Trouble in Paradise (it’s Weight Gain Season)

“Competition puts hurdles in front of you that you have to clear.” 

OKC Thunder coach Mark Daigneault

Life puts hurdles in front of you that you have to clear. Like Thanksgiving. TGTIO (Thank God Thanksgiving is Over). We were out of town for only three days. I gained three pounds. I’m not good at math but I think this equates to one pound per day. YIKES. There’s 35 days until the first day of the New Year. At this pace I’ll weigh 208 pounds…

But I am not alone. This chart is attributed to the New England Journal of Medicine but I could never find the original source article.

As the years pass I get better at understanding why I put the pounds on. This was our dessert board on Turkey Day.

I can’t get Tex-Mex in Oklahoma. So when in Texas I need Tex-Mex. At one of my favorite Tex-Mex stops I discovered a new favorite, the #10.

The numbers above are calories, fat calories, and fat in grams. 2950 mg of sodium too (the original chart has more nutrition information).

We ate Tex-Mex Wednesday and Friday, the perfect bookends to Thanksgiving.

I had #10 twice.

Take Home Lesson

Salt, sugar, fat and excess calories. Taking and/or keeping the weight off is simple when you reduce intake of these four items.

Restaurant meals will kill you. Literally.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with every now and then so long as it’s every now and then.

My skinny jeans fit fine. I’ll get back to my usual routine and diet and the three pounds should come off and I’m good until the next hurdle. Until then I’ll wear my black t-shirts because dark colors make you look thinner.

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Simple Cornbread Dressing (or Stuffing if you stuff your bird)

One of the pleasures of writing this blog is documenting how recipes change over time. I’ve already gotten a Cracker Correction for Squash Casserole – The Final Update 2022. Here are links to ALL of the family’s Thanksgiving Dressing recipes claimed as “we’ve always made it this way”. Comments and corrections as always are welcome.

Your Grandmother’s Dressing (this is the real deal)

Aunt Charlene’s Cornbread Dressing

(Not) Your Grandmother’s Thanksgiving Dressing

(Not) Your Grandmother’s Dressing – the day after at 10pm

Note the recipe that everyone has eaten when I make dressing is made with Texas Corn Bread.

I win.

Tofu and Fish Heads

The trips to Manhattan became grew more infrequent as my Dad got older. He got tired of the drive, the traffic, and all of the frustrations of driving to the big city for stuff he couldn’t find elsewhere. When I was little the trips to Chinatown seemed to be every other week. Dad needed specific ingredients and Chinatown was the source for everything he needed. I didn’t mind the trips much at all. He would toss me a few bucks so I could go to the arcade and play Skee Ball while he shopped. Real Skee Ball with the old heavy wood balls, not the cheap plastic balls used in the arcade game nowadays.

Lunch was at one of Dad’s favorite places, the type of Chinatown restaurant that White People never ate at. I never liked authentic Chinese food. So while I didn’t mind the car trips I knew my lunch would be challenging. I also knew the house would smell bad when we got home and Dad started cooking authentic. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of eating (or attempting to eat) authentic Chinese food you know exactly what I mean.

There’s a giant Vietnamese grocery store in OKC called Super Cao Nguyen. The place is huge and was opened in 1979 by refugees from the war. They claim to be OKC’s oldest ethnic supermarket and I believe them. Over the years the store has gotten bigger and clearly has become more of an international grocery store rather than just Vietnamese. I bring this up only because of the way the store smells. The store smells like my childhood. The smells inside this store are not pleasant but they remind me of the trips I made to Manhattan as a kid. Of course it’s not the same but when you live in Oklahoma you can’t be too picky. I don’t shop at Super Cao often, but every now and then I need some decent soy sauce. I think the smells keep me away.

Dad was one hell of a good cook. Way back in my twenties I shared an apartment with a coworker and friend. Joe and I had the ultimate bachelor pad and I did a lot of the cooking. One day Joe paid me the highest compliment a home cook could get.

“You’re the best everyday cook I know.”

The best everyday cook I’ve known in my life was my Dad (when not making authentic mainland smelly dishes). To repeat, I’m not a big fan of authentic Chinese cuisine. But Dad made two dishes that I remain quite fond of. One dish was steamed sea bass with a soy dipping sauce. The fish was always fresh, flavorful and satisfying. When the family finished one side of the fish Dad would take his chopsticks and flip the fish over where a second substantial portion was waiting. As is the custom in many cultures Dad would let the family pick away at the best parts of the fish while eating less, allowing the rest of us to get our fill. There was always plenty of fish for everyone but Dad had this peculiar habit that the family all knew was coming but dreaded nonetheless. He would look around the table and then ask if we all had enough.

“Yeah Dad, I’m full.”

Then he did what he always did.

“Does anyone want the eyes?”

“Uh…no.”

First the eyes were popped out of their sockets and eaten. Then he did what he always did after eating the eyes:

“Does anyone want the head?”

“Uh, no Dad. You can have the head.”

The fish head was then deftly severed from the rest of the skeleton. And with a quick flip of the chopsticks Dad placed the fish head in his mouth with the fish mouth facing all of us and began to suck out the fish brains. I’m somewhat surprised I still eat sea bass. I only wish we had cellphones back then so I could have taken a picture for posterity.

The other dish Dad made that I willingly ate was tofu. This is a food that sends shivers up most people’s spines. Most people don’t care for the texture which is somewhere between sponge and soft rubber. Others don’t care for the taste which baffles me because tofu has no taste. You have to fry it, dry it, press it, smother it in sauce and/or mix it up with a lot of vegetables and you’ll be fine. I love tofu.

According to my two offspring I have made only two dishes that were absolute inedible disasters. One was mustard chicken. The other was tofu tacos. I admit both dishes were bad and I never made them again. Unfortunately the bad memories persist and on occasion I would be reminded of my culinary mishaps.

Most tofu now comes packaged in small plastic tubs and water. In Chinatown the tofu squares of my youth were floating in a large wooden barrel. Somehow Dad turned these floating tofu boats into Fried Tofu with Broccoli. At least with this dish I didn’t have to watch anyone put an entire fish head in his mouth and suck out the brains.

If anyone ever wondered why I can’t eat crawfish in the traditional manner, now you know.

More on the Obesogenic Environment

In an editorial in Obesity, Corkey discusses the many different theories explaining why obesity continues to increase despite best efforts at controlling weight gain in this environment, including increased availability and marketing of high-calorie and high-glycemic-index foods and drinks, larger food portions, leisure time physical activities being replaced with sedentary activities such as watching television and use of electronic devices, inadequate sleep, and the use of medications that increase weight.

According to Corkey, all of these purported explanations assume an environmental cause that is detrimental to the organism involved, (humans).

Boston University School of Medicine. “Finding the solution to obesity: Culinary medicine, emerging evidence-based field, ID’d as early intervention.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221102115527.htm (accessed November 3, 2022)

Diseases related to obesity correlate with both the extent and duration of obesity. This suggests that diseases related to obesity will also increase more rapidly owing to the younger onset and more severe forms of the disease.

Barbara E. Corkey, Caroline M. Apovian. “En attendant Godot”: Waiting for the answer to obesity and longevity. Obesity, 2022; 30 (11): 2105 DOI: 10.1002/oby.23462

I have a growing sense of urgency to finish writing my future best seller.

I just have to figure out how to describe what I know in language simple enough for everyone to understand.

Random Thoughts – September 2022

“Some of the best evidence for the role of exercise in maintaining weight loss comes from the National Weight Control Registry, an online group of over ten thousand men and women who have lost at least thirty pounds and kept it off for at least a year. These folks defy the cynical view that meaningful, sustainable weight loss is impossible. The average Registry member has lost over sixty pounds and kept it off for more than four years. They are truly exceptional…Nearly all of them (98 percent) report changing their diet to lose weight, which makes sense given how diet can affect the reward and satiety systems in our brain and impact how much we eat.”

Herman Pontzer PhD Burn (pp. 255-256). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition

I posted about this book back in May on my other world famous blog. http://lifeunderwriter.net/2022/05/11/read-this-book/

From your “exceptional” self-proclaimed expert on weight loss you’re welcome.

8784 signing off.

The Pups – Update September 2022

The pups back in July. Remember these guys?

The pups after replanting and spending an ungodly number of days in 100+ degree heat. I didn’t think they would survive.

But they did.

The Boss says if I retire I need a hobby. Voila! New hobby!

Exercise is Not Essential for Weight Loss. It is Vital for Your Health — Damon Ashworth Psychology

Alongside nutrition and sleep, exercise is one of the three pillars of our health. Before coming up with a realistic and sustainable plan, let’s see what types of exercise are most recommended and how much we should try to do each day or each week. Walking – is there anything to the 10,000 steps recommendation? […]

If you want to lose weight, please remember that nutrition, and not exercise, is the best way to do this. The type, amount, and timing of when you eat and drink are more important for how much weight and fat you lose than how active you are.

Exercise is Not Essential for Weight Loss. It is Vital for Your Health — Damon Ashworth Psychology

Building new habits takes time. My typical morning routine is bathroom, shower, dry off (don’t forget this step), coffee and either read or write before starting my work day. Today I’m starting a new routine which hopefully becomes habit. Coffee AND resistance training (shower later).

Another morning habit I didn’t realize existed until today was my morning dopamine hit from likes and page views. What? Someone from Down Under liked my Resistance is Not Futile post. And followed me! Naturally I had to follow back and reblog which is not cheating or stealing someone else’s hard work.

Thank you Dr. Ashworth. But more importantly THANK YOU for Josh Giddey. https://www.nba.com/player/1630581/josh-giddey

Braum’s Is the Best American Fast-Food Chain You’ve Never Heard Of

In fact, the milk — and the company-owned creamery where it is produced — is the cornerstone of the Braum’s business model. The chain makes and produces all of its dairy products and bakes its own burger buns, and as such, Braum’s only opens locations within a 330-mile radius of its production facility in Tuttle. From there, refrigerated trucks are dispatched every other day to make deliveries to its more than 300 stores scattered across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.

Braum’s Is the Best American Fast-Food Chain You’ve Never Heard Of — https://www.eater.com/23165864/braums-best-chain-milk-ice-cream-burgers

The closest grocery store from my house is just a mile away. But anytime I need milk, eggs, or cheese I shop at Braum’s. Their private label bread is better and cheaper than the grocery store. Butter at the grocery store is between $4.00 and $6.00 a pound depending upon the brand. Braums’ butter is $3.50 a pound (but you have to buy two to get this price).

Control of production and lower transpiration costs obviously affect the retail prices. And in a good way.

Did I mention The Bag? https://www.braums.com/menus/bag-of-burgers-junior/

These burgers are Tiny Taste Tester Approved.