Day 1: In which one desperate, overweight, middle-aged urbanite attempts to make and consume flax seed granola. Welcome to “The Plan.”
Regular visitors to my little literary lock-down unit will know that when it comes to dieting and weight loss, my “suffering is legendary even in Hell,” as the infamous Pinhead so aptly put it.
In recent months, my quest to reduce has become something of a forced-march, and my struggles to rein in my intake are now the stuff of legend. OK, maybe not Legend in the biblical or Arthurian sense, but I think it’s fair to say that this challenge looms large on my personal horizon. And by that I mean, it has begun to consume my every waking hour, haunt my dreams and even impinge on that most sacred of rituals, cocktail hour.
I have consulted with (and subsequently eighty-sixed) Dr. Feelbad, diet doctor to the stars, on the basis of his poor bedside manner, his obvious supplement scam and complete lack of interest in important details like stress levels, sleep patterns and whether I’m going to have a nervous breakdown in the next ten minutes. These, you see, have an enormous impact on weight, as any reputable doctor/nutritionist worth his
salt Maine Coast Organic Kelp Granules (salt is fast becoming a war crime in my house) will attest.
Now, having tried the many small meals approach and failed in a spectacular fashion, I was becoming rather desperate. Always ravenous, constantly panic stricken from hunger and never within reach of an approved high-protein, low-carb, non-pizza food, I was haunted by the desire for a cookie, piece of fudge or entire cheesecake, pretty much night and day. When I say I was powerless in the face of these cravings, you can believe it. Picture an aggressively peckish Honey Boo Boo gazing upon a truckload of pork rinds or Bill Clinton peering through the window of a jello-wrestling marathon, and you get the idea.
Sure I was down ten pounds, but that happened two months ago. I had, as we in the diet-as-second-career business say, plateaued. The problem: twenty more to go, no idea how to get up the mountain and not a crampon in sight.
Enter “The Lyn-Genet Plan.”
So yesterday I flicked on the tube and caught a few minutes of an interview with the oddly-monickered Lyn-Genet Recitas. She claims that the key to successful weight loss and abundant good health is not calorie counting or the banishment of wine, chocolate and cheese; rather it’s the elimination of specific foods that we cannot tolerate. So I was in — all over IT.
Straightaway I bought the book and headed out to provision. Unfortunately, all of New York City is apparently in with me, so finding the necessary food items was more like a scavenger hunt with the cast of Survivor than a zen-like shopping trip as prelude to radiant good health. The required dandelion tea was scarcer than hen’s teeth, while the mandatory flax seed granola was nowhere to be found. As such I have been forced to concoct my own flax seed granola from the vague recipe in the book. In fact, all of the recipes are quite vague. Luckily I do have a certain skill in the kitchen, and was able to create a semi-palatable iteration to keep body and soul together until the store-bought version arrives in the mail. And I will share; I’m a giver.
- To 1/2 cup of water, add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
- Add 1 cup of whole flax seeds to the water and spices and mix it up.
- Refrigerate the mixture COVERED overnight.
- The next morning scoop it out and spread it in a baking dish (metal, not pyrex) or cookie sheet. Not too thick, just enough to cover the surface with no gaps. As pictured:
- Use a spoon to press it down (this is important because it holds together better when you do) and bake it at 300 degrees for 45-55 minutes or so. About half way through, you may need to flip it over so that it crisps up. Just break it into big hunks.
- You can add dried fruits and nuts when you’re ready to eat it.
Is it delicious? No, but it’s BULKY, and if you cover it in blueberries and coconut milk, it’s not half bad.
Now, since the three-day cleanse portion of The Plan includes the dreaded kale, I’ll need a strong stomach, but I am resolved to go forward, and will let you know how it all shakes out.
What is all the fuss about?
May I speak frankly? Thank you.
I hate kale. I mean I really, really loathe it. Even more than okra, even more than radishes.
It’s not for lack of trying it either. I have nibbled the ubiquitous superfood in salads, baked it into chips, steamed, buttered, braised and sautéed it. I’ve even tried tarting it up with spicy mango salsa, and the verdict is in, children. Kale is nasty. It tastes exactly the way I imagine soylent green would, and it smells like the inside of a teenage boy’s sneaker as it cooks, after which time the aroma of putrid cabbage lingers in the house for approximately five years. The odor has a half-life, people!
Kale stalks are tough and fiberous, the taste makes you wretch, and it returns on you, if you take my meaning. The last time I gagged some down, the flavor lingered in my mouth even after three toothbrushings, a careful flossing and Listerine rinse, and half a dozen tequila shooters with lime and salt. That is some awe-inspiring staying power.
Yeah yeah yeah, I know, it’s got every freakin’ vitamin and nutrient in the world and probably a bunch that haven’t even been discovered yet. There’s folic acid and protein in the leaves, it regulates your digestion, conquers cancer and prevents every disease known to man, as well as — again — some horrible afflictions no one has even come down with, let alone found a cure for, as yet. It’s downright miraculous.
Which is why, I suppose, it is currently turning up on every goddamned plate in every overpriced, artisanal restaurant in New York City, more often than not accompanied by pork belly, lardons, thick cut bacon or some other equally fatty, heavily smoked, thoroughly undigestible subcutaneous pork product. By the time the dynamic duo of leaves like wire brushes and jagged nuggets of semi-masticated pork scratchings has blazed a trail through your digestive tract, you will be keenly aware of having eaten something, let me assure you. And don’t even get me started on what it takes to extract the remnants of same from between your crowns. A little after dinner fracking, anyone?
So I’m drawing a line in the sand — think of me as the Gaddafi of roughage. There will be no more kale in the Slattern’s culinary realm. I will not buy it in the pathetic hope that I will find an appetizing and savory way to cook it. If it appears as a side dish for a $25 entrée, I will insist on extra cauliflower gratin instead. And if someone offers me a green smoothie saying, “You’ll never guess what’s in this!” they’d best be prepared to wear it.
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Think you’ve got the stomach for even more semi-coherent ranting? I’m not so sure, but if you’re game, why not check out these other posts? Welcome to the monkey house, folks.
In the event this is all too much, may I suggest you take a gander at some of the blogs listed right over there in the sidebar? All are excellent and bear the Slattern’s seal of approval.