Category Archives: Food

Why Eat?

So, like most of America that isn’t in denial, I’ve been trying to lose weight recently.  Why?  Because honestly, life is too short to spend most of it unable to touch your toes.  I can touch my toes right now, but it’s only a matter of time.

Like anyone will tell you, it’s difficult.  Over the summer I lost 30 pounds.  There my progress stopped, and I’ve been fluctuating ever since.  I have a couple theories about why I’m having trouble, and one of them is simply because there are too many reasons to eat.

1.  We eat when we’re hungry.

Well, DUHHHH.  When you’re hungry, you eat.  However, I think there’s a hunger inflation at play here.  It doesn’t make sense that I can eat one grilled cheese sandwich or a full buffet dinner and still feel hungry three hours later.  That’s like putting a hundred-dollar bill into a vending machine and getting the same lukewarm Dasani as the dude putting in 35 cents!  What you eat supposedly matters – so why is my body pretending that it’s all the same?  How can I trust anything if I can’t even trust my own body?

How am I supposed to even believe that I’ve ever been hungry?  I’ve never known hardship; I don’t think I’ve ever notably skipped a meal due to happenstance.  Weird qualifier, but I think it’s an important one; I’ve never been a victim of circumstance.  Meanwhile, my father came to the US with nothing but the clothes on his back and built a life up from scratch – and my body dares to tell me it’s hungry because I didn’t have egg with my rice and spam?  Thas some codswallop, coz!  I call malarkey!  It can’t be true!  Yet my stomach roars and demands to be fed – and I’m trying to retrain it like a naughty dog without developing an eating disorder.

The key here, I think, is recalibration.  I just need to ask myself: which triggers in my body indicate actual hunger, and which ones are false alarms?

2. We eat when we’re bored.

Need time to pass?  Prepping something to eat is one of the easiest ways to do it.  Munching away lets us look at the clock afterward with satisfaction.  Gathering ingredients, putting them together, and finally enjoying the fruits of your labor has helped many impatient children – and later, adults – deal with the trial of waiting.  

Human beings hate to wait.  My father hates to wait, my brother hates to wait – and I definitely hate to wait.  Asking a kid with ADHD to wait instantly places them into a time paradox in which 45 thoughts are had, processed, and possibly even voiced in the span of a few seconds.  Being told to wait has made me a victim of some cruel master of Time and Space chuckling away as he watched me figure out nine ways to make annoying clicking noises at my siblings while my parents tried to pump gas.  So of course, you give a kid a snack, he’s placated.  As an adult with nothing to do, it’s too easy to look for something “to munch on.”

People can’t handle monotony.  In fact, studies show that when you eat out of boredom, it’s not for the pleasure of the food.  When scientists put people in a room and had them watch the same 85-second clip of indoor tennis to watch, they gave these people some M&Ms to munch on.  The second time, they gave them the ability to self-administer electrical shocks.  They were both popular among our bored people.

That’s right. Apparently, my generation can’t even handle boredom without being self-destructive.  Not that human beings in general are known for handling boredom well.  Part of the argument for education for everyone is to keep kids “off the streets,” a euphemism for “not let them be bored because boredom and freedom lead to drugs, alcohol, and/or petty crime.”  True, education is a pretty good answer to that because it teaches brain activity in the face of boredom – quite literally – but I want to follow that ideal to the letter if I can… in other words, challenge my brain instead of filling my stomach.

3. We eat to socialize.

Eating is literally a social event – and a social lubricant.

“Hey, let’s have lunch!”  – That Guy We All Know

I just had lunch with a friend.  We ate pizza, and it was good, but my point is, why do we – including me – feel it’s necessary to eat in order to socialize?  This friend was a good enough friend that I know the pizza wasn’t necessary to have a stimulating experience.  Since getting married, in order to stay in my circle the amount of fun/stimulation required per square hour is pretty ridiculous, so the fact that I wanted to hang with him at all should have been enough.  Yet I can imagine that text.

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Okay, I’m stretching a bit.  What I’m pretty sure happened was that people were awful at talking to each other and needed something in common.  The thought is “Hey, we all need to eat, so let’s all eat.”  It’s actually even a logical thought if it’s seen as a requirement for life; if we’re both going to eat, we might as well eat together and knock it out while we bond.  However, I feel the threat is when that balloons into “We need to eat whenever we’re together.”  (Not the case with you, dude, I was just using an example of socializing while eating).  I’m not like that with my friends – at least, not since college, but I have felt the social pressure to eat.  Part of it is linked to the one about boredom.  If you think dealing with boredom as an individual is difficult, dealing with boredom AND social awkwardness as a group is even worse – and probably what leads to both obesity and gang violence.

The key here is to be with people who have similar goals.  When I was doing P90x with the same pizza buddy, there was a shared unwillingness to negate the suffering we had just gone through with Ab-Ripper X that kept us from going off the rails and downing sundaes.  It’s a lot harder when you’re expected to just show self-control.  Part of me wants to post a picture of a starving person on the wall to remind me not to be overindulgent, but another part of me thinks it will have the opposite effect and lead to me eating even more out of appreciation for not being in that situation.

4. We eat for financial reasons.

This one is huge – especially if you’re raised by immigrants.  You’re taught not to waste food even if you don’t feel like eating it, and that somewhere people are starving, so you should be grateful for what you have.  This isn’t really an incorrect lesson as much as it is a traumatizing one.  After all, you definitely want your child to prioritize survival over pickiness without them being weeded out by Darwinism.

At the same time, this lesson can lead to some problems.  For one thing, buying anything at Costco becomes a commitment – sometimes for the worse.  You can’t go buy a salad because you need to finish all the burger patties before they get all moldy because there’s no more room in the freezer!  You need to eat ALL the bacon!  You need to eat all of the leftovers before they go bad, especially if one of your family members calls it quits and refuses to eat it.

5. We eat for emotional reasons.

Emotions definitely have impacted how people eat.  People use food to deal with their issues instead of coping with them head-on or seeking catharsis.  I’m pretty aware when something like this is happening, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to it.

However, there’s another aspect of emotion that is much more of a threat to me.  If someone you love cooks up, oh, I don’t know, a whole pan of the bombest fried rice on the planet, complete with egg and Chinese sausage, and then follows that by making french toast, do you refuse such gifts and say “no thanks, I’ll make some wheat toast?”

If you would, you’re a monster, and you’ll live those extra years of life cold and alone.

The food tastes good… because it has love.  More importantly, accepting that love is important.  So important that I not only used two forms of the same word, “important,” in one sentence, but also risked possibly making this sentence a fragment by beginning with “so” as a vague intensifier to make my point.

Yet, I want to live – which means finding a way to make my appreciation apparent in more ways than the happy reception of food.  In fact, I would say that the answer to all of this is a simple-to-say, hard-to-do one: Enrich my life so that food isn’t the crutch, the focus, or the answer.  As human beings, we are past the point where food is the focus of an entire day in order to survive – at least, in my current environment.  It’s time for my life to reflect that.  I should look forward to life, not to dinner.

Do you look forward to your food more than you should?  What reasons make you eat besides just hunger?

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Slapfish – (Food Review)

Slapfish in Huntington Beach has some of the most delicious seafood experiences you could ask for.  Especially if you come during Slappy Hour, which is 3-5pm, and then 8 to Closing.  The wife and I were watching David So talk about it, which activated our own curiosity.  Being impulsive and adventurous as a couple, we simply had to go.

We ordered many things, so that we could get the full experience, as well as to justify the long distance.  This was also some photogenic food, so never fear.

First there was the free check-in special, which was some kind of chowder toast thing.  Not really impressive.

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Then came the chowder fries.  The chowder was okay, which oddly enough meant that the fries were the highlight of the dish.  They were crunchy and well-seasoned.  The chowder just kind of made them soggy.

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Value item of the day was definitely the Ultimate Fish Taco – $4.00 during Slappy hour.  The thing was HUGE!  I thought it just looked big, but then I tried to pick it up like a taco and it was heavy, and it held its own shape, because it was indeed a big old slab of fish.  Definitely go for this if you’re pinching pennies and wanting seafood.

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The clobster grilled cheese was deeeeeelicious!  Soft, tender morsels of lobster and crab, and they didn’t overdo the cheese, either.  It wasn’t too heavy.  Butter, bread, American cheese, lobster, crab, yes yum yum yum.  My wife and I were splitting everything so we could try a little of everything.  She offered me the rest of her half of this sandwich.  I replied, “Are you crazy, I’m not trying to die, we have all this food to cover!”  Weirdly though, it came out sounding like “Yes please yum nom nom mm so good I hope this never ends.”  Maybe I have a speech impediment.

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We only ate half of the surf and turf burger, which basically just tasted like a burger.  The flavor of the seafood didn’t feature unless the seafood morsels were eaten separately… which proved to be the way to go, because they were definitely good!

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But yo ho yo ho the best was yet to come!  The lobster grinder! Lobster, crab, and shrimp stuffed into a fresh, toasted, eggy and buttery brioche bun.  I doubted this dish because it looked small but I tasted it and now I believe.  This was 13.50.

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So was this worth the many many miles we traveled to LA?  Having not tried it before, absolutely.  I wouldn’t go back for the sole purpose of going here, but if I’m ever nearby again I’m pretty sure some animal instinct in me would be able to detect it if I got within 5 miles.  I ate enough that I was significantly screwed up afterward.  My eyes glazed over and I fumbled with my words like I had just learned how to trace my name and had gotten lost on my way to the lego bucket.

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Such was my state that my wife thought that I hated the experience until I had recovered and was able to convey to her how much I had enjoyed myself.

Also, the servers were very nice and polite, and the food came out faaast… faster than it would take the average person to finish reading this article.  5 stars for that!  Way to earn the tip!

They also offer a soda fountain with pure cane sugar, but I didn’t partake because my wife wanted me to live.

Supporting the Cause! (Food Review)

So this summer I have encountered a snacking gem.  If you try this snack, you will owe me forever for changing your life.  I encountered this item at a place called Mr. Green Bubble, where you’ve seen me check in again and again.  I’ve apparently gone at least 44 times this summer alone.

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Mark my words, it’s up to us!

First of all, what could lead me to take such a leap of faith?  Well you would be less surprised if you knew about my wariness of cephalopods.  I therefore, understandably support the killing and eating of these creatures in order to prevent the Cephalopod Uprising of 2035, which we’d be too weak to fight against after defeating Skynet.

Mr. Green Bubble’s calamari rings are what they sound like: breaded rings of squid.  Usually small little ringlets in most places, Mr. Green Bubble throws caution to the wind with bountifully breaded slabs of squid meat.  Huge pieces.  Each piece is wonderfully spiced, and beautifully tender.

I’ve lost some weight from eating this stuff.  How?  Well, they’re so good that I’m willing to eat them in place of a full meal.  Delicious.  Not healthy.  Don’t copy me unless portion control is your problem.

The place offers a spice level of 1-5, of which I usually select level 4.  There’s a combo special, which means a 16oz milk tea is only $1.50 more when buying them.  If I wasn’t typing this right now, I’d be there now.  In fact, I just asked my wife if we could go there for dinner.

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Aziz Ansari once stated of Chick Fil-A that it was convenient for them to be anti-homosexual because it allowed their supporters to have “a delicious way to support your cause.”  Well, now I have a delicious way to support mine.  Enjoy wonderful calamari rings from Mr. Green Bubble, and stop the Cephalopod Uprising… or don’t, but let me know so I can pick up your slack.

NOTE: I have not been paid by anyone to advertise anything.

Servings and Portions

Nothing takes the fun out of food quite like dieting – and nothing takes the morale out of dieting than paying attention to serving size in order to determine your portions.  Let’s face it: serving sizes are nowhere near actual portion size.  Companies are really good at shrinking those numbers. Is your frozen pizza too many calories?  Well, what about half a slice?  Well, from now on, that’s a serving.

I’ve lost some weight this summer, but sometimes I allow myself a cheat or two with one serving of something sinful.  Today I wanted some Chewy Chips Ahoy!

A serving of Chewy Chips Ahoy is 2 cookies.  Each cookie is like 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter. Has anyone ever eaten just two of these?  They’re the same size as a Ritz cracker.  I might as well not have any if I’m just going to eat two!

I had four.

A suggested serving size of eggs is one egg.  One.  Who has “an egg” without having other things with it?

– “What’s for breakfast?”

– “An egg.”

Nobody Happy

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The phrase is Green EGGS and Ham!  People eat EGGS for breakfast!  Worse, eggs are PART of any respectable breakfast, let alone the main focus!  I crack two eggs into my fried rice recipe like it’s nothing!  I crack eggs into my french toast egg wash, and then I eat my french toast – WITH EGGS.  I haven’t used “egg” as a singular noun out loud in years!  I’ve used “egg” as in the substance… like you’d use water.  “Mix that with egg!”

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Apparently you’re just not supposed to eat pizza. “Well… maybe just one…”  Think again.  You eat one slice of pizza, and nutritionally you’ve eaten too much pizza, and you’re going to die.  (Real pizza, so don’t comment about any kind of cauliflower crust garbage.)  Pizza parties are for athletic events because only athletes can burn away the awfulness that pizza does to your body.

But restaurant portions are so huge!  How can they possibly do this?!

Let’s say you order a small order of McDonald’s fries. (Here I did research, but I’m not going to cite it here because it was really easy to Google.)  That’s about 230 calories and about 50 fries.  That’s about 4.6 calories a fry.  That’s 230 calories for roughly 2.6 ounces of food.

Yeah that’s right.  Mix THAT with an egg!

I dare you to look at the nutrition facts of Ritz crackers… AFTER you’ve eaten a roll.  Make sure you’re sitting down… which you probably will be if you’re eating a roll of Ritz.

It’s enough to make me want to sleep until tomorrow just so I don’t eat anything.

If we as human beings are supposed to abide by these serving sizes, then that restaurant Flames would have its owners answering to so many cases of accessory to murder.  Even in the prime of my eating days in college, during which I gained maybe 150 lbs, I could not finish something from Flames.

b908ebd8f9e447996c4c06fcd4a3d0a5And then the waiter always comes back talking about “Leave any room for dessert?”  How do they sell ANY dessert?  Can someone explain to me how somebody can have dessert here without having it as part of their plan from the get-go?  Plus, what are you supposed to eat here?  THEIR CAKES?!

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I refuse to Google the nutrition information, because I feel like even though it’s in my past, I might simply die just from acknowledging the number of calories that I ingested from this place.

5 Ways Pizza Restaurants Try to Rip You Off

Pizza is delicious… and honestly, not that hard to make.  Yet we still go out and pay $30.00 a pie for a decent pizza meal.  Prices are not the only way they try to get you, though!  Here are 5 more ways they try to get you!

1. The Pizza Lunch/Dinner Buffet

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The pizza buffet is a lie, and here’s why:

First of all, there is usually only one or two types of pizza out there.  One of these is usually cheese or a very skimpy pepperoni.  There are usually always breadsticks.  Your enemy in getting your money’s worth out of a pizza buffet are breadsticks and time.  The breadsticks are to fill you up while you’re waiting for the pizza you actually like to be made.  Time is your enemy because the longer you wait, the more likely your stomach will decide that two slices is enough carbs and you’re out of the game.

Considering how fast pizza places have to be, you’re telling me they can’t meet the demand of a buffet?  I watched as several popular pizza chains tried this on me.  There was always only one pizza out at any given time, but I was encouraged to fill myself on more bread while I waited.  By the time a pizza with any meat came out, very little time was left of the lunch buffet hours.

2. Stingy with the Toppings

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Especially on adding a topping.  What is it about adding sausage bits that suddenly makes every pepperoni need a personal force field?  Worse, sometimes you get a pizza rookie that puts all the ingredients in the middle of the pizza, making it nice and soggy while still ensuring the rest of the pizza lacks flavor.

3. The Special Dipping Sauce

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Breadsticks are pizza without the sauce, but you can buy the sauce to dip it in if you still want it to taste like pizza.

…or you can order a pepperoni pizza without the pepperoni, then pay for the pepperoni to be put on afterward!

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4. Pre-prepared Pizzas

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Ever find that your pizza tastes like it’s not cooked enough?  That’s because they’re supposed to be made to order, and yet often times before a busy day pizzas will be made and then pushed back into the refrigerator until it is needed.  However, this is not how the oven times are calculated, and this could result in a lack of crispness and some sogginess, not to mention an unevenly cooked pizza.

5. No Logic

So let’s say a pizza place charges per topping, and then lets you know that toppings cost additional.  Let’s say you like the meatlover’s pizza, but you don’t like the hamburger meat.  So you ask them to substitute the hamburger with olives.  You know what you’re most likely to see?

A $1.00 charge for olives.

How does this even begin to make sense?  First of all, a meat is worth more than a vegetable as a topping, hands-down.  Second, by taking the hamburger away, that topping should be “on credit” and therefore not charge me.  “But sir, when I hit the button it charges you!”

Write on that receipt with a sharpie if you have to.  Don’t try to play helpless with me!