Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 19th, 2010

Playing with what I’ve learned

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I want to test my mastery of personal food management, so I decided to try more daring dishes, though I still am in weight-loss mode. Perhaps because it’s the holiday season, I want some celebrating with food—but celebrating with quality rather than quantity.

So first up was a rib-eye steak. I decided that in the fat from the steak, I could sauté some mushrooms and shallots and 1/3 cup of the cooked wheat berries (as the starch).

I bought a nice-looking steak, which turned out to be 14 oz. I thought about cutting it half, but was really uncomfortable with that:  7 oz of steak is essentially two servings. Then I realized I could as easily cut it into thirds, which cheered me up a lot: 14/3 = 4.7 oz, which is a reasonable—indeed, generous—serving. And the piece I cut by eye weighed exactly 4.7 oz. (This is me being smug.)

I put the cast-iron skillet in the oven, turned on the oven to 475ºF and let skillet and oven come to temperature, dropped the piece of steak into the hot skillet (use mitts with the skillet), and let it cook in the oven for 4 minutes. It didn’t throw off much fat at all, so I cut a 2-tsp chunk of butter, and when I turned the steak, I added the butter, stirred it until it melted, stirred in the thinly sliced shallots and shiitakes. A brief sauté, then all of that goes back into the oven for 5 minutes more.

It seemed done and delicious. My weight the morning before had been 208.0 lbs, then the morning of the steak dinner 209.3 lbs — no biggie, just variation — but I figured if I had true personal food management kung-fu, a meal built on first principles would work. And indeed: this morning my weight is 208.0 lbs again.

I did, however, omit the wheat berries. Instead, I had some salad left over from lunch, and the salad had some wheat in it. Still: on first test, being a little more venturesome with the foods selected but still following the template: that works.

So today I kick it up a notch: half a duck breast (5.5 oz) sautéed in the skillet on the (fork-pierced) fat side until the fat starts to render, then add 1/4 thinly sliced large sweet onion, 1/2 thinly sliced green bell pepper, and the sliced stems from last night’s shiitakes, along with 1/3 c. cooked wheat berries. Continue to sauté the duck on the fat side for about 7 minutes, meanwhile, stirring and turning the veg and wheat as they cook. Turn duck and sauté on the meat side for 6 minutes.

Right now I’m letting it cool, but it seems sound: protein, starch, veg. I’m counting it as 2 fats.

I’m interested in tomorrow’s weigh-in, because tonight I’m having another 4.7-oz piece of the steak, probably as a stir-fry with chanterelles and shallots and wheat berries.

UPDATE: After thinking about it, I am having the steak another night. For tonight, I feel I’d get a better balance by making a salad with 4 oz poached shrimp and 1/3 c cooked wheat berries, along with the salad greens, chopped scallions, and low-fat miso dressing. I got half a pound of large shrimp (in the shell), and that turned out to be exactly 8 shrimp: pretty easy to divide them into 4-oz servings. For the salad, I cut each into three pieces.

UPDATE 2: The dinner salad turned out to be an excellent idea, and I wondered whether I should in general go for a lunch/dinner contrast of some sort:

Light/Heavy
Simple/Complex
Spicy exotic/Comfort food
Wet (soup)/Dry (roasted)
Hot/Chilled
Crunchy/Smooth
Fat/Lean

UPDATE 3: I think I have it: this morning, after yesterday’s duck-breast lunch and shrimp salad dinner, I weigh 207.5 lbs. So I can eat celebratory foods and still lose weight.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2010 at 11:52 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness, Food

Extremely clever idea

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I almost wish I didn’t already have a Dutch oven so I could do this.

Heck, I may do it anyway.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2010 at 11:32 am

Posted in Daily life

Factory farming: Worse than we feared

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Mark Bittman blogs:

If you’re not already anti-factory-farming, this will do it: The Humane Society just released an undercover investigation (watch the video if you can stomach it, or scroll down the link to find the full report) into the obscene abuses of female breeding pigs and piglets by Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest (and probably most profitable) producer of pork. The video leaves me pretty much speechless.(More links here, at Vegan.com.)

I’m usually not one to cry "boycott," but if you, like Paula Deen, are a Smithfield supporter – in fact, if you’re still eating industrially raised pork (or chicken or beef or fish for that matter) – get real. Any industry (and Smithfield is hardly alone, though it does seem to be performing most egregiously) that operates with such infuriating disregard for the welfare of their animals deserves all the trouble we can muster.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2010 at 10:44 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Food

Passive barriers in daily life

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In controlling behavior, the usual rule is to remove as many barriers as possible to the behavior you want (example: desired behavior is buy a soda pop from the vending machine; barriers removed are the requirement to have coins in the exact change, then to have enough coins (machine makes change), then bills will do (machine recognizes bills and makes change), and lately, to accept credit/debit cards as well—a succession of barriers removed) and to install barriers to the behavior you don’t want—and it’s this latter idea that Trent Ham addresses in this useful post:

Put up some passive barriers.

About a year and a half ago, Ramit Sethi wrote a great guest post at Get Rich Slowly entitled The Psychology of Passive Barriers: Why Your Friends Don’t Save Money, Eat Healthier, or Clean Their Garages. It put a term – “passive barrier” – on something I’d been using in my life for quite a long time.

A passive barrier is simply something in your life that makes the normal activity more difficult. I’ll give you a list of ten of them – and then we’ll look at each one in a bit of detail.

1. Not having the television remote on the table next to the television.
2. Not having internet access from your computer.
3. . . .

. . .

10. . . .

Let’s see how each of these can help your life.

1. Not having the television remote on the table next to the television.
If you find yourself constantly burning your evenings channel surfing, one great way to make that a little more difficult is to simply take the remote to bed with you and plop it on your bedside table. Then, the next evening, when you find yourself settling in for some television… no remote, and it’s on the other side of the house. When you compare the thought of going all the way over there to get your remote versus the option of doing something else that needs to be done, suddenly the non-television task seems more worthwhile.

2. Not having internet access from your computer.
If you find yourself burning too much time surfing the web, just pull the cable out of the back of your computer. Then, the next time you sit down to surf, you’ll have to ask yourself if it’s really worthwhile. Should you actually get down there and plug it in … or should you find something else to do that’s more productive?

3. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2010 at 10:42 am

Posted in Daily life

The pursuit of power: Technology, armed force, and society since A.D. 1000

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I’m reading William McNeill’s fascinating book The Pursuit of Power: Technology, armed force, and society since A.D. 1000. Highly recommended, and its well with The Horse, The Wheel, and Language by continuing the story of mankind’s wars against mankind. The contrasting stories of military force and commercial enterprise developed in China vs. Europe is particularly interesting.

In passing, I’m using the Pagekeeper bookmark, which I like a lot. I have several now, holding my place in several different books I’m reading. Like this:

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2010 at 8:11 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Fox News poll on DADT

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The poll, with results as of now:

Thank you for voting!

No — Being gay is about someone’s sexual preference, not their patriotism, acceptance of duty and their love of country. (59.61%)

Undecided — We’re in a war in Afghanistan, and I’m not sure that this is the right time to undo something that will affect our men and women in combat. (3.65%)

Yes — At the core of an effective military is trust, and allowing a lifestyle that might cause some members of our military to feel uncomfortable cuts to the heart of that trust. (35.59%)

Other (post a comment) (1.15%)

Total Votes:  (48,421)

I’m also surprised to read reasons along the lines of "allowing a lifestyle that might cause some members of our military to feel uncomfortable cuts to the heart of that trust." The idea that, during military service, all members of the military must feel comfortable at all times… well, it staggers me. I would think that the lifestyle of front-line combat produces conditions of extreme discomfort, including rage, terror, loss of limbs, and even the loss of life itself. The notion that the military life is suitable for people who do not wish to feel uncomfortable… well, from what planet do these aliens come, to have such a belief?

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2010 at 6:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Military

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