Category Archives: food
Physical vs. Mental Disconnection…
As devoted readers know, I had a vertical gastric sleeve in April 17th, 2014.
I was 300 lbs at surgery. I am now 194. I know I have lost 100+ lbs. I wear much smaller clothes. People tell me I look great.
I KNOW ALL OF THAT. I REALLY KNOW IT….
However, my brain does not believe it. Let me try to explain this….
EXAMPLE 1: I was having a conversation with 2 football coaches last week. Both of them are very overweight. Coach 1 makes a comment similar to “I tried to jump to the left and just couldn’t stop and just kept on going…” Coach 2 says “Maybe lose that gut and you might could have stopped” I chime in, “Big guys like us aren’t too graceful are we?” The tone of the conversation, until I opened my mouth, was one of lighthearted fun. The minute I grouped my self in the “big guys” group – they both looked at me like “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, YOU AREN’T FAT LIKE US.” I honestly had to stop and process what was happening. They OBVIOUSLY took offence to my statement about all 3 of us being overweight. I was instantly uncomfortable and didn’t realize why they were so appalled that I referred to us as “big guys”.
EXAMPLE 2: I am a professional tennis player. When someone hits a shot I cant get to- one that I believe I should have gotten to- I say “Hurry up fatass” sometimes out loud but always to myself. A couple nights ago I missed a shot and said that out loud – obviously referring to myself- and my partner walked over laughing and said “You know you aren’t fat anymore.” TOTAL SYSTEM SHOCK. I have never heard those words said to me before. It took restraint to not say, “What are you talking about…Yes, I am fat.”
I had not realized that other people don’t see me how my mind continues to see me. I still mentally believe I am very, very overweight…until I look in a mirror.
I suppose I underestimated the mental adjustment time frame that I obviously have to make when it comes to my self image.
Armchair psychologists, weight loss veterans, and anyone else…chime in and let me know what you think.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
I know its been a while. Well, dear reader, I have been busy. With Kid #1, Kid #2, Wrist Surgery, Gut Surgery…and other reasons that sound like plausible excuses to not continue this blog. However, I am vowing to make more frequent posts starting…now.
MORE FREQUENT POST #1
On April 17th of this year I had a procedure called a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
Two weeks prior to surgery I was on 100% liquids with the last week all CLEAR liquids. Surgery happens. 2.5 weeks later I was still HATING this decision. FOOD and LIQUIDS hurt when you swallowed more than a thimble full. It was a constant fight against 38 years of practice. I lost many battles.
Then something happened. I swallowed instinctively and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. I remember thinking, “Oh shit! I’m about to pop staples and die from some septic gunk coursing through my veins.” Staples held, nothing bad happened, I lived – and still am. In fact I’m much better. See below:
April 17, 2014 – Weight 298 lbs. (45.6 BMI)
June 23, 2014- Weight 224 lbs (34.1 BMI)
TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS- 74 lbs.
A1C on Surgery Date- 6.7 (6.5 + is Diabetic)
A1C on June 16, 2014- 4.6 (5.7 and below is normal)
Post Meal Glucose Level on Surgery Date- 210 mg/dl (DIABETIC is 200 mg/dl or greater)
Post Meal Glucose Level on June 22, 2014- 99 mg/dl (NORMAL is <140 mg/dl)
Waist Size Pre-Surgery- 46 in.
Waist Size June 6, 2014- 36 in
Shirt Size Pre-Surgery- XXL
Shirt Size June 6, 2014- L
Shoe Size Pre-Surgery- 10 wide
Shoe Size June 6, 2014- 9 med
Addendum: Additional non-quantifiable changes post surgery:
- Chicken Nuggets were amazing before. They now smell like Satan’s dirty underwear.
- Salmon – Pre-Surgery- yucktastic Now- an amazing fish
- Ice Cream is impossible to eat now. (kinda bummed about that one…not really)
- Knee/foot pain from tennis – largely gone
- Existing on less than 1000 calories a day is not as bad as you may think
- Gatorade is physically easier to drink than water (I know, that is hard for me to believe too)
- My libido is more…noticeable.
Any one out there have any comments, recommendations, or accolades to throw my way…Lets read em. Post in comments.
Progress is being made.
A List of 20 Things I Have Learned
1) No matter how much you plan, someone named Murphy will screw it up
2) If your haircut, doctor’s appointment, or dentist appointment is at 2:00 p.m. feel free to arrive at 4:00 p.m. – You will not be seen on time.
3) I like Space Invaders, however I do not like personal space invaders (See Awesome Illustration)
4) All people want 3 things: Respect, Understanding, and whatever you have in your left back pocket
5) A good pen is worth its weight in gold and will be stolen,lost, or destroyed within 5 minutes of you discovering its true worth
6) People are thinking about you right now- the IRS, Donald Trump, and Dionne Warwick to name a few
7) You do not have enough money.
8 ) Neither do I
9) I love food and food loves me – that is why it hangs around so long.
10) I do not like “customized stickers” on crappy cars…maybe buy a hubcap instead of a sticker that reads “Juicy” for your back windshield
11) If you make fun of a poor, homeless, or disadvantaged person around me expect to be humiliated- I have no patience for that
12) My wife saved my life and she doesn’t know it
13) I have great parents
14) My daughter is perfect
15) I am too fat
16) I need to be more active, eat less, and pay more attention to “adult things” in order to prolong my life- or so I am told
17) I wish there was a rule that you must have a working driver side window to use a fast food drive through
18) I should not ever go through a fast food drive through
19) There are things in my house that have not moved since we moved in
20) I have owned every model of iPhone through no fault of my own*
* they all still work, how sad is that?
A Chicken and a Thymus Gland
My wife, child, and I were in Kansas City for a family pre-Christmas get together. We had an open night, and my wife’s aunt and uncle volunteered to watch the baby. SOOOO, where else would I want to go while in Kansas City other than Chef Celine Tio’s restaurant Julian? Ummm, Nowhere. Of course we called the day we wanted to book the reservation. I fully expected to hear, “Sorry, we are fully booked tonight.” Much to my surprise, The kind voice on the phone responded to my plea with,” Yes, we can seat you then.” I hope I didn’t hurt her eardrum as I squealed like a young girl encountering her 1st frog. It was all set! Julian here we come.
It goes without saying that I love food. I really love good food. Kansas City, Missouri is home to Celene Tio’s restaurant, Julian. Watching The Next Iron Chef, my wife and I quickly started routing for Chef Tio. She was funny and entertaining and seemed like a genuine person- and she cranked out some killer looking (and sounding) food. So, we knew the next time we were in KC we were definitely going to visit her restaurant.
If you watch any food related TV, you have heard of sweetbreads. For those that don’t know what they are- it is not a bread at all. Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of a calf (this isn’t always the case). To an average American psyche- daunting to eat to say the least. Through the wonderful world of the internet, we knew the menu options at Julian before we arrived. Sweetbreads were on it and my mind could not stop thinking about them. I was wondering about the texture of them, how accurate Jeffrey Steingarten’s account of them are, and could I actually eat it. The balance to this was- “When can you get a A+ Chef’s recipe for sweetbreads again?” I could not let this opportunity pass.
I talked about sweetbreads all day and all the way there. Everyone in our party was well versed on what they were and forming their own opinions of them by the time we pulled into the parking lot. We arrived and were quickly seated. When it was time to place our order and the sweetbread request was to be made- I ordered caviar. Yeah, I chickened out. My table gasped when they realized I passed on the sweetbreads. All of my talk- apparently it was hot air. My trepidation of eating a gland made me order fish eggs. As delicious as the caviar on homemade chips was, I immediately felt like a wussy. I felt like a coward. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t order sweetbreads in this perfect setting to try them. I started convincing myself to order some- to be in the moment- to take a chance- to do what you wanted to do from the start. After my internal Dr. Phil moment passed, I asked our server to please add an order of sweetbreads. He smiled and nodded. A calm pleasantness suddenly came over me, it could have been the wine, but I doubt it. It was the expectation of the sweetbread magic that was on the way.
The sweetbreads arrived at the table in an oval bowl with a red and white checkered paper surrounding them. They resembled something fried. To a southern boy like me…perfect. I selected one. I smelled it. I noticed my party’s eyes trained on me. This was the big moment. All the talk came down to this. Here I sat, with great company, in Celine Tio’s restaurant with a sweetbread in my hand. All that was left to do was bite it. So, I did and it was wonderful. It was fried crisp on the outside yet soft and meaty on the inside. The flavor was unexpectedly sublime. My face lit up with pleasure as the taste registered. Now, my table mates wanted to taste one. After the guinea pig lived- everyone wants one. I offered them all one. They all tried it – and liked it. The oval bowl was quickly emptied and savored.
On my “culinary bucket list” a check mark instantly appeared by “sweetbreads” and “Eat at Julian.” Two accomplishments in one delicious bite.
You should not assume that the meal in total it was any less delicious. The crispy pork with the tamarind sauce was greatness on a plate. The wine selection was amazing. Not to mention the fact that Chef Tio visited our table, agreed to take a pic with me, and was completely a real human being was MONUMENTAL!
It is nice to know that our assumption about Chef Tio and her food was correct. Her food and personality are both great. We will definitely go back as soon as we get back to KC.
The new lexicon for food. Food is not just “good” anymore.
Yesterday, I had a track back from Gigabiting.com and decided to check it out. A post on the hatred chefs feel toward some customers had a link to my post on sushi chefs hating some customers on the bottom of it. I really enjoyed the article that my post was linked to. So, I read more. As I was reading post after post, I realized that I was really enjoying the work. Sometimes you happen upon a style of writing that feels comfortable and has your style of humor. Gigibiting was that for me yesterday. Over the dozens of posts I read in that one day, One post has stuck out above all the others.
This post touches on something that my wife and I laugh about often: particularly while watching Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, etc. – The new lingo that has been adopted by the food pundits (Mr. Steingarten in particular) in an attempt to separate the viewer and judges. Let’s face facts. A judges’ sole job on a food contest show is to tell the chef,cook, or home maker one thing:
Good or Not Good
Telling the preparer WHY is completely showing off. (Most common: “I need some more acid on the dish.”) I do not see the point in purposely making a distinction between the common viewer’s reality (who really can not relate to Donatella Arpaia’s critique of civiche) and the air put on by the “judges” on these shows. The language they use is the only method they have to separate themselves from “somebody who is eating Michael Symon’s custard.” This is only made more apparent when a celebrity, (a non-food world celebrity who happens to own 12 restaurants) like Keyshawn Johnson is put in as a “judge” on Iron Chef America. He commented on an avocado mousse with the eloquence of a common food eater by saying “It looks mushy.” I get it. I understand that. I am sure that Alan Richman threw up a little in his mouth when Keyshawn said that. It is a ridiculous practice that goes to ridiculous lengths- but i watch it none the less.
Here is the post from Gigabiting.com that got me thinking about this.
The Epicure’s Farm-to-Table Artisanally-Crafted Post of Over Used Food Terms
They are trendy or inane, over-worked or over-wrought, misused and abused. These are the words that grate on our nerves.
Wheat Thins artisan crackers? (Can’t you just picture them painstakingly rolled out and hand-cut by the master bakers of Kraft Foods Global, Inc.?) How about artisan flatbreads from DiGiorno’s Frozen Pizza? Like you’re back in the piazza in Naples. And pre-washed and bagged artisan salads? We’re not sure how lettuce can be artisanal, but leave it to Fresh Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands, L.L.C., to figure it out.
It’s true that a well-mixed drink is the result of a kind of happy alchemy. But bartending as a scientific discipline? We don’t tip the guy that runs the particle accelerator at the FermiLab, and we aren’t looking for the next Appletini that will cure cancer.
Just say the whole word. It’s not all that onerous. Ditto for sammies (sandwiches), resto (restaurant), breakie (breakfast), chix (chicken), and apps (appetizers).
Nom nom for foodies
Let’s add to the list any word that sounds like it was coined in a nursery school (crispy, yummy, comfy, et al.).
Restaurant reviewer jargon
Toothsome; mouth-feel; authentic; playful; sauces that are napped; and dishes that are tucked into— does anybody speak like this? Can we make them stop writing like this?
Organic Food – Bah Hum Bug!
Yesterday, I had a “spirited” conversation about food with a colleague -specifically organic food. There were some glaring problems with our mutual understanding of some main points that were key to our conversation. My discussion opponent was under the impression that the organic food they buy supports “small farms and local growers.” My response to that was “Anything you buy from Wal-Mart is not from a small batch producer.” This was met with anger and disdain. I then posed the question “What is organic food?” This innocient question was answered with “anything grown or raised without pesticides or herbicides.” (fertilizer omitted from their answer) I countered with “What about GMO (genetically modified organism) plants, are they organic if you don’t spray they with anything?” Again, my query was met with anger and frustration. That is when it hit me. THEY DON’T KNOW! THEY SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW! So, as a public service I am going to post some things to pull some of you from your “too cool for school poser status” into “informed consumer” status. Pay attention!
First of all lets define organic food (please note the RED areas):
A term that has acquired the meaning of foods grown under natural conditions (without the use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides; and either not processed, or processed without the use of additives). The term, when used on food labels, has no legal meaning.
PLEASE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE OF THIS DEFINITION
USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) definition, from April 1995
“Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.
“‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.
“Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.
“Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”
So, looking at that info, it is not a valid argument to say that “Organic Food” is free from pesticides, herbicides, and man made fertilizers. I agree it may have less contaminants than “non-organic” foods, but not ZERO.
GMO Seeds: Organic or Not?
I will yield to The Organic Center on this one.
We are frequently asked are GMO foods organic? The short answer, no. If a food is created from a GMO (genetically modified organism) seed it is not organic. Why? Because genetically modified seeds have been engineered to produce their own insecticide or resist weed-killing herbicides. In addition, according to the Non-GMO Project “GMOs are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.” However, please note that not all non-GMO seeds are actually grown organically. A farmer can use a non-GMO seed and spray it with all kinds of pesticides, herbicides and use synthetic fertilizers and the seed will still be non-GMO, but it will no longer be considered organic due to how it was grown.
Next Issue: “Organic food purchases support small farms and local towns folk.”
You decide for yourself who is profiting here. This is a chart showing which BRANDS own what ORGANIC LABELS. Any look familiar? Print this out and take it to your local supermarket and compare labels.
Yuck! 10 grossest Halloween candies of all time (that aren’t candy corn)
I call them the “grossest,” but it depends on whom you’re asking: To your average trick-or-treater, these may very well be the 10 “coolest” Halloween candies. I put each of the candies through an evaluation from a friend’s son, 5-year-old P.J. Koesterer, a New York City resident and trusted authority on candy yuckiness.
- Fangs with tongue
This combo disguise-plus-candy is one part plastic, one part gummy, and all parts yuck. Kids are entitled to about 90 seconds of tongue wagging before the candy dissolves.
$1.95; Au’some Ghoulish Gummy Tongue; store.offbeattreats.com
5-year-old says: “Whoa, that’s scary!”
Severed finger dip stick
Fun Dip for the witchy crowd. Grotesquely colored human digits — on sticks! — go into mouth, then into neon powder, then back into mouth.
$3; Galerie Creepy Candy Finger with Dipping Powder; galerieusa.com for stores
5-year-old says: “Spooky!”
- Glow worms
These gummies come packaged with a pair of plastic tongs equipped with a small LED. Pick up a bug and see it light up. Ditto for Swedish Fish and kids’ pinkies.
$11.29 for 12 1.4-ounce bags; KandyKastle Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy; candycentral.com
5-year-old says: “Awesome! Do you eat it?”
These are shorter, squatter, and ickier than your typical gummy worms. Catch-22 of cautioning kids about potentially dangerous behavior: Will they think to put the candies into their nostrils if you don’t warn them not to?
$19 for 12 1.7-ounce bags; Creepy Confections Grimy Grubs; candy-crate.stores.yahoo.net
5-year-old says: “Bumpy”
Messed-up green mouth
Less of a lollipop than a large candy pacifier with a disturbing handle — big green lips and braces — that’ll turn a kid’s face into something well suited for a fun house.
$10.75 for 12 pops; Big Stuff Lip Pops; candydirect.com
5-year-old says: “I’m gonna eat all those tooth parts!” (the tooth parts are inedible)
- Squishy eyeballs
Forget the “peeled grapes in a bowl” trick. These gummy eyeballs are much more realistic in look and feel.
$10 for 14; CandyTech Gummi Eyeballs; dylanscandybar.com
5-year-old says: “Crazy! I can squish it.”
- (Fake) bug pops
“Crawlers” being closely identified with “creepy,” burying a candy bug Tootsie-Pop-style in a sucker is a surefire way to spook tots and strict vegetarians alike.
$30 for 24 pops; Creepy Confections Fly & Spider Pop; candy-crate.stores.yahoo.net
5-year-old says: “Look at those bugs! 3-D!”
(Real) buggy pops
Yes, that’s a real scorpion in that lollipop. Other bugs you can find in this line of candy: Crickets and worms. In our opinion, a bit too gruesome for children, but it had to make the list.
$2.95 each; Hotlix Scorpion Sucker; hotlix.com
5-year-old says: “What the … it’s real? A real scorpion? That thing’s poisonous. Scorpions are poisonous, right?”
- Snotty nose
Grody to the max: A prosthetic nose — complete with ear straps — full of candy mucus that gets squeezed out directly onto the wearer’s tongue.
$29.40 for 12; Hose Nose; candywarehouse.com
5-year-old says: “Eww! That’s cool!”
- Ghoul mask
13 ounces of candy shaped into a hideous full-size mask. The only thing creepier than the painted visages is the volume of sugar (220 grams) contained in one treat.
$10; Creepy Confections Goblin Mask Pop; brandnewllc.com for stores
5-year-old says: “You can eat this? It’s giant!”
Five Reasons Why Your Sushi Chef Hates You
You only patronize the one sushi joint that you heard has the freshest fish. You sit at the bar and annoy watch the chefs while they work. You bust out your little chopsticks and mix wasabi into your soy sauce with a practiced arrogance while boring regaling your friends with tales of that one time you ate rare whale sashimi in Tokyo.
Oh, the sushi chefs know you. They sharpen their knives every time they see you approach. When you sit at the bar to watch them work and greet them with a “Konichiwa!” they give you a “friendly” nod. Next time, you might want to skip eating that “roe” that they reserve for their “special” customers. In fact, get something with tempura, to be on the safe side! Bwah hahaha!
Straight outta the mouth of a longtime Broward-based sushi chef Takeshi Kamioka… Five Reasons Why Your Sushi Chef Hates You:
1) You think you’re hot shit.
People will come in and say, “I’m from California and New York,” thinking they eat a higher level of sushi. I’m like, what do you want from me? “How was your flight?”
2) You show off how much wasabi you can eat.
You’ll have these assholes sit at the bar and have a wasabi-eating contest. They rave like they love it hot, but they’re really dying.
3) Your Japanese sucks.
People come in and order in Japanese and get it wrong. They’ll try to say [the Japanese word for rolled sushi] nigiri. But my waiters won’t understand, because they’re saying it wrong, and they’ll bring them sake or something. Some people order in Japanese, and when we don’t understand them, they [even act superior] like, “Oh you don’t know what that is.”
4) You actually prefer frozen fish.
Around here, a lot of people use frozen tuna. Toward the wintertime, we use a rich-colored tuna with a nice oil content. As a duty as a sushi chef, you’re supposed to give the finest cuts to your customer. But then people are so used to the frozen sushi, they think it’s bad, return it, and it goes to waste.
5) You’re American.
Customers will come in and say to the staff “Hey, you’re not Japanese.” Neither are you.
Venting: A Geographical Focus
I am not going to complain about the people here. I am not going to complain about the culture here. I am not going to complain about anything that I could potentially do anything about. I AM going to complain about how I am bombarded by things that I would hope most of this country is not subjected to. Here are some of the scenarios that aggravate me the most.