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The Health Kick

November 12, 2013

Did I mention that I recently walked up six flights of stairs? What is notable was that at the top I wasn’t completely winded. Not only have I been trying to eat better, but I’ve been mightily consistent with a thirty minute aerobic workout that leaves me in a puddle of sweat.

Sorry, that last part wasn’t too appetizing.

Really, I want to focus on the food part of this experiment. Even though that’s probably not too appetizing either.

The things I’ve been eating lately have been peculiar. Not necessarily the items themselves, but it’s atypical for most people to consider baba ganoush to be a good way to start your day.

Personally, I find the heat of the garlic and the zest of the lemon to be invigorating.

The same goes for the homemade spreads I’ve been schmearing on my morning toast. Mostly they have been some version of Italian salsa verde. It’s a bright leafy green, with garlic, lemon, oil and salt. Sometimes anchovy, capers, and hot peppers. But I made a less funky version when I substituted the parsley out for fennel fronds. That was a fragrant way to start the day.

I’m not one to take fish oil pills. Really, I want to eat my medicine as food instead of as supplements. So I’ve bought a giant jar of pickled herring. Sure, the sodium isn’t great. But I limit my intake to a serving a day at most. I’m even treating myself to a small dollop of real sour cream on top of each fillet.

These fishy treats are going on Ak-Mak crackers. These are the most virtuous things one could imagine. Just a few kitchen cabinet ingredients, but predominantly organic whole grains, and a scattering of sesame seeds.

When I finally get my hummus going, I’ll be flying through these crackers ten at a time, for sure.

Speaking of beans, I’ve been eating plenty of them. Cuban black, of course, and chana masala is a staple here as well. But the split mung bean dal was also delicious. We’ve drained the freezer of all its prepared bean dishes, so I’m going back on a cooking spree to stock up on ready-made dinners.

Treats, beyond the creamed herring and baba ganoush, consist largely of four things.
1) Dark chocolate eaten with walnuts – love that combo
2) Coconut milk with chia seeds, sugar, and a touch of vanilla
3) Spoonfuls of Haagen Dazs chocolate sorbet from the carton
4) TC Bakery’s duchilly hazelnuts

Chef Paul recently sent me a care package from the bakery’s new home in Saratoga Springs. Some things weren’t quite on the diet, but I had to try them anyway. His chocolate covered pretzels are more pretzel than chocolate, and he’s found a great pretzel to serve as the base of this lightly sweet, savory treat. But I do really enjoy those winter cookies, with their subtle notes of orange, dark chocolate edges and vast quantities of slivered almonds in a rich caramel.

Damn, I wish I could eat more of these.

But I’m too full from all of the lowfat yogurt I’ve been mixing with generic grape nuts, flax seeds and frozen wild blueberries. More than anything else, this is my default meal. It can fill in for breakfast, a snack, lunch, or a quick no-cook dinner. Whole grains, protein, whatever flax seeds give you, and all the antioxidants of blueberries.

Honestly, it’s all probably BS. But the thing is that I’m still optimizing for is my blood lipids. I’m not trying to bulk up or lose weight in any meaningful way. So I’m eating stupid trendy foods that people say are good for you.

This is how I ended up drinking spirulina in the late 1990s. Surely, I’ll look back on these days with the same kind of disgust and horror at my poor judgement. But I’m pretty sure that staying clear of the Italian Sanchez at Hoagie Haven is still in my best interest.

That’s the sandwich I “invented” but have yet to try, which is a riff off their combination of deep fried chicken cutlet, deep fried cheese sticks, and french fries with cheese on a hoagie roll the length of your arm.

One of these days that sandwich will be mine. And it’s going to be fantastic.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2013 11:41 am

    I can totally understand what you’re going through. I have certainly made my fair share of sacrifices while calling myself a “food writer”, including now waking up every morning and juicing vegetables. But it does make you feel better, and in turn, it also makes those delicious meals that you know are providing your body with zero nutritional value allowable. Keep it up!

  2. November 12, 2013 3:49 pm

    Sounds like you are injesting an ungodly amount of carbohydrates… That right there could be your problem in the first place.

  3. November 12, 2013 5:43 pm

    Hey Profussor,

    If you are doing “ATP”, here’s one for you: I want to barrel age Manhattan’s for a holiday party in a charred oak barrel. What bourbon do you recommend? Something less aged that will pick up the char like Ironweed? Or something more mature yet inexpensive lke Evan Williams? Also, vermouth suggestions?

  4. Deedee permalink
    November 18, 2013 1:47 am

    If you are still looking to perfect your hummus, I’ve been told that mine is quite good. Would you like me to send you the recipe?

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