While Colorado may be the least obese state in the nation, more than one in five residents still retain too much body fat for what’s considered healthy. Most have tried to lose those extra pounds, but simply working out more (which usually helps maintain weight, not shed it) or going on a diet (which the majority of people who start, drop) hasn’t had a significant impact.

Enter PlainSmart, a holistic weight loss clinic that combines counseling from a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with personalized, in-house exercise recommendations and a menu that highlights one unexpected protein: bison. Denver-based Golden Bison Company developed the clinic, which opens its first location Monday in Englewood, after finding that restaurants and homeowners across the country loved its prairie-fed cuts of bison.

“It’s a really great substitute for beef,” says Lindsey Roth, an RDN at PlainSmart, “because it’s a leaner protein and lower in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat, but still provides a lot of flavor.”

Although each plan can be customized to fit the patient’s needs, PlainSmart’s standard regimen starts with two visits with an RDN and four sessions on a body composition analysis machine that measures the ratio of fat mass to lean tissue. Once all recommendations are made, participants begin a 21-day pre-made food program that offers three meals and two snacks a day at a cost of $499. Some are even double-portioned so you don’t have to make a separate dinner for your spouse or child while you’re working through the plan.

For those who don’t want to spend the extra cash, mouthwatering recipes such as grilled bison sirloin with sweet balsamic grilled peaches and caramelized onions topped with Gorgonzola and toasted almonds (see below) are also available. (Plenty of chicken, seafood, and plant-based dishes are also incorporated into the meal plan, for those who prefer more mainstream proteins.)

Creating a program that goes beyond food is the true crux of PlainSmart’s mission, though. Three “customer service managers” with knowledge of both nutrition and fitness provide monitoring and exercise plans in order to cover all factors that may contribute to weight loss.

“You would think that the diet and fitness industry would start merging when they come to this juncture,” says Kevin Lamar, PlainSmart’s chief customer officer. “I could never figure out why they haven’t, but we think it’s sound. We’re not into gimmicks; we’re into basics.”

BONUS: For a taste of the bison diet, make this bison sirloin salad with grilled peaches and caramelized onions (serves two).

—Photo courtesy of PlainSmart


10 oz. High Plains bison sirloin

1 medium red onion, sliced in thin rounds

1 fresh ripe peach, halved, pitted

Large package of arugula or mixed field greens

4 oz. of Gorgonzola cheese, divided

¼ cup of sliced almonds, toasted, divided


¼ cup of PlainSmart Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tbsp. of PlainSmart Roasted Garlic Olive Oil


  1. Light grill and turn to low.
  2. Remove sirloin from packaging and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Lightly toss red onion slices with balsamic vinegar and wrap in tinfoil. Grill for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until caramelized.
  4. Place halved peach on grill, cut side down. Grill five to 10 minutes.
  5. Grill sirloin for five to seven minutes on each side on low heat. (Bison is best cooked low and slow.)
  6. Remove cooked bison from grill and allow it to rest for five to 10 minutes prior to slicing.
  7. Mix dressing and toss salad in a large bowl, dividing greens onto two large plates.
  8. Top each with ½ grilled peach, ½ sliced bison, 2 oz. of Gorgonzola cheese, and 1/8 cup of toasted almonds.
  9. Serve with hearty whole grain bread with extra balsamic vinegar for dipping.

Follow editorial assistant Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.