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11 Bars of Dark Chocolate

As it turns out, a person can have too much of a good thing.

Breakfast was, of course, delicious.  I had two chocolate bars along with some hot herbal tea.  I broke the bar into little squares and ate them one at a time, melting each one in my mouth with a sip of hot tea.  It took 20 delicious minutes.

I was hungry before lunch, but nothing serious.  Lunch was identical to breakfast.  I felt pretty good.  My mind was clear, I had plenty of energy, I could feel a faint thrum of caffeine in my veins.

Interesting fact: One dark chocolate bar has the same amount of caffeine as 8 ounces of cola: 31 mg.  By comparison a cup of coffee has more like 150 mg and eight ounces of brewed black tea has about 50.

At 3:30 I had two more bars and made my first serious mistake.  A friend offered me a cup of black coffee, which I gladly accepted.  I threw a whole chocolate bar in it, let the chocolate melt, and stirred it into a syrupy mocha sludge.  I chugged it.  Within minutes, what had been a pleasant murmur of a stimulant turned into a frightening roar.  My mind was racing, I felt nervous (The DSM-IV describes a condition called caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, which If I were a self diagnoser I would read more about).  I looked down at my hands and noticed they were shaking.

This is how I was feeling:

The next conversation I had, somebody told me I seemed “chipper.”  I’ve been described a lot of ways, but this was a first.  I looked in the mirror and this is what I saw:

I was out of chocolate, so I stopped by the grocery store.  I was wired, so I ran about 200 other errands I hadn’t been planing on and ended up buying a tree from lowes that I had to bend a little bit to fit in my car.  This all took about 2 minutes.

I got home feeling weak, disgusted by the thought of chocolate, shaky, and very slightly feverish.  I had made a good financial decision while grocery shopping and switched over to dark chocolate chips and saved a few bucks.  I poured myself a bowl of them and ate them grumpily. It was raining but I was wired, so I went outside and worked out in the yard planting flowers and mulching till after dark.

It was still raining, and now dark.  I still had to run.  Laura came running with me.  I was full of nervous energy and expected to feel super fast.  I started with a quick burst of speed and was attacked by a nasty side ache.  It was just radiating pain through my ribs, moving around my body.  It was awful.  The first mile took 11 minutes.  The next 13.

Then disaster.

After my slow second mile I was starting to get a slight bit of a second wind.  I started to feel good.  I thought I would lecture Laura on some aspects of running safety.  Here I am, with a little bit of light added:

“You are supposed to always run on the left side of the road,” I said.  “But, if you are running after dark, always stay on the right in this stretch.  The pavement is treacherous on that side, but over here it’s perfectly… CRACK!!!

I started hopping on one foot, not cussing.  I grabbed the guard rail, doubled over, tried to stand up, and blacked out.

This is a stretch of road I have run 100 times in the dark.  I’ve memorized every nook and cranny  in the pavement and never use a flashlight except to signal the occasional car that goes by, feeling that my eyes are better adjusted to the dark this way.  I just got sloppy, stepped halfway off the road and rolled my ankle right over.

“You think it’s sprained?”  Laura asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Do you want me to get the car?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Now?”

“Yes”

So there she went.  Running down a dark road alone at night. I crawled over the guard rail and sat in the dirt.  I thought I was blacking out again, but it was too dark to tell.  I turned on my flashlight to check.  It was suspiciously dim and fuzzy.

Look, I don’t think it’s safe to blame the chocolate, but I’ve done well over a 1,000 miles with no problems…

In other news I was told I would get constipated.  This did not happen.  Everything moved through the body fine, but I’m not sure how I’ll feel about eating Hershy kisses due to a new visual association.

Taste: First half of the day, delicious.  Second half of the day, slightly nauseating.

Cost: about $8

Performance: Horrible.

Fulness Factor:   Medium. Hungrier than expected.

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1 LB of Chia Seeds

Yes Chia seeds, as in Chia Pets.  I was pretty sure I would look like this guys by the end of the day:

If you have never heard of Chia seeds as food you are not alone, but you also have some learning to do.  Let me help you out with this.

Chia Seeds are marketed as an ancient Aztec superfood.  according to this place:

“Chia seeds are indeed a superfood. They have

  • 2x the amount of protein of any grains
  • 3x the amount of antioxidants of blueberries
  • 5x more calcium than milk
  • 2x the amount of potassium in a banana
  • 3x the iron of spinach

Chia seeds are also loaded with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and have trace amounts of boron, which is an essential mineral to help transfer calcium to the bones.”

Anyway, If I was going to go for a superfood it was go big or go home.  I paid $5 more for a guarantee that they were 100% certified organic, gluten free, raw, vegan, and fair trade.  After reading the packaging carefully I was pretty convinced that I could eat one handful then run 100 miles nonstop and rip the still beating heart out of a jaguar with my bare hands. Popeye can keep his spinach, I may have just found the key to invincibility, immortality, self-realization, and becoming a better person.

I was sure chia would transform me into this:

After getting a 1 lb bag of chia in the mail (thanks to my favorite health food store, Amazon.com) I realized that I had no idea what to do next.  I cracked open the bag and looked inside.  The sheer number of nearly microscopic seeds was astounding.  I measured out 1/8th of a tea spoon and counted them carefully.  372.  I broke out my 9th grade physical science dimensional analysis skills and calculated that the bag held 535,680 seeds.

I poured some seeds into a sandwich bag and figured I would eat them on the way to work.  Here is something I did not know and did not count on:

Chia seeds expand remarkably when wet.  Put a pinch of seeds in your mouth and start chewing and they become a mouthful.  I ate pinches of seeds for over 35 minutes and made no noticeable progress.  I dumped them into a coffee cup and added water.  One of these pictures is my breakfast:

I have to say the taste is not bad.  Think plain cream of wheat.  The texture is difficult.  Think glue stick meets snot.

I felt pretty fantastic all morning.  I had plenty of energy.  They only downside was the knowledge that I was going to have to eat lunch.  At home I had poured a couple of inches of dry seeds into a mason jar and added cold water.  Within a about a minute the seeds started expanding:

After 10 more minutes they were thoroughly congealed:

Now most people who eat chia seeds abide by the serving suggestions, or close enough as to make no difference.  Two tablespoons can be added to a stir fry, orange juice, a smoothie, almost anything.  You get a ton of nutrition, a little bit of interesting texture, and that’s about it.  I was trying to eat 60 tablespoons plain.  Once I added water I was looking at a tremendous amount of food.  At least hunger was not going to be an issue.

I was able to eat half of my lunch in about 40 minutes.  I became a master of my own gag reflex in that time.  When 3:30 pm rolled around, I gave my now superhuman self a little pep talk and powered through the other half of my lunch.

When I got home for dinner, I decided I needed to switch things up.  Laura recommended making them into pancakes by putting them into the food processor to make some sort of flower, adding water, and cooking the resulting glop in a pan.  Anything sounded like a good plan at this point.

I threw the seeds into a food processor and went wild.  I pressed grind, chop, pulse, foreward, reverse.  I took the top off and looked inside.  A faint wisp of dust rose up, but other than that, no change.  I put them in some water anyway, sprayed zero calorie non stick something or other in a pan and started frying them up.

Turns out if you burn a chia seed enough it becomes much easier to chew.  I had a break down in willpower and added chipotle hot sauce.  Not a lot of nutritional value, but man I needed something to make it more edible.

I went outside and did yard work till dark.  I came in to get ready to run when I realized that I still had about a quarter pound of dry chia seeds left.  My heart sunk.  I thought I was facing another hour long showdown with my gag reflex, until I had a brilliant idea.  I got a big spoon in one hand and a glass of water in the other, I shoveled them into my mouth dry, took a big swig of water and swallowed them like 20,000 tiny pills.  I did this over and over until that bag was gone.

Finished, I stepped out the door and went for a run.  I started out feeling like a true Aztec super endurance athlete:

I peeled off the first two miles in about 8 minutes each, but after that I could feel the seeds starting to expand and set up inside me.  My stomach started puffing out, I felt a pressure building up and climbing my throat.  I eased back a bit and ran the last mile in about 9 minutes.

The spell passed and all was well.  For then.

I know it’s impolite, but I am going to talk about poop now.  The next day everything came out just fine, but I never knew my body could hold so much material.  Everything I ate must have kept expanding overnight, and it all came out at one time in truly staggering proportions.  I think a large elephant would have been proud of what I did that morning.

I thought it was over, but things didn’t feel right later on in the day.  Apparently when left in the body for more than 24 hours chia turns into something surprisingly similar to concrete.

Cost: $15

Taste: Bland

Performance: Ok. Probably excellent if you’re halfway smart about it.

Fulness Factor: Excellent

X factor:  Good purge of the body.  Lost 6 lbs after they ran through me.

6 Days, 0 Calories.

There are a lot of good reasons to fast.  Here is a list of 7:

  1. rest the digestive system
  2. allow for cleansing and detoxification of the body
  3. create a break in eating patterns, while shining a spotlight on them
  4. promote greater mental clarity
  5. cleanse and heal “stuck” emotional patterns
  6. lead to a feeling of physical lightness, increasing energy level
  7. promote an inner stillness, enhancing spiritual connection

My reasons were… not really any of your business, but I did decide to go on a fast.  Six days with no food, drinking only water and unsweetened tea.  FYI, I did not do this for this little blog either, but you better believe that I wasn’t going to spend the only day this week involving food eating something like marshmallows or spinach till I threw up.  I told my mom about it and she informed me that you the people would be expecting something this week.  So chew on this:

My Food for the Week

Let’s take a little walk through the days and I’ll let you know how I was feeling.

Day 1: I woke up, skipped breakfast and took a good run around lunch time.  I felt like a champ.  Who needs to eat?  I got hungry, drank some water, told my body to shut up,  and kept on rocking.  Six days is a long haul, and I wasn’t going to get there acting like a baby on day 1.

Let’s talk about nutrition.  According to a book I am reading, most things in your body would love to run on glucose, a sugar that you get from carbs.  Your body stores enough of this magical fuel to run everything pretty smoothly for about 18 hours, after that it gets pretty scarce.  No problem though, everything in your body is used to using other types of fuels. Everything except the brain, the retina, and the gonads.

Well about 15 hours in my brain started getting really foggy.  I’m talking space cadet.  About 2 hours later my eyes started to feel weird.  No lie, it felt like work to look around and focus.  Colors weren’t quite as bright, I had something a little bit of tunnel vision going on.

Tunnel vision, obviously.

A few more hours passed… and no other symptoms became apparent.  The body of a 26 year old man sure knows how to prioritize!

Day 2: I woke up with the nose of a bloodhound.  This, apparently, is a common thing that people experience while fasting.  I talked with my dad in the morning. He opened his mouth to say “hi” and in my foggy brain I instantly saw a parade of potato buns slathered in soggy reddish meat.  “I just cooked lunch for 100 people,” he said.  “What did you cook?” I asked, but I already knew it was sloppy joes.

Around lunch time I got pretty sick.  I had cramps in the stomach, felt feverish, a splitting headache, I was shaky.  I was doing some manual labor, and tried to keep a slow steady pace.  I succeeded but it was difficult.  I felt better in about 2 hours.  Seriously hungry all day.

Day 3: Woke up horrified by my own breath.

The liver starts to convert fatty acids into something called ketone bodies which are made of fat but can be burned just like glucose.  Good news for the brain, eyes, and nuts.  Bad news for the breath.  The body dumps the excess into the urine and respiratory system resulting in nasty breath.  When combined with my bloodhound nose, this was bad news.

I was starting to feel pretty drained.  I helped lead a mountain biking trip for some middle aged women who had not ridden bikes this season.  Despite my mid winter and more recent half marathons, It took everything I had to keep up.

Day 4:  Really tired.  Worked hard outside all day.  Some teaching, some co-guiding, a lot of miles.  Really exhausted.  Walking up the stairs leaves my heart pounding.  I black out slightly every time I stand up.  This is how even just a single flight of stairs looked to me:

Years ago I had an argument about whether or not a more acute sense of smell would be desirable.  My position was that I love my already quite acute sense of smell; the good smells far outweigh the bad.  Magnify the strength of the sense and the same would hold true.

I was so wrong.

There are millions of unpleasant odors lurking just under all of your everyday experiences.  People with excellent oral hygiene still have stinky lungs.  Don’t even walk by a bathroom.  The trash can in the kitchen?  That garlic you are cooking doesn’t fool your dog.  Take it out.   Wash the can too.

Day 5:  Dodged out of some chainsaw work and did computer stuff all day.  Tired but functional.  People smelled terrible though.  Don’t talk to me unless you are chewing gum, please.

My life felt kind of dismal.  I didn’t feel creative, stuff wasn’t funny, I didn’t want to hang out with people.  I moved so slowly.

Day 6:  I have been utterly amazed how much in our lives revolves around food.  I didn’t invite people over because I wasn’t going to be eating.  I totally structure my day around food, without it, I didn’t know exactly what to do.  I had so much more time in my day to read or stare blankly into space since I wasn’t preparing food, eating, or doing dishes.  I never realized how many restaurants there really are.

The hunger returned with a vengeance.  Also had a very surprising hour that was reminiscent of prune day.  Still don’t know where that came from.

Breaking the Fast:  Started at dinner time with a mix of fruit juice and v8.  Waited till about 10:30 and got an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese from Dunkin Donuts.  Slept almost 10 hours, and got up feeling perfect.

Obviously, if you are looking for spiritual enlightenment or health advice, come talk to me.  I’ve got just the thing for you.

8 Bags of Gummy Worms

I started off the morning with a stop at a convenient store.  I bought four bags of brite crawlers, sour gummy worms and one megga millions lottery ticket.  I haven’t checked my ticket yet, so for now you and I are both in suspense about whether or not I won the largest jackpot in history.  You’ll know if the next few posts are things like caviar, truffles, and gold flecked ice cream.

Anyway, for breakfast I had my first bag of brite crawlers.  They were chewy, and delicious.  One of my sixth grade students saw me eating and tried to get me to give up the bag.  I said to get lost, that is was all the food I was eating for the day.  The student was incredulous:

"What about all that talk about healthy eating?"

I explained it as best as I could with a mouth full of semi toxic artificial flavors and sperm withering dies.

"Well you see, it's a sophisticated scientific experiment"

My explanation didn’t go over too well.

"Well your teeth are going to fall out." (Obviously this picture is aged)

Shucks.

Gummy worms are primarily made from sugar and strange chemicals (although there is a strange amount of protein involved as well).  To keep from crashing I decided against eating regular meals, opting instead to eat a worm or two ever few minutes all day.

My first four bags were the super sour, fluorescent, glow in the dark variety.  Here is somebody else’s photo of some such worms:

I have to say, if you ever find yourself in the position of eating gummy candy for sustenance, steer clear of the sour kind.  By bag 3 I was extremely hungry and nauseous.  That’s a combo that is unpleasant and confusing.  I really wanted to eat, but really didn’t want gummy worms.  I sacrificed though, and powered on.

After work I stopped by another convenient store to re-up on my gummy supply.  I grabbed a several bags of non-sour worms.  I was dragging and thirsty so I made another healthy choice.  An extra large diet coke.

Seriously, I felt mortified checking out with a 4 bags of gummy worms and a fountain soda big enough to drown a whale.  I couldn’t quite look the cashier in the eye.  This is how I felt:

"Yeah, I'll be dead by the time I'm 30."

I ate a pack of worms, put a little caffeine in my system and started to feel pretty pumped.

Last year I trained for a marathon with all three of my brothers.  On our 20+ mile trail runs one particular brother (we’ll just call him Crazelnut) would always show up with a bag of gummy worms.  We’d be three hours into the run and he would be singing tv theme songs, cracking jokes, going out of his way to jump over fallen logs and bike ramps, all without a hint of tiredness.  Crazelnut ran more like a puppy that just got let off a leash than somebody who was doing serious distance.  “Gummy worms are the most perfect running food,” he’d swear before launching into another rousing chorus of “Come on Vamanose” by Dora the Explorer.

Anyway, I’m no Crazelnut, but I hit the trail and ran I ran hills for an hour, eating gummies the entire time.  I didn’t keep track of my pace or my distance, but I can tell you that I was dreaming about running an ultra marathon the entire time.  I felt good.

Cost: $6

Performance: Excellent

Fulness factor:  Not good.  I was pretty hungry for most of the day.

Taste: Sweet

X Factor: I could have made a lot of friends if I was feeling more generous.  As it was, I may have compromised a relationship or two.

5 Cups of General Tso’s Chicken

After eating 5 lbs of chicken breast last week I wanted to compare that to its hyper processed super delicious cousin, General Tso’s Chicken.

This brings up an obvious question: who is General Tso?  What did he do that was so amazing that he got one of the world’s most deliciously artery clogging food named after him? I had to find out, but first some breakfast.

I heated up one cup of General Tso’s, jumped in the car just after 7, and ate it while speeding to work.  I don’t know how I looked, but this is how I felt:

I was hungry to 10, but only for a minute.  I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch until after 2.  Again I was driving, and this time I didn’t have a fork.  General Tso’s is not a good finger food at the best of times.  While driving a car with your knees it is treacherously messy.  I still felt excellent, but this is how I looked:

If only I actually had that bib.

To test the performance I took a 6 mile trail run with Ying, a gentleman from the Chinese national mountain climbing team.  He climbed the Olympic torch up to 20,000 on Mount Everest just before the last Olympic games.  This is probably not him, but it actually might be.  Hard to tell:

Needless to say, I was terrified to run with this guy.  I thought that I might die trying to keep up with him on a good day, let alone a day eating deep fried Chinese take out.  I loaded up on caffeine and ate another cup of General Tso’s while driving to meet him.  I wanted to be sure that I had calories available for the run.

Several miles in, Ying was setting the pace, and I was hauling it, trying to keep up and I asked him the obvious question:

“Who is General Tso?”

Ying glided effortlessly over roots and rocks, and looked at me blankly.

You know, the guy from General Tso’s Chicken?

Still floating, no hint of recognition.

Paul, another friend running with us, clarified: “It’s a kind of American Chinese food.”

Ying did a high speed effortless shrug, “Chinese food, I know.  American food, I know.  American Chinese food I don’t know.” And he continued on, barely touching the ground.

A thorough search of the web (you know, Wikipedia and one page of Google hits) serves to deepen the mystery.  There is some consensus that General Tso, or Zuo Zongtang was a Chinese general in the 1800s with noteworthy military accomplishments but no apparent connection to delicious crispy fried chicken.  The most entertaining theory is put forth by Michael Browning, in a Washington Post article entitled “Who is General Tso, and Why are we Eating his Chicken?” (Reprinted here thanks to piracy.)

Browning proposes that the dish was named by ex-patriots due to General Zuo Zongtang’s reputation for handing out “death by 10,000 cuts” leaving his enemies looking startlingly like the newly invented, somewhat spicy take out dish in need of a name.

Whatever the case, it’s some tasty tasty food.

I got home from the run feeling surprisingly good.  I took a shower, threw the remaining 1 cup of General Tso’s in the microwave, jumped back in the car, and had my 4th and last meal of the day while driving.

Taste: Seriously, take the time to warm it up, it’s worlds better hot!

Cost: $16

Fullness Factor: Great!  It was nearly 7 hours between breakfast and lunch and I felt fine.  Also burned 1,000 calories on the run and felt good all evening.

Performance: A.  Somehow I kept up with Ying.

5 lbs of Chicken Breast

This week’s experiment happened on Saturday.  See, I had been in Florida for the the week and I looked for alligator steaks, but all I found was jerky.  It would have cost over $100 to buy enough calories for a day.  I love you very much, and thank you for reading this.  I know you would have enjoyed reading about me eating a terrifying predator, but this blog generates hunger and diarrhea, not money.  I looked for a plan B.

On the way home I saw this:

I didn’t feel inspired.  Then I saw this:

It was on!

I have tried Bacon and Tuna with mixed results, so I was curious to try boneless skinless chicken breast.  It’s portrayed as super healthy, lean, and in my opinion it is tastier than canned tuna.   I went into the day with high hopes and a ton of food.  We’re talking 5 lbs, 9 big pieces.  See?

Not going to be hungry today!

I slept in a bit, read a book on starvation and found myself to be feeling pretty hungry myself.  I went outside and fired up the grill.  My neighbor across the street was doing yard work and yelled over:

"What are you cooking?"

Chicken. You want some?

"Is it for breakfast or lunch?"

"Brunch."

"Chicken for brunch?"

"Yeah."

"Oh."

She didn’t want any.

It was about 11 before I finally got down to eating.  I had 2 and half pieces (yes, they are breasts, let’s just call them pieces though) for brunch.  I checked my email walked around the yard and decided it was lunch time.  I threw a few pieces in a pot, boiled them, and ate lunch. I had one and half.  Plain.  I wasn’t hungry and it was hard work to eat that much chicken.  I am learning that when my body doesn’t want or need something it starts to appear very disgusting to me.  Normally I love chicken, but in that volume it was pretty gross.

I was thoroughly stuffed.  Most days when I am eating 2000 calories I have to come up with a plan to budget out what food I have so as to not be hungry all day.  This day it was the opposite.  I had to make a plan to eat all five pounds without ever being too stuffed to move. Like this:

After lunch I went out and hung a wood duck nesting box by the creek.  I was destroying enough poultry that day that I had to do something to offset the damage.   I had the same feeling I had when eating tuna; I was stuffed but incredibly thirsty at the same time.  I pounded about 10 cups of water, but still felt thirsty.   There was no room in the inn for any more, so I just dealt with feeling thirsty.

I found that I was feeling very tired.  I had a long crazy week, not a lot of sleep, and was off caffeine for the first time in a while, so I’m not sure it’s fair to blame the chicken… but lethargic would be a pretty good word to describe me that day.

My little brother came over to take a performance testing run.  I ate some more chicken and we headed out together to see how things went:

We did the first two miles in the 8:30 range, but the last mile dropped off somewhere into the 9s.  I felt pretty solid, but still no real energy.

Here is dinner:

Again on the grill.  I ate 3 of these pieces, and had one more for a bed time snack.

Cost: $10

Taste: A bit on the bland side, but not too shabby.  I was craving cake pops all day.

Fullness Factor:Amazing!  I was full all day.  Stuffed for most of it.

Performance: B+

100 Prunes

I’m a man who knows a thing or two about diarrhea.

There were several years of intestinal travail after a trip to Ghana.  I tried cutting things out of my diet, I pooped in six  jars for the doctor, and finally it mysteriously and miraculously resolved while on a trip in Costa Rica.

The two weeks after one trip to Mexico are something of a brown blur in my memory.

But I have to say, 100 prunes makes makes good old Montezuma look like a momma’s boy.

Anyway let’s start with an appetizing picture:

I went into this day feeling sure of myself.  I thought I might salvage the reputation of a delicious and nutritious dried fruit.  I went out of this day feeling achy, dehydrated, and wishing I had some adult depends to sleep in.

I had three boxes of prunes to eat in the course of the day.  I budgeted them carefully, and started the day with a half a box for breakfast.  They were sweet and just the right amount of juiciness.  Really tasty.  After half a box I felt satisfied and ready to face the day.

Within about a half an hour I started to feel some ill effects.  You know that feeling where you just know things are a little loose inside you?  Kind of bubbly?  That’s what I was feeling.  Nothing too serious, just a little bit uncomfortable.  Within an hour it had developed into a case of what Steinbeck calls “The Skitters.”

I once climbed Mt. Katahdin with a very beautiful woman. Here is a picture of the mountain.  A really good photographer took this and I stole it:

I packed a bunch of prunes and told my hiking companion, “Hey, it’s just a myth that prunes give you the runs.  They are low weight and high calorie, a perfect trail food.”  We opened them on the summit, way up there hundreds of feet above tree line.  It was some view!  We could see halfway across the state , not a tree or bush or bathroom for miles.

Well, I felt no effect from the prunes other than being unwelcome in my own tent that night.

It was starting to look like I would be paid back in full with interest for this situation.  I ate an entire box of prunes for lunch, took a preemptive number 2, then went to teach a two and a half hour class.  This may or may not be a picture of me while teaching:

Things were bubbling, roiling.  I had the chills.  I broke a sweat.  I toughed it out.  To be honest I don’t think anybody noticed.

After seeking some much needed relief I ate the other half of the box left from breakfast.  It’s a strange feeling to eat something knowing full well it’s going to do something terrible to you.  But really, don’t we do it all the time?  We eat crap then complain about not having energy, or needing to lose weight, or having lumpy green growths… wait, that is normal right?

Why do I have heartburn? It's so unfair!

I had another box of prunes for dinner.  A reporter and a photographer from a local paper came over to the house to join me and ask some questions.  I offered them some prunes but they politely refused.  As soon as they left I stopped pretending to be feeling good and enjoying myself and rushed to the bathroom.

I laid down on the couch and started trying to talk myself into taking a run.

It didn’t work so I tried again:

Still no dice.  One more try:

Finally it worked!

I packed some toilet paper, a flashlight, and all my willpower and headed out into the cold dark.  This is the part of the story that would be much more entertaining if I were a little less honest.  The truth?  For the first (and only) time all day I felt great!  I ran the first mile easily in 7:30, and cruised in the 8 range for the other two.  My whole body felt focused and efficient.

As soon as I came inside I used the bathroom downstairs.  Then I walked upstairs and used the bathroom.  I destroyed all my previous records for number of times I have had to use the toilet in a day.

That night I found myself totally dehydrated.  I had cotton mouth, a splitting headache, and woke up  in the morning 5 lbs lighter than I had been the previous day.

Taste:  Sweet and delicious

Performance: Excellent, both physically and mentally.  Besides the obvious, I felt pretty great.

Fulness Factor:  I was not hungry all day!  maybe because my guts were exploding inside of me…

Cost: $6

X factor: Losing 5 lbs in one day is not bad!  Actually, that’s a lie.  It is bad.  Horrible.

16.5 Ounces of Cheddar Cheese

Obviously this is a very delicious day. Let’s start with a picture:

Food for the Day

You may be noticing that while this is a lot of cheese it is not a lot of food to eat in a day.  I started out this day a little bit worried that I would be hungry all day.  I’ve done that.  I didn’t want to do it again this week.

Breakfast was sharp and delicious.  I ate it in the car while listening to a book on tape and speeding down back roads.  I felt pretty good about my life.  Surprisingly, I felt pretty full on about three ounces.

I was still sure that I would be starving by 10:30 at the latest, but this didn’t happen.  It was steady cruising right up to lunch.  I planned to eat six ounces (3/4 of a block) for lunch.  I sat down with co-workers, put it on a plate, and started eating with a fork.  I ate and ate and that block of cheese didn’t seem to be getting any smaller.  It was delicious and rich and for some reason it felt incredibly satisfying and filling.  I quit around 4 of 5 ounces and saved the rest for a snack later.

I ate about three ounces in the late afternoon.  I wasn’t hungry but I wanted to fuel up for a good run.  I had plenty of energy but my mind did feel a little bit foggy.  I have been noticing that this is true whenever I don’t eat any carbs.  To fight this feeling I drank four mugs of black tea (no sugar, of course).  I had caffeine thrumming through my veins and plenty of available calories when I went out to run on my way home from work.

Now last week on Ramen Noodles I pushed myself to the max and ran 13 minute miles.  (I am still feeling a little embarrassed about that so next time we hang out maybe you could  tell me how fast I’m looking.  Maybe we could even have a little race and you could let me win.  That might help.)  Anyhow I had low hopes for this run.  In fact several people had been warning me about what my intestines might do mid-run.  Others had told me that my spleen would start acting up.  This is what I was expecting:

But when I started running I felt excellent.  I was shooting for nine minute miles, but felt so good I kept going faster and faster.  I ended up with holding a 7:45 pace, and feeling great the whole time.  This is me:

Obviously fast as lightening.

That evening I finally got hungry around 7.  I ate dinner while riding in a car and reading a book out-loud.  Reading, driving, and eating.  Can you beat that combo?  I don’t think so! (but if you can, please let me know.) I felt pretty excellent for the rest of the evening, but was pretty hungry and out of food by around 9.

And now since you are wondering about poop I guess I’ll just tell you.  Or maybe I’ll show you:

Everything worked out fine in the end.  It did happen later and was significantly more work than normal, but no big deal.  I just might do prunes next week.

Cost: $5.25

Taste: Seriously delicious for the first third of each meal.  The second third was good.  The last third was work.

Fullness Factor: Surprisingly good!  Didn’t get hungry until night time.

Performance: Best of all foods tried so far.

I guess I shouldn’t make this died a habit…

X Factor: I weighed myself the morning I started eating cheese and again first thing next morning.  Somehow I lost 3.8 lbs in one day of eating tons of cheese.  It’s all back now, but I did feel pretty light for about 2 days.

5 Packs of Ramen Noodles

Interesting fact #1:  If you were to unwind your pack of Ramen noodles it would be 100 feet long.

I didn’t have time to eat breakfast at home so I ate in the car.  Laura was worried that I would spill my a bowl of noodles all over myself while driving to work so she had an idea that has never been had before: Noodles in a cup.

I had mine in a stainless steel travel mug.  Much cooler.  I wonder what people thought was up with my coffee… See, I sipped the broth out easily, but the noodles congealed in the bottom of the cup.  I had that mug upside down slapping it and shaking it trying to get some breakfast at red lights.

I got to work and spent the next 8 hours digging a trench with a pick and shovel.  I was hungry.

Long and Interesting Side Note:  Ramen Noodles were invented by a Japanese man named Momofuku Ando.  He was interested in solving world hunger. He was interested in peace.  Here he is cast in gold:

Momofuku survived WWII in japan, but his hometown of Osaka had been nearly destroyed.  He witnessed people going hungry, people waiting for food, people eating noodles.  He had a simple and beautiful idea.  He thought: “”peace will come to the world when all its people have enough to eat.”  So he set out to make that happen.

There were several criteria Momafuku decided that his world-feeding-food would have to meet to be successful.  It had to be:

  • Tasty
  • Nonperishable
  • Ready in less than three minutes
  • Economical
  • Safe
  • healthy

Well, Momafuku, 5 outa 6 aint bad!  I ate 3 tasty meals that I prepared in 3 minutes from a package that’s been in my cabinet for over a year and it cost me less than a buck.

These noodles are now all over the world, they are shipped anywhere there is a food crisis, and so far no WWIII.  I’d say that’s a success.

FYI I took all this information from here. 

Anyway, I was starving by 9:30.  There was no silverware in my trench so I found a (very clean) stick and dug the last noodles out of the bottom of the mug.  Before you judge me, remember that people have been eating noodles with sticks for thousands of years.

I felt pretty good then until 10:30 when I got really hungry again.

Lunch was two packs of noodles.  I cooked them in another coffee mug in the microwave.  I sipped and slurped and had a pretty good lunch.  I even felt nice and full… for about 5 minutes.

Interesting Fact #2: The average Japanese person eats 45 packs or Ramen noodles every year.  The average Japanese person is also thinner and healthier than you.

By 2:30 I was starving again.  Strangely though, while my stomach felt empty it looked all puffed out.

I went running at 5.  I had nothing.  No energy at all.  My muscles screamed and protested and i felt incredibly sore, even though I haven’t done anything to get sore in the past few days.  I averaged, no joke, about 13 minute miles.  I stopped and walked.  I took a break.  I really pushed myself, but you could have crawled past me.

When I got home the house was blazing hot, but I was cold.  I don’t think my body had the energy warm itself up.

I had 2 more packs for dinner.  I mixed extra water in so that I might feel full.  Which I did, for another 5 minutes.  Before I knew it my stomach was growling and my intestines were gurgling.  As I write this I am incredibly exhausted. I am having some serious trouble organizing my thoughts and making this look coherent.  I’ll probably have to eat something else later and edit this.

Taste: Salty.

Cost: 50 Cents.  For real.

Performance: F

X Factor:  Easy to pack, easy to cook, super fast, super cheap.

Interesting Fact #3:  There are over 700 varieties of Ramen noodles available worldwide.

14 Cans of Tuna

I don’t really care for tuna.  Now I’ll eat in here and there.  If you mix enough stuff that is not tuna in with it I may even enjoy it.  I understand that other people with perfectly good taste love tuna.  Understand as you read this that I am somewhat biased against tuna.

I am a master of planning, so when I saw six cans of tuna in the cabinet I thought to myself, “Perfect, that’ll do for tomorrow.”  I should have read the nutrition facts to see that I would need the equivalent of 14 cans of tuna to get to 2000 calories.

Food for the day

Anyway, for breakfast I ate two cans with hot sauce and spices.  It was solid white albacore and came out of the can looking like a steak.  The texture was nice and it was actually not a bad breakfast.

I was pretty hungry by lunch and ate 4 cans with a little bit of fresh salsa mixed in.  Cheating?  it was 15 calories of salsa and kept me from gagging.  I’d gotten down to the “light chunk tuna” which would be more accurately called “brownish gloppy stinky stuff.”  The four cans went fine though with the salsa.

By this time I was feeling a little bit foggy mentally.  Regardless of how many omega-3s may be in tuna it was not shaping up to be a good brain food.  Things were taking a little while to process.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and bought 4 big cans of brownish gloppy stinky stuff, and some yellowfin steaks.  This is the equivalent of 8 regular sized cans.

I ate two big cans as soon as I got home.  This was a real exercise in willpower.  I was hungry to start with, but still had to seriously fight a gag reflex.  This is not me, but this is how I felt:

After these two cans I couldn’t eat anything more.  The problem was I had a lot more I had to eat.  I took a break from eating and took a run.  I managed three miles at a slow pace.  I started off somewhere in the 9:30 range and lost about 15 seconds per mile.  Somewhere during this time I developed a somewhat urgent case of diarrhea, which was unpleasant but ended up giving me room to eat more tuna.

Me Running

I suffered through the two other big cans.  It was hard to force myself to chew it.  I was stuffed, but grilled a nice tuna steak for desert.  Seriously It was delicious.  Here it is:

Tuna steak.

Well at this point I was full to bursting, but also incredibly thirsty.  This feeling persisted for the next 5 hours or so, until I went to bed.  I was craving water, but it was hard to fit it in.  I would drink as much as I could (like 1 cup) wait a little while, and do it again, over and over.

Taste: Chunk Light tuna: Horrible after the third can.  Solid white albacore: Good.  Grilled Yellowfin steak:  Amazing.  Seriously, if you are buying tuna and you intend to eat it without a a pound a mayonnaise and a few jars of pickles, the solid white is worth it.

Cost: $18. You can raise this or lower it based on the grade of tuna you buy.

Fullness factor:  A+.  2000 calories left me feeling like I had eaten (a not so tasty) thanksgiving dinner.

X factor: Just eat something else.