Category Archives: Dieting

Hard to swallow

I loved grape soda as a child, and more than once have lamented the lack of diet options.

How about a liquored up one?


Henry’s Hard Grape is all grown up — 4.2 percent alcohol by volume, as you can see — with cool retro branding.

I appreciate both.

I was curious enough to buy a six-pack, and it’s pretty tasty. But my diet soda sensibilities are offended by the cane sugar.  To this day, it’s hard for me to drink anything with calories.

Those six hard sodas are gonna last me a good long time.

This just in…

time eat butt













Wow. Crack me up.

Snack attack

I love salt.  Salt loves me.  But is it a healthy relationship?


Turns out many of the salty snacks that I enjoy — and have previously eaten with a side of guilt — actually help lower cholesterol.

What the wha?

Quaker Oats waxes poetic about the cholesterol-reducing benefits of their oatmeal, but I have never seen a Frito Lay ad promote pretzels’ power — but they do the very same thing!

So do nuts and popcorn (sans oil and butter) and homemade potato chips!

And to think I have given the statin I take all the credit for my lowered cholesterol.  Turns out my addiction to salty snacks may have helped just as much.

Okay, maybe not as much…but I sure enjoyed them more.

Fruit and hummus, two foods I eat several times a week, also help lower cholesterol.  Who knew?  I sure didn’t.

Actually, now that I read the list, I’m wondering why I have high cholesterol at all.  It’s certainly not from my diet.  I eat all kinds of foods that help keep my numbers down.

Oh right — I inherited it.  I’d rather have money.

Sweet success

Mark Haub, I want to shake your hand.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a snack cake.

Thanks to the research you conducted at Kansas State University — Go Wildcats — there is now empirical evidence that weight loss depends on the calories going in…and not the nutritional value of the food.

Haub, a human nutrition professor, put himself on the ‘convenience store diet’ as part of a class project, restricting himself to 1800 calories a day comprised of Twinkies, Nutty Bars, Oreos, and even Doritos.

Haub shed 27 pounds in two months, and his other health factors improved as well.  Lower triglycerides.  Lower bad cholesterol.  Higher good cholesterol.

He did take a multivitamin and drink a protein shake each day, and tried to eat a vegetable serving as well — usually something green.  But at least two-thirds of his daily diet came from snack foods.

In the CNN article, Haub sounds a little conflicted by his success.   Personally, I feel vindicated.   Although my diet is not as junkie as his study, I have never eaten as healthy as experts recommend, and have gotten my share of flack about it over the years.

Now, when I reach for Froot Loops as a snack, I’ve got scientific proof —

It’s diet food, people.

Everything in moderation

I don’t run.  I don’t spin. I rarely ‘feel the burn.’

But I can walk tremendous distances…and living in New York City, often find myself doing so on a daily basis.

Lucky thing.

Researchers from Penn State recently found that women ‘of a certain age’ have more energy and confidence after 30 minutes of moderate exercise than those who make strenuous workouts their routine.

Told ya.

The study also revealed that women who exercise at moderate levels were more likely to stay active over time — take that! — and those who worked out more vigorously reported feeling ‘sad or anxious’ afterward.

(It’s that burn thing — I’m telling you.)

But does more ‘energy and confidence’ mean that moderate exercisers are more fit?  Not necessarily, says Penn State.

Well, DUH.

All you have to do is take a look at the arms of a super exerciser like Kelly Ripa or Madonna to know that a woman who kicks it harder is gonna be more ripped.

But is she happier?  Penn State says no.

And to make myself feel better, I’m going to go with that.


Name calling

Have you ever heard of Gourmand Syndrome?

It occurs when a certain section of the brain’s right hemisphere is damaged.  Patients become obsessed with food…specifically ‘fine dining’ choices.

For example, a snowboarder recently sustained brain damage in a near-fatal accident and awoke from a coma experiencing intense cravings for basil pesto, a food he had no particular feelings for prior to the fall.

I’m fascinated by this disease…because I think I have its polar opposite.

You see, I experienced a hard blow to the head at an early age.  It wasn’t coma-worthy — just involved some stitches and a scar to the forehead.  But I think it may have made me obsessed with the ‘non-fine dining’ choices on menus.

Goodness knows that’s the type of food I crave to this day.  And if I can blame a whack on the head and call it Junk Food Syndrome — instead of a lack of self-control —

Sign me up.

In the noodle

Would you take a punch for some pad thai?

It is yummy.

Stir-fried rice noodles, eggs, bean sprouts, and any combination of shrimp, chicken or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts and lime juice.  When I’m at a Thai restaurant, I find it hard to order anything else.

But would I willingly get in a fist fight for my fav?

Two ladies in a Manhattan Trader Joe’s did.

The altercation started when one woman’s son ‘interfered’ with the other’s husband’s attempt to pick up a pad thai in the produce section.  Words were exchanged, followed by a slap.

Now the two families are continuing the clash in court, contesting an attempted harassment charge.

All over a package of pad thai — and vegan pad thai at that.

And I here I thought vegans were all about peace and love and serenity.  Just goes to show you…

Eating all that tofu makes you testy.

Up all night

I was a bit under the weather Friday and slept about 30 minutes the entire night. It was agony.

How do people who suffer from chronic insomnia deal?

I was doing a bit of reading on the subject online and discovered The Insomnia Blog by Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and self-proclaimed “Sleep Doctor.”

Dr. Breus has a formula that he says will help you get all the sleep you need; wake up before the alarm goes off; and keep you from gaining the weight that can sometimes go along with insomnia.

This guy must be rich.

Here’s what he recommends:

  1. Figure out your typical wake up time
  2. Count back 7.5 hours
  3. Set an alarm to tell you when to go to bed  (and go!)
  4. If you wake up 10 minutes before your morning alarm for three days, you have found your perfect bedtime.
  5. If you still need your morning alarm to wake up, then move your bedtime back by 15 minutes until you wake up just before your morning alarm.

After reading this, I realize why I don’t usually have insomnia.

  • I usually get about 7-8 hours sleep.
  • Rory Dog is the ‘alarm’ that tells me to go to bed.
  • I wake up each morning before my morning alarm goes off (Rory Dog again).

I’m cured.

Good gravy

I cooked last night.

Yes, this is a blog-worthy event.

I made breakfast for dinner.  Biscuits — from a can, I admit — and milk gravy.

Here in New York City, the term ‘milk gravy’ is greeted with much confusion.  So I will explain further in case you are also reading this with your head cocked to the side in bewilderment.

In a skillet on medium heat, I browned flour in vegetable oil.  (Bacon grease is the first choice, but I didn’t have any.)  To the flour, I added milk, stirring constantly over low heat.

Now, during this process, there was a lot of adjusting — how much oil, how much flour, how much milk.  I even added some water at the end to thin the gravy…plus salt and pepper to taste.

But, I must say, the final product was nothing short of amazing.

Filling?  Yes.  Heavy?  Oh yes.  I even added bacon to the plate, so there’s nothing about this meal that my doctor recommends.

But it does a heart good to enjoy such a feast on a good, damp New York City night.

Something reel

Hey — Whole Foods.  You and me?  We need to talk.

I know you’re big in the natural and organic foods biz.  At last count, you had more than 300 stores in North America and the UK.  Good for you…couldn’t have happened to a greener bunch of guys.

But movies?  They’re my guilty pleasure, and I’m okay with that.  But nooooooo…here you come along, trying to make the whole movie-going experience GOOD for me.


The Do Something Reel™ Film Festival, sponsored by Whole Foods, will visit over 40 cities during the month of April.  The six theatrical features illustrate in film “how the choices we make can have a huge impact on our bodies, our economy, and our environment.”

Plus, they’re as good for you as a Chai Almond Smoothie.

The film’s subject matter varies — the foods you eat, the bags you carry, coal in America and disappearing bees — but they all support the themes of Earth Month.

Okay.  I’ll admit the films sound interesting.  Heck, I’ll even attend if New York City makes the short list.

But we gotta have a chat about the snack list…