Sunday, March 1, 2009

Healthy Eating: A New Approach

Last night I experimented with an idea for healthy eating with pretty good results.

First, here's the background (which is not really directly related to the healthy eating idea so you can skip this part if you want although towards the end this part does come back around to the point).

We were invited to a friend's house for dinner last night. Four couples - (two of whom we had not met before - all shrinks except for me and one other guy who is a pediatrician). At first I thought I really missed the dress code memo because one woman was wearing a black skirt and had on dark stockings with like a design thing going on and a red cashmere sweater and her husband was wearing an olive colored suede sport coat kind of thing. But my wife was wearing jeans and so was I and so was another woman. I also had on a black turtle neck which was a little dressy that I had bought right after Christmas at Nordstroms when they were practically giving stuff away (I also bought two winter coats at the same sale for $90 at the "two for one" rack and have even gotten a compliment on the jacket). But I had worn my slippers because I rushed out of the house and they were comfortable and then shortly after we arrived I felt self conscious having shown up in slippers so I took them off and was just in my socks for the rest of the night. I imagine people noticed but no one said anything. (I was glad I did not wear my second choice shoes - my son's really beaten up Timberlands which are a size and half too big for me but I think look really cool and he says chicks dig them but they are really beaten up and are splattered with paint and I correctly at the last minute figured they were not appropriate for a dinner party so went with the slippers instead).

At dinner people compared notes on movies though no one but me had seen Lars and The Real Girl or Waltzing With Bashir which are the only movies I have anything to say about at the moment but I did explain the historical setting of Bashir to the woman in the fancy stockings who said she wanted to see it. There is only so much you can ask a shrink about their work and when I say I am retired people inevitably ask, " Well, what do you do?" and to me that is like asking, "Tell me in detail, everything you ate this week." (I mean I do not recall exactly what I eat in any week but I know I ate). I am not even sure how to answer the question, "Lets see... the last few weeks have been pretty busy because I read a friend's screenplay in progress a bunch of times as closely as I could as he sent successive drafts plus I have been reading a lot of fiction, and I met with a friend who wanted some financial advice and between schmoosing with him and what not that took a whole afternoon and the plumber installed a new water heater because the old one broke and since it broke on a Saturday it was not easy finding someone to replace it right away and that took a day, not to mention current events which is like "Whoa, what is going to happen today", etc etc".

One guy at the dinner takes photographs as a hobby and has been in a photography show and has a web site with his pictures and he showed us the site during a lull and I thought his stuff was really, really good but ever since digital cameras were invented photography has really gone down hill in my opinion because almost anyone can produce something so terrific now that its all like so what unless maybe you use a primitive pin hole camera which would impress me a lot and I think would be interesting and challenging. But, as I said, his stuff was very bold and abstract and strong and in a sense seemed to be a pretty good expression of his personality (to the extent I could tell what he is like because, as I said, this was the first time I had met him.) Anyway, as I was leaving he said to me, "Hey, since you are not doing anything maybe you would like to be my rep." And I said, "What is a rep?" and he said, " Present my work to galleries" and I said, "Are you being serious?" and he said, "Yes" but kind of looked a little sheepish which I thought meant either he was joking but realized I did not get the joke or he was serious and realized I was confused and I said, " Well, I am generally open to stuff but I am not sure that is my thing but let me look at your web site some more." but I decided on the spot that I hate sales and this sounded like sales to me and I do know a photography gallery owner in the city and thought of making an introduction but decided that was not a good idea because knowing a gallery owner socially does not qualify me to recommend anyone to her.

So here's the food healthy eating idea: (I had gotten this idea because at one point in the conversation we were talking about driving fast and how many speeding tickets people have gotten and where they get them and how what a racket that is and how much over the speed limit you can go without getting a ticket and maybe showing a cop your special PBA card but what exactly do you say when showing it to him and one guy is very into sports cars and his wife said if he gets one more ticket his license will be suspended and he said that was not true because speeding tickets only stay on your record for 39 months (that seems like a very specific thing to know off the top of your head) and they used to have a really souped up mini cooper but for some reason they got rid of it and now they have some sort of hybrid that is out of production and I thought their interaction about how many tickets he has gotten was endearing in a Jackie Gleeson Honeymooners kind of way and I decided they remind me of Alice and Ralph Kramden because they seem to buy odd cars and are thinking of selling their house (at the worst time in history to sell a house) and, I don't know, it all kind of put in my mind something Ralph would come up with and Alice would reluctantly get caught up in until she pulled Ralph back down to earth (at one point I lost track of what everyone was saying because I was making these parallels but no one noticed that I was lost for second and I got back on conversational track pretty quickly) and anyway my friend, the pediatrician, commented on how slowly I drive (I am a really slow driver although I have started to drive a little faster lately which he, my friend the pediatrician, also mentioned) and all this talk about speed gave me this idea about eating slowly and I realized that if I ate at my usual pace I would be finished eating before anyone else and would then help myself to unnecessary seconds and/or also be kind of stuck with nothing to occupy my hands at the table so instead I challenged myself to eat way slow, I mean, way slow. One bite, fork down, small bites to see if I could not only finish last but finish last by a lot and see if anyone noticed how slow an eater I am. Well, it went really well, I put down my fork after each bite and I became pretty conscious of the flavors of the food (great home made Indian food - really good) because I knew it would be a while until I put another bite in my mouth so I made each bite and the flavor last. Also, because I was involved in this slow eating contest with myself my mind was focused (or maybe "anchored" is a better word to describe it) in the contest and the food so my thoughts kind of stayed on the food and I was maybe out of the 8 people there number 1 or 2 from the bottom in terms of saying stuff and when we left I felt like I had left something on the plate, so to speak, which was a good feeling...

So my new idea about healthy eating is to see if I can eat more slowly.

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