A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
If you paid attention to chapters 1 (don't eat so dang much), chapter 2 (no seconds), chapter 3 (take smaller helpings), you have lost at least two or three pounds. If you ignored these chapters, you are still a blimp.
Now, in a timely fashion, just in time for Thanksgiving, memorize the first three chapters and hang the following sign around your neck on Thanksgiving Day:
DON'T BE A THANKSGIVING GLUTTON. The consequences will be self evident and stay with you for weeks if you ignore Chapter 4.
By now my chubby readers should have digested, so to speak, Chapters 1 (Don't eat so dang much) and Chapter 2 (No seconds). Even a slow reader could have managed those two chapters with ease. If you paid any attention, you have lost a pound or two. I've lost about 12.
For one brief moment in time, the annual arrival of the farmers' markets is one of the most welcome reoccurrences of the year. For just a brief window of time, people who have worked hard all year bring their hard-won produce to market and we are the beneficiaries. Peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, many varieties of apples, cantaloupe, watermelons, peppers, corn sweet enough to eat right off the cob without boiling, jams, jellies, artisan bread, Argentine meat pastries, salsas, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, eggplant, zucchini, and I am sure I have left out a few items. If the photo of brilliant orange pumpkins above doesn't tell you something about the coming and going of the seasons, you may as well throw in the towel. Just for a time, Indian Summer teases us with the harvest, with luminous sunshine that seems over-bright and over-promising as we forget for a moment that the summer is over, the fall is here, and before we are ready for it, frost and yellow leaves and bare branches and snow and ice and cold. But for a moment, we'll buy all of the produce we can possibly eat and use and give away. Never did a group of people deserve whatever people pay them as much as these people who remain loyal to their agricultural vocations. And never were we so very fortunate as to receive the gifts of their hard work.
I bought a half dozen ears of corn from this young farmer and told him I had given up farming at the age of 16. How did you do that, he asked. I went to college and studied agriculture, I told him. He replied, I've been trying to figure out how to quit farming myself. I thought, maybe he has the best of everything. Besides, his corn was about the best I have ever found as I discovered when I got home and chucked an ear into a pot of boiling water with a jot of white vinegar and a jigger of sugar, as advised by Mel's Kitchen Cafe (blog linked at right).
I bought a cantaloupe from a young girl, maybe 10 or so, who was cheerfully passing out samples on toothpicks. That's the last one, she said. Great, I said, I'll take it. Then I asked her if she got paid for working and selling melons. Oh yes, she said, I get paid by getting to go to Disney Land. Whereupon her mother came by and told me that her children did all of the work planting and raising their garden produce, and their annual reward and wages consisted of another trip to Disney Land.
My sister Ann is actually my little sister who was very young when I left home, but was always informing Mother of what I was doing to irritate her. She has gotten over that lately, but she is famous for her saying "Here is whatcha do." Two weeks ago, she called and told me to buy another weight-loss book, which I foolishly did, because when she called the other day and told me to buy "I Can Make You Thin," I asked her, "What happened to the other book?" "Oh, that was too complicated," she said, "This one is better." Besides, she said she had already lost eight pounds. So I bought this one, and she thinks we should have a contest but she will have to start even-steven with where she is now and not with eight pounds off, because that would be cheating.
The Curmudgeonly Professor has two other weight-loss blogs, which he has been unfaithful in tending. Now that we are off on this track, I will begin posting on the "Shortest Weight-Loss" linked on the right with progress on this contest. I will also crank up the other blog which is a posting of a weight-loss book I wrote several years ago.
We might as well make this a contest, so anyone else who is willing to buy an inexpensive book, read it, and lose weight is welcome to join in. Just email me or add a comment to this blog so we can all keep track of each other. For whatever it is worth, I have lost four pounds by following a few simple admonitions in this book. I followed one suggestion and posted a big multi-colored question mark on the pantry door with the message "Do You REALLY need this?" I have stayed out of the pantry because I don't want to be stuck with answering that question.
So If you have joined the throngs who shop in Big and Tall or have struggled to lose weight, you can't lose anything by going along with us as we chart one another's progress. You can read about my own epic struggles in this continuing battle on my other blogs. I've read the book so I can tell you that though it hardly contains any new information that all of us excess weight-challenged people haven't seen a million times, the information is presented in an ingenious and simple way that seems to be tremendously effective. OK? We need you to join us. Send in a comment with your first name or some way that we can all keep track of one another.
USA Today announced this morning that film producer Bryan Young lost 40 pounds over two years while making the documentary Killer at Large, which focuses on the causes of and possible solutions for obesity. Read the USA Today article here.
A 45-minute educational version of the film will be available through Young's website (killeratlarge.com) on DVD on December 1. A 104 minute theatrical version will be available on DVD in April.
Two pages later, Ruby Tuesday's has a delectable, mouth watering ad explaining why their 25 great burgers, which are "Bold on flavor: Big on taste" are the "best of the best." A gorgeous burger appears in the ad loaded with cheese and bacon and, by all appearances, about six inches high. And, here's the best part about the 25 great burgers: They all come with endless, piping-hot fries." Oh boy oh boy. Maybe I should get myself to Ruby Tuesday's before beginning my weight-loss sacrifice. It's the cheese and bacon on the monster burger that really have me salivating, but man oh man, I can just taste plate after plate after plate of those ENDLESS piping-hot fries.
I neglected to mention an important resource in my post yesterday about Brian Wansink's tremendously valuable book, Mindless Eating. In fact, by adding the adjectives "tremendously valuable" I am mindlessly following Wansink's dictum coming from his research that people will, for example, eat more peas if you call them "early sweet country garden bright green peas" (my invented description, not his; I just want him to know I learned something), rather than just say "the peas are on the table."
The valuable resource is the list of books on p. 279 by eminent scholars about food and dieting. The average dieter or person concerned about food ordinarily is bamboozled about how wonderful the latest newest miracle diet book written by some celebrity (or even by someone who is an M.D. or Ph.D.) and doesn't have a clue about which book to read. All that these book searchers know is that they need help and, typically, they want an immediate and magic cure. Like the promise on the front page on a tabloid I read while waiting to check out at the grocery store the other day which promised "lose 27 pounds in two weeks with miracle juice detox" or something like that.
Wansink will guide you through the best references about food and diet and keep you from wasting time and money on hopeless excursions into diet dream land. But before you buy any of the books he recommends, read Wansink's book. Twice. Make notes. Make lists of stuff to do. Follow his advice. Then branch out and read more stuff. Reading more from reliable sources will reinforce what you already know and have begun practicing and further intensify your ability to achieve your weight goals.
I'll add lots of other stuff when I rejuvenate my own weight-loss story on my weight-loss blog.
For years, we ate eggs without restrictions, especially growing up on a farm. Then we found out that eggs were supposedly a killer, and would clog our arteries. Now the word is out again that eggs may actually be good for us. This information has actually been out for perhaps two decades, but the word has been slow to reach the public. Tara-Parker Pope's article in the July 28 New York Times titled "The Sunny Side of Eggs" reinforces the idea that eggs will likely not raise cholesterol for most people. In fact, the unsaturated fat, B vitamins, and other nutrients may be beneficial. Moreover, eating protein for breakfast usually makes people feel fuller through the morning and less likely to snack. To read the article, go here.
The same author wrote an article on October 1, 2007 in the New York Times that provides more information on eggs titled "Edible Sure, But Just How Incredible." Read the article here. Ms. Pope cautions in this article that diabetics and those sensitive to cholesterol may still need to limit egg consumption
Note: When I started my blog, one of my main intentions was to blog about weight loss, a chronic problem for me and I am sure for countless others. I started with a few posts, converted to a separate blog which went no where, and now I am back to posting weight-loss material on the Curmudgeonly Professor. Three or four of the first posts were also posted back in January, which I am sure no one remembers and new readers will not have seen. Obviously, if you are thin and gorgeous or handsome, you can skip my weight-loss stuff, unless you are concerned about how to stay the way you are. So here we go again.
One Hundred and One Common-Sense Ways to Lose Weight and Keep it Off Copyright 2007 Dwight M. Blood
As I indicate below, I wrote a draft of a weight-loss manuscript two years ago. Since I haven't published the manuscript, I thought I would have more readers on the internet than I would ever have with a published book. Besides, presenting it this way will provide readers an opportunity to send comments and suggestions and, perhaps, tell their own stories about weight loss trials and successes. And then I can make corrections as needed. I'll include posts from my weight-loss manuscript as well as other relevant references and content of interest to weight-conscious and health-conscious people.
The class prophecy in my high school annual from the class of 1949 at Powell High School in Powell, Wyoming prophesied that I would ultimately become the Powell garbage collector and that I would become famous for my best seller Tasty Dishes from Leftovers. This prediction was based on having served as editor of the high school newspaper my junior year and co-editor of the school annual my senior year. Thus far, I haven't ventured into garbage collection, except for the weekly trash chores, or writing cookbooks. With this manuscript, however, I have moved into close territory by writing about the trials and tribulations of overeating and overweight. Alas, I seriously doubt that this effort will make me famous, thus failing to fulfill my class prophecy.
When my wife and I were in Round Rock Texas for a month in March of 2006 visiting our daughter and her family, it occurred to me that I might boost my determination and ability to lose my excess weight if I just wrote my own weight-loss manual to myself. By doing so, I thought that not only could I reinforce all of the things I have learned about weight and weight loss over the last several decades but also I could gain new insights in how I might succeed in losing weight. While in Texas, I wrote a rough draft of over one hundred pages listing one hundred and one ways to lose weight. I had no access to any references or supporting materials at that time. Some of these weight-loss suggestions are generic and can be expected to appear on virtually any list of recommendations on ways to lose weight. Other suggestions are my own, although it is likely that none are original. Any similarities between my suggestions and other weight-loss recommendations are coincidental.
When I returned to Riverton in south Salt Lake City, Utah from Texas for the summer in 2006, I rewrote my rough draft into a finished draft of about 150 pages. As I was inserting the cover page, I pushed some errant key and all I had left was the cover page. The other 150 pages had vanished. After consulting technical support people who assured me that the pages were, indeed, gone, I had to lick my wounds and consider my options, marveling at the blessings of the electronic age.
David Zinczenko has put together a book on food choices and weight loss that is not only entertaining and fun to read and study, but which is also full of practical and wise advice on making food choices. In Zinczenko's book, titled "Eat This Not That" (New York, Rodale, 2008), the author has about 300 pages with left-side, right-side comparisons of what to eat and what not to eat with colorful photographs to make the choices stick in your memory. Some of the choices you will know from common sense; other choices you may feel blind-sided to realize how dumb you've been to continue eating the food choices shown on the "Not That!" side of the comparisons. I would have written this post sooner, but I made the mistake of opening the book again and spent over an hour saying things like "Oh my gosh!", and, "How dumb can I get?", and related expressions. The photos will stay with you. Even if we can rule out a few things at a time, and begin making better food choices incrementally, the book will be worth its cost. My only concern is that so many choices that are lower in sugar content, fat grams, and calories still have excessively high amounts of sodium in them. We need another book just like this one that takes the sodium factor into account along with sugar, fat, and calories. Nonetheless, Zinczenko has done us a great service with this colorful and valuable little manual for those of us who have continued to be "too blind to be able to see" when we have made food choices.
Kathleen M. Zelman of Web MD has written a review of David Zinczenko's book, emphasizing its overall strengths and value, but pointing out, with the help of American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Elisa Zied, a few unscientific or misleading claims. Read the review here. The main strengths of "Eat This Not That!" focus on cutting empty calories and making more nutritious choices. The Web MD article also contains links to a variety of other diet and nutrition information sources that are of value.
After writing two serious posts on blog safety and falls by older people, I couldn't resist a brief note discussing Ann Cannon's column in the Deseret Morning News about food obsessions. I had never known that Brach's Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs are the gourmet variety of malted milk eggs. I thought they were all the same dry, poor substitutes for real chocolate bunnies and eggs. Apparently I was wrong. Ann writes:
You know that you will not survive the night unless you have a fix of Brach's Fiesta Malted Milk Eggs (made with pure! milk! chocolate!) right before you go to bed . . .
Apparently these spectacular malted milk eggs only come with the Easter bunny so I'll have to wait a year to try them, but I may check ShopKo, the Utah outlet that carries them, when I get back to Salt Lake. I think Ann Cannon serves an important public information function by informing us of things we would otherwise never have known.
Who knew that the mere mention of pomegranates would generate such interest? Here is a recipe from Cooks.com for pomegranate jelly: 10 pomegranates, 6 c. sugar, 3 oz. liquid pectin, do stuff to, and makes 6 cups. Since pomegranates don't grow naturally in the red rock desert surrounding St. George, UT, we pay between two and three bucks for little measly ones here for a couple of months in the fall. What would that come to, with sugar and pectin, $5 a cup or so? Old Nauvoo Jam guy will sell me a jar for $2.49. I'll have to ask him next time I see him where he buys his pomegranates.
Plus, my sister Liz, who knows how to make quilts and apparently is also a pomegranate expert, provided the following advice in her comment on my other post. Actually, I did know this stuff but it takes too long to do all that rigamarole so I just cut and squish. Whatever, Liz, you can't one up me on this one.
Ah, pomegranates - one is supposed to cut the end off of the pomegranate separate it into a couple of sections, and then submerge the whole thing in a bowl of cold water. As you remove the pomegranate seeds under water, they sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the soft off-white stuff that surrounds them rises to the top of the water. You skim that off, drain off the water, and voila, you have pomegranate seeds, sans all the red splattering in the kitchen. Betcha didn't know that, did you?
In case you--
-haven't figured out how restaurants rig their menus to entice you.
-are concerned about getting sick when eating out.
-are thinking about eating out on Mondays
-wonder about what happens to your tip money
you may want to check out MSN's 10 things your restaurant won't tell you by Smart Money.
The Curmudgeonly Professor believes in providing information on any and all subjects deemed of possible interest to his readers who may not fritter away as much time as he does looking for tidbits worth passing around.