Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's Not You, It's the Plate: A Book Report

Melamine_Plates Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Thinkby Brian Wansink is a fascinating (and quick) read. The basic premise of the book is that there are cues in our environment that control what and how much we stuff our faces with and that by being keyed into them, we can mindlessly lose weight. Many of the studies in the book rang a bell with me--because I had already read about them on Wansink's Web site: Mindless Eating.


Wansink is the director of Cornell University's Food and Brand lab. The lab's experiments (and those of similar labs) illuminate that clever marketing and sly environmental cues can drive us to eat a lot more than we think we are. For example, they constructed a special table with an "endless" soup bowl, and found that people did not stop when satiated. Those with endless supplies of soup kept eating more soup. How a food is described on a menu and our expectations of how a food will taste are almost as important as how it tastes. He uses the example of a WWII Navy cook who substituted red colored lemon Jello when he ran out of cherry. Hint: the diners never suspected a thing.


I was discussing the book with my cousin Jennifer who originally recommended it to me, and she said it helped her realize that gaining weight wasn't just genetics, that there were things you could change about what you do.  It also greatly impacted my view of eating better, but for me, it was revolutionary to realize that it's NOT just willpower. So many times, fat people are told to exhibit self-control and viewed as just having a lack of self-discipline. To me, the book says "hey, there's a reason you eat the entire quart of chocolate peanut butter ice cream." Knowing is half the battle. Now, I've stopped pretending to myself that I can (or should) be able to just have one slice of cake and save the rest for later or something ridiculous. Now, I buy smaller portions and engineer my environment somewhat with awareness of the things talked about in the book. Small changes, but they make a big difference!

It's Not You, It's the Plate: A Book Report

Melamine_Plates Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Thinkby Brian Wansink is a fascinating (and quick) read. The basic premise of the book is that there are cues in our environment that control what and how much we stuff our faces with and that by being keyed into them, we can mindlessly lose weight. Many of the studies in the book rang a bell with me--because I had already read about them on Wansink's Web site: Mindless Eating.


Wansink is the director of Cornell University's Food and Brand lab. The lab's experiments (and those of similar labs) illuminate that clever marketing and sly environmental cues can drive us to eat a lot more than we think we are. For example, they constructed a special table with an "endless" soup bowl, and found that people did not stop when satiated. Those with endless supplies of soup kept eating more soup. How a food is described on a menu and our expectations of how a food will taste are almost as important as how it tastes. He uses the example of a WWII Navy cook who substituted red colored lemon Jello when he ran out of cherry. Hint: the diners never suspected a thing.


I was discussing the book with my cousin Jennifer who originally recommended it to me, and she said it helped her realize that gaining weight wasn't just genetics, that there were things you could change about what you do.  It also greatly impacted my view of eating better, but for me, it was revolutionary to realize that it's NOT just willpower. So many times, fat people are told to exhibit self-control and viewed as just having a lack of self-discipline. To me, the book says "hey, there's a reason you eat the entire quart of chocolate peanut butter ice cream." Knowing is half the battle. Now, I've stopped pretending to myself that I can (or should) be able to just have one slice of cake and save the rest for later or something ridiculous. Now, I buy smaller portions and engineer my environment somewhat with awareness of the things talked about in the book. Small changes, but they make a big difference!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Something to Live For

Now, despite the title of the post, I KNOW you're supposed to eat to live and not live to eat. At least that's what "they" say. But, let's face it, sometimes something good to eat is the little thing that will help us get through an otherwise blah day.


I'm an emotional overeater--i.e., if I am having an emotion, any emotion, I want to eat. I'm working on this, but I've had to find some alternatives to coax myself away from what I really want to binge on. Like, oh, off the top of my head, a half gallon of peanut butter chocolate ice cream (yes, it's been done).


Here are a few of those things:


Onlinevitalicious_2002_20315921.) Vitatop by Vitalicious in Deep Chocolate. I don't buy these all the time because they're rather on the pricey side (a box of 4 at Harris Teeter is somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.50 or more), but they're good. They're 100 calories, chocolatey, cakey, and don't taste fake like some lower calorie sweet treats. I just had one of these. These have the ability to quelch a passing "I want a muffin/chocolate cake" craving. Not at your store. No worries--available online here or at 1-877-VITA-877.


 



20121_cat


2.) No Sugar Added Fudgsicle. Again, these don't taste fake, and I have successfully averted many-a ice cream craving on the way home from work by promising myself one or two of these. That's the fantastic thing: at 40 calories, if you eat 4, you're still ahead of the game--not so with 4 servings of ice cream. More info here.



0001570007200


3.) When the weather is too cold for Fudgsicles, I turn to No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa. Nothing says "cozy" like a cup of hot cocoa. And, at 60 calories per serving, you won't need to shovel too much snow to work it off (oh to be doing that in this 90 degree heat!).


15502



4.) The last few things have been chocolate, but this one's Ginger--as in Diet Ginger ale. I have had to go a bit cold turkey on this because I was drinking wwaaaaaayyyy too much, but it had a great run for awhile in helping me avert cravings. (By the way, Canada Dry is great, but I get the store brand.)


004301


5.) For a hankering for crunchy potato chips...Barbeque Soy Crisps. Shown are Genisoy, but I am partial to Whole Foods 365. Trader Joes also does a version, a bit cheaper I think, but I don't like them as much. Genisoy is good, as is Glenny's. Each brand has its merits. I am always sure to buy the smallest bag possible, though, despite the greater expense because I KNOW I'll eat the whole thing.



There you have it. Five treats you won't regret tomorrow! What are some of your faves?

Something to Live For

Now, despite the title of the post, I KNOW you're supposed to eat to live and not live to eat. At least that's what "they" say. But, let's face it, sometimes something good to eat is the little thing that will help us get through an otherwise blah day.


I'm an emotional overeater--i.e., if I am having an emotion, any emotion, I want to eat. I'm working on this, but I've had to find some alternatives to coax myself away from what I really want to binge on. Like, oh, off the top of my head, a half gallon of peanut butter chocolate ice cream (yes, it's been done).


Here are a few of those things:


Onlinevitalicious_2002_20315921.) Vitatop by Vitalicious in Deep Chocolate. I don't buy these all the time because they're rather on the pricey side (a box of 4 at Harris Teeter is somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.50 or more), but they're good. They're 100 calories, chocolatey, cakey, and don't taste fake like some lower calorie sweet treats. I just had one of these. These have the ability to quelch a passing "I want a muffin/chocolate cake" craving. Not at your store. No worries--available online here or at 1-877-VITA-877.


 



20121_cat


2.) No Sugar Added Fudgsicle. Again, these don't taste fake, and I have successfully averted many-a ice cream craving on the way home from work by promising myself one or two of these. That's the fantastic thing: at 40 calories, if you eat 4, you're still ahead of the game--not so with 4 servings of ice cream. More info here.



0001570007200


3.) When the weather is too cold for Fudgsicles, I turn to No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa. Nothing says "cozy" like a cup of hot cocoa. And, at 60 calories per serving, you won't need to shovel too much snow to work it off (oh to be doing that in this 90 degree heat!).


15502



4.) The last few things have been chocolate, but this one's Ginger--as in Diet Ginger ale. I have had to go a bit cold turkey on this because I was drinking wwaaaaaayyyy too much, but it had a great run for awhile in helping me avert cravings. (By the way, Canada Dry is great, but I get the store brand.)


004301


5.) For a hankering for crunchy potato chips...Barbeque Soy Crisps. Shown are Genisoy, but I am partial to Whole Foods 365. Trader Joes also does a version, a bit cheaper I think, but I don't like them as much. Genisoy is good, as is Glenny's. Each brand has its merits. I am always sure to buy the smallest bag possible, though, despite the greater expense because I KNOW I'll eat the whole thing.



There you have it. Five treats you won't regret tomorrow! What are some of your faves?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hometown Boy Almost Wins

Capt.856b9b1e985c4a3bae57f46d14b06913 Okay, I don't follow golf. At all. In fact, I don't know how to play golf and don't really want to, despite how it's apparently supposed to be a good thing to know in business. If "golf" isn't preceeded by "miniature," I don't play it. But, a headline on Yahoo! caught my eye (as it's wont to do): "Major underdog Rocco Mediate takes Tiger Woods to sudden death in the U.S. Open playoff."


The name rang a bell. No, not Tiger...I mean, he sells Buicks or some other gas-guzzling American car so of course I knew him...I mean Rocco. Why? Because his dad cut my mom's hair. No joke. Anthony of Anthony's salon, the premier salon of Greensburg, PA.  Rocco, his son, was narrowly defeated by The Tiger for the US Open. I'd tell you the score, but as I said, I don't understand golf.


What I found most intriguing was this article by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports where he says: "What, you think some guy from an old mercantile town in western Pennsylvania is going to be depressed about not winning a bunch of majors?"


Now, I've heard my town called a lot of things. "Hicksville," for one, or "not part of the Pittsburgh metro" (Census confirms it is), or most popularly "Where?" but "old mercantile town" is a new one. I'm going to use that. When someone says "Where are you from?" I'm going to say "an old mercantile town in western Pennsylvania." That sounds so much better than how the convo normally goes: "Where are you from?" "Western Pennsylvania." "Oh, where?" "Near Pittsburgh." "Oh, where?" "Greensburg." "Where's that?" "A small city about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh." "Oh."


 

Hometown Boy Almost Wins

Capt.856b9b1e985c4a3bae57f46d14b06913 Okay, I don't follow golf. At all. In fact, I don't know how to play golf and don't really want to, despite how it's apparently supposed to be a good thing to know in business. If "golf" isn't preceeded by "miniature," I don't play it. But, a headline on Yahoo! caught my eye (as it's wont to do): "Major underdog Rocco Mediate takes Tiger Woods to sudden death in the U.S. Open playoff."


The name rang a bell. No, not Tiger...I mean, he sells Buicks or some other gas-guzzling American car so of course I knew him...I mean Rocco. Why? Because his dad cut my mom's hair. No joke. Anthony of Anthony's salon, the premier salon of Greensburg, PA.  Rocco, his son, was narrowly defeated by The Tiger for the US Open. I'd tell you the score, but as I said, I don't understand golf.


What I found most intriguing was this article by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports where he says: "What, you think some guy from an old mercantile town in western Pennsylvania is going to be depressed about not winning a bunch of majors?"


Now, I've heard my town called a lot of things. "Hicksville," for one, or "not part of the Pittsburgh metro" (Census confirms it is), or most popularly "Where?" but "old mercantile town" is a new one. I'm going to use that. When someone says "Where are you from?" I'm going to say "an old mercantile town in western Pennsylvania." That sounds so much better than how the convo normally goes: "Where are you from?" "Western Pennsylvania." "Oh, where?" "Near Pittsburgh." "Oh, where?" "Greensburg." "Where's that?" "A small city about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh." "Oh."


 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Commuter Sentences: Why People Don't Take the #@%$ Bus!

800px-Taxi_and_Metrobus Okay, so I leave the office at 6:20. Because WMATA alerted me that there were significant delays on "all lines" due to a derailment on the Orange Line, I decided to bus the whole way home. I arrived at the stop shortly before 6:30. The next scheduled bus was at 6:32. I waited, not at all patiently, until well after 7 with the heavy, humid heat weighing on me and the exhaust fumes in my face choking me. Yay. Once the bus finally came, it was okay, until Union Station when a group of roudy teens got on, one of whom hit my head accidentally, and thought it was funny. These same kids called a guy getting off the bus "Fat Albert" and I'm pretty sure they called me "Big Momma." Seriously. I wanted to rail on them, but keeping my urban street smart wits about me, I just got off the bus.


By the time I got home, it was after 8. Yes, folks, 1 1/2 hours to get home. A half hour more than it would take me to walk. Now, as a result of all this waiting, I was starving...and for something specific: Chinese food, the result of reading "The Fortune Cookie Diaries" during my wait. After ordering and being told it would take 35 minutes, I realized I couldn't wait. I ate two (ugh) hot dogs. Of course, once my General Tso's chicken and dumplings arrived, I tasted it, but it kind of grossed me out. That took care of my cravings for Chinese take out for another year or two.


Photos: Not Mine! Via Wikimedia Commons, Bus/Taxi Photo by Ben Schumin


Oh, and by the way, I'm officially annoyed by Typepad!

Commuter Sentences: Why People Don't Take the #@%$ Bus!

800px-Taxi_and_Metrobus Okay, so I leave the office at 6:20. Because WMATA alerted me that there were significant delays on "all lines" due to a derailment on the Orange Line, I decided to bus the whole way home. I arrived at the stop shortly before 6:30. The next scheduled bus was at 6:32. I waited, not at all patiently, until well after 7 with the heavy, humid heat weighing on me and the exhaust fumes in my face choking me. Yay. Once the bus finally came, it was okay, until Union Station when a group of roudy teens got on, one of whom hit my head accidentally, and thought it was funny. These same kids called a guy getting off the bus "Fat Albert" and I'm pretty sure they called me "Big Momma." Seriously. I wanted to rail on them, but keeping my urban street smart wits about me, I just got off the bus.


By the time I got home, it was after 8. Yes, folks, 1 1/2 hours to get home. A half hour more than it would take me to walk. Now, as a result of all this waiting, I was starving...and for something specific: Chinese food, the result of reading "The Fortune Cookie Diaries" during my wait. After ordering and being told it would take 35 minutes, I realized I couldn't wait. I ate two (ugh) hot dogs. Of course, once my General Tso's chicken and dumplings arrived, I tasted it, but it kind of grossed me out. That took care of my cravings for Chinese take out for another year or two.


Photos: Not Mine! Via Wikimedia Commons, Bus/Taxi Photo by Ben Schumin


Oh, and by the way, I'm officially annoyed by Typepad!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Play Taps--SUV, Exit Right

Costume-grim-reaper-clipartWell, according to U.S. News and World Report, the SUV is dead. They quote USA Today: "USA Todaywrites, "For a generation, pickups and SUVs have symbolized a rugged, oversized, no-holds-barred American lifestyle.  Tuesday, automakers made it clear that consumers are hitting the brakes on their love affair with the hardiest, roomiest -- and thirstiest -- vehicles."  And, GM announced they're shuttering several SUV plants.


All I have to say is HA!  Could they not see this coming? Seriously, the auto industry is moronic, but often I think just because 'tis a reflection of Americans, who can also be quite moronic at times. I get a special thrill filling my tank up these days next to an SUV owner. True, it's a bit painful for me to pay $60 for a full tank of gas in my Chevy Cav, but not nearly as painful as it is for them, and for that, I gloat a little. As a special rememberance to the tank-as-family-vehicle, I offer a rehash of an entry from my old blog (on the forefront of blogging, in the days before I understood blogs or rather, understood them less than today). Two of my readers may remember this. It's a playful look at SUV names. May they rest in peace and never rear their ugly heads again if oil prices drop.


Hummer-H37 


(This Hummer is trying to go to heaven, but I know where it's really going...photo from grophersey)


It was called "An objective examination of the names of SUVs" and had 2 parts. It was silly, but fun to write in--gasp--2004 and even more fun to reprint today. Here it is in its totality for your enjoyment!


Jeep Cherokee
I am sure that the Native American tribe is more than proud to have their name associated with such an efficient and earth-respecting vehicle

Ford Explorer
What is being explored here?

Ford Expedition
“Son, we must now start our expedition to the Starbucks for mother’s morning coffee and this will be our means of transit. It will not be an easy journey, but the end is well worth it.”

Chevrolet Blazer:
And we will blaze brave new paths into the wild blue yonder.

Cadillac Escalade
Pres. Bush in speech: “Tensions have beginned to escalade with environmental groups.”
Or
Jeanie felt it was appropriate to escalade the walls of Bed Bath and Beyond, as parking for her vehicle was not sufficient.

Lincoln Navigator:
We must fortify ourselves before we navigate the wilds of suburban DC.


Toyota Sequoia:
What a tribute to some great old trees!

Chevrolet Suburban
Perhaps the only honest SUV name.

Lincoln Aviator
"Daddy, are we flying? We're so high up!"

Ford Escape
There is no escaping my exhaust fumes!

Ford Excursion
The Jones family set out on their excursion to Sam's Club to stock up on toilet paper and dog food. They made sure they had adequate supplies of Fruit by the Foot and DVDs for the trip.

Buick Rendezvous
"Eh, hello, my dahling, won't you come to my SUV for a rendezvous?"





 

Play Taps--SUV, Exit Right

Costume-grim-reaper-clipartWell, according to U.S. News and World Report, the SUV is dead. They quote USA Today: "USA Todaywrites, "For a generation, pickups and SUVs have symbolized a rugged, oversized, no-holds-barred American lifestyle.  Tuesday, automakers made it clear that consumers are hitting the brakes on their love affair with the hardiest, roomiest -- and thirstiest -- vehicles."  And, GM announced they're shuttering several SUV plants.


All I have to say is HA!  Could they not see this coming? Seriously, the auto industry is moronic, but often I think just because 'tis a reflection of Americans, who can also be quite moronic at times. I get a special thrill filling my tank up these days next to an SUV owner. True, it's a bit painful for me to pay $60 for a full tank of gas in my Chevy Cav, but not nearly as painful as it is for them, and for that, I gloat a little. As a special rememberance to the tank-as-family-vehicle, I offer a rehash of an entry from my old blog (on the forefront of blogging, in the days before I understood blogs or rather, understood them less than today). Two of my readers may remember this. It's a playful look at SUV names. May they rest in peace and never rear their ugly heads again if oil prices drop.


Hummer-H37 


(This Hummer is trying to go to heaven, but I know where it's really going...photo from grophersey)


It was called "An objective examination of the names of SUVs" and had 2 parts. It was silly, but fun to write in--gasp--2004 and even more fun to reprint today. Here it is in its totality for your enjoyment!


Jeep Cherokee
I am sure that the Native American tribe is more than proud to have their name associated with such an efficient and earth-respecting vehicle

Ford Explorer
What is being explored here?

Ford Expedition
“Son, we must now start our expedition to the Starbucks for mother’s morning coffee and this will be our means of transit. It will not be an easy journey, but the end is well worth it.”

Chevrolet Blazer:
And we will blaze brave new paths into the wild blue yonder.

Cadillac Escalade
Pres. Bush in speech: “Tensions have beginned to escalade with environmental groups.”
Or
Jeanie felt it was appropriate to escalade the walls of Bed Bath and Beyond, as parking for her vehicle was not sufficient.

Lincoln Navigator:
We must fortify ourselves before we navigate the wilds of suburban DC.


Toyota Sequoia:
What a tribute to some great old trees!

Chevrolet Suburban
Perhaps the only honest SUV name.

Lincoln Aviator
"Daddy, are we flying? We're so high up!"

Ford Escape
There is no escaping my exhaust fumes!

Ford Excursion
The Jones family set out on their excursion to Sam's Club to stock up on toilet paper and dog food. They made sure they had adequate supplies of Fruit by the Foot and DVDs for the trip.

Buick Rendezvous
"Eh, hello, my dahling, won't you come to my SUV for a rendezvous?"