Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Write Letters

Dear Subway,

Thanks a whole heck of a lot for switching ALL of your packeted salad dressings to fat free. Was that really necessary? That tiny packet of ranch you tried to give me for my grilled chicken salad today had fourteen grams of carbs in it. Fourteen! It should have been obvious from the bacon and cheese on my salad that I'm not afraid of a little fat. I don't need or appreciate your futile attempts to keep me "healthy" by offering me a gross-tasting, sugar-filled version of my dressing of choice. I'm cool with you offering more choices of dressings to satisfy consumer demand for lower calorie options. I understand that customers like me who refuse your crackers but want extra bacon and full-fat dressing are rare. But come on! What kind of establishment stops keeping around good old trusty full-fat ranch dressing?!

And that little flimsy plastic side-cup of usually-for-sandwiches ranch you ended up giving me? The one you assured me was regular ranch? It popped open and spilled all over the inside of my to-go bag before I even made it to the car.

You suck.


(In other news, I did I quick Google Search to see if I could easily find a Subway picture or logo to put with this post, and I found this. Is it weird to anyone else that this exists?)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lazy Sunday

My lunch:

-4 slices of summer sausage
-2 sharp cheddar cheese cubes and 2 pepper jack cheese cubes (1 oz. total cheese)
-green pepper slices
-wedge of raw cabbage
-baby corn
-a pickle spear
-2 WASA fiber crackers (each 4g net carbs)
-ice water to drink
-a piece of sugar-free chocolate candy for dessert

My fiance's lunch:

-a big bowl of Kraft macaroni and cheese
-a can of Pepsi

My plate was fresh, colorful, nutritious, delicious, and incredibly filling. For once, I wasn't jealous of Dan's carb-filled meal. I won't say that there aren't times when I wouldn't prefer mac and cheese to fresh veggies, but today, my meal was exactly what I wanted.

Besides, I learned this about Pepsi this week. So even though it's pretty much my favorite liquid, that image will hopefully make me think twice before downing a can.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Why must I live in a culture that stuffs fattening foods down my throat, yet mistreats people who are fat?"

-Jennette Fulda, at her blog Half of Me

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In case you were wondering...

My eating choices last night resulted in some sluggishness and extreme shortness of breath (reactive hypoglycemia, anyone?), and a ragin' case of indigestion when I woke up this morning.

My body hates me so much more than it did ten -- even five -- years ago. Either that, or it's having some sort of awakening of consciousness and starting to speak up for itself when I treat it poorly.

Sigh. Time to go out to breakfast and begin to undo the damage with a nice omelet and lots of water.

Mmmmm. Cardboard.

A reflection on a night of carb-consumption:


Committed low-carbers often write in their books and blogs about how, after eating mostly whole low-carb foods, processed starchy foods (like the chicken alfredo pizza I had for dinner and the Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies I had for dessert) taste like cardboard.

And you know what? They're right. After just over a year of experimenting with this way of eating, I'm starting to notice that, too. It's mostly in the texture, and sometimes even in the taste, but pretty much anything made with refined white flour just seems, well, cardboardy. I can't think of any better way to describe it.

But here's funny thing. This obvious cardboardiness doesn't make me stop wanting those foods, and it still doesn't keep me from finding them completely and utterly delicious when I eat them.

Will I ever get to the same point as the die-hards who can actually turn up their noses at sugary, floury, pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies? Maybe it's something that will come with more time, or maybe eating them here and there is a habit I will never fully break.

I mostly wonder if this new food-awareness will lead to my eventual distaste for starchy foods, or if it means I'm meant to start finding actual cardboard more and more delicious.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In Which Starbucks Misses Its Chance to Make Me Happy

Question for fellow low-carb enthusiasts:

Do you hate coffee shops as much as I do?

Maybe I shouldn't be so bitter about them, considering how much I used to love them. I spent an obscene percentage of my undergraduate career at a coffee place where I enjoyed sugary mocha beverages and giant everything bagels at least three times a week.

But these days, I avoid coffee shops like the plague. Even though I can tolerate the hassle of confusing the barista by asking for coffee with heavy whipping cream and Splenda, there's never a single food item I can order without blowing my carb allowance for the entire day. (Unless I want to lick cream cheese off a spoon, which I am not above doing.) For me, making the switch to low-carbing pretty much meant kissing coffee shops goodbye.

Which also meant kissing convenient and casual meeting/chatting/time-killing places with friends goodbye. I've said it before, and it bears repeating: The world is NOT friendly to low-carbers.

I didn't get my hopes up too much when I heard that Starbucks had decided to introduce new food items to their menu to try to pull themselves out of their sales slump, but I was secretly hoping that they would read my mind and start serving sausage, bacon, and western omelets. It turns out that they failed to take me into consideration at all. Their new, "healthier" breakfast menu includes oatmeal, apple bran muffins, and fruity granola bars. This USA Today article lists all the new stuff, along with each item's calories, fat, fiber, and protein, but numbers for sugar and overall carbs are nowhere to be found. Wonder why! And don't bother trying to find that info at the Starbucks website, either. All they do when you click on "food" under "nutrition" is list the items.

The only new offering that initially caught my eye was the "Power Protein Plate", but then I read the description:
An on-the-go snack of Cheddar cheese, fresh fruit, hard-boiled cage-free egg, whole-wheat bagel and peanut butter.
Depending on what kind of fruit it is and if the peanut butter is natural, I suppose if I was in a pinch I could order that and toss the bagel, but it's still not quite impressive enough to lure me to Starbucks. It's a step in the right direction for sure, but just misses the mark.

I think I'm just going to continue avoiding coffee shops while I'm trying to stick to my eating plan. I don't know if I can imagine a suckier scenario than sitting in a Starbucks with a sugar-free coffee and hard-boiled egg when there are giant pastries and pieces of cheesecake staring back at me from the display case.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Advertising Fail

You know, if the best thing you can say about the product you're trying to sell is that it's "Fine in Moderation", I think you've got some problems. Check out this new ad campaign that's actually promoting high fructose corn syrup:

High Fructose Corn Syrup: It May Not Kill You Immediately, So Go Ahead and Eat Some!

Easy Lunch: Chicken Stir-Fry in Cabbage Cups

I'm totally lazy when it comes to cooking meals, so I tend to eat a lot of quick stir-frys made with frozen vegetables and chicken or steak you can buy already pre-cooked. Heat some oil in a skillet, throw in the veggies and meat, add some garlic powder, a few red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and maybe a little bit of soy sauce, and that's it. It's not gourmet, but it's really quick, easy, and yummy. And, depending on which frozen vegetable mix I use (I usually allow some carrots and a few peas despite their starchiness), a big serving is always less than 10 carbs.

I was in the mood for one of these easy stir-frys the other day when I remembered I had a head of cabbage in the fridge. It only added a couple of extra minutes to my "ccoking" time to wash and half the cabbage, remove the flimsy leaves, and find some nice, firm bowl-shaped leaves in the center perfect for filling up with my chicken and veggies.


The result was a deliciously crisp lunch I could hold in my hand and munch on while I watched TV. I kept a fork handy in case of spillage, but it turns out I didn't even need it.


I use Oscar Meyer's Grilled Chicken Breast Strips, by the way, and I dice it up to make it easier to eat. The Oscar Meyer is much more tender than Tyson's version, which always seems kind of slimy and unappetizing to me. I like Tyson's pre-cooked steak strips just fine, though.

Creepiest Low-Carb Dish Ever?


A blogger at OnlyKnives.com created this Jar Jar Binks Salad, sculpting Jar Jar's head entirely out of jicama, dying it with food coloring, and using it as the centerpiece for a shredded veggiesalad.

My first thought was: Why Jar Jar? Of all the cool Star Wars characters to choose from (my personal favorite was always this one, who can be seen in cake form here), Jar Jar Binks is totally the most annoying one. But the blogger explains:
Like just about every other kid growing up in the late twentieth century, I could never get enough of Star Wars. So it’s no surprise that a grown-up Jedi-wannabe with a knack for the culinary arts would turn to Star Wars food carvings for entertainment.

There was just one problem… after hours of carving, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to destroy my handiwork. After all, who wants to squash a sweet potato that’s been lovingly crafted to look like Admiral Akbar? Or demolish a Daikon radish in the form of cult hero Boba Fett? Not me, that’s for sure.

But what if I could create a Star Wars figure that I wanted to destroy? Surely then I’d be able to slice into it without remorse. Choosing a character did not turn out to be difficult.

Jar Jar Binks was easily the worst thing about The Phantom Menace. If I could create a scrumptious salad out of him and serve him up with a tasty crostini, perhaps I might have my revenge.

Jicama proved to be just the right medium for my sculpture — it’s a tuberous root vegetable that is perfect for food carvings. It’s crisp, cuts easily and doesn’t dry out quickly. Jicama doesn’t taste like much but readily absorbs the juices and flavors of a marinade or sauce.

Oh, now I get it. I don't think I'd want to spend hours carving one myself, but I suppose if a jicama Jar Jar Binks was presented to me, I might also find a little joy in slicing into his head and eating some. It's low carb, after all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Goodbye, Water Weight!

Want to know what you can eat to keep yourself from feeling bloated?

Hint: It ain't low fat, and it ain't grain.

After being on a bit of an eating bender over the last couple of weeks, I was really starting to feel the effects of all of the pizza, cookies, potato skins, cheesecake, and Pepsi. So now that my vacation is over, I decided to go back to a strict version of my low carb way of eating. Here's what I ate yesterday:

-a low-carb, no sugar breakfast shake (specifically, an Atkins Chocolate Royale shake)

-some pepperoni slices (with no fear of nitrates!)

-2 bunless grilled hamburgers, topped with full-fat provolone cheese and thick-sliced bacon and some edamame

-a bunless grilled all beef hot dog, topped with full-fat shredded cheese and a salad with full-fat ranch dressing

-a coconut & coffee flavored iced smoothie made in the blender with sugar-free chocolate protein powder, cocoa, and some full-fat heavy whipping cream

I also drank water with my meals instead of soda and had a few extra glasses of water throughout the day.

When I woke up this morning, I weighed five pounds less than I did yesterday morning. FIVE POUNDS. I'm not even exaggerating.

For those of you who are reading this and thinking to yourselves, "So what? It's just water weight!" I only have this to say: "WHO CARES?! I still dropped five pounds in one day! Without limiting calories! While getting plenty of energy from protein and veggies and not starving myself in any way!"

I always hate it when people try to dismiss the amazingly quick results of low-carb diets with their snooty "It's just water weight" comment. It's not like I really believe that I magically lost 5 pounds of actual body fat just by cutting out sugar and bread yesterday, but those five pounds still make a difference in the way I feel today and in the way my jeans are no longer cutting into my midsection. They still mean something. And while these five pounds may be from my body getting rid of excess water, the naysayers can't tell me the other forty-five pounds I've lost on Atkins were "just water weight".

I think it's valuable information (for dieters and non-dieters alike) that a little low-carbing is the perfect cure for bloating. It's knowledge that can come in handy when you've got something important coming up and you don't want to feel there's an inflated balloon in your stomach.

Case in point: Even though I plan to enjoy pasta and sugary cake at my wedding in a few months, you'd better believe that I'll be skipping the bread at the rehearsal dinner the night before.