nut like myself. Aside from the gyms, the parks and other recreational activity places near, my fiancé introduced me to Balance Grille and in short, it was love at first site.
When you’re at Balance, there is a modern and “hip” presence to it. The graffiti & spray-painted ceilings and walls (in a clean, cool way) in addition to the living wall of plants next to the bubble tea bar give a warm feel to the place.
As soon as you walk in, you can see some of their team behind glass walls cutting up colorful vegetables and more in the kitchen alongside other cooks grilling up clean cuts of chicken, beef and more.
Everything appears to be very neatly organized, the produce fresh and the front-end faces taking your order always seem to be happy, polite and ready to serve you in a genuine way. Not the robotic feel you sometimes get when going to a chain store or restaurant which for me, is a huge turnoff.
Fast and Truly Healthy? Yes, It Does Exist Here!
The cool thing with the menu is that you have options for what you prefer. For example, I typically don’t want to over consume in the carbohydrate department so I will often opt for my chicken and vegetables to come on a bed of garden greens instead of rice with any sauces left out or if I don’t mention, they always keep them on the side anyway (without drenching them on your meal like other may do).
This is nice as sauces can contribute in the carbohydrate department, and I don’t have to worry about them ruining my carb light meals when I prefer them. If I happen to be dropping in after a grueling workout and want those extra carbs though, I will request (& would highly recommend) their sweet potato salad on my order!
You can see their menu here (its quite healthy and delicious): http://balancegrille.com/menu/
Balance features a customizable “build it yourself” style menu, allowing you to pick a sauce, protein, and starch choice to build your meal. They also feature Seasonal Specials, Bubble Teas, Hot Teas, Mochi Ice Cream, various appetizers, and fresh soups all made from scratch right there in their kitchen.
Balance’s promise is that their entire menu is Non-GMO, and made from Whole Foods each day. Being the health nuts that my fiancé and I are, we love this and the fact that we can see the “freshness” happening behind the glass each time we walk in. It’s almost like Balance is proud and showing this off, as they should!
The wait time is typically well under 10 minutes after you place your order. If you’re really in a hurry and want a bit of “drive thru” experience that is quicker yet, they even offer an app for your phone where you can order ahead of time and have it ready for pick up when you are.
You can see the app options for your phone here at this link: Get the Balance App Here!
Insane Amounts of Carbohydrates Are Hard to Avoid When Eating Out
This next section is for my clients that are present, past or future ones with predominantly goals of fat loss and improved body composition. If this is the case, there is a good chance you have what’s called an endomorph body type. This is characterized by having some “extra padding” in the face, hips and limbs. This body type is often dominating in the insulin department and does NOT handle carbohydrates well. In other words, excessive carb intake stores as body fat easily and needs to be greatly minimized.
For many Americans that struggle with unhealthy weight gain and they’re trying to achieve fat loss, eating out is generally a big no-no if they are to have any success. Excessive carbohydrates, especially refined sugars that are added into so many foods with sauces, condiments, drinks, etc., contribute to the large spikes of insulin release. This not only helps to stow away those carbs in places we don’t want them, but also contributes to the ever growing diabetes and metabolic syndrome epidemic we continue to struggle with as a country.
Abusing carbohydrates with constant elevations off insulin day in and day out is also known to contribute to what is called leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells the body you’re full and insulin has been known to interfere with leptins ability to communicate effectively that you’re full or, you don’t need food. And of course, keeps the victim in a constant state of hunger and of course eating more and, more.
Another problem that you can expect in the majority of restaurants – sit down or fast food, are MSG’s and GMO’s. These are substances added into our food sources that are not natural and may trigger many undesired consequences if consumed on a regular basis.
This can be another topic in and of itself, but they lend to altering our taste buds in favor of craving that unique taste and smell of America’s beloved fast food menu items. They also simultaneously increase profit margins of those big chains too. And, America is “lovin it” while our waist lines and medical bills continue to grow.
Balance Meal Suggestions for Fat Loss Goals
As mentioned already, one of things I love about Pan-Asian Balance Grille is that you can opt to go green with a great source of protein and nutrients without all the unnecessary carbs (or just the right amount that you choose). If you’re overweight, trying to slash some of that body fat and visiting Balance, opt for grilled chicken on a bed of garden greens with the fixings that come with your choice. However, leave any sauces off to the side and use sparingly, if at all. If you do, dip your fork in and then stab into your dish to keep it light.
Although I love most of them, my favorite dishes are the Wiseman and the Teriyaki bowls! And if it’s a cheat day or post workout for me (keep in mind I’m a natural ectomorph-mesomorph body type), I LOVE the Soho tacos and the Bang-bang nachos!
Drink ice water with your meals. Although the teas are very tasty and totally fine for some, if you’re shooting for fat loss, H2O is your best choice here. Also, leave the rice, potatoes and any sauces (as mentioned) off meal and opt for those greens!
If you’re a thin ectomorph body type and struggling to gain weight, disregard all I said above and go for the rice, starches and carbs!! And, if you’re dropping in after a workout, treat yourself to a bubble tea – they are awesome!
Balance Pan-Asian Grille Locations (Be Sure to Visit!)
Listed here are all the locations in and around the Toledo, Ohio area for Balance Pan-Asian Grille restaurants:
5860 W CENTRAL AVE, TOLEDO OH 43615
• OPEN EVERY DAY
• 11AM – 9PM
• (419) 578 – 7777
514 THE BOULEVARD, MAUMEE OH 43537
• OPEN MONDAY – SATURDAY
• 11AM – 9PM
• (419) 893 – 9999
26520 N DIXIE HWY, PERRYSBURG OH 43551
• OPEN EVERY DAY
• 11AM – 9PM
• (419) 874 – 7777
And… a new location coming to downtown Toledo soon!!!
Stay healthy Toledo,
Roger Bowman, CPT
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