Thursday, February 17, 2011

Food Bible

Well Tuesday night our friends who dropped by softball for a visit brought their copy of Eat This Not That! 2010: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution for me to thumb through and I spent quite a bit of time reading through it last night.  The Eat This books are similar to the Cook This book in that they provide lower calorie, sodium, fat, and sugar alternatives to common chain restaurant menu items but they are different in that they provide alternative chain restaurant menu items to choose from.  In other words, it's like a survival guide for eating out and it's not just for people who are trying to lose weight but people who are just trying to maintain their current weight or be more conscious about what they're eating.  The best part is that it gives realistic alternatives and it takes into account the fact that not everyone likes bulgar and toast for every meal.  In other words, if you really want a cheese burger these books will tell you which fast food restaurant offers the better cheese burger option and which one offers the worst option.  This means that you don't necessarily have to change your lifestyle (though if you get Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals changing your lifestyle will probably be a blissful and welcome transition as it has been for me) just the choices you make within your lifestyle.

It also provides some shocking information that I think everyone should know, in fact some of this info seems like grounds for considerable lawsuits or legal action of some kind.  With the dangers of potential copyrighting in mind I don't want to give you the full details but I can't not mention a few of these things here on the blog.  For example: Did you know that an independent study sent allegedly "healthy menu options" from eight different locations of an extremely well known family restaurant chain to a lab for testing and found that, on average, the dishes contained twice the calories and fat that the chain claimed the dish had in their nutritional info?  So you might go into this chain, order something thinking it's 550 calories when, in reality, it's over 1,100!  Another well known sit-down restaurant chain lists a single order of their Mac N' Cheese as four servings in their nutritional info so that the numbers look better than they really are!  I can't tell you which chains because that would be spoiling the fun and I'm not necessarily trying to convince anyone to get these books (ok, maybe I am a little) but some of the stuff I learned has made me completely re-evaluate the way I look at eating out altogether!

Now the book is apparently also making major modifications in eating-out menu options.  They published a "20 Worst Foods in America" list in one of their books and within the year to follow, due to the popularity of the series, several major chain restaurants who's dishes were on that list either removed the dish from their menu entirely or significantly altered it to reduce fat, calories, sugar, and sodium.  One chain even sent the authors of the book a letter professing their desire to become one of the healthiest restaurants in America instead of one of the worst.  Various restaurants get an overall grade from A to F based on the major nutritional factors of their menu items compared to portion size which means I could find myself carrying a book like this around in my pocket at all times.  "What's that Snack Monkey?  You want to eat at Jack In The Box?  Well let me see what the book says about that."  No kidding ... I feel like I've been privy to the deeper secrets of the food conspiracy that we've all known existed for quite some time.  Not only do I now want to purchase every book that these guys have ever published, I also want to get them all for my mom to have too ... that's how good they are.

One thing I should mention is that, based on what I read last night from the 2010 book, if you were going to only buy one book I would suggest getting the most recent book: either Eat This, Not That! 2011 or there is actually a brand new one coming out that Amazon just sent me a release notice for called Eat This, Not That! The No-Diet Diet: The Worlds Easiest Weight Loss Plan which will hit shelves on March 1.  The reason I suggest going with the most recent is because these books do seem to affect menu options in some restaurants so the older books may contain information in them which is no longer applicable because the menu items are no longer available at their respective restaurants; and it may not account for new menu items that restaurants have recently added.  On the other hand, if you're like me and you prefer to own every book in a series I can see extreme value from just buying all of them.  Two things of note: Amazon is usually cheaper than buying these books in a book store, no kidding like $10 savings even.  Also: Although the books call themselves weight loss solutions and diet plans I wouldn't look at them that way if I were you.  These books should be considered lifestyle information, if weight-loss happens as a result great but ultimately it's still possible to choose the best of two options from the book and still not lose weight if you're not counting your calories and engaging in exercise as you go.  How, you ask?  Well just because the Big Mac and Dairy Queen's banana split got better grades than their competitors doesn't mean that eating them every day while living a sedentary life is going to lead to weight loss.  Just food for thought.

In other news, Snack Monkey talked me out of going to the gym before dinner last night and pinki-promised that we would take the dog to the park after dinner and do the mile long jogging track there instead.  Then after dinner had been prepared and consumed (Chicken Adobo, my mom's adobo recipe tastes better so I now need to do a nutritional comparison of the two) he started whining about the wind and the cold.  I fired up the Wii, popped in the Fit and walked big figure 8's around my living room, counting every step up to 6,287 which is the equivalent of approximately 3 miles.  I can't walk in place, it feels too much like marching, so I walked from the living room to the dining room and back again instead.  I feel sorry for the people who live downstairs.

6 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee w/creamer
1 Fiber One bar
1/4 leftover Calzone
1 foot long chicken sub
>>the usual
Daily Caloric Intake: 1097
p.s. the water count is low because I'm posting early.  I promise I'll chug two more glasses before bed.

Wii Walking: 3.18 miles in 53 minutes! Wooo!
I actually got tired of doing figure 8's and I'm worried I'll wear a hole in the carpet if I keep doing that so tonight I decided to march in place; march, not walk.  Reason being that last night's 3 miles didn't take much out of me because I've gotten used to walking with an incline at the gym or on rough terrain at the softball fields so tonight I decided to pick my knees up higher with each step to increase burn/sweat from the comfort of my own home.  I'm starting to think I would prefer a home treadmill over a gym membership ... aside from the perks of tanning and ab machines that I can still get at the gym.  Oh well, I worked up a hell of a good sweat tonight so I feel pretty good about it.


  1. Wow! You have come so far!! I can see that you are developing a whole new perspective on food and nutrition and it's awesome. I believe that one day you will look back on your old life and think "holy crap, I can't believe the garbage I used to eat.. regularly!" At least that is what I do :o) I'm also really impressed as it looks like you've got your bf on board with you.

  2. Hahahaha! TOO funny! "I feel sorry for the people who live downstairs". Just imagine them "What the hell is going on up there???" Well, at least you got moving! You are doing so great.

  3. The info you got from those books has been around for a long time and even Allan had a post about it last year, having first-hand knowledge from working in the restaurant business. You can order an egg white omelet at a diner thinking that's healthy but what you may not realize is that the chef uses butter (and in some places lard) to grease the griddle top. Or he'll have just finished cooking some bacon and pour your egg whites on the bacon grease. There's also the secret that lots of restaurants use to keep their steamed veggies looking pretty: they lightly steam then then refrigerate ... when you order it, they "blanch" or heat the veggies up quickly in hot oil and blot with a towel. I verified this with 2 professional chefs I know and I was shocked! What you're eating out always has more calories than what the nutritional data or calorie count for that food item is.

    Part of the problem with this is that each chef prepares the foods differently so the nutritional info will be different at each location, even if it is the same restaurant chain. NYC is one of a few states that requires nutritional data to be available for those restaurants/diners that have 3 or more chains nationwide. And each one I've seen has a similar clause on their menu about their calories: "The nutritional values provided are derived using an industry standard database, but do not account for the natural variability that occurs due to the hand-crafted nature of each plate"; in other words, it all depends on what the person who's cooking adds to the dish.

    BTW, your weight loss shows more in your most recent picture than in the others (in my opinion). I hope you've been taking measurements so you can keep track of the inches you're losing. I have noticed that your way of thinking about food and eating has changed for the better from when you first started this blog, especially with your comment "ultimately it's still possible to choose the best of two options from the book and still not lose weight if you're not counting your calories and engaging in exercise as you go". Even though I don't agree with some of the choices you make/have made (and since that's your personal decision, I don't add my 2 cents), it's nice to see that you have started to make some healthier choices.

  4. Well the important thing to note, in my life anyway, is that this is not a diet. The changes that I am making and trying to make are not "I'll suffer through this until the weight off and then everything will be ok". Which means that I have to find balance between change and sustainability. The idea that I will never, should never, could never eat out again is absurd but I am also not going to avoid eating out for the next year thinking all the while that it'll all be ok once I weigh 135 lbs. Which is why the most important aspect of a lifestyle change of this nature is the personalization of the program. I have to balance knowledge and education about food with the limitations, desires, and practicality of my life style. Obviously the decisions I've made, whether others agree with them or not, haven't been all bad because I've lost a significant amount of weight consistently. It is possible to be conscious about food intake without boycotting restaurants and even fast food. In fact, in the book it even states that you will generally consume more calories fat and sodium at sit-down restaurants than you will at fast food restaurants. This is more than likely due to the fact that the portions are larger at sit-down places than they are at fast food chains. Basically, although some of the choices I make are ones that you might not make, your individuality, your path, your plan, and your lifestyle are completely different from mine and, therefore, are choices cannot be compared.

    I do not disagree with the choices that anyone makes because I have no right to. I am not other people, I am me. Their lifestyle is not my lifestyle it's theirs. Like warding off sugar as some people too or choosing not to eat carbs. Those are choices that some people make because it compliments or works with their goals and lifestyle and personality. They are not choices I make for myself, but that doesn't mean that I disagree with them.

  5. When I said I didn't agree with some of your choices, I didn't mean it as a criticism nor did I mean the choices were necessarily "bad". If it reads that way then I apologize as it wasn't the way I intended it. My use of the term "I don't agree with" simply meant that it isn't something I would do; I didn't mean that I feel your choices were "bad" just because they aren't choices I'd make (and it had nothing to do with my association with others who may think that way, in case that's what you thought). I *personally* don't believe everyone attempting to lose weight has to make the same changes that I've made, mainly because I know that each individual person reacts differently to different foods. My husband is able to lose weight while eating many of the foods that I can't eat, just like I have friends who are dieting that eat at a Chinese buffet once a week; I *don't agree with* what they eat but I don't criticize it simply because I can't eat that way. So again I apologize if you felt that I was judging you or criticizing what you eat; I didn't mean it that way.

    I unfortunately have to suffer through many nutritional changes for the rest of my life due to health issues that other people don't have to worry about (and I don't mention *all* of my health issues on my blog). That in itself contributes to the food choices I have to make each day; in fact, many of the changes in how I eat have little to do with weight loss and more to do with health issues. Most people I know, even some with similar health issues, haven't had to make the changes I've made. I wish I didn't have to make these changes. Which is why I don't criticize what each person chooses to eat when they are trying to lose weight ... what works for me doesn't necessarily work for anyone else.