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.
The Slattern is out. To lunch.
Like my childhood idol Lucy Van Pelt, I have built a spectacularly un-lucrative business around giving out practical, yet almost entirely useless, advice on a variety of topics. In my case, much of what I’ve written this past year has had a culinary rather than psychiatric focus, though I reckon the frequent side trips through the cesspit of my psyche could also serve as a cautionary tale for the observant reader or licensed mental health professional. In any case, a stroll through the archives will show you how to make a pie, roast a chicken, whip up a tasty vinaigrette, bake a killer brownie and shake an authentic Sazerac. These are just the highlights, of course, but I think I can say that I have assembled a fair, if bare bones, primer on how to provide reasonably high quality sustenance for both family and friends without losing your mind, which was, after all, the goal I set during the initial planning meeting for Kitchen Slattern, aka one extremely drunken dinner party in the summer of 2011 during which the capable and persuasive Jen bought the name on my behalf and the enthusiastic and persuasive Robin egged us both on. Good times.
So as I say, over the past year I think I’ve made a reasonable contribution to gastronomy, much as Roseanne Barr did for unique musical performances a couple of decades past. As previously noted, a cautionary tale, but a memorable one nonetheless. And though I like writing about food in many ways, I find I may have “shot my wad,” if you’ll pardon the vulgarity, as far as cooking goes. I just don’t have that much more to offer on the subject. In addition, the little Slattern is off at college, Mr. Slattern long ago disavowed mammal consumption and lately is off sugar, salt and cheese, and I have placed my diet and health, for better or hellaciously worse, in the hands of Dr. Feelbad in an effort to lose the “sampling weight” I accumulated while overseeing quality control for such delightful treats as chocolate crinkles, lemon ginger pie and easy clafouti. I miss them all, I won’t lie.
Bottom line here: If I can’t sample, I can’t offer recipes. And though I could set this up as an improve-your-life-through-healthy-eating concern, who would want to read that? More importantly, how would I ever stop drinking if I had to write it? As such, I’m closing the kitchen and making it official. Going forward, I may offer up the odd culinary tidbit, and might even recycle some of the older chestnuts for the holidays, but in general, I’m going to confine my comments to the vast, weird territory that lies well beyond the limits of my cluttery, now under-provisioned, pantry.
Stay with me folks. It could get interesting.
Giada admits she doesn’t eat. Told ya’.
At about 90 seconds into the interview, she spills (the teaspoonful of lettuce in) her guts to Chelsea Handler.
I have long maintained you can’t trust the food of a skinny cook. They don’t eat; they couldn’t. Witness Sandra Lee, who obviously lives on White Zin, canned peas and sweet guv love. In the unlikely event she does nibble a corner of that Kwanzaa cake, I have no doubt she runs for the ladies’ and gacks it up almost immediately. Come to think of it, who could blame her?
Giada, too, has always been suspect in my book. Some would say that even a normal size body would be dwarfed by a head that big, but I don’t think it’s merely a question of scale. She’s just plain skinny, and the only way to achieve that is by not eating.
I’ve tried a couple of her recipes, and they’re middling at best, though they do require plenty of effort (bonus!). This just doesn’t work for me. Except as a weight loss tool. Clearly, however, it’s working for Giada.
Ditto normal sized chefs. Jamie Oliver is trustworthy provided you can get over the lisp and the herbs (that’s right Joe Hoover, I said ERBS, not Herbth). Anthony Bourdain, though lean, gobbles steak and potatoes with relish, and Julia Child will always be the goddess of my prep station.
Sooner or later, we must all accept that weight loss comes from eating small portions of foods we only half like (or nothing at all), while skipping the ones we do. Just ask Giada.