Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nom Nom Nom In A Secret Restaurant

I love food. Duh. Today I ate really well.

Arugula with fresh tahini dressing paired with eggs scrambled in walnut oil and topped with white cheddar, roasted pork with tomato and wild mushroom sauce paired with cumin roasted carrots, fresh bread and even organic bourbon peaches and organic vanilla ice cream.

I wasn't kidding. Ate so well. I ate all these things in the same place too. Home. No, really. I made almost all these things myself. I made the salad dressing from a recipe I adapted by replacing apple cider vinegar for lemon juice. I made the pork earlier this week and since I didn't have to cook it tonight I just had to make brown rice and roast the carrots. The bourbon peaches came from a jar but they were purchased at the farmer's market from the same people I bought actual peaches from this summer. The ice cream required me to leave the house in the snow to venture to the grocery store. Although, I can't really complain about that since the grocery store is next door.

I barely spent any time in the kitchen today and still managed to eat on target with calories. I love going out as much as the plastic in my wallet allows but my body likes it a lot less. So eating this way is really just me taking care of myself. Yay snow storm!

What? I've been trapped inside all day I need something to be rowdy about.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oprah, Food and Alicia Silverstone's Bathroom Habits

Oprah: Next time you're in your closet try out brown and orange, really.

Fiance: Is Oprah always this annoying?

Me: Yes.

Oprah is totally annoying. Rules of life: humans need oxygen, babies always cry in movies, you will always need to pee when you're as far from a clean bathroom as possible on a road trip and Oprah is annoying.

She has clearly decided to throw caution to the wind in her last year and jump on the 'campaign' bandwagon. I mean, distracted driving? Does she even drive herself around?

In a show this week Oprah discussed the way Americans eat. It was actually impressive how she kept telling the audience to form their own opinions with the information they were presented in the show. The headliner was none other than Michael Pollan who I have professed my love for in the past. He was involved in the movie Food, Inc., which I still haven't seen, dam nit. Why are movies so hard to see? Oh right, no time in life for sitting still.

The two things that jumped out most were when Pollan discussed his food rules. He has lots of them but on Oprah the best were:

#2: Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

#39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Really, what #2 means is don't eat anything that people who lived before we industrialized (read: bastardized) our food system couldn't have eaten easily. Pollan talks about Twinkies, which are kind of obvious but this group also includes things like margarine, fat free single-packaged cheese or even simple things like packaged lunch meats. I know, this totally kills those easy sandwiches you can shove into a kid's lunch bag. But, honestly, that cheese is creepy, have you ever seen it melt on a burger? It is like watching a pyromaniac burn a plastic toy. As for lunch meat, I dare you to Google nitrates. Just, ew.

As for the second one, #39 is something that took me ages to learn but thank God I did. For instance, on Wednesday night we ate handmade nutmeg pasta with smoked roasted duck sausage. Okay, so I didn't case the sausage or roll the pasta but they were both from the farmer's market (another Pollan tip) and we didn't cover either in store bought tomato sauce but instead shaved parmesan on top and used a bit of olive oil. It was awesome and way cheaper than something comparable we'd have gotten in a restaurant. Same goes for homemade bread and even simple things like salad dressing. Basically, Pollan says this because of his feelings on the food system at large, which are concerns I share but my personal love for this rule is that homemade junk food is way better than the purchased kind. This is similar to how I feel about taking care of the environment. I'm all for taking care of my planet but what gets me to actually do it is that being environmentally conscious is so much cheaper than not.

Also, towards the middle of this Oprah episode Alicia Silverstone talks about her own bowel movements. Just, saying.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Don't Want To Say I Told You So

. . . but I told you so.

"What did the researchers find after observing these subjects for years? They found that putting people on unpleasant low-fat diets didn’t help them live any longer nor avoid another heart attack. Over the course of the study, the same number of subjects died in both groups."

A Big Ol' Duh

It is no secret that I don't care for the "Eat This, Not That" series. And, it seems a writer at The New York Times claims to disagree. Interestingly though, at the end of the article he ends up agreeing with why I think the series is a poor excuse for nutritional guidance. Yes, Olive Garden probably has rubbery meatballs. They're probably made en mass. Real food has no substitute.


File this squarely in the duh column: last night I reminded myself of why eating a full and well rounded meal is so wonderful. On Monday I threw some stuff in my slow cooker. I had to improvise a bit and use jarred tomato sauce (organic and with a short ingredients list) and left out the thyme. We've been eating the results ever since. I might start oinking soon from eating so much of it but it is damn good if I do say so myself.

Last night I arrived home a little after 5 and was starving. It is possible I was only moments from writhing on the floor as I am known to do. Instead I put on my grown-up hat and started tearing up some collard greens. The tearing of the greens was the longest part of making this dinner because I already had cooked (and tasty) pork and couscous in the fridge. While I was cooking up the greens I even roasted some farmer's market smoked bacon for breakfasts this week. After I had a well portioned amount of couscous with pork and a side of greens (sauteed lightly in walnut oil and chicken stock) I was reminded of how much more productive a person can be when they haven't given into the movie/crackers/wine type of evening.

Not that I didn't eat five pieces of bacon also because it smelled so good, but whatever.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What If The Label Said: Genie In a Bottle, Three Wishes.

There has been a decades long debate in America about whether corporations respond to consumers or if consumers are simply convinced to purchase whatever corporations produce. This is a difficult chicken and egg scenario. I'm not trying to suggest that I know, in fact I often find myself lured in by packaging. The type of packaging that regularly gets me usually involves reading the ingredients list, however, which is not the kind of false labeling that most think of when discussing this issue.

Fashion is obviously one sector that shows how consumers are swayed by the look of a product. If it wasn't, models wouldn't be stick figures. But the issue extends to so many aspects of life. Some parents wont let their children watch commercials on TV to avoid the problem entirely. But almost no one can avoid purchasing food (obviously economically challenged communities are discluded). So the question becomes, if we have issues with the way food is produced or presented in our country, what are we willing to do about it? Beyond that, how much do our demands mean to producers? I mean, Monsanto is a supporter of NPR, so clearly big Ag is ingrained in our communities. You could possibly be thinking, "Oh whatever, I don't have time for this". But what if you found out this was a major problem in your child's school? Even if you don't have children, do you know what kid's eat in school?

"Overcooked vegetables, as well as those served plain and raw, are rejected by students. Children are served Pop Tarts and Goldfish “Giant Grahams” for breakfast, along with flavored milks that rival Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew for sugar content. Scrambled eggs are manufactured with 11 ingredients and shipped frozen and virtually flavorless from Minnesota."

- The Slow Cook, January 26, 2010

Personally, I was not upset by the vegetable part, not shocked by the Pop Tarts or Goldfish or even all that annoyed by the flavored milk but eggs with eleven ingredients? Are you kidding me? Unless these kids are consuming breakfast in a simulation of that Will Smith movie (that scared the crap out of me) I can't imagine why their eggs need to have eleven ingredients.

So the question is the same be it fashion or food: What are we willing to demand from corporations?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Struggles and Values

"But after a volley of exhausting complaining, defending, finger-pointing and declaring one's right to creative license, a new conundrum has presented itself: It's hard to even know what an acceptable-size model is supposed to look like anymore. How big is big enough? And when does plus size, in a profoundly overweight population, become just as distressingly unhealthy an image as emaciation?"

-Washington Post, January 24, 2010

The fashion industry, like so many aspects of American life, is in the midst of a pivotal debate. This isn't really a debate about health. The debate is about far more than that. This debate is about the way Americans live their lives. Pressure on corporate America to represent reality rather than idealized concepts is nothing new. Average Americans have been rowdy about being ignored by the media (although companies seem more than happy to enjoy revenue raised from these people) for a long time.

Two years ago the first full figured woman won America's Next Top Model. Project Runway has had a full figured challenge in almost every season (at least when it was on Bravo and people still watched it). V magazine will be featuring Gabourney Sidibe next month. Jennifer Hudson was on the cover of Vogue last year. These are just examples of full figured or even average sized women being supported by fashion. Expand this concept to other aspects of life and the examples are endless. Sure, it is possible that some of these examples have little to do with the woman's size. However, some of them are absolutely a reaction to a new debate about our beliefs.

The questions are endless: What do Americans value? Do we care more about the abilities of a person and less about their size? If we value a person's character but they do not represent idealized beauty, can we still value them? If we see a person eating what we perceive to be something unhealthy, does our opinion of them change? Do we have the right to care what other people put in their bodies? Do we have the right to care about how much other people put in their bodies? Does our society care about appearance only because it is an evolutionary necessity or are we truly vain?

I could go on and on.

The fashion industry is not the only sector that struggles with these issues. Corporations care about selling magazines and clothes and traditionally that is done by presenting idealized beauty. Even sporting goods companies try to put their products on the best athletes to make the average student athlete buy their goods. Really, the ultimate question is, are Americans willing to embody the values they so often claim they have (or, at least, are recently claiming to have)? Are Americans willing to demand that companies embody these values?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Maybe We Could Get Paparazzi to Follow Farmers?

"Trail mix is totally a trend!"

"No, dear, it really isn't."

"Yes it is. It is everywhere all of a sudden."

"Maybe you only just noticed it?"

This is a conversation taken directly from the food court where I went to college. While I still contend that trail mix is not a trend, there are plenty of food trends running rampant in our society. Some of them are not so good: 100 calorie packs, processed food made to look/seem/feel/smell like real food (I'm looking at you fruit snacks) and over snacking. But some of them are actually kind of great. I will admit my love for Alice Waters knows no bounds.

When I was in the second grade there was a lesson, the point of which I don't actually remember but each child had to bring in something to go into a soup. We made a giant pot of soup with each of our individual items thrown in. I don't remember if I ate it or not but I distinctly remember being responsible for some vegetable my friends thought was gross. I can tell you that I passed the second grade with flying colors and whether the lesson was fractions or sharing I'm generally good at both.

I will say that no one ever taught me about nutrition. The only time it was offered to me was in high school and it was optional. At the time I was so focused on AP government that I barely noticed. I might be personally interested in the subject today but I am 100% sure that it was sorely missed in my education. Even if I hadn't been an overweight kid I can bet I would have benefited.

Another distinct memory I have is of standing in my parents kitchen crying because I had started to figure out I was fat when none of my clothes fit. I honestly could not understand why. It wasn't that my parents didn't try to teach me good habits or that I was too stupid to realize calories in, calories out. The problem was purely one of math. No one had ever taught me in an intelligent way exactly how many calories I needed. I was a kid who sorely needed the academic explanation. Maybe putting a small garden in a school where the children of farm worker's learn math is poor social form but its also possible that these kids are more likely to understand food if they are actually involved in it. Whether or not this means they'll be learning math more effectively could be debatable but the issue of if it is benefiting the children is absolutely not.

She Might Be A Felon But Shes a Genius

Despite my future husband's and my mother's hate for her I think Martha Stewart is kind of a freaking genius. Today, in my email inbox, she happened to make a point I've been pondering all week.

"Reversing unhealthy eating habits is not about following hard-and-fast diet rules. Instead, it's about cultivating a new, conscious approach, one that starts with listening to your body."

I know what you're thinking: duh. The reason I have been thinking about this was a conversation fiance and I had the other day when I saw a man walk out of the grocery store with a case of soda. It occurred to me that I haven't had soda in years and in college it is possible that I lived on Diet Coke. Prior to graduate school I would call coffee, 'bean water'. I thought it was weird and gross. Now I have totally switched. I haven't had soda, even in a restaurant, in ages and lamented when my doctor told me it would be best to reduce my coffee consumption.

Basically, I find human habits fascinating and Martha Stewart has hit the nail on the head. In my effort to feed my face less and my soul more it has become clear to me that I am a sensory eater. Although, that should have been clear to me ages ago when I declared jiggly foods gross. I dread the possibility of having children in a hospital that serves me only pudding and jello. Even more fascinating is the concept of actually trying to feed your senses. I don't exactly plan to start eating meals with a blindfold but I am reminded that I need to eat at the television less. Maybe yesterday's plea for help with food boredom can be combated by feeding my senses!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


There was some guy a while back who said something about how boredom is dangerous. Idle minds . . . or something? I'm not sure, I was too busy staring out the window in high school English.

Dude speaks the truth though. Boredom is incredibly dangerous. At least in how it applies to my eating habits. Lately I have been so incredibly bored with food. Even the free pastries at work today couldn't rile me up. This boredom has translated into eating way too much junk food. Basically, I get bored of food occasionally and instead of not eating I just eat whatever, since all of it looks like generic calories.

Yes, I realize this makes zero sense. Yes, my waist line, the scale and my pants have noticed. No, I don't seem to know how to snap out of it.

I do think I know how this starts though. I'm pretty sure this is directly related to eating a lot over the holidays and then eating at amazing restaurants for restaurant week (four times in five days). The combination of being totally stuffed and having eaten gourmet means everything else is totally lame.

Food boredom! Help!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It Is Totally Feasible That You Could Find Something Shiny and Forget to Eat, Right?

Are you someone who:

1. Regularly gets into situations where work/your child/traffic/shiny things distract you?
2. Often chooses not to eat when there is a larger planned meal ahead?
3. Goes to the gym after work not having eaten dinner?
4. Is too lazy to get up from the couch to eat a meal until you're ready to eat the dog/cat/child?

If you are, welcome to the human race.

If you aren't, shut up, we all hate you and don't want to know about your perfect life. I bet you even have a white picket fence. Really, could you do something to make yourself look bad so the rest of us don't feel so guilty? It would be the right thing to do on your part. For humanity's sake.
So back to those of you who are normal and get stuck in one of the four situations listed above. I am really good at one, two and four. For example, just the other day fiance came home from work a bit later than usual and the only things I had consumed were leftover crackers from our New Year's party and a glass of wine. But damned if I hadn't measured out 4 ounces of wine so I could journal them. What? It made sense to me when I was curled in a ball freaking out at Will Smith as Robert Neville and his dark seekers of doom. Also, the crackers were organic and some of them were whole grain. That totally makes up for it.

While my choice at the time was to satiate myself (and sooth my fear of mutating humans) with wine I have to admit that when presented with this kind of situation most of my choices usually contain things I wouldn't normally put in my body if I hadn't waited until I was ravenous. Those choices usually contain the oft-discussed high fructose corn syrup. Everyone is so over this issue, I know. Modified sugars are bad blahblahblah. Its made of corn blah. But it seems like no one actually knows why they are bad or how they actually affect you*.

Your body is totally confused by the fructose in HFCS. So when you eat these easy-to-find crisis snacks that contain the substance your body has no idea it has eaten as much as it has. So basically, you're not helping yourself fight the crisis starvation and in turn you eat more than you need to or would eating a less processed food.

That's the entire story. No, really. It isn't because you're propping up the corn industry (you are, but I'm not on that soap box right now). It isn't because you're eating trans fats too (although it is more likely you'll consume them in processed foods). It is just because they confuse your body. And, honestly, when you're already overwhelmed by hunger and confusion because something shiny distracted you, why make it worse for yourself?

*If you care to know more Dr. Oz can tell you all about it. Leptin is kind of cool, actually.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chiuauas Are Great Nutritionists

Yet again I was watching TV (I need to go back to the reduced TV life I raved about, at least in order to keep my commercial watching sanity) and saw a new 'diet'. Apparently, Taco Bell, of chalupa and mystery meat fame is hoping on the diet bandwagon. Their ads feature a woman named Christine who lost fifty four pounds in two years by choosing items from the chain's fresco menu. According to some media outlets dietitians are actually divided about the value of these types of gimmicks. After doing some reading it doesn't seem to me that their actually torn about the value of the Taco Bell diet as much as they're pleased to see fast food chains getting their act together and offering more choices with a wider range of calorie density. Personally I'm not ready to give Taco Bell a gold star mostly because this Fresco menu has existed for six years and they acted like it was the red headed step child until they realized it could make them more money.

Taco Bell does have a pretty decent website with full menu information and I will give Taco Bell some kudos for having a nutrition guide at all even for things like their volcano nachos which are 1000 calories by themselves. Also, unlike the Special K diet, Taco Bell says nothing about how you're supposed to go about consuming the foods on the diet. Three tacos per day? Two? Two Taco Bell meals from the fresco menu and a sensible dinner?

They do include this at the bottom of the Taco Bell (R) Drive-Thru Diet Menu (R):

"Drive-Thru-Diet® is not a weight-loss program. For a healthier lifestyle, pay attention to total calorie and fat intake and regular exercise. Taco Bell's Fresco Menu can help with calorie reductions of 20 to 100 per item compared to corresponding products on our regular menu. Not a low calorie food. For complete nutritional information please visit"

Lets assume you eat three items in each meal and stick to only the fresco menu, since there are no specific directions. So assuming you're cutting 20 to 100 calories per item thus 60 to 300 calories per meal meaning 360 to 600 calories per day you would have to have been eating 4200 extra calories per week before you started the taco of death diet. 3500 calories is a weight gain of one pound per week. For a six foot tall, 25 year old male 4200 would mean being overweight by 125 pounds. From this I've just gleaned that eating three items for all three meals on the regular menu means being morbidly obese.

Christine's story does talk more about her calorie intake. She brought her calorie intake down to 1250, which would mean she'd have to be five feet tall, thirty years old and about one hundred pounds to be at a healthy weight if she ate 1250 calories to maintain her weight.

In related information: Taco Bell claims that these diet menu items don't have trans fats, but they do contain fiber and protein (beans and meat, duh) so at least there is that, particularly since you aren't going to get any leafy greens on this diet. So thank goodness you're getting fiber of some kind.

Pros: fiber, nutrition information, cheese free choices. Cons: still greasy, cheap not fresh food, a lack of value per calorie. I suppose this 'diet' could be a mixed bag. If by mixed bag you mean diarrhea and a lack of variety.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Here Comes A Cop Out

I have forty million ideas going on my head and before I verbally (bloggally?) diarrhea them all over you I thought I'd post fun links and gather myself for Monday. Anger at Taco Bell to be seen next week, fyi.

Picture number 26 is fantastic and makes me want to find toast.

I already thought soda was weird and now I'm even sure-r-er.

Farming versus fooding. Or maybe farming working with fooding? Who knows, like the political spectrum its really just a circle, not a line.

I love beets and apparently my new interest in sardines isn't totally nuts.

Today, over gchat, I had an elaborate conversation about a love of poached eggs with an old friend. Try to poach an egg (or fry one until the whites are white and the yolk is wiggly) and put it over anything. If we hadn't given up I'm nearly sure we could have agreed upon hundreds of things to put poached eggs on - tomato salads, toast, toast with tomato sauce, asparagus, asparagus and salmon, oatmeal, grains of almost any variety . . . maybe poached eggs are like bacon and are good with everything?

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Tell me you don't love analogies and metaphors and I'll call you a big fat liar. Comparisons are a writer's best friend. By writer I don't mean me on this blog. I mean someone who is in the act of conveying thoughts which is, um, almost everyone. You convey thoughts in writing regularly, probably more often than you realize.

Growing up I was the worst writer ever. No really, my parents could tell you story upon story about how I could not figure out how to write. One day, my father, a lover or writing for the sake of writing, told me that writing is just a person conveying thoughts. Somehow, that clicked in my brain like nothing an English teacher had told me before. Duh!

Instructions for a writer:

1. Think thoughts.
2. Write them down.
3. Make them pretty. (optional)

After my writing epiphany metaphors and I were like this. Okay, so maybe I'm not that good at the whole conveying thing because now I'm trying to type with my fingers crossed. Like this I tell you.

So here is my latest metaphor:

Weight management is like a toddler bed. No, really. For some children it isn't necessary. For some children it is necessary and sticks around for way too long. For some children it might be unnecessary but for some weird reason it exists for a while and disappears. I thought about creating a side by side analysis of how all these things are true but I'll spare you and give you my best examples.

Children it is necessary for.
Toddler bed is to weight management as rolling onto the floor is to an addiction to office chocolates.

Children it is necessary for but sticks around for too long.
Toddler bed is to weight management as new-baby-attention-jealousy is to bad karma/emotional eating from family death/house fires/job loss trends.

Children for whom it exists for some weird reason.
Toddler bed is to weight management as Mom-works-three-jobs-and-doesn't-have-time-to-move-furniture is to Mom-works-three-jobs-and-doesn't-have-time-to-go-to-the-grocery-store.

PS: Similes also rock.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Ode to Puff Sections

My love of the puff sections of The Washington Post has been established and this week hasn't failed to deliver (haha, pun intended, I crack myself up). Yesterday's Health and Science section was really more science this week but still provided me with the chance to understand my home county's traffic system. Which, for a nerd, was pretty cool. But today's Food section, hooooo, boy, I think they found the Health part and slapped it on the front page today.

Today's article from Stephanie Witt Sedgewick on making food taste better without adding tons of calories was actually short and valuable (its a puff section if the articles are too long I can't stand to finish them). I even learned something: a pinch of sugar can make your sauce better without salt. I've heard of old Italian ladies putting sugar in their romesco and I am so trying this. I'll also have to agree heartily with Sedgewick on her citrus suggestion. I've been squirting half a lemon over my lunch salad lately and haven't even noticed the lack of oil. A little bit of pepper on top also makes it pretty great. Even Chop't, the salad chain, will squirt just lemon juice on your salad instead of using dressing with oil. I'll admit that I have little to no experience with her suggestion about fruit salsas because they always seem to contain mangoes which have a habit of making me swell up like a balloon.

Not only did today's Food section include Sedgewick's article but it also included a discussion of a study about how habits have, in fact, changed when consumers are presented with calorie information along with a chicken parm recipe that isn't fried. Even famous chefs like Alton Brown are talking about weight loss and how to do it while eating well. I've professed my love for Alton Brown in the past and I think he is dead on about creating a system for yourself as long as it works for you. There is even an adorable part at the beginning where he says he lost fifty pounds on a stead diet of Good Eats. Though, I worry about people trying to fit their life into his rules but at least he did that bit about not being a nutritionist. He talks about how he only has one alcoholic drink per week. Which, if that works for you, great but I couldn't do since I totally live an awesome young 20something lifestyle (or in a dream world).

It seems to me that there have been a wealth of conversations in the media and the public about these topics lately. You have to admit there must be some kind of changing tide when Food Network, keeper of American food porn is in on the conversation something is clearly going on. What's next? Paula Deen eating salad with actual green things?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If By Special You Mean Totally Bizzare, Then Yes

Have you ever been watching something for the millionth time, suddenly paid attention and realized what it was really saying? This happened to me the other day when watching TV. The commercial was for Special K cereal and Kellogg's was asking me to participate in The Special K Challenge. I had never really paid much attention to this commercial until I realized they're asking me to eat two bowls of cereal and nothing else before five in the evening.

Um, are you nuts? One bowl makes me hungry and then I want another and its only, like, 8 in the morning! I know this because before I was a more conscious eater I could eat an entire box of Special K Red Berries in one sitting. In fact, after my first trip to Greece I returned, jet lagged, sat on the couch with my roommates, ate an entire box and proceeded to fall asleep at seven p.m. on a Saturday.

Lets investigate this crap my body seemed to love. First, the ingredients list.

We start out with rice which is okay although not terrible nutritionally dense. Then wheat gluten which is just another phrase for carby tastiness and also lacking in nutritional value. Then comes number three, sugar, very tasty and very useless. Defatted wheat germ? I'm not even sure I know. And of course, every five year old's favorite food is number five: high fructose corn syrup. Useless, cheap and total junk. Companies are putting this in everything to get you addicted to eating it and also to save dollars on actual sugar. At least Kellogg's put real sugar in the cereal at all. The rest is all additives that allow the company to claim nutritional value. Vitamin E? Clearly it's good for you!

Now to the actual vitamin and mineral content - the stuff that allows a company to claim their product has nutritional value.

Low calorie? Sure. Low fat? Sure. Full of vitamins? Kind of, since they're added to rice, wheat gluten and defatted wheat germ to become 'nutritional'. You'll notice that the first label mentions folic acid, iron, thiamin, riboflavin and Vitamins A, B, C and E. You'll also notice the added vitamins are the same as those that have 100% of value. This cereal is what they call fortified. It doesn't naturally contain any of the items with the highest percentages.

Assuming you decide to participate in the Special K Challenge (in the amount they suggest with the milk serving they suggest) you'll have eaten 320 calories, one gram of fat and only twelve grams of protein. Thank God you can eat whatever you want for dinner because you'll be starving and falling asleep on the job. Your body needs about 20% of protein per pound of body fat, 30% of calories from fat and we've already discussed calorie needs per person in the past.

Lets say you're 5 foot 5 inch tall woman who weight about 145 pounds (for the sake of the argument, you know, not because that's easy for me) and thus need a minimum of 1400 calories per day, 30ish grams of protein and something like 40ish grams of fat per day. You'll need 1000 calories, 29 grams of protein and 39 grams of fat in your dinner. Hope you don't plan to do anything after you eat all that because you'll either fall asleep from exhaustion or be in the bathroom all night. If you were to try to eat a healthy dinner you'd need to cover your lettuce in about half a cup of olive oil and at least four ounces of lean poultry to get anywhere near those calories, fat and protein. Hope you enjoy oily salad!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Way Under Par

An excerpt from a conversation heard round the world:

X: My New Year's resolution is to lose weight.

Y: My New Year's resolution is to exercise more.

X: Great, we'll go running together and eat salad together. I'm so excited.

Y: My hangover is raging from New Year's Eve. Want to go get pancakes and some hair of the dog?

X: Oh, God, yes please.

And, scene.

This conversation happens a million times over around the world at the start of each year. If a health resolution isn't broken in a few days its probably broken in hours. There are two reasons for this.

One, New Year's is in the winter. In the winter it is freaking freezing. This past weekend was easily the coldest I've experienced in years. I even wore pants to church on Sunday and I always wear a skirt. Always. Its a Greek lady thing, I can't tell you a good reason, I just do. So you know its really cold when I wear pants to church. Anyway, since its so damn cold your eating is handicapped from the start. It is far easier to get your hands on hot meaty stew and also your body wants to eat hot meaty stew because you're freaking freezing.

Two, no tasty fruit is readily available. Sure you could eat a box of clementines and a few mealy apples but that sounds gross and boring for three freaking months. Even the farmer's market is looking lame right now. The honey crisp apple bin (if you have never had one of these you have not yet lived) looked like the bin of trash produce from your generic grocery store yesterday. It was sad looking to say the least.

By resolving to be healthier in the middle of your area's version of arctic tundra you're combining cold unhappy body with frozen farmland and ending up with cold unhappy and hungry you. See? Stupid.

This is me giving out free passes to be a little lame in the health department during the time of year when your risk of hypothermia is higher.

I said a little lame. Not totally lame. I find myself with a very limited amount of will power. I can't resist a good cookie when its been offered three times. I'm going to give in on the third time if it looks tasty enough. The thing is though, you can totally make resolutions to be better. You just need to not be a moron about it. (I was once/often am a moron about this.) If you try to make a million changes the first day of the year and cram them all into your life at the same time on a frozen day in January when there is no fruit to be had you're trapping yourself in a mealy apple filled hell of your own making.

Make resolutions? Sure. Start small and build up? Yes. Handicap yourself so you fail? No, thanks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Oh, hi.

Um, hello? Please feel free to wrap me on the wrists. I haven't been in a secure location or trapped under something heavy or even doing anything that seemed important enough not to write but I clearly haven't written either. Sorry about that.

I have been kind of busy. There was Christmas prep, Christmas shopping, Christmas revelry and I'm sure there were other things. Hmmm. Oh right, eating and working out. I pretty much alternated between holiday business (eating) and subbing classes at the gym (working off the eating). So what I'm trying to say is, I have no excuse for not blogging except that I've been occupying my hands with stuffing my face and then occupying my feet with moving around a lot.

I will say this for my sorry, blog-lazy butt: I have been really good with journaling over this holiday season. I made a conscience effort this year to remind myself that over stuffing myself wasn't going to make Christmas more enjoyable or make the holidays less stressful. And let me tell you, reminding yourself to take care of yourself everyday when you have ten gifts to buy, two casseroles to make, forty cookies to bake and lots of hugs and smiles to express is like reminding yourself to fly to the moon before going to work. Life stress means that, for me, organization goes out the window. Dear God, I am a creature of habit and doing habitual things like journaling when the day is full of aberrations is quite a challenge.

This is not to say that I was perfect at journaling, nor was I great with my calorie consumption. In fact, I still overate a lot. But if anyone asks, I did my best damn it.