Monday, August 25, 2014

My trip to New York City

I went to NYC with my long-time friend G to see her son perform in a play and celebrate his birthday.  I also got a lot of other unplanned treats, like seeing my cousin, and one more I'll mention later.  We had a great time and did a lot of things in the 5 days we were there.  I no longer try to force myself to follow my diet because I want to spend my mental energy and thoughts on other things.  So I had no expectations for what would happen, but I knew if I wanted to stay on plan, it would be easy.  And it was and it didn't interfere with anyone else's plans.

We went grocery shopping on the first day, because two of us wanted groceries (me and the boy).  I got a few cans of beans and some fruit.  I already had some nuts and dried mangos that I brought with me.  They didn't have any no-sodium cans of beans, just low-sodium, which had whopping amounts of sodium--I wonder what the normal-sodium cans had in them.  So I rinsed the beans before eating.  There are fruit stands and small grocery stores all over the place in NYC with plentiful fruit and nuts.  At one point, I found a Whole Foods store, and also a really good grocery with good lettuce and spinach.  So I got my greens in as well as the fruit and nuts and beans.  I had plenty to eat. I usually ate my dinner before we went out for dinner and drinks and there I enjoyed a club soda with lime while my friends enjoyed their food and drinks.  Breakfast and lunch for my friends were take-out or eat-in so I could eat my food with no problem.  I had no desire to eat anything they were eating, but...

I did go off-plan once for a small dessert.  It's a long story, but at the recommendation of a friend, I had very recently read this memoir of a chef, Gabrielle Hamilton ("Blood, Bones, & Butter").  It was interesting and well-written, which are the two ingredients for a good book to me--subject matter is less important to me.  She is about as far away from vegan as you can be.  Well, she has a restaurant in the lower East side of Manhattan.  After the Friday afternoon showing of the play, when we were in a restaurant eating (casual enough for me to eat my bring-along food), I thought, hey, I wonder if Gabrielle's restaurant, Prune, is nearby.  I checked my iPhone, and discovered it was only a few blocks away!   So we had to go there and I wanted to post a picture to my friend's Facebook page and make her really jealous.  When we got there, G said "let's see if we can get dessert," and amazingly, they had a table we could use for 30 minutes.   So I did order a dessert and a small glass of port.  It was very enjoyable and very simple:  a sliced fresh peach on a small piece of buttered toast (home-made), with some sugar on top.  I thought it was worth it.  The port was also very enjoyable, especially stimulating to a non-drinker like myself.  I paid for the three of us since it was my idea to come there, and after I got the bill I thought, well, maybe that wasn't worth it after all, haha.  No, it was fun, and really fun making my friend from back home jealous.

My only other digression was that I bought some raw cashews for a treat and ate way too many.  I ate that with fruit while others were eating birthday cake and brownies and drinking beer; on multiple occasions (there was also this famous cake store where they had lots of treats).  I figured the cashews and fruit might be a good psychological tactic and it seemed to work.  And I ate carrots in the movie theater while they ate popcorn and soda.  I love carrots like they love popcorn.

It was a great trip.  My food choices didn't interfere with anyone's fun, except perhaps G, who I worried was feeling self-conscious about her food choices.  I asked her to not let food interfere with our friendship or fun.  I have another old friend who doesn't like me anymore because of my food choices so I know this can happen.  I know G wouldn't be that way but I also don't want her to feel self-conscious.  One interesting tidbit is that I didn't wear out like my companions who needed lots of coffee in the mornings, haha.

Intermittent Fasting

Somehow I stumbled on a couple of talks and interviews with Dr. Mark Mattson, maybe from one of the Healthy Librarian's Facebook posts--she has a lot of interesting posts.   First, I saw this Ted talk.   Then I found this interview with him and Dr. Michael Mosley and Dr. Valter Longo on the Diane Rehm show.  So then I read Dr. Mosley's book, which is very good.  He prefers the 5-2 diet, where you eat normally 5 days a week, and eat 1/4 your normal calories 2 days a week.  That didn't sound as appealing to me as the "fast-8" diet, where you eat in an 8 hour window every day.  Both seem to have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and blood pressure and cholesterol, even for those eating the Standard American Diet.

I started the fast-8 plan almost 4 weeks ago, with the expectation that I wouldn't like it, but I'll try it for a day and see how awful it is.  Well, it wasn't awful at all and I felt great the next day.  I like to exercise in the morning, and, behold, that feels better on an empty stomach.  I was hungry at night for a few days but then that went away.  I guess most people eat their meals between noon and 8 pm, but I prefer 9 am - 5 pm--I have a lot of evening meetings and don't want to eat late at night, plus I like breakfast.  I expected I would pig out too much during the 8 hour window and then feel deprived during the 16 hour window.  Neither happened.  I enjoyed eating what and when I wanted and during the 8-hour window.  Then I enjoyed not eating the rest of the time and busy-ing myself with other things.  I've lost 5 lbs and it doesn't feel like I'm trying. I'd like to lose 10-15 more--that's the weight I've gained the last 2 years.  Plus I feel better.

Interestingly, this is the sort of eating that Dr. Fuhrman promotes with his recommendations to reach the true hunger stage before eating (at least some of the time).  I'm finding myself gravitating back to the Fuhrman diet because I feel better not eating too many starchy foods.  I also like eating some nuts and seeds every day.  I talked about that some in this post too.