Monday, March 26, 2007

How to Eat Food

Growing up in my house, one of us would regularly eat almost an entire box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and blame it on someone else. One time, while my brother was babysitting me, he and I ate an entire 500 count bag of Hall's cough drops because there wasn't any candy and we just wanted something to eat. It's not like we ate a lot of fried food or sugar cereal. My mom even insisted that we eat wheat bread and drink 2% milk. However, we did eat a lot of fast food. The pizza guy knew our names. And everytime we went to the grocery store or the gas station, Mom let us get a candy bar.

Now my Dad, who is very heavy, has promised us that in the next six months he will make a good faith effort to lose weight. I'm very proud of him for realizing how important this is, not only for himself, but because our family needs him to take care of himself so he'll be around a long time to debate with us and make up facts to support his arguments.

If I'd been a guy, I'm sure that right now I'd weigh over 200 pounds. However, I had the hegemony of teen magazines to scare me into skipping lunch and doing push-ups before I went to bed. Over time, I have gradually transitioned in something of a healthy diet, largely because I moved to California. It's pretty difficult to live here and not eat well. The produce is fabulous.

So below I've mentioned a few of the secret diet tricks I have learned to trick myself into eating somewhat well:

1. Drink water, not diet soda. A lot of the time, we think we're hungry when we're dehydrated. If you don't like to drink water, then mix water with a couple of tablespoons of pure fruit juice. Or make herbal tea. Quit your bitchin' and just do it.

2. If you want to eat bad food, eat good food with it. If you want to eat a hamburger, then eat one, but eat some salad with it. If you want to eat an entire chocolate bar, then eat one, but eat it with an apple.

3. Instead of diet food, like the blasphemy that is fat free cheese, eat small portions of rich, fatty food like fancy bleu cheese with big portions of food that is good for you.

4. Eat your food on a plate at the table. Don't eat in the car.

5. When you make food that is good for you, like spinach or a salad, put little pieces of yummy things in it, like pine nuts and slivered almonds and chunks of fried something.

6. Spend more money for better food and eat less of it. Buy a nice piece of fish instead of a box of fish sticks.

7. Have a cutting board, a colander, a grater, and garlic press ready to use at all times.

8. Use spices on things so they taste good.

This is what I eat when I'm in a hurry:

Mix canned kidney beans with garbanzo beans. Cut up a few stalks of celery. Grate a carrot (you can do this really quickly once you get used to it). Maybe throw some radishes or cilantro in there. You can also add sunflower seeds or slivered almonds. Top it off with sweet miso dressing.

This is the best tuna fish ever:

Mix tuna with Best Foods (in the West) or Hellman's (in the East) mayo. No other mayonnaise is edible. Put a big ole pinch of tarragon in there. You can't skip the tarragon; it'll blow your mind. Add salt, black pepper, capers, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, mustard, horseradish, grated carrot, raisins, grapes, chunks of cucumber, and any combination of these. Toast your bread, and eat it with a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato (if it's in season).

Now go drink a glass of water and tell me your favorite recipe.

Monday, March 05, 2007

She Has a Special Sponge That Is Optional

Once upon a time, some man in Berkeley made a fortune and built a hot tub in his backyard. Not wanting to keep it to himself, he and his wife decided to share it with everyone. If you wrote to this man, he would give you a code to his back gate and you could go and use the hot tub anytime, day or night, except on Mondays, when it was cleaned. The hot tub could seat about 10 people, and it was very very hot (like 113 degrees). Men could only go if they were the guest of a woman. And you had to be naked, since detergents from your bathing suit could contaminate the water. Everyone had her own code, instead of just using the same one, so if someone gave her code out to too many people, or if some creepy guy got a code, the man could disable it. When people asked the man for donations, he just said "if some people gave, then others would feel like they had to, and it's not what it's about." His backyard was very dark, and since the hot tub was so hot, there were several platforms where people could sit or do yoga in between soaks. Because he had neighbors, everyone had to be completely silent from the time they walked in the gate to the time they left.

If you don't live in the Bay Area, you probably think this guy is a creep. But I know better, because I went there last night.

My inner Pollyanna was a nervous about being naked in front of men. I've been to Osento, the women's only naked spa in San Francisco, but I was sure that there would be some dude there checking out my boobs and I'd feel disgusted. Or I thought there'd be nothing but hot hippy girls and I'd be embarassed, but I was wrong. It was just a bunch of people and we were all naked and nobody had a boner. Plus, there were old and fat people, which makes everyone happy. Cause when there's some pudgy middle-aged guy standing naked in the changing room with you and he's both perfectly comfortable with himself and not looking at your tits, then something good is happening here.

Last night there was a woman off in the corner doing leg lifts. I thought there was a dog beside her, but it was hard to see. Then, it climbed a tree and we could see that it was a giant racoon!! It was bigger than my giant Maine Coon cat, with a big fat raccoon head and tail. Plus, it was NOT AFRAID OF PEOPLE. It started chasing the lady in the corner doing leg lifts. She got away (she didn't even scream, she was silent and she wasn't scared), but we all got back into the water. I felt like we were a bunch of nymphs in the river with the wild animals around us. It was so dark.

When I came home, I felt so blissed out. My friend Stephanie told me I would feel like I was drunk. I suspect they put drugs in the water, which I fully support*. I kept petting my cat and thinking, "he's SOOOO beautiful" and "I can't believe he's ALIVE!"

So I guess I've crossed over to the other side, to hippy-land, with naked hot tubs and reveling in my cat's existence. I like it over here, but a full conversion could never happen: I like Paris Hilton and cigarettes and a good dose of cynicism. But it's all about balance, right?

*This is a joke, just in case you didn't get that.