Thank you Facebook, for bringing to light Holiday Hodgepodge, posted at Mark Rubin Writes exactly one year ago. Chocolate Whisky Cake appeared in the New York Times, courtesy of food columnist Melissa Clark. About the cake I wrote “One heck of a cake, and I’ll report on results just as soon as I bake it.” And no one saw another word about the cake … until today, when I finally baked it. (More on the cake soon. I promise!)
Over the past 365 days MRW has 15 posts about food. About 5% of all posts, and far fewer than I would have expected. Why?
I’m pretty sure the anticipated food writing went to the same undisclosed location where 15-20 lbs., which used to be mine, are hiding out. The pounds have gone missing and, with them, a lot less interest in food.
So what happened? Mostly, I stopped eating.* Not completely, but in a pretty significant way.
Why? Several reasons. Lots of life changes, and I know from friends who have experienced similar circumstances that diet/weight finds its way into the mix. There are those who gain and those who lose, and I suspect those of us who worry about weight as a part of how we roll are losers in this process.
I also thought I had a gluten problem during the last half of 2014. I was eating lots of bread—especially, the Time Market pan levain—and my stomach was roiling every day. I assumed gluten was the cause. With hindsight, maybe it was stress, or something else, but I ascribed it to gluten and mostly quit bread products on 1/1/2015. (I eat gluten now, but much less than before, and it bothers me much less often.)
Finally, I really started thinking about what I was eating. Bagels? Really dense. Lots of calories per bite. Muffins? Cake for breakfast. Fries? In places which serve a big portion, I’m surely eating more than one really big potato. Mushrooms? Lots of water, filling, and I like how they taste.
So I started the year pushing 200 lbs. on too many days. And for a fellow who is 5’11”, that’s too many pounds. (I used to be 6’. After a couple of fancy concierge physicals, standing against the wall and “pushing up,” I’m satisfied that 6’ is in my rear view mirror.**)
Now, I’m in the low 180s, after subtracting for heavy shoes, wool slacks, etc. HealthDiscovery says my ideal weight is 155. I don’t see it, but I knew an attorney decades ago who believed that even if a goal was unattainable, the more he focused on it, the closer he’d get to it.
How did I go from 200ish to 180ish? Minimal carbs in the morning, with a bit of cheese. An energy bar or Baked Lays© for lunch and, if I’m out, a Caesar Salad with dressing on the side. Dinner? If I’m out a small salad and, maybe, some sweet potato fries, or another treat. At home? A salad, a slice of leftover pizza, or some veggies, cheese, and maybe a bit of animal protein.
Now, I know there’s plenty of literature out there about three squares a day, the importance of breakfast, and the value of carbs, protein, and fats, depending on what you read. Me? I ran across Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zones, an NPR story which focuses on the temperate regions and Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. Worth reading, I’m sure, even if 155 is the goal and 180ish is probably my low point. (Reviews tell me Mr. Buettner’s reporting addresses alcohol and stress. Not ready to give up the former, and I don’t think the latter ever leaves an attorney, so 2057 is not a year I expect to see in this life.)
Enough. About the cake. Dinner first; then dessert. Here’s what a Sunday, alone unexpectedly, brought forth. (It’s more than I eat or drink, ordinarily.)
Enjoy the holidays, for sure—I will—and think about whether eating minimally might be part of your future.***
*Mom and others, reading the words “I stopped eating,” please relax. I’ve never felt better, physically.
**A friend gave me an eBay Cashmere sport coat, which was a 44R. Too big, and I’m still a 42L, but she noted my comment that I was shrinking, and she’s an excellent historian. If all goes well and life happens, I expect I’ll be a 40R in 3-4 years, what with vertical and horizontal shrinkage.
***Consult your physician if you plan any dietary changes. I am a guy who feels better eating less, but I am also an attorney who appreciate liability risks.