Monday, January 31, 2005

Power and prestige are mine!!!!!

Excellent, I now have access to my sister's blog. What shall I contribute? She is expecting recipes, but perhaps I will post dirty jokes or weather reports instead. Currently snowing, -15C. I'll post my eggplant recipe later.

holy crap, weight training really works

I fired up the body fat analyzer part of the scale this weekend and it said I was down to 30% body fat. I don't know if I quite believe that because it was right after a workout, and the night before it was at 31%. But still, that's a couple percent off in a just a short time, and I do feel thinner. My weight is not hugely different - down to 134.5, so that's a lot of muscle I've been piling on, at least theoretically.

I've been doing the beginner 2-day split dumbbell routines on that really fabulous women's weightlifting site and they seem to work pretty well. That, plus a couple cardio sessions a week, plus my 3 pilates classes a week, should get me whipped into shape pretty darn quick. One thing I have noticed is that I've been a bit hungrier than normal, and I've had a lot more energy.

No new recipes today, sorry - and we're going out for dinner tonight, so no new stuff tomorrow either. I can, however, highly recommend my recently rediscovered breakfast of champions - 1/2 cup of 2% cottage cheese and a sliced banana. This was (so I'm told) my favourite food as a baby, and I go through a rediscovery phase every 3 years or so. It's such a great breakfast, though. Loads of protein, loads of carbs and vitamins, and it keeps you full all morning. And tasty, too! I drizzled a little lemon honey over top of it, just for an extra bit of morning zing. Verrrry tasty.

Friday, January 28, 2005

curry in a hurry

This was another made up on the spot, recipe-less dinner. So all amounts are a guess, but it doesn't really matter - it's the concept that counts.

Seafood Mango Curry

1 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1 mango
12 or so large tiger prawns, shell on
1/2 - 2/3 cup little scallops (not those huge suckers)
1/4 onion
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 pkg dried creamed coconut (get at chinese grocery, green box)
2 cloves garlic
juice of almost 1/2 a lime
1/2 tbsp thai red curry paste
salt & sugar to taste
1/3 cup wine (white or chinese cooking)

First, shell the prawns, putting the shells in a small saucepan 1/2 filled with water. To that, add the stalk of lemongrass, cut into lengths, bashed around, with the outermost leaves removed, plus the garlic, smooshed with the flat of a knife blade, plus the dried creamed coconut. Boil this up for about 10 minutes, until it smells all yummy and the coconut is dissolved. This is your stock.

(Note: sometimes the packages of dried creamed coconut have a layer of whiter stuff on the top - this is separated, pure coconut oil, and you can use it for the sauté part of this meal. DON'T add it to the stock!)

While your stock is bubbling away, finely dice your onion and saute it in a large pan in the coconut oil (or other vegetable oil) with the thai curry paste. When it's sizzling nicely and translucent, toss in the prawns and the scallops, and cook them until they're just barely barely done. Remove them to a bowl. Let the pan sit on the element a little longer, til the remains start sticking to the bottom and browning. Deglaze with wine, let bubble for a minute or so, then strain the stock through a fine sieve into the sauté pan. Add a squeeze of lime and the mango (cubed). Let that reduce while you chop the veggies. When the sauce is reduced by about half (total volue less than 1 cup), adjust the seasoning, add the kale, cook for a few minutes, then add the peppers, cook for a minute, then add the seafood back in just for 3o seconds or so to rewarm it. Serve on jasmine rice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

eat yer veggies, dammit

I just had a conversation with Keith about kids and veggies (it started off being about the McDonald's obesity lawsuit, but morphed as conversations are wont to do). Keith was saying that it's hard to make kids eat vegetables because "Kids just don't like vegetables. It's genetic." In a possible CLM, I kinda told him that it was because his vegetables weren't cooked right.

Well, we're both right, really. There are certain vegetables that most kids will object to, and this is because they are bitter. And Keith is correct that this is a genetically-based behaviour that evolved to protect children from the potent chemicals in vegetation which are largely beneficial for adults but which can harm the growing systems that children have. These chemicals are generally bitter (or taste that way to us), and kids naturally prefer not to eat them.

Modern vegetables, however, have been hybridized and mucked around with so they are orders of magnitude less bitter than the wild predecessors we evolved to eat, but since kids' taste buds are super-sensitive (and the jury is out on whether this is entirely natural or encouraged by parents who, desperate to get their kids to eat *anything*, allow them to eat only what tastes good and therefore do not develop their tastebuds "naturally"), kids still tend to avoid them. The main culprits are the leafy greens (lettuce and raw greens, chard, kale, bok choy, many chinese vegetables) and the brassicae (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage). Most kids have little or no objection to ripe bell peppers, carrots, peas, beets, and other sweeter vegetables.

While I think that kids should be encouraged to develop more of a taste for things other than sweet, it IS natural for them to dislike bitter foods. I don't see much harm in skewing a child's vegetable intake on the side of more sweet veg, less bitter as long as parents realize that sweet vegetables tend to be more energy-dense and kids don't need as much of them. But I also don't see any harm in making bitter vegetables more palatable.

For some reason, most people have one method of cooking most vegetables: steam the suckers. Why? Because we've been told it's the healthiest. Which it might well be, but let's balance the healthiness of eating a slightly-less-healthily-prepared vegetable with not eating one at all because it tastes gross. Hmm, which is better?

Blanching is my favourite method of preparing vegetables (although I will steam occasionally, if the veggies are nice and fresh and tender) because it provides a method for quick cooking (which preserves nutrients) AND a way to decrease the bitterness and increase overall flavour. In the winter, when we're stuck with crappy, sad looking supermarket veggies, that's a huge bonus. What is this magical taste-improving elixir, you ask? It's simple: salt and sugar.

Oh, horrors! you gasp. Why would you add such patently unhealthy things to pure, perfect, nutritious vegetables???? Well, for one thing, they're hardly nutritious unless you eat them, and you're way more likely to eat them if they taste good. Secondly, we're talking extremely small amounts here - in a couple litres of water, I'll typically put 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 - 1 tsp sugar, depending on the vegetable (more sugar for more bitterness). That's less sugar than an apple contains, and about a billion times less salt than anything that comes out of a can or a package, guaranteed. But the difference is really amazing. Will kids suddenly start eating the vegetables prepared this way? Probably not - much of taste is expectation, and if they expect it to taste yucky they probably will insist that it's still yucky even when it's not. But if they see their parents enjoying them more, that will probably, over time, make a difference.

Other tricks to do with vegetables include tossing a small amount of butter (like a teaspoon) with some fresh herbs (basil goes spectacularly well with carrots, mint with peas, savoury with just about anything, etc.) or, for greenery, a touch of good balsamic vinegar. (or reduced not-so-good balsamic.) If you're going asian-style, a bit of mirin and sesame oil tossed with the cooked vegetables is great.

It does not take a lot of effort to make vegetables taste better. I just do not understand why people persist in steaming them. I can't see that it's any easier, plus you've got extra steamer inserts/machinery to clean afterwards. Blanching just takes a pot. One pot. Maybe an extra minute to bring it to the boil. If I ever find the person who started this "steam your vegetables" craze, I'm going to give him/her a good talking-to. But I suspect that he/she is no longer with us, probably because he/she didn't eat his/her vegetables and expired from a heart attack some time ago.

steak and small steps

Last night's dinner was one of our staples - japanese steak & greens. It's another super-fast, super-easy, tasty, nutritious dinner.

1 8-oz steak
3 cups (or equivalent) leafy green vegetables
1 cup cooked brown rice

1/8 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
a few drops sesame oil

1/8 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chinese cooking wine
1/8 cup mirin
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch
grated ginger

The steak needs to marinade in the soy, mirin & sesame oil for at least half an hour. What works well is putting the rice on at the same time you put the steak in the marinade. Then you can go do something else for 45 minutes until the rice is done. Just make sure your veggies are prepped (cleaned, chopped, whatever else you want to do to them) and you have a big pot of salted boiling water (with a pinch of sugar if your veggies are on the bitter side) ready to go to blanch them.

To cook the steak, heat up a small frying pan to medium, blot the steak dry with a paper towel, and rub it with a little more sesame oil (to prevent the sugar in the marinade from burning). Cook it to your liking - I'm a big fan of "still mooing" but you can crisp it up however you want. If you're cooking it to well-done though, it's a good idea to reduce the heat a tad so it doesn't burn.

While your steak is sizzling away, combine the sauce ingredients in a microwave-safe glass measuring pitcher with a handle (a 1-cup one is best). Stir well to dissolve the cornstarch and distribute the grated ginger. Nuke it on high for 40 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until the sauce is thickened and the cloudiness is gone.

When the steak is done, remove it from the pan and let it rest while you blanch the vegetables (that's dunk them in the boiling water for 1-3 minutes, depending on how much cooking they require - 1 minute for good, fresh chard or bok choy or other delicate green, 3 minutes for tough kale...)

When the veggies are done, drain the water away, then slice the steak thinly. 3 oz for women/small people, 5 oz for larger people/men. Place the steak on the veg on the rice, top with a bit of the sauce, and sprinkle cilantro or basil on top if you've got it.


In other news, Stirling said last night that he's starting to really enjoy the flavour of the brown rice. Yay! See, even die-hard refined carb people, who have had white flour, white rice, white pasta their whole lives can learn to appreciate the chewiness and extra flavour of non-refined grains. And their bodies will thank them for it :-) It just takes a while to get your taste buds acclimated. So don't give up if you don't like brown rice the first time you have it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

sometimes the choir enjoys a good preaching

I watched "Supersize Me" last night. I was expecting a Michael Moore-style biased documentary, but this was pretty well done. The only criticism I have is that, like any "health" regimen, it's best to wade in slowly. In the same way an obese person with cholesterol through the roof and hypertension isn't going to exactly benefit from a sudden marathon-training regime, a perfectly fit person (who's had a vegan cooking for him for some time) is going to have a much harder time with an all-McDonald's diet and enforced sedentarism than someone who eased into that lifestyle over the course of several years.

That having been said, if anyone can watch that movie and still eat at McDonald's more than once a week, he/she ought to be running seminars in mental conditioning. Seriously. You would have to expend a LOT of mental effort to convince yourself you still wanted to eat that crap, and that's mental effort that could be redirected to all sorts of better (or more nefarious) purposes. Either that, or McDonald's is better at brainwashing people than I give them credit for.

No recipe today - I had leftovers for dinner. Breakfast was a delightful granola scone from La Collina though. I highly recommend them, although they are a little bigger than they need to be, so I'm going jogging at lunch to burn off any breakfast residue.

Oh, and I found this website that is an amazing resource for women interested in weight training. The more I think about it, the more I am convincing myself that the key to long-term health and weight loss is not so much less fat as more muscle, and a simple regime to maintain that muscle. Cardio is fun and all, but the benefits last only a few hours, while weight training that builds significant muscle just keeps burning more calories for as long as you maintain that muscle. The thing I really like about this site is that it totally goes against the pansy-assed mainstream view that women should do light weights and tons of reps. I've always thought that was kind of bullshit and I have always had really good results with low reps and high weights. Plus, it's way less boring. Plus, you see more results faster. The woman who runs the site has pictures of herself before she started weight training and after, and she looks amazing, and she seems really down-to-earth and sensible too. I don't think you have to be as hard-core into it as she is, but certainly GOOD weight training would help anyone who was into competetive sports that require a degree of strength (ie rowing) or just wanted to lose a bit of flab.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Deep-fried fish sandwiches are bad for you. Who knew?

sometimes it's hard to work

Some things are not working, which makes it a bit hard for me to do what I'm supposed to be doing, even though theoretically I should be able to still do it, but the 'instant gratification' part is a bit missing from the tasks today. Hence:

I am going to die at 89. When are you? Click here to find out!

Not bad, that's 2 or so years more than my grandma (the dead one, not the one who's still alive.) I bet she bungee-jumped though.

Happy happy happy, plus stuffed eggplant

On my way to work this morning I dropped Daisy off at Wagglemuffins because Stirling is in Vancouver, which necessitated me driving up Glanford Rd to work, and at the intersection of Glanford and Vanalman (which is pretty darn close to PE) I saw that what was formerly a not-so-good bakery (bunsmaster or some muffin company or something) has been closed, and open in its place is.... A NEW BRANCH OF LA COLLINA!!!!!!! My favourite bakery in Victoria, opened near my work!!!! What better treat could one ask for on a Monday morning!!! Yay no more extensive detours to get bread on my way home!!!!! YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!

Whew, all that excitement is exhausting. Fortunately, last night's dinner was from a real recipe so I don't have to type it out (eggplant rollatini - grilled eggplant stuffed with ricotta filling, in a casserole topped with tomato sauce & parmesan). It was very good, but the 35 minutes given for prep time in the recipe is a total lie unless you have a huge great big grill on which you can put all your eggplant slices at once. I have a honking huge frying pan and I could only get four in at a time, so it took me about half of Enterprise to cook the eggplant. Other than that, though, it is pretty quick, and all of it is dead easy (as long as you ignore the part about making your own tomato sauce... I bought some nice basil tomato sauce at La Collina and 1 jar of it worked nicely).

To go with it I made a barley risotto, which is made exactly the same way as rice risotto:

1) finely dice 1/2 an onion and about 2 large cloves garlic
2) saute your onion in olive oil until translucent and just starting to colour (add a couple bay leaves in this step too)
3) add 1 cup of pearl barley (or arborio rice)
4) stir until the barley/rice starts to smell a bit toasty
5) pour in 1/2 to 2/3 (a big glug) of white wine and your garlic
6) stir til the wine is absorbed
7) add pre-heated stock (chicken is good, or seafood), a cup or two at a time, and keep stirring until it's at a good consistency, maybe a little chewy (test frequently and add salt early if your stock is unsalted)
8) turn off the heat, throw in a handful of parmesan, stir, and leave it to sit for at least 5 minutes.

Just so you know, barley is quite a bit more nutritious than arborio rice.

Friday, January 21, 2005

who's responsible for what goes in your mouth?

I found this somewhat depressing online poll yesterday. Nearly half the respondents to a question of whether the new Dietary Guidelines the US Government published would actually do any good or not said "Not unless food manufacturers do their part to make food more healthy." Um, yeah. First, the new guidelines explicitly recommend in at least a couple of places NOT eating packaged foods, and even if food manufacturers made them healthier they still wouldn't approach real food in terms of nutrition/fat content/weird-ass chemicals. Let's face it, if you want food in a bag, a box, a frozen package or a can to taste good after a couple of months, you have to add nasty stuff. Sure, you can improve the degree of nastiness, but it's still nasty.

The biggest problem I have with this, though, is that people are sooooo willing to blame "food manufacturers" for their dietary problems, when there's nobody but them actually putting the stuff in their mouths. Leaving aside the "make your own damn food" argument, it's not like packages don't list ingredients, and it's not like people don't know that anything "oil" = fat. And I have to give credit to most food manufacturers for clearly listing what constitutes a serving size on the package. It's smaller than what most people eat. But whose fault is that? Generally (and no, not in all cases) the serving size listed on a package corresponds pretty well to what the food guides say a serving of whatever is (ie, when a cereal package says a serving is 3/4 cup, that's pretty close to what a serving of grains should be.) So if someone pours 2 cups into a bowl, followed by a cup of milk and maybe some extra sugar, and wonders why this "low-fat" cereal isn't helping him lose weight, is that seriously the cereal manufacturer's fault???? I don't think so.

Taking responsibility for your own actions seems problematic for humans today. At least on this continent. We suck.

Ok enough of that. Last night I made zucchini pancakes, without a recipe, and I really couldn't tell you how much of what I put in, beyond it was a whole zucchini, grated, salted, rinsed & drained (loses a lot of bulk that way) and one egg, plus some crumbled goat cheese, salt, pepper, herbs (thyme & basil), very thinly sliced onion (1/4 med onion) and flour to get it to the right consistency. Plus a couple tbsp olive oil in the non-stick pan, medium heat, etc. Basically just comfort food, served with red cabbage coleslaw made with yogurt dressing (4 parts yogurt to 1 part mayo, plus a little vinegar, salt, and sugar).

Oh and according to my fancy new scale I've dropped a percent off my body fat. Yay!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dinner in less than 15 minutes

This is the easiest, fastest, healthiest dinner going:

2 100g fillets of wild salmon
100g dry soba noodles
2 cups any veg (green beans and su choi for us, last night)
1/8 - 1/4 cup soy sauce
sambal oelek
mirin, corn syrup or sugar
rice wine vinegar
wee bit of sesame oil

First, get out a big pot and a steamer insert that fits in the top of it. Put in a couple litres of water, add some salt, and turn the burner under it to high.

Next, take the skin off the salmon fillets (or better yet, make the fish guy at the store do it for you when you buy it.) Place the de-skinned salmon in the steamer, but don't put the steamer in the pot yet.

Prepare your veggies, if necessary. Bite-sized pieces are good.

When the water comes to a boil, throw the soba in, and, if your veggies are going to take 7 minutes to cook, throw your veggies in too (thick-cut carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc.)

Place the steamer insert in the top of the pot, cover, and set your timer for 7 minutes. Give the water a couple of seconds to come back up to the boil, then turn down the burner to medium.

If you have more veggies that don't take all the 7 minutes to cook, keep track of the time and throw them in with the soba at an appropriate time.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting the soy sauce, sesame oil, a couple tablespoons vinegar and a spot of sambal oelek in a small pouring container. Add sweetener until it tastes right for you (you might need to adjust other things, too.)

When the 7 minutes is up, take the steamer off the pot, drain the soba and veg into a collander, then put them back in the pot. Pour most of the sauce into the pot with the soba and veg and toss it around to cover everything. Divide the soba and veg between two plates, put a fillet of salmon on each and pour the remaining sauce over the salmon. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

NAFTA Chicken

This is my third or fourth attempt at turning this idea into a recipe. For those of you who weren't already regaled with this story: During my Christmas vacation, it happened that I was sitting on my mom's couch, eating a pancake with maple syrup, when my eyes lighted upon the jar of chipotle powder I'd been given for Christmas. Neurons fired, and I thought, hey, chipotle and maple, that'd be tasty. But not on pancakes. Chicken, on the other hand... yum.

My initial thought was to marinade chicken legs or breast strips in maple syrup and buttermilk, then bread them with a chipotle batter and deep-fry them. American in style, but with Canadian and Mexican overtones - hence the NAFTA part of the recipe. But deep frying is a pain in the butt so here's a less American version that's reasonably healthy and darn tasty.


chicken thighs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp or so chipotle powder
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
oil for browning

Turn the oven on to 325F.
Get out a heavy, oven-proof skillet, and heat it up on the stove to medium-high.
Mix the flour and most of the chipotle and a generous bit of salt (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp?). Dust the chicken thighs (works better with skins removed) with the seasoned flour.
Add a small amount of oil to the skillet, and put the chicken thighs in the skillet to brown.
Meanwhile, mix the maple syrup, rosemary, a bit more salt and a touch of the chipotle in a small bowl.
When the chicken has browned on the "bottom" of the thighs, turn it over and brown the top. Brush the bottoms with the maple syrup mixture, then flip them over again, brush the tops, and put it in the oven.
Bake for about 25 minutes. Brush chicken again with the maple syrup mixture, bake another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

I just had one thigh with a good salad for dinner last night. I was going to make a barley risotto to go with it, but I was kind of tired and didn't have any white wine, so that's a recipe for another day. (For the record, 1 thigh = 1 serving meat (~14 g protein, 6 g fat))

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Arrival of the Scale

A humbling experience, but one from which I think I will ultimately benefit.

It turns out my old scale, either on its own or through my repeated verbal and physical abuse, was weighing 5 lbs under. I kind of suspected this, but I'm now mentally ready to accept it. So my weight zoomed up overnight, from 132 to 137. And my body fat percentage is 34%. Which is definitely outside of where it wants to be, according to this chart. My goal would be well within the "fitness" category, say 22%. So.... if 34% of my current weight is fat, then approximately 90 lbs of me is lean body mass. Assuming that doesn't go down, my goal weight would be approximately 110 lbs. (If you don't know me and you're reading this and being all horrified that I should want to be so thin, please be aware that I'm barely 5 feet tall, and 110 lbs is a nice healthy weight for someone my height.) What I would really like to do though, is up my lean body mass by another 5 lbs and weigh about 115, which I think is more sustainable and would probably look a bit better.

What I'm interested to see is how fast the fat percentage is going to change. I can generally lose 2-3 lbs a week without too much difficulty, but I wonder if some of that is muscle, and if I should be upping my protein intake a bit. I'm not going to change my diet until I see how this goes though.

veggie stir-fry

This hardly even deserves writing down, it's so barely a recipe. Nevertheless:

1 bell pepper
a handful of green beans
2 shanghai bok choy (those are the small, uniformly green ones)
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic
1 inch of ginger
2 tbps or so President's Choice Memories of Szechwan Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup or less chicken stock (or any flavourful liquid)
2-3 oz lean bbq pork (optional)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
splash of sesame oil
1 cup cooked brown rice (on our rice cooker, the minimum you can cook)

You will want to put the rice on well in advance of doing the rest of this, because brown rice takes about 40-50 minutes to cook. Throw it on, do some chores or watch some tv, then get to the rest of it.

1) julienne vegetables (ie turn them into sticks - beans are easy because they're already sticks, just chop them into lengths), except the bok choy, for which you pull off the leaves until you get to the bite-sized centre. (or, you could have just bought pre-chopped mixed veggies)
2) mince ginger & garlic (sure, you can cheat and use a garlic press, but it has to have really big holes to work on the ginger)
3) slice pork if it isn't already done.
4) get yer wok out. put the oil in it.
5) turn the burner under your wok up to nearly high
6) let the oil heat up for a bit and when it starts to smoke (watch it carefully) toss in the ginger & garlic.
7) stir the ginger and garlic and when they're about 50% browned (and definitely before it burns) throw in all the veggies.
8) stir stir stir for about 2 minutes
9) add peanut sauce and liquid (the liquid's optional, it just thins out the sauce so some goes into your rice)
10) add pork
11) stir until pork is warm
12) serve on rice. If you have any, put some chopped cilantro or thai basil on top.

1 cup cooked rice will serve 2 people nicely. If you think you need more than that, you've either run a marathon that day or you're just deluded. 1/2 cup is a "serving". I generally eat only about 1/3 cup, so Stirling gets a little more.

Oh, and I know I rant about preparing your own food, blah blah blah, but I don't eat a lot of peanut butter so it doesn't make sense to keep it around to make my own peanut sauce, and the president's choice stuff is not only extremely tasty but has nothing nasty in it (I'm assuming xanthan gum is relatively innocuous.)

Ok, that's what I ate last night. Going by the food guide, that's probably 2 servings veg, 1 meat & 1 grains. Good times.

Monday, January 17, 2005

the rant that wasn't

Lately there's been a lot in the news about the book "French Women Don't Get Fat", and generally I wholeheartedly approve of the French approach to eating, and I was all for that book (not "all for" in the sense that I was going to go out and plunk down more than $20 for it, but "all for" in the sense that I wouldn't think badly of anyone else who actually did. Maybe "all for" in the sense that I would then *borrow* that poor sucker's copy, though) and I was glad it made it onto the bestseller list, and I was hoping hoping hoping that at least some people would read it and be influenced and reform their convenience-based crappy diets. And start to appreciate real food. Anyway, this overall sense of being generally pleased that the book existed abruptly vanished this morning when I had a horrible thought that French women, in addition to being thinnish also smoke like chimneys, and that might just have something to do with it. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Starting tomorrow I'm going to start posting a recipe for whatever I had for dinner last night, plus the time it took me to make it. Hopefully I can then point anyone who whines that healthy food takes too long to cook and/or tastes yucky at a pre-existing collection of recipes that are fast, healthy, and pass my standards for tasty. And I should mention that I work as long hours as anyone, AND I go to the gym after work several times a week, AND I do pretty much all the cooking. So I don't want to hear anyone saying they can't actually cook dinner because they're too tired. Dinner just does not take that long, people. Deal. (If I can't rant about French smokers, I'll rant about my friends'/coworkers' eating habits. Yay!)

It might be wrong to be excited about these things.

Two exciting things happened last week. One I had nothing to do with, but am kind of happy about anyway. I'll tackle that one first: the new US Federal Government Dietary Guidelines. It's pretty much everything I've been saying for the last couple of years about healthy eating, only written down and official-like. Basically, watch your calories, eat your veggies, whole grains are better for you, and exercise your butt off. They're even recommending more exercise than I typically recommend for myself - an hour of moderate to intense exercise every day. But they do say you can break that up into 10-minute chunks... I think 10 minutes is a bit too small a chunk and I'd prefer they said 20, but whatever. I find half-hour chunks work well, and fit into my lunch hour nicely.

The other exciting thing was that I ordered a body-fat-analyzer scale. And I WILL post what it says when I get it. It should arrive today or tomorrow. (Of course, part of the excitement with this is just "new gadget".)