If You Want To Slim Down in Louisiana…

by Nikky Manausa on January 23, 2010

If You Want To Slim Down in Louisiana

Then you will just have to MOVE!

A Taste of Cajun Life

If your family has yet to visit Louisiana, it is time to plan your vacation. Just be sure not to stay too long or you will become addicted to the many spices of life this state has to offer (in AND out of the restaurants!).  It’s no wonder nearly everyone here is either related, or knows someone who is related to their (or your!) neighbor.   No one ever leaves! 

This delectable state offers its own unique gumbos, etouffees, jambalayas, fried foods galore (in Louisiana, ANYTHING can go into a fryer!), crawfish, Poboys, beignets, King Cakes, pralines, sausage, boudin, red beans and rice (with andouille sausage and cornbread, of course!), remoulade dressings, oysters (every seafood restaurant has a must-try version), bread puddings, etc… If it’s not fried, made with butter, or seasoned with Slap Ya Mama’s or Tony Chachere’s, then it’s not authentic Louisana cuisine!

If You Have a Real Cajun Friend, You’re Fried

We were enjoying the healthy Caribbean life: runs on the beach, 2 mile swims in the ocean, and mangoes.  Our short-lived healthy life ended when we met our dear Cajun friend, Luke LeBas.  He invited us over regularly to “experience” his version of Cajun food (everyone has their own take).  Those “they people” say that you get to a man’s heart through his stomach.  Well, Louisiana folk will surely get to your heart (albeit heart-attack!) through your stomach. 

When our life in St. Maarten ended, we longed for Luke’s cooking.  Luck had it, we struck gold and moved to his home state.  As soon as we crossed the Louisiana border in our U-Haul, our phones were ringing with invites to the LaBas house in Ville Platte.  Of course we’d bite.  How could we turn down a visit to Luke’s roots?

When we arrived at Louisiana State Representative Bernard LeBas and his what’s-not-to-love wife Charlotte’s home, we were immediately greeted with hospitality.  The food was plentiful and around every corner!  My daughter, Maddie, soon had a  palette  christened with Holy spice, and my son, Randy, still in the womb, was definitely kickin’ with heated joy!  Our stomach’s were stuffed with Cajun love, but it didn’t end there.  The LeBas’ took us to the annual Dewey Boulfa Cajun and Creole Heritage week festival to celebrate the Creole and Cajun culture of Louisiana at the picturesque Chicot State Park.   Just when I thought my arteries couldn’t get any more clogged, I was introduced to Cracklins(no typo there).  I don’t know what could possibly be more devestating for anyones diet than pork fat (skin) fried in fat!  At least we got to burn off some of the calories as we learned the Cajun Waltz.

The Trouble with King Cakes

By January 2nd, the majority of the country starts trying to lose the average 7 pounds gained over the holiday season.  The resolution in Louisiana is short lived and ends with the Twelfth night, which then marks the beginning of king cake season.  This fattening tradition lasts until Fat Tuesday, the last day to indulge before the season of Lent.  King cakes are everywhere!  Each bakery and grocery store has their own special king cake variation.  Here in Baton Rouge, the Zulu King  Cake is a must have.  Ambrosia bakery appealed to the chocoholic by creating a chocolate and cream cheese filled iced king cake topped with roasted coconut.

To make matters worse, the tradition extends to include a plastic baby in each king cake.  Whoever “finds” the baby, has to bring the next king cake.  What a clever marketing scam!  What does this mean for Louisiana businesses and schools?  Temptation is ALWAYS around because a king cake can always be found!




My Advice for You to Conquer Your Cajun Cravings

  • Never try it.  Once you go Creole, you never go back! :)
  • Order your food spicy x10.  If you can’t tolerate the heat, then you’ll get out of the kitchen!
  • Opt to avoid your offices kitchen during king cake season.
  • If you want to keep the kids healthy, particulary during king cake season, you might opt to home school.
  • If you must have a piece of a king cake, cut off a bite-sized piece and run, not walk, away as soon as possible.  Do not take your bite until you have left the building, otherwise it will end up being bite after bite after bite…
  • Avoid Popeyes.
  • Have your oysters raw, not charbroiled (thanks to our realtor in New Orleans, Christine Ferro, for introducing charbroiled oysters to us!)
  • Eat boiled crawfish instead of fried
  • Avoid coming within 5 blocks of any candy store that makes pralines (if you smell them, you will HAVE to have them!)
  • Avoid any Louisiana festivals.  Who can pass up fried pickles or boudin?
  • Don’t become friends with a Cajun!

The Truth Is

Enjoy everything about Louisiana in moderation.   If you live here, make sure you are a member of a gym, and if you are visiting, be sure to lace up your dancing shoes and do the two-step as a family.

Quick Louisiana Links

Maddie LOVES Louisiana Crawfish!



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila January 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm

A delightfully delicious commentary on temptations and fitness in Cajun Country!!

Melissa Thibodeaux January 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm

It’s so nice to read such a positive portrayal of my home state. We are so blessed to have such great people like you living here! All that talk about King Cake has me craving it!!!

Melissa Thibodeaux January 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Love the picture of Maddie!!!

Luke January 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Great post!!!!

I will forward this to my parents and Mom says yall need to come back and bring the kids for a visit.

Did Bo tell you about the King Cake he had while on the trip with us last week???? He did not step away and had “more than one bite.”


Kelli Kirby January 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I enjoyed reading this so much! You are so right about EVERYTHING!! Have you tried raw oysters? They have them at Don’s Seafood on Monday after 4pm for 19 cents. Maybe we could get the guys together and have a date night.

Nikky Manausa January 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Kelli, thanks for reading! We’d definitely love to hit up Don’s! 19 cents, bring ‘em on! We had some delicious raw ones two weekends ago at ACME. Great seeing you today! We had so much fun. :)

Nikky Manausa January 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Luke, all Bo spoke about the king cake was that it was “very good” and “I ate a lot of it.” :) Would LOVE to head back to your parents house! Just need to lose a couple of pounds before the trip so that I can gain them back while I’m there. :)

Nikky Manausa January 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Melissa, I did take my own advice at school on Friday regarding the king cake… the only problem was I took a bite in the office, in the lunch room, in my own classroom. I just can’t seem to escape the temptation! AND it’s people like YOU that make living in Louisiana so pleasurable!

Christine Ferro January 24, 2010 at 12:20 am

Nikky, What a lovely post! It is hard to come to New Orleans and not fall in love with it, especially the food. We live to eat, not eat to live. WHO DAT!!!!

Mary Lou Manausa January 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I’ve never eaten king cake but I would love to try. Maybe you could make one for me to sample on our next trip to LA?

I love the picture of Maddie admiring the crawfish.

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