Thursday, August 16, 2012

For the beterment of all human kind...

It's 101° here today in Portland, and a scorcher across the Pacific Northwest, as well as most of the nation.  Thousands of people everywhere are trying to stay cool by any means possible, quite often by enjoying a tasty iced beverage.  If you're like me, and so many others, that chilly beverage involves coffee.
I -heart- iced coffee.  Many of us do.  $tarbuck$ has gotten plenty of my dough for this coffee-and-cold flavored treat, so much so that they should be listed as corporate sponsors of at least 10lbs of my old fat, and it's no wonder why: a full-boat-full-o-milky-coffee-goodness can run upwards of 250cal, and that's for a 16oz.  Even their "skinny" is 100cal (-whip), and as any hot person can tell you, 16oz doesn't go very far taking account ice-cube displacement, and the rush to enjoy it at its best, before the melting ice dilutes it down to a nasty, watery cup full o' weak-sauce.  You're really tempted to do more than one, or a much larger size ($tarbuck$ is trying to help combat this problem with a new size and delivery vehicle--the Trenta--specifically designed for the iced coffee drinker.  How fortuitous!)

Anyway, As my regular readers will attest, I am a culinary DIY kinda guy, and for a number of reasons (food cost, quality control, as well as calorie control).  I am also a bit of a coffee snob.  When I started actively trying to drop pounds, the thing I first really tried to "save" in my daily routine was my morning espresso mocha.  Not having that to start my day was not something I wanted to deal with while trying to fend off the feelings of being deprived of yummayness.  I came up with a great low-carb, low-cal mocha that people still squee over.  But iced mocha type drinks are a bit more tricky.  The milky factor makes lower calorie versions seem realky weak-sauce.  And weak-sauce is NOT what you want in an iced coffee beverage on a hellishly hot day.

So, here--my dear dietary die-hards--is my gift to you.

Da Fatman's Lo-Cal Iced Mocha

What you'll need:
  • 12oz strong cold-brewed coffee
  • 1 half-gallon Blue-Diamond Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 can Black & White brand evaporated milk
  • 1 cup Splenda sweetener
  • 1 2.1oz box Jell-O brand sugar-free chocolate pudding mix
  • 8 tbsp Medaglia D'Oro instant espresso
  • 1 ice cube tray
  • 1 Blender (I use a stck-style immersion blender)

What to do:

  1. The morning before, soak the ground coffee in filtered water.  Now just let it sit all day, for at least 8 hours.  This is a cold water extraction, and makes a very strong yet non-bitter coffee.  That evening, pour the coffee into the ice cube tray, and place in your freezer.  You see where I'm going with this, I'm sure.
  2. The next day, take a gallon pitcher and add the evaporated milk, the sweetener, pudding mix, espresso powder and half the almond milk.  Blend this very throughly, ensuring there's no unblended, caked up stuff.  Then add in the rest of the almond milk and finish bending.  refridgerate.
  3. To enjoy, take a half-dozen coffee ice cubes and put them in a glass placed in your freezer for 30min.  fill the glass with about half filtered water and half mocha concentrate.  Kick back and enjoy.  I mean it: really enjoy, because this decadent treat has only HALF the calories of even a "skinny" bigbox variety, and it's coffee-riffic all the way down with the coffee-flavored ice cubes.  There's zero dilution!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Achievment feels weird...

Hiya folks! Well, it's been a while, but the news I bring is pretty significant.  Way back in my September, 2010 post ("Frying in the face of danger") I discussed my "goal weight", and the abstract, amorphous and frankly dubious help certain (read: "most") on-line BMI and weight calculators are at establishing a healthy weight goal.  I went on to say that the Medically Recommended Ideal Weight for a person my height is 167lbs.  I also said that I couldn't conceive of myself at that weight from where I then was (258).  I also said that the 167lb number was likely unrealistic.  Well...

More (or less, I suppose) to come...

Friday, March 23, 2012

177.6 (Happy Birthday to me...)

Hiya, folx.  This is a brief one.

Tomorrow I turn 44.  The past twelve months have brought so many massive changes; job, relationships, practice, housing.  Massive stress and wonderful peace, confusion and clarity, suffering and joy.  Somehow through it all, I kept going.  If you asked me how I did it, I'd have to reply with something simple and kinda stupid; "I dunno.  I just kept my head down and kept at it, I guess."  That's not particularly earth-shattering wisdom, is it?

Well, in my life, that's actually a bit of a quantum shift.  In many aspects of my life, I have great strength and resolve.  I can suck it up and get through almost anything.  But when it came to my own health--and weight specifically--that's decidedly not been the case.  Somewhere in the past few years, something changed.  The quitting sorta just stopped.  I guess I quit quitting.  And in doing so, in the past year, I've dropped an additional 70-some pounds.  I now weigh 177lbs.  I've lost about 114 lbs over-all in the last three years, and over 160 since I maxed out at 340-something back at the millennium.  114-160lbs?  Depending on stature, that's a whole damn additional person!  To think that I ever got around that way...

It's taken a long time, and it's been hard, at times damn hard, no question.  But it can be done, without surgery, without quackery, without self-punnishment and without shame.  The only things that you need--the only things--are self-love, patience and persistence.  Oh, and a vigilant, diligent practice of suspending the judging mind.  Easy?  Hell no.  Possible?  Absolutely.

I am my own greatest gift.

Happy birthday to me.  The new me.  The old me.  The only me I know.  The one I meet anew every morning I wake.

Grant me serenity.
I'll accept the things I cannot change.
Give me the courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

180.6 (Time for a recipe...)

Egyptian Kushari

I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations: Cairo a while back and he was waxing poetic about a super simple dish called “kushari” that is essentially Cario’s fast/comfort food.  Extraordinarily cheap, rapid and very easy to make, it can be very high carb, but is also very high in protein. I skipped the make-the-hot-sauce portion and used Trader Joe’s fab spicy tomato chutney which is a) great, b) pre-made, but now, sadly c) discontinued.  Regardless, I think this is dinner tonight, so it'll be a fast-on-Sunday to account for the massive dinner calories!  May add a home-made zaatar safeeha.


  • 1lb dried brow lentils
  • 1 12oz can garbanzos
  • 2 cups dried short-grain rice of choice (but I see quinoa working well here too)
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti of choice
  • 1/2 lb elbow macaroni of choice
  • 1 extra large or 2 med sweet onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp olive or peanut oil
  • 1 bullion cube
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pint apple cider (or white) vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
Sauce Options
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp-tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Trader Joe’s Spicy Tomato Chutney
  1. Prepare pastas per package directions and set aside.
  2. Prepare rice per package directions, but dissolve bullion cube into cooking water before adding rinsed rice.
  3. Peel and chop garlic and add to bottle of vinegar, along with brown sugar. As this ages, it will get a more intense garlic flavor.
  4. Prepare lentils per package instructions.
  5. Heat garbanzos in stove-pot or microwave to cook through and slightly soften.
  6. Using a mandolin or by hand, slice onion(s) thinly and fry in oil until dark brown and caramelized.
  7. If making hot sauce, simmer tomato sauce in a pot with seasonings added.

In a large bowl, add rice, then pastas. Spoon lentils to cover half the bowl, then garbanzos on the other half. Top liberally with fried onions and tomato sauce. Serve hot with vinegar condiment and a lemon wedge.

Yes, it’s carbapalooza, but also has a great deal of protein with the lentils and garbanzos. I think you can reduce the carb impact by using brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Bourdain says it sits in your stomach like a bag of nickels. I don’t see that as a bad thing…

Friday, January 27, 2012

179.0 (A new year full of new newness...)

A belated happy new year to you all. Just a brief note to let you all know that I'm doing well. Better than well, actually. Fan-damn-tastic as a matter of fact. 179lbs, new love, new life, new home. I'll write more soon, but I'm currently without internets until February 1st, so I'm blogging from my phone, which is slightly less than ideal. Regardless, the Fat Man sends his love. Welcome to the year of the Dragon!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

195.0 (Too much to say, no time to say it...)

Well, it's been a while.  Just a quick note (with no pic--sorry) to say "One niney-five, booooi!"  I was pretty shocked when I popped onto the scale this morning, two days after THANKSGIVNG and actually saw that I lost weight over the holiday! o.0  Rather amazing to me.

I'll try and post a catch-up soon.  I started writing a blog-post back in September, but every time I sat down to finish it, I'd dropped more weight.  Then there were a few save-fails by Blogger that saw me lose the content, so just accept this 195 post as sort of a condolence prize until I put up something more substantial.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.  I don't have time to list what I'm thankful for.  It'd take days...

196.6 (Looking over my shoulder...)

Well hello there!  Haven't seen me in a while, huh?  Yeah, I know.  I simply haven't had time to write much lately, so all my blogs have fallen a bit fallow.  But it's time to celebrate a bit, so let's get after it!

It's funny.  I started writing this post quite a while ago, with the scale pic showing (below-right) but every time I came back to edit and continue, I'd dropped more weight (down to the pic, left)!  So anyway, here's a bit of a catch-up for the past few months...

August-October, 2011:

I'd been fighting the same ten pounds for the past three months or so (see previous blog post).  For most of August, it would be 220-215, then September was 215-211.  Every time I'd get close to 210, something would happen to undo it and send me back up the scale.  Typically this would be weekend over-indulgences or night eating, which continues to be a struggle for me.  I hit 210 once, back in late August, but didn't post it because it lasted all of a day, then I was back up to 215 or so shortly thereafter.  Also, I believe it was mostly due to dehydration, which in my book doesn't really count.

But from the end of September, I've seen some real traction, and back in the beginning of October (I think) I got under--and stayed under--210 for the first time.  Lots of physical work at the zendo, combined with being really good about my diet, combined with a terrible money situation.  I couldn't really afford to indulge.

But towards the end of October, something in my life shifted, and it was for the better in all respects.  As I said, my primary exercise has been working at the zendo doing the remodel.  I love doing it, but it's volunteer work, and doesn't really help out financially.  I took a stab at a job posted on Craigslist, and lo and behold, I got it!  But in switching to a desk-and-cube job 4-5 hours a day, however, I was rather concerned that I was going to lose the benefit of the hard(ish) zendo labor-as-exercise.  Where was I going to get my cardio?  Well, I stopped being concerned once I discovered that the closest bus stop to my office was 3/5 of a mile and 30 stairs away.  Since I started on Halloween night, I've dropped nearly eight more pounds! I wind up having to (typically) walk roughly two miles a day to get to and from work, plus having to climb 30 or so stairs twice to get to and from the Hawthorne bridge bus stop I have to use.  It'll be interesting to see how the winter weather affects this, as well as the time off when this office closes down in January for a few weeks.  Technically, it's a temp job, but there are all signs that I'll be brought back when the office re-opens.

So that's how I got down to 198.4, where I am as of this morning.  Here are a few reflections on what the weight-loss has been manifesting in my life.


Man, what to say here?  The picture really says it all.  At one point in time (about three years ago) these fit, and were probably snug at times.  As I started to drop weight, I kept them around, mostly for work pants.  But a few days ago, with piles of laundry to do and no clean(ish) work trou available, I resorted to these with suspenders, and was quite literally shocked to the point of near horror.  And absurdity.  And laughter.  Then horror again.  I used to fill these!

I now fit comfortably in 36" pants!  For the first time since I was about 13!  A few weeks ago my fiancée and I were at Good Will (the place I used to go to to get reasonably priced fat-guy stuff) and I decided on a whim to try out a pair of 38" jeans.  Regular jeans.  "Normal people" jeans.  I didn't suspect that they'd really fit.  I thought at best I'd be able to suck my gut in and get myself squeezed into them, then feel like I'd been rammed into some kind of diabolical Victorian girdle and truss.  I'll admit that I felt pretty stupid standing there in the dressing room, tears welling up in my eyes after the zipper glided up and the button fastened on the inhale.  I was even more shocked when they stayed in place without a belt.  Seriously, I haven't wore pants without a belt... like, ever.  I've always had to have an elastic-braided belt in my life.  But these just seemed to stay in place all on their own, like magic.  Thinking I was being fooled, or that Allen Fundt was peering at me from behind the mirror, I tried on another pair by a different manufacturer, suspecting that I may have tried on the one "fat" size of 38" pants that were really like 40" or so.  But lo and behold, the others fit, too.  And stayed in place, too!  WITHOUT A BELT!!

It was real, and yeah, I started to cry a bit.  This had been such a long time in coming.  I guess it took me completely by surprise.  Clothing is going to stay a bit of a challenge at least for the near future.  I have a closet packed full of shirts that I simply can't wear anymore.  They'll go to Good Will.  Half of them came from there anyway.  Maybe they'll help some larger brother out?  My shoes don't fit like they used to, either.  Neither do some HATS?  That's just downright odd...

People, Places & Things:

So, people are really noticing this now.  My face looks completely different.  No more broad, round redish-from-exertion face.  No more three chins (I seem to have only one now).  And a firm jaw.  And a rather distinct clavicle.  And ribs.  And sorta hips.  And a waist!  This is all really freaky and new.

It seems that both genders notice the change.  My male friends notice and say "You look awesome!  How are you doing it?"  The women... well, I don't think I've ever been hit on this much in my life.  Talk about weird x2.  Can't say that I mind it, though, but I just want my fiancée to keep finding me attractive.  And healthy.  And alive.  We have a 16-year age difference, and it would be pretty damn unfair of me to check out on her before I should simply because I couldn't keep from stuffing my pie-hole.


I'm really pleased with my food lately.  This is sort-of interesting because one one hand, money's been so bad these past few months since I wound up in hospital.  But on the other hand, it's made me eat more cheaply, but more creatively.  I haven't been suffering.  I've really been enjoying my food.  I have to admit something mildly shameful: I am a ramen noodle fan.  Always have been.  With cash the way it's been, I've had to go back to my old friend.  I typically never have it as-is, though.  I toss in some frozen Asian veggies, mushrooms, typically some kimchee, a sliced hard-boiled egg, sliced red onion, and top it off with chopped cilantro, basil and Sriracha.  Always Sriracha!  Viva Sriracha!!!

Food is a much more simple affair to me now.  I still enjoy cooking, but it's not this big to-do anymore.  That is helpful.  Making a small meal quickly means I'm not focusing on food so much, and not eating things as I'm preparing the meal.

More later.  It's taken me forever to get this post up as it is...