Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend a lovely weekend in DC as an add-on to a business trip.  I stayed with my friend C, who I've known since the 7th grade, and her family.  Saturday morning, we send her son, A, off to attend a couple of birthday parties and realize we have about 5 hours to ourselves to play in the city.

Yeah, we could have done something cultural and expanded our minds but instead, we opted to boost the economy (shopping) and expand our bellies.

We had a lunch at 2 Amys, and quantities of cured Italian meats, cheeses, and beer.  We also had  these lovely deviled eggs, with a bright and fresh pesto sauce with anchovy...normally, I won't touch the furry fish with someone else's taste buds.  I try them every so often to see if my taste buds have changed, and the verdict is always NO.  I've come around on a few things--I'll eat Brussels sprouts  (with bacon, of course), and I'm working on lamb.  Still not feeling the love with canned tuna (like tuna raw and seared) or liver & onions, and probably won't ever...this actually might be a good diet plan,  Nothing to eat but canned tuna and liver = not going to eat = starve to death or at least my goal weight.

Anyway, these eggs and the sauce were wonderful, and we scraped the plate to get all the sauce...which may play into a later story. We retrieved A at some point and met some friends of C's for dinner at Palena, and had the most wonderful hamburger I think I have ever put in my mouth.  It was voted one of DC's top burgers and I can understand why.  They grind their own meat and bake their own buns, and it was juicy and meaty and I wanted it to never end.  I may never eat another fast food burger ever again--not that would a bad thing, according to Supersize Me.  It was burger nirvana, and I miss it. I made C promise that we would go back there whenever I come to town again.

Palena also serves a fry plate with shoestring fries, onion rings, dauphine potatoes, and fried lemon slices.  The dauphine potatoes are these wonderful little potato puffs that melt in your mouth...and that fried lemon slice was a real eye-opener.  It was lightly breaded and deep-fried, and it was crunchy, salty, tangy, and bitter all at the same time.  It was sort of like a Southern palate cleanser...'cause you know how much we like to deep-fry things.

I flew home on Sunday, and had an impromptu Oscars party at the house about 2 hours after I landed. Usually, when we do this, we sort of potluck, but since I was just getting in, we opted to order Chinese take-out.  In retrospect, this was a bad idea...especially after I work up at 5 am and embarked on a long day of spending "quality" time in  my bathroom.

The thing about having food poisoning is that you start wishing for death immediately, because your body is busy trying to expel whatever is poisoning it in any manner that it can...often violently...very violently.  About 2 hours into my ordeal, death could not have come soon enough, and I continued to feel that way for most of the day.

I won't bore you with all the details about the food poisoning, but the upside is that I lost 8 lbs.  I realize it was a little dehydration thrown in there, but it was enough to make a little kickstart in my brain and make me think about getting back on the diet track.

Late night television is just bizarre sometimes...we've all seen the "krazee" commercials, infomercials, and the things said and done in the name of religion.  However, it's sometimes good television, as in the case of the late re-run of Good Eats.

Somehow, over the last year or so, Alton has lost about 50 lbs., and he's done a show called "Live and Let Diet," that entails some of his thinking and methodology.  I finally started paying attention when he kept smacking these giant lard blocks, a'la Oprah and her red wagon of fat, and thought to myself that maybe AB might have something important to say, or at the very least, different about how he lost the weight.  And, we all know he's scientific about it, too.  So, I sat up and took notice.

Essentially, he's got 4 lists--things he consumes every day, things he consumes at least 3 times a week, things he consumes only 1 time per week, and things that he NEVER consumes.  You can find all the particulars all over the internet at this point, but if you get a chance to watch the show, you really should.  He starts his day with a fruit smoothie with some purple fruit, which he tells you is chockfull of antioxidants and other important things, bananas, other fruits and a little soy milk.

Other items on the everyday list include nuts and green tea, which wouldn't be too hard to eat/drink.  Then, the 3 times a week list, well hell, let me just show you the lists and I won't have to type nearly as lazy like that:

Include Daily
- Fruits
- Whole Grains
- Leafy Greens
- Nuts
- Carrots
- Green Tea

3 times a week
- Oily Fish
- Yogurt
- Broccoli
- Sweet Potato
- Avocado

Once a week
- Red meat
- Pasta
- Dessert
- Alcohol

- Fast Food
- Soda
- Processed meals/frozen dinners
- Canned soup
- "Diet" anything

And the number one AB rule seems to be:  Eat breakfast every day, no exceptions.

He never really prescribes a diet plan, and is rather quick to say that he's not proposing the hot new diet trend, blah, blah blah, but I totally can see him becoming the next big thing in dieting...that cult of celebrity chef thing, you know.

Anyway, I thought, what the heck?  Why not try some of this out?  Listening to the program and watching him talk about the science behind how he created the lists really started to make matter that it was 2 am and bloody EVERYTHING makes sense at 2 am.  (How else do you think those geniuses at Taco Bell thought up "Fourth Meal?"  You know it had to come out in some drunken 2 a.m. ramblings.)  Plus, I wanted to buy a new blender.  A red one.

So, I trotted off to Target and got a new blender...I wisely opted not to spring for the $150 Waring bar blender even though I really, really, wanted one, just in case I decided after 3-4 days to chuck this whole morning smoothie idea and only really use it to make fruity drinks on occasion.  (Besides, it wasn't red, and I can always upgrade later.)  And, then stopped by Publix on the way home and got frozen fruit and some soy milk.  I am so not sure about this soy milk business.  I tasted it once, and it was just blecch.   I am committed now, with a new blender and a bunch of frozen fruit, so we'll see how it goes.

Day 1 - made smoothie...blender did not vortex as well as AB's, but it did seem to crush up the frozen fruit with no issues.  The smoothie is a huge amount, and someone out there in the Internetland said they figured it to be about 340 calories and practically fat-free, depending on how much soy milk you used.   I also ate a salad for lunch, and made Pineapple-Glazed Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Sweet Potatoes, plus a little steamed broccoli, for dinner.  No butter on the amazed at self.  I did not manage to get in any whole grains, nuts, carrots, or green tea, but I figure this is going to be a "work up to" project. 

Day 2 - began again with the smoothie and not giving up coffee, which is not listed on any of AB's lists, thank the gods.  For lunch, I tried the Sherried Sardine Toast recipe.

Yes, I actually ate sardines voluntarily...which is something I thought I would never do, after my adventure with the fresh ones.  And while the fresh ones didn't work out, the thought of actually consuming ones in a can was nowhere in any of my brain cells.  I remember my dad eating them with crackers and thinking that "man, you got me to eat a raw oyster and like it, but that is the absolute extent of gross things that I will eat for you, period."  And, my dad could create and put away some really icky things.  I remember coming home from college once to do laundry, and opening a cabinet in the kitchen to find a snack...and the man had begun pickling his own eggs...looked like some sort of alien larvae floating around in a large jar.  Scared me witless.

AB's recipe was actually not bad, but I thought it was a lot of work to make, nothwithstanding how much I like avocados, and I think I might be able to actually eat them straight from the can.  Weird, I know.  I did try one from the can, and it wasn't nearly as fishy as I remembered it being.  I think the key is to get the brislings in the 2 layer pack with olive oil.

Anyway, I'm not doing everything that AB is doing--baby steps, people, baby steps--but I have been making the smoothie every day, and I've managed to keep 10 lbs off, so we'll see.


J said...

One of the things I am most looking forward to as I return to the U.S. --- Alton Brown!

LinC said...

I read the transcript of that show on the Good Eats Fan Page, and Alton certainly is committed to his plan. I'm curious how he gets more protein in his diet. Maybe he'll do another show and talk about low-calorie protein sources. In the show he talks about doing a diet book called "Buff Like Me," which I'm sure is a joke. The real book title would be "Good Eats the Diet" or something like that.

I put bristlings on the shopping list for this weekend. My mother has always eaten sardines so this isn't that alien. Don't know about mushing them up with avocado. The fish three times a week reminds me forceably of the old-old-OLD Weight Watcher's program. I already eat yogurt and a banana for breakfast. I think I'll stick with that.