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eG Foodblog: CaliPoutine, MarketStEl & mizducky - The Shrinking


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3) Carbonated drinks. When I was helping out with food and drink for my mother in hospital, the medical staff were adamant that she should not have carbonated diet or sports drinks because of the high sodium content. She flatly refused to drink plain water, and despite a considerable weight problem, staff told me they'd rather she was drinking watered down juice or still drinks than diet sodas. Do any of you diabetics get warnings about diet sodas, or is it a non-issue for people in reasonable health? Here in Japan, I can fortunately drink Japan's single greatest contribution to human culture - mugicha, or roasted barley tea!

Now I am no doctor, nor do I play one on TV. :laugh: But your question got me wondering, so I did a survey of sodium content listed on various beverage labels, either in the fridge or the recycling:

--Crystal Geyser sparkling water: 35 mg/8 fl. oz

--Diet Dr. Pepper: 25 mg/8 fl. oz

--Rip It Energy Drink: 90 mg/8 fl. oz

--Gatorade: 110 mg/8 fl. oz

Gatorade's label indicated its sodium level per 8 fl. oz. serving equated to 5% of the FDA's daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). DIet pundits always say you need eight 8-oz glasses daily; if you did that with Gatorade, you'd be doing some 40% of your daily sodium intake right there. But then, Gatorade is specifically an electrolyte-replacement drink, so of course it's supposed to have a lot of sodium in it. The amount in the diet soda and the sparkling water, I think, would only be of concern to those who are highly sensitive to sodium. Interestingly, US hospitals I've experienced had no qualms about doling out carbonated beverages to patients ... but I don't know if that says more about the beverages, or the US hospitals. :laugh:

5) What kind of starches do you find easiest/best for weight loss.

Ideally, complex carbs such as whole grains (brown rice, wholegrain breads, etc.) do the best job of staying in your system a long time and contributing to satiation. However, while I prefer wholegrain breads to refined white breads, I have come to realize that I don't really care all that much for brown rice or wholegrain pasta. So I try to make as much of my carb intake whole-grain as possible, but also give myself a pass to enjoy white rice and rice noodles. I'm also really into doing my starches as starchy vegetables--potatoes, winter squashes, etc.--because I find them really filling and satisfying. Plus orange vegetables like winter squashes and sweet potatoes are nutrient powerhouses. In other words, all other things being equal, I go for foods with lots of nutritional value per unit.

Mizducky..are the shirataki (sp?) noodles made out of tofu?  I heard that they are a great substitute for pasta, if you are watching carbs.  I have yet to experiment with them yet, but plan on it.  I guess you have to rinse them and then par boil to get the smell/fish taste off?

Shirataki are made of konnyaku, a gel-like foodstuff derived from the starchy korm of a plant known as "devil's tongue". The gel is super-low in calories and high in fiber. It's a traditional food in Japan, where it is made in tons of different shapes and colors. Its translucency and bouncy texture can take awhile to get used to if you didn't grow up eating it; when cut into the thin shirataki noodles, I find it a little like some very bouncy bean thread noodles. Recently, some manufacturers have taken to making tofu/konnyaku mix noodles--these noodles, with their opaque white color and more tender texture, are a bit easier on non-Asian newcomers to the food because their look and mouthfeel is more like wheat pasta, while still being relatively low in calories. A lot of people find the odor of konnyaku products straight out of the package a little off-putting; some recipes I've seen recommend parboiling, or pouring boiling water over them in a sieve, but I find it sufficient to just give them a good rinse with hot tap water. There's a long topic about konnyaku somewhere here on eGullet--I'll see if I can hunt it down later.

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I'd like to answer the question about plantains being a veggie or a fruit. It is a fruit. In fact it is a cousin to the banana ergo it is a fruit. But like the tomato, it is incorporated into many savory dishes that sometimes one might think it is a veggie. :)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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But the good news--besides the yumminess--is that the net amount of meat isn't all that much--but the size of the heads, and the amount of work you have to put into getting all the meat out, tricks the ol' Lizard Brain into feeling like it had a nice big meal.

And fortunately, ol' Lizard Brain doesn't read the internet. :wink:

I'm loving all of this so far - blog on!

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Oh gosh, question time here! Even without trying to reverse the weight that snuck up on me over a few stressful years, I have a hard time balancing meals for hungry teen boys, underweight husband and overweight me.

Ooh, ooh, can I jump in on this one? Thai and Vietnamese meat salads are great for this. Skinny and growing diners get a big hunka meat with a little salad; those in slimming mode get a big salad flavored with a little meat. Very satisfying for all. If you like lime, chiles, and fish sauce, nuoc cham makes a wonderful salad dressing.

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I'd like to answer the question about plantains being a veggie or a fruit. It is a fruit. In fact it is a cousin to the banana ergo it is a fruit. But like the tomato, it is incorporated into many savory dishes that sometimes one might think it is a veggie. :)

Thanks Dodi!!

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Good Morning.

I slept like a rock. I think it was the combination of a lot less food and the exercise. Supposedly, I woke up at midnight and put one of my dogs in our bed. I have no recollection of that. Scary!!

To answer Susans question about hydration. We have one of these.

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Having moved here from California, I was accustomed to bottled water. I mean, no one I know ever drank tap water. I was appalled when Robin told me she actually drinks and likes tap water. We did end up getting Culigan after about a year of me dragging home bottles from the grocery store. I like my beverages really cold!! I usually freeze half of a Nalgene bottle and then add water to it. I also drink crystal light, low sodium club soda, mineral water, diet coke and diet dr. pepper. Like Mizducky, I really like fizz.

Before I went to sleep last night, I made Robin's snack box for today.

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She's going to "try" the blackberries. She's not really a fruit lover. I made her a turkey sandwich, pretty much the same as yesterday and a few kettle brand salt and pepper krinkle cut chips. She told me that she wasnt hungry at all yesterday, so thats a good sign.

I'll be back later as I have a date with Ms. Treadmill.

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Thanks so much to all of you for this blog! I'm looking forward to it, and I'm hopeful that it will jump-start me into a food and exercise plan for 2008, which got a bit sidetracked in 2007, and has kept off track by a bad semester and a kitchen reno. Now to skulk over to WW Online and write down breakfast. :raz:

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Okay, I'm back, ensconced in my cubicle, Urban Knights playing on my headphones, and a stack of back Activant Insights newsletters at my side to prep for a meeting next week.

The new commute will have to wait a bit -- I'm missing a shot or two to document it, and sure enough, I have no image editing software on my office computer (Windows Paint doesn't hack it).

In the meantime, some followup comments and the rest of yesterday.

1)That salad colander - does that maybe go in the fridge with a lid on, and keep salad greens usable for more than one meal? If so, does it work, and how many days will salad greens keep?

2) Lactose intolerance - my Japanese husband (just to differentiate from all the OTHER husbands!) can and does eat a lot of yogurt (whole milk, unsweetened, home-made), a little cheese, and almost never milk.

3) Carbonated drinks. When I was helping out with food and drink for my mother in hospital, the medical staff were adamant that she should not have carbonated diet or sports drinks because of the high sodium content. She flatly refused to drink plain water, and despite a considerable weight problem, staff told me they'd rather she was drinking watered down juice or still drinks than diet sodas. Do any of you diabetics get warnings about diet sodas, or is it a non-issue for people in reasonable health? Here in Japan, I can fortunately drink Japan's single greatest contribution to human culture - mugicha, or roasted barley tea!

4) Does the weightwatcher point system combine easily with the diabetic "food exchange" system?

5) What kind of starches do you find easiest/best for weight loss.

1) Yes. The salad spinner has both a centrifuge top and a storage lid. I usually buy my salad greens once a week, on Saturday, from O.K. Lee in the Reading Terminal Market -- he sells bagged romaine mix and spring mix for 99c/bag. I usually buy one of each, a head of radicchio, some bell peppers, a carrot, and a package (roughly 8 oz) of sliced mushrooms. Assembling the salad is fairly simple: Mix the bags (and tear the romaine some more--the produce vendors in the RTM leave huge chunks in their salad mix bags), slice the peppers, tear the radicchio, shred the carrot, and dump the sliced mushrooms into the mix. Spin, drain the water, put the spun-out carrot slivers back in the salad, toss a little, cover and refrigerate. I find that I can get an entire week's worth of tossed salads out of this purchase, which runs me somewhere in the neighborhood of $6-$7. Tomatoes add anywhere from $1 to $3 to the total, depending on the season and where I buy them; currently, 9th Street vendors are offering pint packages of grape Romas (pictured upthread) for a buck each. Even if half of them go bad, as the ones I bought last week did, I still come out ahead.

2). I almost never consume milk, except with cereal. Cheese is my principal Lizard Brain hazard, followed by sour cream-based dips with carbohydrates to dip in them. I did pay attention to Ellen's comments in her last foodblog about the urge to snack late at night -- something that pre-rational critter tells you to do -- and had been doing pretty well at avoiding this until the holidays. I find that eating a good dinner greatly diminishes the temptation to give into my Lizard Brain; however, this also flies in the face of a common bit of diet advice, which is, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper." Yet I do better at keeping my weight down if I don't do that, because otherwise, I will be sorely tempted to pull out the chips or crackers and cheese or dip as I 'Net-surf before going to bed around midnight Eastern Time.

3). When I was sober, I found that fruit juice mixed with seltzer water was a good substitute for a mixed drink, and I still drink such combos from time to time. But more often, I find myself consuming Coke Zero or plain water at home. But flavored seltzer is IMO a decent low-sodium, low-calorie alternative to plain old water.

There is one beverage I consume even more of. I'll reveal it in my next post.

To answer Susans question about hydration.  We have one of these.

gallery_28660_5521_73377.jpg

Having moved here from California, I was accustomed to bottled water.  I mean, no one I know ever drank tap water.  I was appalled when Robin told me she actually drinks and likes tap water.    We did end up getting Culigan after about a year of me dragging home bottles from the grocery store.  I like my beverages really cold!!  I usually freeze half of a Nalgene bottle and then add water to it.  I also drink crystal light, low sodium club soda, mineral water, diet coke and diet dr. pepper.  Like Mizducky, I really like fizz.

I did notice on my first visit to Los Angeles in 1966 that there were lots of ads for bottled water; I guess Angelenos didn't much care for their municipal supply, which is funny given that a few years ago, Consumer Reports magazine did a taste comparison of several municipal supplies and some popular brands of bottled water -- and the municipal supplies of New York and LA finished 1-2 in the rankings.

People in Philadelphia love to complain about the taste of "Schuylkill Punch", and if chlorine in your water is a great worry for you, then I'd guess you'd want to avoid drinking Philadelphia's municipal supply -- or that of just about any other US city but New York, for that matter, for most water works chlorinate their water to get rid of harmful bacteria. (New York gets its water from reservoirs in the upper reaches of the Delaware River basin; as the reservoirs are protected from development, the natural filtration that occurs in the reservoirs is all the treatment New York City water gets -- or needs, it appears; that minimal treatment is probably what accounts for NYC tap water's famed taste and drinkability. By the time the Delaware reaches the City of Philadelphia's main water intake in the Torresdale section of Northeast Philadelphia, it's been past numerous industrial sites and several cities, including Trenton and the Lehigh Valley conurbation, so we aren't as fortunate as New Yorkers are.) I don't mind city water at all, but Gary and my roomie both do, so we buy bottled water in small bottles (that way everyone can drink right from the bottle without worry).

Besides Coke Zero, I also am somewhat partial to Fresca, a sugar-free grapefruit/citrus soda, especially the peach citrus variety.

As I composed this, I was informed by my boss via e-mail that there will be two groups of people here in Marketing and Sales "walking into town" at lunchtime: one group that will dine at the Canal Street Grill and another that will simply walk. Unfortunately for me, I can join neither group, for I'm set to log into the corporate new employee orientation at 12:15 pm today. (I got the Yardley office version the second week on the job.) Your introduction to the dining scene in Yardley, such as it is, will have to wait.

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Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Sandy, thanks for trying the Life cereal so I don't have to! (I'm always eyeing those nostalgia products in the store, but if they make it home with me they generally disappoint.)

Great blog! mizducky, you've always been an inspiration to me, healthy eating-wise.

About shiritaki: I agree, the version with tofu seems much more friendly to a western palate. I still generally use it in preparations that don't mock Western ones-- I wouldn' tbother making Afredo type dishes with it for instance, or dishes with tomato sauce. To me, it goes really well with seafood like shrimp or clams, and something salty, like soy sauce. I like to toss it in a frying pan with a small amount of sauce until it gets a little crispy.

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So why are folks "walking into town" at lunchtime? (The Borough of Yardley being about three square miles, and as Activant's Yardley office lies at the south edge of the town center, roughly midway [and spanning about one-third of the distance end to end] between the central intersection and the Yardley train station (a 15- to 20-minute walk in total), "walking into town" isn't as big a deal as it sounds.)

Because today's forecast high is in the upper 60s, a few degrees warmer than yesterday; the high in Philadelphia could flirt with the record high for this day of 69 F, set in the 1930s. It will be a few degrees cooler up here in bucolic Bucks County.

The office where I work is a handsome, low-slung, rustic structure, built in 1902 to house a tannery and completely rebuilt on the inside when what was then known as Prophet 21 Inc. bought the building in the early 1980s:

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It sits halfway up a fairly steep hill from Yardley's Main Street and thus well above the 100-year flood line. There have been three 100-year floods on this stretch of the Delaware in the last ten years or so.

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The hill:

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If I take "the long way" to my office at the building's south end, as I did Monday so I could take this picture of the main entrance at its north end, I feel a little like Maxwell Smart as I walk down the central corridor that runs the length of the building:

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My cubicle is sparsely decorated for now, but even without the nameplate (which was installed yesterday morning), you would probably recognize it as mine:

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(When I hung the "Subway Series" poster at the back of the first photo of this troika in my cubicle, our graphic designer, who is a huge New York sports fan, asked whether I was a fan of the Yankees or the Mets. "No," I told him. "I'm a fan of the subway." [besides, as a loyal Royal still, I could never warm up to the Yankees.] I also take my penchant for trivia on the road, as the newspaper clipping on the bulletin board should make clear.)

My boss, whose cubicle is directly opposite mine:

gallery_28660_5521_10189.jpg

is also given to posting favorite quotes; mine change daily, hers weekly. We both share this sentiment:

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BTW, she knows I'm blogging. She also plans to attend the next PGMC concert -- and has seen this photo of me in a tutu from the 2006 holiday concert.

I wouldn't call this company a dieter's disaster; on the contrary, it's probably easier to follow a diet here than it would be at many other companies, for it has no company cafeteria. There is a dining hall about midway down in the rear that has an array of vending machines with sodas, juices, water, ice cream,pre-packaged sandwiches, and cans of nukeable foods, and that's it. As a result, there are a large number of brown-baggers working here, as these shots of the two fridges in my area should demonstrate.

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There are two more fridges in the dining room and two each in the upper and lower segments of the main building. (My department is in a two-story wing that is attached to the rear of the main building's south end.)

Now for the hydration part -- or, rather, the dehydration part. This company is powered by caffeine.

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It's not at all uncommon for me to walk into the kitchenette at 2:30 in the afternoon and see two fresh pots of coffee on the burners, though by that time of day, it's usually one regular, one decaf. A co-worker has already commented on my prodigious coffee consumption. I think I need to pick up a six-pack of V8 on my next grocery shopping trip.

Now, would the stash I keep in one of my drawers make me a sinner?

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Well, maybe the Hamburger Helper Singles packet -- a free sample I received in the mail back around June -- would, but I think the rest of my snack/condiment repertoire passes the virtue test. But there is temptation nearby. In the cubicle next to mine, which the second of the two less seasoned writers I replaced vacated at the end of my first week on the job, are all sorts of treats left over from the Christmas presents our business partners and suppliers left us.

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Unfortunately, you missed the most spectacular of them, a construction called "the mountain of chocolate" -- cookies, popcorn, pretzels and candies, all stacked in a heap and covered in chocolate (some milk, some dark). I managed to scarf down my share of the goodies in this mountain without much damage to my weight. A late-night snack, OTOH, went to my gut.

Other recurring temptations offered at this office are soft pretzels every Thursday morning and bagels with butter and cream cheese every payday (alternate Fridays). The pretzels are a quarter on the honor system; the bagels are on the house.

I've been told that there is a company cook-out on the big lawn in front of the building (there's a volleyball net permanently strung up near its south end) every summer, and that T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops are common office garb in the warmer months (what would you expect at a high-tech company? I doubt I'll ever go that far down the casual-dress scale).

I guess I should share with you all what I actually ate yesterday. That's coming up next.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Sandy, thanks for trying the Life cereal so I don't have to! (I'm always eyeing those nostalgia products in the store, but if they make it home with me they generally disappoint.)

Actually, Life cereal -- which I liked as a kid and still do -- didn't disappoint at all.

But it is paradoxical in being a good-for-you food that's bad for you.

Good for you because it's made from oats and is high in soluble fiber, almost like oatmeal.

Bad for you because it's got added sugar.

Before I join in the online new employee orientation, could I ask a site manager to delete the duplicate and triplicate posts I just made? For some reason, my browser is having a hard time communicating with the eG site today, and I got no indication that my post commands were successful.

More on Monday in a little bit.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Good morning! I've got a computer lesson with Mr. E. in less that 15 minutes (I tutor him in basic computer skills twice a week), but let me see if I can catch up on a few comments ...

In fact, as I get older, it's becoming clear that, for me, there is one critical (and difficult) element without which there will be very little lasting weight loss, and it is...building muscle. There, I said it. Now I'm going to go try and live it...my first gym visit of 2008 is hopefully in my very near future, if I can just leave my cozy apartment and get outside. Oh, and keeping yourself hydrated. Do that too.

Oh yeah ... there is a lot of recent, and better, weight loss punditry that points out that the more muscle mass you have, the more revved your baseline metabolism gets, because muscle tissue burns up a good bunch of energy just in maintaining itself (it's also constantly active--even when you're just sitting there, after all, muscle is holding your body upright and in balance). So in addition to aerobic exercise, many instructors are now making sure their weight loss clients are pumping at least a little iron. It doesn't take much--those little hand weights or elastic bands are certainly enough for many of us ... so why is the danged elastic band my Kaiser Permanente instructor gave me mouldering in a basket four feet from where I am now sitting? :biggrin: Because I need to get on with that part of the program too!

Oops! Just turned 11am here--back later!

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Hey! I have that poster! Its my souvenir of a walking and eating trip 'round San Francisco - we stopped and bought a dark-chocolate dipped candied apricot in every candy store we saw. 13 of 'em total, in one day. LOTS of walking! The actual goal was to locate a poster shop that had that specific print, without dealing with city traffic and parking. The candy was a bonus. I remember it better than I remember the sights.

What's the playdoh for? Salt-fixes?

Sandy, is there any possibility of biking partway to work, or home? Is there an interim station where you could load and offload a bike, or store it during the day?

30 hilly miles sounds like work!

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Hey! I have that poster! Its my souvenir of a walking and eating trip 'round San Francisco - we stopped and bought a dark-chocolate dipped candied apricot in every candy store we saw. 13 of 'em total, in one day. LOTS of walking! The actual goal was to locate a poster shop that had that specific print, without dealing with city traffic and parking. The candy was a bonus. I remember it better than I remember the sights.

I bought mine at the gift shop at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge when I visited San Francisco, Seattle, Sean (my brother) and Estella Rose (my niece; these last two live in Woodinville, outside Seattle) last April.

It's true: The fog really does burn off at noon. Well, that particular Saturday, it was 2 pm.

What's the playdoh for? Salt-fixes?

A bit of Christmastime fun. My boss also distributed some puzzles and holiday doggerel on the last workday before Christmas.

If I'm jonesin' for salt, I'll get a bag of chips from the vending machine or walk up to the Wawa.

Sandy, is there any possibility of biking partway to work, or home? Is there an interim station where you could load and offload a bike, or store it during the day?

30 hilly miles sounds like work!

Actually, there is a place where I could keep a bike and take it partway to work with me.

It's called "my apartment building."

SEPTA permits bicycles on all off-peak Regional Rail trains. One seat at the end of each car has been removed, and bicyclists use that area for their bikes. Peak trains are those that arrive in Center City Philadelphia between 6 and 9:30 AM and depart it between 3:30 and 6:30 PM. My journey is in the opposite direction, so I could take a bike with me on SEPTA.

While it won't do much for my muscle mass, I should consider getting one. It just so happens that there's an excellent biking/hiking trail just a stone's throw from my office. Pictures of it forthcoming.

Edited to fix tag error.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I should also note that in addition to the snacks, I stashed this in my desk drawer, knowing this was coming up:

gallery_28660_5521_21913.jpg

This ad from the center spread of the Dec. 31 Metro contains tales of four Weight Watchers success stories.

I'm somewhat ambivalent about programs like this for several reasons:

1) While the Alcoholics Anonymous model has been proven to work and is highly effective for many, I've always been a keep-my-own-counsel sort when it comes to taking action of this type. I'll listen to advice from lots of sources, sure, and even act on some of it, but ultimately I want the decision to be mine. I went sober for 18 months without ever setting foot in an AA meeting. I might benefit from the group support, but I don't think I need it yet, and my current experience in the Landmark Forum has shown me anew both the strengths and the dangers of group improvement programs (though I suspect that some of the occupational hazards of Landmark are unique to it).

2) This ambivalence goes beyond Weight Watchers and AA-style programs per se: I don't really want to give up the foods I enjoy, and I enjoy a lot of them. Most diet programs usually call for you to give up or severely restrict your intake of some substance or another, and I think that may be part of the reason why most of them fail: in addition to the influence of our Lizard Brains, there is the similar psychological issue of the effects of deprivation. I will grant that with its point system, Weight Watchers doesn't so much put foods off limits as it does cause you to make conscious tradeoffs: Is this cheese cube worth forswearing a burger later? Can I make an ice cream cone up in salads tomorrow? As such, I suspect it's easier to stick to WW than many other diets, but I'm not at the point where I'm ready to try yet.

3) I'm not even sure I need to, for even though I am overweight and have a noticeable gut, I'm otherwise in good health. My blood pressure went from borderline high to normal after I went sober, and as I don't drink every day even now, it hasn't climbed back up from normal since I resumed drinking. My total cholesterol is high, but my bad cholesterol and triglycerides are low while my good cholesterol is high; given that there is no history of heart disease in my family, my doctor does not think it necessary for me to take either extraordinary measures or statins to reduce it. As I said before, my interest in losing weight is mainly one of physical fitness and physical appearance -- but as a gay man, those are often reasons enough for more intense steps than I have taken so far. I'm hoping Ellen will go into some detail about how her years as a Fat-Is-A-Feminist-Issue activist enabled her to escape the tyranny of appearance (and maybe touch on the differences between gay men and lesbians in this regard, for there are some; it strikes me that in gay America, the gender roles are reversed when it comes to primping, preening and doing all those things intended to make one more beautiful as conventionally defined).

Speaking of "beautiful as conventionally defined," the Bette Midler song I quoted on the whiteboard in one of my earlier posts today speaks directly to this topic and is one of my favorites. Maybe I could get rid of the gut, but so what if I don't? "I'm beautiful, dammit!" Or:

Don't just pussyfoot around and sit on your assets.

Unleash your ferocity on an unsuspecting world!

--from the same song

Edited to add footnote: I note that the long-running Weight Watchers topic on this forum went dormant in mid-December. Have people run out of interesting things to eat and yet still lose weight?

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Edited to add footnote: I note that the long-running Weight Watchers topic on this forum went dormant in mid-December.  Have people run out of interesting things to eat and yet still lose weight?

As a frequent contributor, I hope not! Although there's so much good stuff there already, it's a little intimidating to think of trying to add something new.

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What makes a lot of people I've told this to really crazy is that I refuse to eat "fake" foods. For me that means, lowfat mayo or sour cream, or margerine instead of butter, or fat free cheese (which is truly an abomination IMHO). For both monetary and taste reasons, I prefer to cook pretty much the majority of what I eat. I'll eat out at a good restaurant every now and then (I'd like to do more of that really in 2008) and in other people's homes, and yes I'll have the occasional candy bar or potato chips, but I try not to do that very often. Essentially, during the weight loss (I still have a lot more weight to lose, about another 40 pounds or so) I ate whatever the Hell I wanted just way less of it and it was a slow, steady dropping of the pounds as well as 4 clothing sizes.

Our office building just revamped/expanded the gym, use of the facilities is free for all building occupants, so I'll be starting an exercise program soon.  I look forward to following everyone's adventure in getting healthier in 2008.

I think your approach is about as sensible as it gets. Taking it off is more difficult than putting it on, and even though it may seem like we did, we didn't put it all on overnight. Taking it off overnight is equally unrealistic, and I suspect also that gradual weight loss is more lasting weight loss.

This gives me a good opportunity to segue into yesterday's dinner -- you all saw the salad I had for lunch when I posted my morning shots; the only thing you did not see was the homemade dressing I put on it:

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This concoction is one part rice vinegar, one part kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), one part extra virgin olive oil, some tarragon, basil, and black pepper, and a dash of sriracha. Interesting, no?

Anyway, last night's dinner would probably have cost me a few Weight Watchers points, or maybe not. I put the roaster into a George Foreman contact roaster that was left in my care by a friend; it was too big to fit at first but cooked into it as the juices dripped out:

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Before I put the chicken in the roaster, I sprinkled paprika over the outside liberally and put about a teaspoon and a half of rosemary and four lemon slices in the inside cavity.

Next I peeled seven potatoes and boiled them for mashed potatoes. (Hmmmmm. Looks like the photo of the potatoes didn't upload properly.)

Actually, they were whipped potatoes, not mashed potatoes, for what I did when they were soft was rice them:

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then add liquid. I had set aside butter and milk for this purpose (that photo didn't load either; I may upload and revise this post tonight), but ended up not using the milk. My one concession to reduced fat was to use the water the potatoes were cooked in instead of milk, but I still put in butter, plus black pepper and Old Bay. The reason I used Old Bay instead of salt is because my roomate has Type 1 diabetes and has suffered renal failure; as a result, he must limit or avoid a host of foods containing some common minerals.

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This does cause some problems for me, for vegetables are about the only thing that I find I can eat without incorporating some seasoning into the dish before cooking it. It also limits my ability to serve foods containing tomatoes or tomato sauce, and I used to prepare a lot of tomato-based dishes. I welcome any and all recipes that offer big flavor while avoiding those no-no substances.

These, BTW, were the veggies I served:

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These steam-in-the-bag frozen veggies are convenient, no doubt about it, and they don't come with a bonus serving of guilt.

As the chicken was nearing done and the veggies were steaming, I made gravy from the chicken drippings. As I was sprinting towards the finish, I didn't separate the fat from the rest of the drippings, so it floated to the top in the finished product:

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which, despite its appearance here, got perfectly smooth about a minute afterwards. I generally do well making gravies. I did note, however, that the gravy had a hint of sourness that I wasn't expecting; it wasn't until later that night that I realized that taste came from the lemon.

Sorry, but I didn't get a shot of everything on the plate. I suspect someone would need that to factor in the points, but maybe if I gave you approximate amounts, someone could score it for me?

1 chicken leg quarter

3/4 cup whipped potatoes (made from 7 potatoes, 4 tablespooons butter and 1/2 cup potato water, seasoned liberally with black pepper and Old Bay)

1/3 cup mixed vegetables

About 4 tablespoons gravy (2 tablespoons each chicken fat and cornstarch, 3/4 cup chicken drippings, unseparated, enough water to make 1 cup gravy, a dash of salt and ground black pepper)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

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Okay, I'm back--briefly.

First off, truth in advertising: in addition to the meals I posted about, yesterday I also consumed: a bowl of collard greens; three ounces of cheese; two lowfat granola bars; two fig bars; and six prunes.

("Some people don't go for prunes ... I dunno ... I've always found that if they ..." :laugh: You didn't think I could make it through an entire blog without a single Zappa quote, did you? :laugh: )

Seriously--prunes are a vital part of my personal regimen, partly because my food plan calls for four servings of fruit a day, forcing me to admit to myself that I just don't like raw fruit quite that much to get in four a day, and most fruit juice is too sweet for my tastes. Yeah, I know I'm weird that way. So dried fruit works just as well for me. Plus prunes, well, have that classic effect on one's, erm, flow ... which I need ... um, 'nuff said, right?

Something else I wanted to comment on:

But the good news--besides the yumminess--is that the net amount of meat isn't all that much--but the size of the heads, and the amount of work you have to put into getting all the meat out, tricks the ol' Lizard Brain into feeling like it had a nice big meal.

And fortunately, ol' Lizard Brain doesn't read the internet. :wink:

For those who missed my previous rants about the Lizard Brain from my last couple of blogs, this article gives a nice succinct explanation. I especially like this key quote:

Have you ever wondered why you reach for that pile of hot greasy fries while you tell yourself you are on a diet? The answer is that you have three brains, and the older brains were wired to put on weight long ago when food was scarce. Your old brains are not easily controlled by your fancy new brain hardware that reads diet books.
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So, my day today: for very late breakfast I once again had a cup of plain yogurt, plus a couple of cups of coffee. I am fortunate that I grew up drinking my coffee black, no sweetener; when I get one of them thar gussied-up espresso drinks, I choose the nonfat milk and the sugar-free syrup. Yes, I know, I've become one of those people I used to make fun of. :rolleyes: But frankly, I'd rather save the fat and calorie allowance for something more interesting--this is how I can still get away with the occasional indulgence in pork belly, for instance. At least I'm still going full-caffeine.

Right now, despite my protestations about fresh fruit, I am eating a tangelo as a snack. I have to remind myself to eat at least a little fresh fruit every now and then.

Shortly, I'll be taking Mr. E to a weekly appointment, and then doing a little more food-galivanting around town with camera in hand. Oh yeah, and getting some lunch at another of my healthy-dining finds. See you all later...

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That's one of the neatest things I've ever read. I've been wondering at all those references to Lizard Brain---I was beginning to think that I might lean more toward a Winnie The Pooh mental state.

I've learned a really interesting new thing each of the past two days.

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So, my day today: for very late breakfast I once again had a cup of plain yogurt, plus a couple of cups of coffee. I am fortunate that I grew up drinking my coffee black, no sweetener; when I get one of them thar gussied-up espresso drinks, I choose the nonfat milk and the sugar-free syrup. Yes, I know, I've become one of those people I used to make fun of. :rolleyes: But frankly, I'd rather save the fat and calorie allowance for something more interesting--this is how I can still get away with the occasional indulgence in pork belly, for instance. At least I'm still going full-caffeine.

Right now, despite my protestations about fresh fruit, I am eating a tangelo as a snack. I have to remind myself to eat at least a little fresh fruit every now and then.

Shortly, I'll be taking Mr. E to a weekly appointment, and then doing a little more food-galivanting around town with camera in hand. Oh yeah, and getting some lunch at another of my healthy-dining finds. See you all later...

I struggle with this with fruit also. While they're are a number of fruits that I do eat, it is just not something I want to do on a daily basis. Apples are my favorite so I take five to work on Mon morning and make sure I have one every day. I am also addicted to the Fage yogurt and have found I actually don't mind mixing in mandarin oranges or low sugar diced peaches that I now keep in my desk. Two a day down, that was my accomplishment for last year.

Since berries mostly spoil before we get around to using them, I guess I have to start considering dried too. I just remember giving my elderly grandmother prunes all of the time and thinking they were gross. But, honestly, I haven't tried them so thanks for the blog - I am going to give them a try.

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Since berries mostly spoil before we get around to using them, I guess I have to start considering dried too.  I just remember giving my elderly grandmother prunes all of the time and thinking they were gross.  But, honestly, I haven't tried them so thanks for the blog - I am going to give them a try.

I have been following along but didn't think there was very much I could contribute to this blog but.........

Try this: Find a clean, large mason jar, preferably a wide-mouth one. Sort through the berries gently to make sure there are no nasties in there BUT DO NOT WASH THEM. Carefully transfer them to the mason jar, put on the lid and screw band and put them on a shelf in the 'fridge. When you want some berries take out a serving, wash them and you are set. I am amazed how long berries stay fresh using this method. There is no need to vacuum seal the jar.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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