Comfort food


I have noticed I have been seeking out comfort food a lot lately. I am unsurprised, however, given the confluence of events that have happened in the last eight months, some of them of my own making, others not. While chocolate is my usual go-to comfort food, I eat it regularly enough that the low level comfort it provides doesn't provide nearly the buffer needed to weather the most recent events.

And, so, grilled cheese sandwiches have become a frequent visitor to my dinner table.

So much so, that I am saddened by the closing of a hipster grilled-cheese (only?) sandwich shop in the Mission.

Saddened, and emboldened to become a master grilled-cheese-sandwich chef!

I've had a number of variations, but the one I like the most currently, and default to most easily, is the one Tom helped me build:

New food rules


Having read a couple articles about food and fasting and longevity, I've decided to adjust my diet. Again. Since I've been keeping track of everything I eat, when I sleep, how and how much I spend, and what odd things happen to me, I've been able to see the effects of food and sleep have on my short-term health. While I won't really be able to track for longevity other than by delaying as long as I can my arrival to the other side, I can track how I feel after adjusting my diet.

Tracking everything has been fascinating, like realizing I have headaches after eating sugar, even with chocolate but especially with cupcakes. Or that the suggested four Omega 3 supplements a day wreaks havoc on my bowel movements.


Two is just fine.

So, my current plan for food is, "If I can grow it, make it, catch it or harvest it, I'll eat it." It'll mean a lot more whole foods, a lot fewer processed foods. Technically yes, I could make the potato chips or the corn chips or the exquisitely light, white cake with butter frosting... but I'm not going to make them. I'm not going to grow the wheat and mill it and churn the butter and the like. There's a limit to how far I'll go, so pffffffft, most sweets are out.

Of course I'll make an exception for chocolate in this new grow-make-catch-harvest rule, but I hope to eventually make that the only exception. We'll see.

Mmmmmm, tasty


When I purchased the tickets for this flight, I selected the 'vegetarian meal' option. I'm particular about selecting these options, though I try to be high maintenance only for Kris instead of for both of us. When dinner came through, I made sure Kris had more than the chicken option, but was disappointed to learn they had lost my vegetarian selection.

The attendants were, however, fabulous in recovering after the error. I quickly received a tray of delicious non-meats:


I was pleased to learn we were served Irish butter ....


... but a bit puzzled at the lack of Irish cheese.


Now, the kiwi threw me off. I've never eaten a kiwi before, choosing to pass along the furry fruit to anyone who will eat them. I'm on vacation, though, so, hey, why not try it? Really? Why not? Just because it's furry, and has slimy jelly flesh, and tiny annoying seeds, I mean, why not?

I had some. It was better than I was expecting.


Processed? Out!


Well, I called Bob, Kris' dad, today. There's only so many days in a row I can spend in darkness, not moving, wishing for quiet, before every fiber in my body is going to scream for a solution to this ongoing problem. Three times in five months, I've had four in a row, and it's getting out of hand. If it's the wine, or even alchohol in general, fine, I'll stop drinking it.

When Bob called me back, he had some good dietary suggestions for me, which was what I was asking for. I was looking for an elimination diet, maybe to help me figure out what was my trigger. I thought I'd have to cut everything out of my diet and subsist on rice and beans for a while.

I was, thankfully, wrong.

Out of my diet is now: nitrates, nitrites, tyramine, chocolate, sulfites. When I asked how to determine if food has any of these in it, because, let's face it, except for "chocolate," the rest of them are sorta hard to figure out, Bob told me, "Avoid processes foods."

Okay, I can do that.

I've recently switched to a vegetarian diet, though didn't tell very many people about the change. I'm the easiest vegetarian you'll probably ever meet: if you serve me meat, I'll eat it. I like Andy's philosophy that (I'm poorly paraphasing here) wasting the animal is worse than killing the animal in the first place, so if it's there, better to eat it than refuse and have it thrown away. Or something like that.

However, my food choices have been remarkably fruits and vegetable based, even for me. I suspect Lisa would be somewhat pleased.

Update: Okay, after going to the store and buying a bunch of unprocessed snacks, I did the research for high level tyramine foods. I really should have done the check before I left. Now, I don't know if the auras and migraines are dietary triggered, but, if I had to guess, this could very well be my trigger. Check out the foods with tyramine: hard/aged cheeses (check), avocados (check), eggplant (check), oranges (check), grapes (check), nuts (check), soy (check), leftovers older than a day (check).

This is going to take some work. Though, honestly, anything has to be easier than that no meat, no wheat, no dairy, no soy diet I had five years ago. That one was hard.

What's in your cupboard?


Today's meals were quite questionable. Entertainably so, actually.

Rather than going out to the store, I was determined to find something in the house I could eat for lunch. Preferably something with decent nutritional value. That requirement's the kicker.

Having cleaned out the refridgerator a few days ago of all the expired or spoiled foods, I knew this task wasn't going to be easy. In the scouring, however, I found a box of rice milk on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Okay, milk-ish drink, check.

After searching the cabinets for a bit, I realized I had just barely enough pasta for one serving, so made pasta, with sauce from the open jar in the fridge (handily boiled in case it had started to spoil).

I also found some unopened shaved parmesan cheese. Hot damn, I thought, this was going to be a good meal: spaghetti and sauce with cheese, lemon and herb tuna fish from a can in the cupboard and a big glass of (rice) milk. Not bad, not bad at all.

I sat down with my meal, Blue staring at me on one side, Bella staring at me from the other, and started to eat.

After a bite, I had to wonder if I had accidently put bluecheese into my bowl, instead of the shaved parmesan... Oh, wait, no, I had actually put parmesan into my bowl.

Oh, ick.

I managed to eat only half of my intended meal.

24 hours of meat


I don't eat much meat. If I know I need protein, I'll actively seek some meat in my meal, but for the most part, I'll eat vegetables, dairy and some breads. I'm not vegetarian, I'll eat meat, I just won't crave it, or eat it by default.

Friday for lunch, however, was a little different. I was cold, the day blustery and overcast, so I ordered soup at the local Vietamese restaurant. Changing from my usual order twice, I ordered the egg noodles with beef balls pho. Doyle looked at me when I ordered. "I wouldn't order beef balls. You don't know what's in them."

No, I don't. And in retrospect, shouldn't have ordered them.

In the evening, Kris was heading out of town to spend Saturday with his parents in Southern California. Since he was in a hurry, we defaulted to grabbing a meal at McDonalds. I don't know why we ever go there. Except for the ice cream cones, the food is always suspect. And stinks.

Yet, I ate a cheeseburger, just waiting for that moment where the sweet ketchup, bun and pickle overwhelm the "meat" pattie for that one tasty bite that almost makes the rest of the cheeseburger worth it.

An hour later, I was on my way to pick up half the players from the women's team I'm coaching, to drive them to this weekend's tournament. The fields were changed at the last minute, from Stanford to Stevinson, California, 100 miles by road east-ish. One mountain range kept the distances from being only sixty miles as a straight shot.

In the morning, I found myself back at McDonalds, wondering what to order. The $3.50 charge on my credit card, all of my cash in my bookbag at home, paid for the sausage egg McMuffin™ on my plate. I managed to eat half of it before I was overcome with disgust at all the fake meat I had eaten in the last twenty-four hours.

I stopped eating, and threw the rest away.

It'll be interesting to see how my crap smells in the next couple days.

Yeah, yeah, don't talk about poop.


A well know fact is that vegetarians' body odor smells better than meat-eaters', so the smell of the bathroom when I done with it will be different than normal in a day. I haven't eaten such a large amount of crappy meat in a long, long time, so I do have to wonder how much the room will really stink.

I cannot eat enough


I'm pretty much not able to eat enough food, and it's starting to frustrate me. As part of my training program I'm eating as much as I can. Literally. If I can eat, I do. I have pooped more in one day (I'm averaging 3-4 times a day for the last week) than I ever pooped in a single day before (the goldfish story excluded).

Kris says give it time: eventually, my body will adjust to the additional nutrition requirements and extra food, and process it accordingly. Until then, 4 poops a day.

The worst part is that I don't know if I'm getting the correct requirements for food. Am I getting enough protein? Vitamins? Iron? I have no idea. I wish I knew.


How much protein do athletes need?

There isn't an exact number for athletes because protein needs vary, depending on whether an athlete is growing, rapidly building new muscle, doing endurance exercise, or dieting, in which case protein is used as a source of energy (table 1). Protein requirements for athletes are higher than the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 0.4 g of protein per pound of body weight, which is based on the needs of nonexercisers. Protein recommendations for athletes are commonly expressed in a range to include a safety margin (2). If you do the math (1g of protein has 4 calories), you'll see that you don't need to have 30% of your calories come from protein.

Table 1. Recommended Grams of Protein Per Pound of Body Weight Per Day*
RDA for sedentary adult 0.4
Adult recreational exerciser 0.5-0.75
Adult competitive athlete 0.6-0.9
Adult building muscle mass 0.7-0.9
Dieting athlete 0.7-1.0
Growing teenage athlete 0.9-1.0
*To find your daily protein requirement, multiply the appropriate numbers in this table by your weight in pounds.