Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jenny Craig? Adderall? Master Cleanse?

Cabbage soup -- thin, brothy, and jaundiced yellow
I've been listening to Born Round, Frank Bruni's memoir of his struggles with weight and bulimia before becoming the restaurant critic for the New York Times. I like it a lot. Bruni is an excellent companion -- clever, confidential, self-deprecating -- and I turn him on whenever I'm cleaning or driving or cooking. He's my new gay best friend, notwithstanding the fact we've never met.  Sometimes he overshares, but I like that it in a gay best friend. Or any best friend. Plus, it's gratifying to hear about someone who is (or was) far more extreme and neurotic about weight than I have ever been.  It makes me feel better.

And worse.

Because -- and I don't want to be mean, but Bruni says it himself! -- he ate like a pig when he was fat. He ate chickens and left piles of bones in his car. He emptied minibars. He got up in the middle of the night and made mountains of pasta. He consumed multiple ice cream sandwiches at a sitting. And then when he finally started eating slightly less and generally understanding about portion control and moderation and exercise, the pounds melted away.

That's how it works. For men.

My husband stops buying candy bars, restricts himself to 6 homemade chocolate chip cookies per night, and a week later weighs what he did in college. I eat tiny portions of cabbage soup and oatgurt, lay off the negronis, do not touch the Easter candy, not even a Peep, go to bed hungry, yet remain as sturdy as a draft horse. I am losing weight, but at the rate of a few ounces a week. You have to admire an implacable body like mine. It is a stalwart body, a strong body, a good body in a famine. I'm trying to look on the bright side.

I've made a few more dishes from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day:

-kale salad. Imagine kale chips tossed with toasted coconut and quinoa. Unfortunately, I don't love kale chips. If you do, try this recipe. Otherwise, try Martha Stewart's kale salad and skip to Swanson's green lentil soup.

-green lentil soup. There are a gazillion lentil soups out there, but Swanson's is special. (She credits Small Shed Flatbreads, a fabulous little restaurant here in my town, for the inspiration.) You cook down some onion and garlic in coconut oil, then simmer your lentils and when it's all soft and falling apart, puree with coconut milk and stir in some curry powder and butter. (The recipe is here; I used water instead of broth.)  I've made this twice in a week, once for a family dinner and a few nights later as the opening course of a tiny dinner party. It's super-easy and somewhat fattening, but if a modest bowl of this is all you eat for dinner, I consider it a reasonable meal. Perhaps erroneously.

Ravioli
-Ravioli in harissa. I made this for the second course of the small party that opened with green lentil soup. Storebought ravioli, olives, broccoli, feta, harissa. I ate one raviolo. Based on that one raviolo, it was a fine dish.

-Two days ago, frustrated at my inability to lose weight, I made Swanson's delicious but very austere cabbage and chickpea soup for lunch and ate a single bowl. It's brothy and you feel thin and deprived when you're eating it. You also feel poor. It tastes like what I imagine Flemish peasants ate in the 16th century, except with lots of curry powder. I had it again for lunch yesterday and will have it again today.

Now, it is time for the highlight of my day: spin class.

98 comments:

  1. Gawd, you're telling me. Men: Oh, I just gave up soda and dropped 20 pounds. I park my car at the far end of the parking lot and--voila!--toned calves.

    Me: Oh, I don't want to get into it, but let's just say it's the opposite of that.

    I admire your supernatural lentil and kale diet--especially after finishing a cookbook!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know what you're saying about men and weight loss, but have you been to a class reunion? I felt pretty good about my appearance after I saw the belly-sporting, hair-thinning guys. Unkind. But true.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is the same here. Unjust.

    I am going to attempt a cleanse, myself. Not really for the weight loss, but because of the general blah-ness I feel. But I'll take the weight loss all the same.

    ReplyDelete
  4. spin class may be the key....I have the ingredients to make the green lentil soup, think I might add small cubes of sweet potato--looking forward to it now that I have ready your review :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ugh. My boyfriend stopped eating ice cream for a bit, and was practically instantly back into shape. Not fair.

    I'm gonna have to try that cabbage and chickpea soup. I've been kinda pigging down on junk food due to finals, and I could use something brothy that makes me feel like I haven't really eaten.

    I also feel like a terrible foodie, because I have no idea what kale actually tastes like. It seems like it's been in practically every savory recipe this year, and yet, I have yet to try it. Is it like spinach? I love coconut and have a giant costco bag of quinoa, so I might have to try it out.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Word. Hubby and I are/were doing the new Rocco Dispirito diet book. I lost 4 pounds in 3 weeks; Hubby lost 4 pounds in 1 week.

    BTW, the recipies are good, but pretty time consuming. If we had more time, we probably would have followed the book longer.

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  7. Ok so this may sound completely counterintuitive and without going fully into my diet history, you should try the thin commandments diet. I lost 20 pounds, the last 10 had been on for 20 years and were due to 1/2 cup oatmeal for breakfast being eliminated. Some bodies just have to be very low carb I'm guessing. Who cares, it worked and I can live with it.

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