Tag Archives: healthy eating

Lame Adventure 409: Unloading the Kangaroo

Last November, I revealed that my gastroenterologist urged me to shed a bowling ball and seven bananas in weight that I gained over the course of the previous four years. One or two of you may have wondered:

One or Two Lame Adventurers: How’s that going?

I was motivated to purchase a spin bike and a package of chocolate sea salt cookies. The cookies I inhaled quickly. A few weeks after the bike arrived, I got around to assembling it. As a reward for this accomplishment, I treated myself to a box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Stars cookies. It was the holiday season, that six-week period when I am eating and drinking myself into oblivion.

Assembled conversation piece.

Assembled conversation piece.

When I returned to New York from a West Coast getaway on December 28th, I did a Fairway run for foodstuffs, and purchased a new slice and bake cookie they make called the Kitchen Sink. This cookie is high octane. It has everything in it — chocolate, nuts, oats, raisins and maybe even a drain.

Yee ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My kind of cookie!

That evening, I dined with my buds, Milton and Coco. I mainlined a burger, fries and four pints of beer. The next day, Sunday, December 29th, I had a brunch date with my friend, Lola. I continued stuffing myself with gusto.

On Monday, December 30th, I glimpsed myself sideways naked. I looked like I had a baby kangaroo stuffed in my mid-section. Whatever was going on in there was nearing the point that no amount of black clothing could conceal. When I stepped on the scale the number was so sky high it was as if I was carrying the mothership kangaroo. There was no denying it: six-weeks of holiday season indulging resulted in my now having to lose an adult marsupial in weight. The time had come for me to ride that spin bike. I could no longer avoid it.

I popped in a DVD that came with the bike called Ultimate Energy. It’s described as “a fun and challenging ride while exploring the potential of your own power with smooth hills and seamless straight-aways”. It stars a Son of Stepford, an international fitness educator who never stops smiling or breaks a sweat. He doesn’t mention that if you’re middle aged and suffering late stage Fat Ass-itis, you will feel no fun — just a humiliating degree of challenge with a heaping help of suffering. When he declared in a perky tone “it’s okay to smile” as I was crying blood, I renamed this DVD Ultimate Cruelty.

When it was over, I was drenched in sweat and certain that I could never do this again for forty minutes. This bike was destined to be only a $449 clothes rack.

Multi-tasking spin bike.

Multi-tasking spin bike.

But, shortly afterward, the endorphins released and I felt that high I feel on those rare occasions when I have great sex i.e., coupling with someone who does not require begging from me. I thoroughly read the manual that came with the bike about dietary habits. Cookies, burgers and beer were omitted. The emphasis was on whole grains, fruit and vegetables and something that had completely escaped my mind over the course of the last four years: portion control.

I decided that it would behoove me to re-think my diet. I baked the Kitchen Sink cookies — but gave them to a guy at The Grind without eating one myself.

Christmas in January came to a guy who works on the floor above me.

Kitchen Sink Cookies: banished!

I am now eating primarily organic. It doesn’t cost much more because I’ve eliminated bagels, beer, and cookies from my shopping list. I have quit watching that Son of Stepford DVD. Apple’s iTunes Radio has a station called Rev Up that introduced me to heart rate soaring dance music rife with synthesizers and drum machines, exactly what I would have dismissed as aural pollution BS (Before Spinning). My favorite song to ride to is Maximal Crazy.

A song that makes shock therapy seem mellow.

A melody as mellow as shock treatment.

Even though I no longer pound four beers in a sitting, I have not become a healthy lifestyle fanatic. When I’m dining out with friends, I don’t announce:

Me: Just water and a plate of steamed leaves for me.

When I started spinning a month and a half ago, I did it three days a week. Two weeks in, Milton encouraged me to ride every other day. Now that I feel it is less likely that I will drop dead doing this, I am going to try riding it five days a week. Even though Coco, who is a buff gym rat, wishes I’d ditch the scale; she’s an advocate of how you feel over a number, thus far, I’ve shed seven pounds. I feel much less spongy and much more solid. Best of all, I no longer look like I’m carrying a large footed beast in my guts.

Lame Adventure 394: Bragging Wrongs

See this bunch of spinach; it only set me back eighteen cents.

"I did not fall off a truck!"

“I did not fall off a truck!”

Yes, quite a steal because it was selling for $1.99 a pound. If there is one thing New Yorkers love to do it is brag about scoring something for almost nothing. I admit that I am guilty of this crime. And never more so, when six years ago I purchased a queen-sized, eighteen inch thick, pillow top mattress that was selling for $2,400; the Balthazar from the Simmons’ Shakespeare Collection. For you Shakespeare aficionados, surely you recall that Balthazar was a merchant in The Comedy of Errors. For everyone else, I drew a blank on that, too, until I Googled “Balthazar” and “Shakespeare’s plays” two minutes ago. When I went mattress shopping, I haggled with the salesman over price. I insisted that I was not going to spend more than a grand including tax and delivery. The best he could offer for this mattress was $1,600.

My eloquent response was a grunt in fluent monosyllabic, but he stopped me when I turned to leave. He insisted I wait for him to make a phone call. In the back of the showroom he made this vital call out of my earshot. Whether he was discussing the situation with The Powers That Be at his company or just counting sheep to dial tone, I’ll never know. He hung up the receiver and reapproached. He announced in a dramatic tone on par with Hamlet’s soliloquy or a cold sufferer that had experienced eight seconds of nasal relief via neti pot:

Mattress Salesman: There was a fire in a factory. The entire inventory has to be cleared. There’s one queen-size Balthazar. You can have it for $800. What do you say?

Me: Does it smell like smoke?

He claimed it did not. I agreed to purchase it. When I shared this news with my friends, one was certain that it would be delivered with a giant blood stain in the middle reasoning that it had probably been stuffed with a dead mobster’s body. But the mattress was delivered corpse-free and factory fresh. It truly was a great deal, especially when I ignore how impossible it is to find sheets that fit it.

My propensity to haggle has yet to extend to my grocer’s produce section. There, I search for what appears freshest at a price that is least extortionist. That day the spinach looked particularly verdant. If there was a spinach centerfold, this one was bursting with all the right leaves.

At checkout I noticed that the cashier ringing my groceries had not properly placed my spinach on the scale so the price for my bunch came us as eighteen cents. In these types of situations, I abide my personal code of ethics and point out the error. To knowingly remain silent would be theft or at least cause me a pang of lapsed Catholic guilt. Furthermore, I could tell this cashier was new. The cashier re-weighed the spinach. The price increased to $1.15. I reminded her that she needed to delete the eighteen-cent charge. The cashier then deleted the $1.15. I pointed out that error to her. She re-inputs the $1.15, but again, she fails to remove the eighteen cents. When I reminded her that she still needed to remove the eighteen cents, she added another $1.15. As the cashier removed the second $1.15, and I searched for a blunt object to bash in my own brains, a second cashier approached:

Second Cashier: What’s the problem?

I explained the situation, but strategically omitted the part about wanting to beat myself senseless with a lead pipe. She looks me up and down.

Second Cashier: You can’t afford eighteen cents?

Evidently, I looked like ten dollars that day, and I might add that in low lighting with my flab sucked in, I can still pull off eleven ninety-nine.

Me: It’s not the eighteen cents that’s the issue here. She needs to learn how to do this.

Second Cashier: Oh. Right. [To First Cashier] Let me show you how to do it.

The Second Cashier removes the $1.15. This goes on three more times. Neither of them can remove the eighteen cents. Both clerks are baffled, but only the Second Cashier looks ready to beat the register with … Hey, how about a lead pipe?

Me: Okay, stop. I’ll pay both the eighteen cents and the $1.15. Put the $1.15 back in.

Second Clerk: No. You’ve earned yourself an eighteen-cent spinach.



I return home with my essentially stolen spinach and immediately share this story with my friend and fellow haggler, Coco.

Coco: Wow! Score. You are on a bargain roll, paying couch change for greens.