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Diet Dilemma

January 25, 2013

It’s confession time. Yesterday, I spent thirty minutes exercising. There was some cardiovascular bits, some stretching, some strength building. I sweated. I’m not proud.

My plan had been to skip the whole exercise thing and try to make my blood lipid goals through a change in diet alone. But then we got a Kinect for the Xbox. And now I’ve got the world’s most annoying personal trainer, but the TV totally can tell when I’m not extending far enough, or my back isn’t straight, or any of the other countless ways I’m doing it wrong.

Truth be told, it’s more fun that I expected. But I don’t like the way exercise makes me feel.

The diet is going well, but there seems to be one problem that keeps on raising its ugly head. In fact it seems to be inescapable. Everywhere I look, there is fried chicken. And seriously, I can’t even begin to describe to you the powerful craving I’ve got right now.

It all started innocently enough. I saw on Facebook my friend Innae eating one of Coccadotts chicken wing cupcakes. The event would have gone without comment had Innae not recently returned from Korea, aka the home of the greatest fried chicken in the world.

We don’t have Korean fried chicken here. I don’t know the secret to what makes it so good, nor do I want to know. That’s some dangerous knowledge. I just want that impossibly crisp crust and juicy tender meat in my mouth right now.

How anyone could eat a chicken wing on top of a cupcake after that is beyond me.

So now I have fried chicken on the mind, and last night I found myself on Wolf Road and I was hungry. It just so happens that Hooters has all you can eat boneless wings on Thursday nights. Except that’s not on the diet. Not even close. So in a bit of a panic I called up Albany Jane and she talked me down. God bless her.

Except now apparently Mrs. Fussy is co-hosting a fried chicken party on Saturday, and guess who is responsible for procuring the poultry? Dammit. Even takeout fried chicken is still fried chicken. Salty, oily, meaty fried chicken.

And I just know at the party I’ll have to stare down a giant platter of the stuff. Gah, that’s going to be hard to resist. Part of me is thinking that the only answer is to get extra crappy fried chicken for the party so I’m less tempted to eat any.

So let’s say for argument’s sake that I make it through the party this weekend with the integrity of my stupid diet intact. Next weekend is still the Super Bowl, and year after year the cornerstones for my observance of this national holiday consist of pizza, beer, chips and chicken wings.

My plan this year is to get creative.

Already I’ve looped in Three Smiles Seitan Creations. I figure they are the experts in making meaty things out of non-meat sources. And for the most part my favorite part of the Buffalo wing is really the Buffalo sauce.

So I have a mega sized bottle of Frank’s Red Hot at the ready, and now I just need to try and figure out how to recreate the rest of my favorite flavors. In some ways, it’s kind of depressing to deprive myself of my beloved Super Bowl foods. I’ve never been one for trying to recreate healthful versions of unhealthy dishes. But hopefully this is the only year I have to do it.

Who knows? With enough beer, I may not even be able to tell the difference.

I think the lead option now is to take seitan strips, marinate them in oil and garlic, and coat them with a walnut/breadcrumb/cheese mixture. Typically, this has been done with green-tube parm, but I’m hoping that The Cheese Traveler may have some kind of super pungent blue cheese that is hard enough to be microplaned and mixed into the breading.

Cheese isn’t exactly on the diet, and that technique could help make the flavor go farther. Either that, or perhaps the answer is to find something softer that can be blended with greek yogurt.

Pizza is just out. But perhaps some seitan sausage could fill in the pizza gap. Maybe something that could go with some sauerkraut and brown mustard. Because those last two things are actually made from ingredients that have some health benefits (minus the sodium of course).

Anyhow, I’m also open to other suggestions. There was a vegan chopped liver recipe that sounded enticing, although I have a hard time imagining how lentils, onions and walnuts could taste anything like one of the favorite delicacies of my youth.

Man, this is rough. To make up for all the pain, I think I need to come up with a list of foods to eat for when the diet is finally over. Hopefully I’ll indulge with a little more moderation than all-you-can-eat wing night. But fried chicken has totally made the list. Damn, that’s good stuff.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2013 10:41 am

    1. You don’t like the way exercise makes you feel because you’re out of shape. I don’t mean that as a dig, but as a statement of fact. You said yourself that you don’t exercise, so therefore, you’re out of shape. When you’re out of shape and then jump right in like you did with the Kinect, you’re not going to like the way it feels at first. Give it some time, though. Even 30 min on the Kinect 3 days a week (4-5 is better, but anything is something), and in a couple of weeks, you’ll notice a difference in your strength and endurance, and also how you feel not just post-sweat, but also in between workouts. Keep at it. I do understand the want to complain about it … I was there once, too.

    I was talking to my friend (who is a marathon runner) about Girl Scout Cookies, and she said, “Of course I want cookies. I always want cookies. Cookies, cheeseburgers, potato chips. That’s why I run.” It was tongue in cheek, but I share her sentiment. I would rather work out and be able to indulge (responsibly) without worrying than watch everything that goes into my mouth. Of course, I don’t run marathons.

    2. Now that I’ve gotten off of the exercise soapbox, on to the food. I’m thinking some sort of hearty dip. I’m not personally a fan of the buffalo wing dips that everyone thinks are so fantastic, but I’m sure there’s got to be some kind of vegan recipe for a hearty winter dip. I assume both potatoes and sweet potatoes are in your diet? Maybe something with potatoes and … seitan bacon? Does Three Smiles even do such a thing? I’m not sure how you pull it together because I would default to cheese, but I am not a vegan so maybe the vegans reading have some thoughts.

    3. Not superbowl food, but I recently made a batch of this soup and froze lunch portions to take to work, and it is super delicious:
    Instead of farro, I used quinoa*, and instead of thai red curry paste, I used chile and garlic paste from the Asian market (which gave it some extra spicy kick). it is almost more like a liquidy stew than a soup, but it is great with some of Britin and Nick’s specialty loaves (I like it with the roasted garlic bread, myself), and it is warm and comforting and super healthy.

    *I read your post on quinoa. Yes, it troubles me. I’ve finally found a hearty grain that is also a super food and I’m not quite ready to let it go yet. When I am in-between loaves from AGB, I supplement with the quinoa bread from TJ’s. I love it. It is my new favorite super food.

    • January 25, 2013 6:52 pm

      3 Smiles does do seitan bacon! We’ve been testing it out in the shop recently (a direct benefit of having Katherine as a friend and renting our kitchen to her for production. We barter all of the seitan we use in the shop for kitchen rental – it works out beautifully for all). I’m sure you can put in a special order with Kath if you want to try some and you can pick it up with your bread share if you want! We’re glad you’re a member this year :)

      • January 27, 2013 11:59 am

        Good to know. :) I’ll keep you posted. I need to get in and try the slider-turned burger. It looks delicious.

  2. January 25, 2013 10:44 am

    I have a really long comment that wordpress is trying to eat. I saved it in a text document and will try later today to post it. :)

  3. January 25, 2013 11:27 am

    What if you took a tofurky and oven fry it? Not sure about taste, but it would be meat free and not deep fried.

  4. Stevo permalink
    January 25, 2013 11:51 am

    Not a fan of boneless wings. The breading always soaks up too much sauce and it becomes soggy. I’m shocked the Profussor would even suggest such a travesty.

    • Josh K. permalink
      January 25, 2013 5:32 pm

      I usually agree with this post. But Beff’s Boneless wings are pretty extraordinary in that they are awesome and none of the above applies.

  5. Jean Patiky permalink
    January 25, 2013 11:58 am

    Deprivation never works long term. Try moderation, even now. Could you be satisfied with a small piece if fried chicken at party?

  6. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    January 25, 2013 12:09 pm

    First-world problem!

  7. January 25, 2013 3:24 pm

    Deprivation leads to binge eating. If you really want fried chicken, go get a piece — ONE piece, with a big pile of healthy vegetables (not the drowning-in-butter kind). And if you want wings next week (and honestly, most people do), get them, but only eat 3 or 6, not a pile.

    • January 27, 2013 11:57 am

      Good advice. Having a “cheat day” is highly recommended by most nutritionists and trainers for this exact reason, but to do the cheat in moderation like Mindy describe above.

  8. January 25, 2013 4:12 pm

    In a recent non-scientific sampling of takeout restaurant menus in NE Ohio, I have found that all of them – all of them – offer fried chicken. Much like most CapReg places offer mozzarella sticks with raspberry sauce. You should stay away from NE Ohio.

  9. Josh K. permalink
    January 25, 2013 5:30 pm

    In Korea, the secret to the deliciously unhealthy fried chicken (a chicken joint on every corner) was widely known that they would fry it twice and then perhaps fry it again (usually with sesame or grape seed oil) if it sat out and got cold.

  10. January 25, 2013 7:10 pm

    I am so happy to be working on this with you! I LOVE this kind of challenge! I do think that Three Smiles Kitchen’s K’s Everyday Roast, sliced in 1/2-1/3″ rounds, then halved into “wing-shapes” and steamed slightly (to tenderize) will fit the bill for wings when dredged in your favorite sauce. Fried? You want fried? It’s good for that too. You just need to supply the batter! Best parts about our seitan: the taste. Other perks: no preservatives, no chemicals, no GMOs and you’re supporting local business! Thanks for looping me in, Profussor! Oh, and it’s available at Honest Weight Food Co-op, Delmar Health Hut, and soon, fin-your fishmonger!

  11. January 25, 2013 9:56 pm

    Here’s the secret of Korean Fried Chicken:

  12. threesmileskitchen permalink
    January 26, 2013 12:16 am

    Want a “bone” in your wing? Maybe a skewer? The kind used for corn on the cob (not the kabob kind).

    And, Daniel, do feel free to try Three Smiles Kitchen bacon! Message me for this. Great reviews from All Good Bakers, if I do say so myself! (Thanks for the plug, Britin!) There are a LOT of other ideas in the photo albums on our Facebook page: Super creative people out there, sending in the smiles!

  13. January 26, 2013 1:20 pm

    irisira is right, exercise does eventually make you feel good even for those of us that dread it and makes you feel a little less guilty when indulging. Have you tried the yogurt cheese from Trader Joe’s? They used to have it in block form, but only carry it in slices now, it’s pretty yummy!

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