Monday, May 4, 2009

Roti and The End of Overeating

Here's a fresh roti (with chickpeas and roasted sweet potato)...

...and here's what happens to a roti when you take it out of the freezer and put it in the toaster. (The toaster worked so well for the plain and aloo parathas, but turned the roti into a cracker. I wonder if that has something to do with the roti's "no oil" content.)

This is a better picture of tonight's dinner, although it's harder to see the detail on the food. Of course, when your yogurt is bleeding into both the chickpeas and the steamed spinach, maybe it's better to avoid too much detail.

So today I read the latest crazy hit book, David Kessler's The End of Overeating. The title is a bit misleading; the book should be called something like Chain Restaurant Food Is Full Of Fat And Sugar and Chemicals and They Mix It Up In A Lab and an Underpaid Line Chef Defrosts It For You. That's essentially what the book is about, and for what it's worth, it's interesting--though it's nothing that anyone who has read Fast Food Nation or seen Super Size Me hasn't heard before. Kessler's particular take is that we overeat because the food itself is addictive, which again is not a new idea, but he peppers his book with delicious anecdotes like "the chicken in Chili's Southwestern Eggrolls is ground into a smooth puree so you don't have to chew it, which Chili's food scientists did deliberately because they knew that the faster you ate, the more you would eat."

Kessler's solution to overeating, which he claims is inevitable given the state of American food (high-fat, high-sugar which melts on the tongue and creates an instant craving for more), is nothing more than sheer willpower. He says you have to tell yourself every day, at every moment, that you choose not to eat the HFCS muffins at the office meeting or the 1,000 calorie burger at the fast food joint or the Cinnabon being pumped through the air vents at the mall. And eventually, he says, you'll stop wanting to.

It's a bit of a dismal idea but I understand where he's coming from. The more I step away from packaged food and the dreaded HFCS the more I understand how eating it changes my brain. After every dinner, for example, I eat one square of an 85% cocoa Lindt chocolate bar. (Sadly, the chocolate never makes it into any of my photographs.) Last night, my sister brought over some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She took two and gave me two and put the rest of the bag on the sofa; the minute I had the first one in my mouth I was already thinking about how excited I was to eat the second one, and then the entire time we were watching The Golden Girls ('cause of Bea Arthur, natch) I was sitting there thinking "there are more peanut butter cups on the sofa..."

But before I sound too "my diet is more FTW than yours," here's the kicker. You all have seen what I eat. I have Kashi and homemade yogurt for breakfast, dal or soup and homemade bread for lunch, and a sensible dinner followed by a square of chocolate. I take apples for my morning and afternoon snacks. Maybe twice a week I have a cookie at work (because there are always cookies and I can't always resist them). And on the weekend I go to Tryst and have a chai or cappuccino with two inches of steamed milk on top.

On top of that I'm active; I walk four miles a day and I practice Ashtanga six days a week.

And I've put on ten pounds in the past ten months.


Explain that, Dr. Kessler.

1 comment:

maya said...

the last time you said something like this, you realized later that it was because it was hormonal-water-retention time. Just saying :)