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I recently checked something off of my bucket list…a trip to Hot Doug’s! For those of you who grew up in the Chicago area, you’ve surely heard of this iconic restaurant. The self-proclaimed “Sausage Superstore” offers a wide variety of unique hot dogs and sausages created by owner Doug Sohn. In May 2014, Doug announced the he will be closing Hot Doug’s forever on October 3rd so I knew it was time to tackle the beast. I went with a friend and we waited 2.5 hours in the rain and took down 5 sausages! I know what you’re thinking…what is the Fit Club lady doing eating 5 sausages in one sitting?

Well, I asked myself the same question, especially in the aftermath when I had a swollen belly and heartburn. However, I had to remember that life is all about balance. Eating an unhealthy food- guilt free– is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s done infrequently and with the understanding that afterward we return to our regular healthy lifestyle.

hot-dougs-2An eating plan that doesn’t incorporate favorite foods or the occasional “junk food” is destined to fail because it makes us feel deprived. Life is so much more enjoyable when we allow these small pleasures. It usually does not disrupt our weight goals and it helps to encourage a healthy respect for food. I hope we can empower our kids to make healthy choices themselves by guiding them and allowing the occasional treat when appropriate…and if you decide to give Hot Doug’s a try, I highly recommend the escargot and guanciale sausage with parsley-garlic goat butter and double crème brie cheese!

Karen Gentile