Posts filed under ‘books’

I can relate…

I just read an excerpt of “Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater” by Frank Bruni.  Wow!  SO much of it sounded familiar.  Never getting enough food, sneaking food, always being too big in comparison to my peers, throwing up after eating too much.

I’ve never approached full-fledged bulimia, but I have thrown up to purge the excess calories.  Interestingly enough, I never did it as a child or even a young adult.  It’s much more recent than that.  The first time was a couple of years ago, and I went through a period where I did it fairly regularly.  Then I would stop, and then when things got stressful, I would do it again for a spell. 

Mr. Bruni talks about finding a bathroom where he’d have privacy and giving his face time to calm down so that it didn’t reveal the signs of his vomitting.  I have done the same thing, sneaking into the bathroom in a restaurant, hoping no one that I knew walked in while I was throwing up, putting eye drops in to get rid of the redness before heading back to the table.

He doesn’t mention this, but I wonder if others have had a hard time making themselves throw up.  I’ve had times when, no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get anything up.  It’s maddening.  So frustrating to bring tears to my eyes with the effort, hacking and gagging, with nothing to show for it.

I haven’t done in it in several months, but it remains tempting, especially right now when my weight’s up 5 or so stubborn pounds.  I think that what keeps me from making it a habit is that I’m generally so health-conscious.  It’s hard to justify self-induced vomitting when I otherwise work diligently to take good care of myself.  But I definitely feel the pull of it.  It’s an appealing solution to a problem that frequently seems insurmountable.

The author describes his favorite foods like he’s writing a love story; he remembers every nuance: the texture, mouth feel, scent.  Food is like that for me, too.  It’s extraordinarily vivid and compelling.  He mentioned that he’d volunteer to clear the table so that he could lap up the remnants of dessert.  Me, too!  The author turned away from the scale in the doctor’s office.  Me, too!  I even went so far, when I got older, as to refuse to be weighed at all.

One thing I didn’t do was throw up when, as a child, I didn’t get the additional servings of food I wanted, which Mr. Bruni did.  That seems like very odd behavior to me, and yet it makes a weird kind of sense.  My relationship with food is so disordered that odd is normal.  It’s a struggle to relate to people who don’t feel an irresistible compulsion to eat.  I am bewildered by people who can leave food sitting in front of them without giving it a second thought once they’ve had their fill.  It’s foreign to me, truly foreign. 

While our stories are not exactly the same, I feel a kinship with Mr. Bruni.  I understand the torment, the fear, the shame, the turmoil that he’s lived with all his life.  I will be buying his book very soon.

July 17, 2009 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

Tips from the Belly Off! Diet

Men’s Health started an online weight-loss community called the “Belly Off! Club” back in 2002, and since then, club members have lost almost 2 million pounds.  Yowsa!  That’s alotta pounds!!  Their book, The Belly Off! Diet, is not due out ‘til April, but MSN is giving us a preview of some of tips contained in it.

  • Cut out refined grains and sugar
  • Eat more protein, healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits & veggies, and whole grains
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Lift weights at least three times a week.
  • Do cardio workouts, especially interval training

None of these are particularly new methods for slimming down, but it never hurts to reinforce good techniques through repetition.  And, because this books is written by men for men, it might reach a whole new audience that doesn’t always respond to more typical diet plans.

January 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm 2 comments

Sassy Chef Cookbook?

As I’ve mentioned before, cooking has not historically been my strong suit.  I’m just recently coming into my own in this regard, cooking for myself and my BF, developing my own recipes or modifying others. 

I finally decided to figure out exactly how many recipes I’ve created since January, so I copied and pasted them into Word files, breaking them out into categories like breakfast, appetizers, entrees, and desserts.  Lo and behold, I’ve developed 29 recipes!  And, I’ve created recipes in every category, although there’s a greater concentration of entrees and desserts.

I’ve been thinking about what I should do with these recipes, if anything.  Looking back over them, there are a couple that are really good.  The others are simple and tasty, but definitely not gourmet fare.  Do they all warrant compilation into a cookbook?  Would I create the cookbook just for my family and friends, or would I try to sell a PDF of it online?  Or, do I continue to flex my Sassy Chef muscles by creating and refining ever better recipes (with full nutrition stats for each one, btw) before I even contemplate a cookbook?  There are so many bloggers out there offering fantastic recipes for free.  Are mine good enough in comparison?

It’s a lot to think about, and it’ll be fun to have an excuse to keep cooking in the meantime!

September 1, 2008 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Healthiest foods to pick up at the grocery store

Americans love lists, especially when we’re trying to get healthy.  The best types of exercise, the best exercise equipment, the best ways to stay on track, the best foods to eat.  Lists give us that structure we crave.  Sometimes, though, the lists can be overwhelming, particularly if they direct us to stuff that’s hard to find or overly expensive.

Never fear!  The NY Times has our back on this one.  They asked Dr. Johnny Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth“.  Here’s his list of of 11 best foods we can easily pick up at the grocery store.  The article provides details as to why these are nutritional stars and even gives suggestions on how to prepare them.

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cinnamon
  • Pomegranate Juice
  • Dried Plums
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sardines
  • Turmeric
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Canned Pumpkin

Regrettably, most of these are not in my shopping cart.  But, a couple are.

I almost always have canned pumpkin on hand because I use it to make Yum Yum Brownie Muffins, one of my BF’s faves.  I also have blueberries in the freezer in a mixed berry blend.  And, I have cinnamon, although not by itself.  It’s an ingredient in the Pumpkin Pie Spice I keep in the pantry.  I do, however, add cinnamon to my skinny latte at Starbucks

I have heard great things from Dr. Weill about Turmeric, who suggests drinking it in a tea, but I’ve never used it.  Pomegranate has gotten lots of terrific press recently, and I’ve just stared getting some in my diet through the Greens To Go powdered packets.

Looks like I need to make sure these items become regulars on my grocery list.

July 3, 2008 at 12:52 am Leave a comment

Are You Eating Clean?

One of the things I’ve been exploring recently is the concept of Clean Eating. Clean Eating is consistently eating high quality foods that are basically free of all unnatural additives. Clean foods are those without man-made sugars, hydrogenated fats, trans-fats and other unnecessary ingredients.

Robert Kennedy Publications, creator of Oxygen Magazine, has recently come out with Clean Eating Magazine after the success of Oxygen columnist Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet and Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook.

Weight Watchers teaches in general how to eat more healthfully. Because the Points system incorporates calories, fat and fiber, foods lower in fat and higher in fiber – usually healthier foods – have fewer points, so you can eat more of them. But, in reality, if you wanted to create your own All Twinkie Diet using the Weight Watchers system, you could, and you’d still lose weight. You probably wouldn’t be too healthy, but you’d drop pounds!

As I’ve grasped the concept of portion control, I’ve focused more and more – little by little – on making my diet as nutrient-rich as possible.

Questions I ask myself every day (and you can, too!)

  • Am I eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day?
  • If so, am I eating a variety – a colorful range – of fruits and vegetables?
  • How much fiber have I gotten today?
  • How much protein have I gotten today?
  • Has most of the food I’ve eaten been in its natural state?
  • Have I consumed at least

I actually keep track of many of these items in my food journal.  If you haven’t started keeping a food journal yet, I highly recommend it. It’s been another one of the keys to my success. If keeping a daily record of your diet is not doable for you right now, at least keep these questions in mind as you prepare your meals and make your food choices throughout the day.

January 7, 2008 at 5:04 am Leave a comment


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