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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Great Intercontinental Eat Off

To be honest, this won’t be intercontinental. Merriam-Webster defines intercontinental as such:

Main Entry: in•ter•con•ti•nen•tal
Function: adjective
1 : extending among continents or carried on between continents
2 : capable of traveling between continents

The eat off isn’t even interstatial, if that’s a word. Both contestants are here in lovely, cold upstate New York.

The only thing that’s intercontinental, is the food.I was reading some random article online when I spied the words CHOCOLATE, CHEESE, and WINE. Three things that really bring a smile to my face. Giving in, I clicked on the link. Lo and behold, it’s a diet.

I should have known! Normally I close this and move on to other interesting things, but I figured why not. I read the story of the two writers and their food swap. The American gave up her low fat, no taste, constantly eating lifestyle, and indulged in creamy butters and lots of red wine. The Frenchwoman gave up hours long, multi-course meals for Snackwells, microwave food, and loads of soda (diet, of course).


Finally something worth experimenting. I lament my food options and need a shake up. Heck, I have all these cookbooks on my shelf gathering dust. So for the next two weeks, OM will be going to do some food travels. And I won’t be the only one. Jager begrudgingly decided to be part of this experiment. We will both be writing (hopefully daily) about our food experiences.

Experiment Details

1. We will be comparing two different eating styles. I will be sticking to a European style of eating, while Jager will continue on his American, college style eating.
2. The experiment will last for two weeks with each experimentee keeping a food journal – meals eaten and how we’re doing overall.
3. I actually can’t think of anymore details for this, so I will follow the guidelines that the two writers used (clink on the “How to Eat…” to get the link to the site):
a. How to Eat Like the French
1. Slow down! It takes 20 minutes for the stomach's "I'm full" signal to reach the brain. Eat slowly to give your brain time to realize that you're satisfied before you stuff yourself.
2. Take small bites. If you're mouth is crammed with food, you won't even taste it.
3. Focus on your food. Dining in front of the TV leads to mindless overeating. You'll enjoy your meal more if you share it with family or friends.
4. Put your fork down between bites. Savor your food and wait until your mouth is empty before putting something else in there.
5. Serve food on smaller plates. That way, less food looks like more - and you can clean your plate without gorging yourself.
6. Avoid fat-free foods. They leave you feeling unsatisfied and are loaded with sugar. Add olive oil, nuts, cheese, butter (for flavor) and good chocolate to your diet.
7. If it ain't food, don't eat it. Our bodies know what to do with real food. But neon-colored things, nondairy creamers and diet colas are lab creations that cause a host of weight and health problems.
8. Eat in courses. Have at least a salad course and a main course. This lengthens mealtimes and prevents you from eating too much too fast.
9. No snacking. Finish your meal with something delicious, like cheese or a small piece of good, dark chocolate. This will help eliminate cravings later.
10. Eat high-quality, low quantity. Smaller amounts of rich, quality foods leave you satisfied, not stuffed. You'll eat less - and you won't need to snack.
b. How to Eat Like Americans
1. Finish meals as quickly as possible. Your goal is to get back to work, so gobble it down. Extra credit: Eat at your desk, alone, working.
2. Take bigger mouthfuls. Fill your mouth with food. This helps you eat faster - and you don't have to taste it.
3. Whenever possible, eat while doing something else. Eat in the car, on your feet or while watching TV so you become unaware of the quality of your food.
4. Have your next bite at the ready. Keep food on your fork or in your hand, even while your mouth is full.
5. Break out the platters. Show off your bounty. Serve meals on the largest plate you own - and make sure you fill it up!
6. Be a fat-phobe. Avoid anything with oils or fats. No olives, no real cheese, no crème fraîche, no eggs. Use nonfat dairy products. Eat "substitute" food whenever you can.
7. Go for maximum convenience. If it's quick and easy, eat it. If you have no idea how long it's been on a shelf, eat it. Keep food in your car so you can eat while you drive.
8. Serve one-course meals. When you do sit down to a meal, eat all your food from one big plate. Eating in separate courses takes far too long.
9. Eat as often as possible. Those sugary, fat-free foods and sodas will make you want to eat all the time. Just go with it. Eating six times per day, keeping snack foods in your desk - even in your purse - is encouraged.
10. Eat unlimited amounts of low-fat foods. When you cut the fat, you're hungry for more. But don't worry. Just keep eating.

So, being the scientist I am, let me do this experiment right.

Introduction See above.

Hypothesis – I will be better having two weeks of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, CHOCOLATE. To put it simply, I will be better for indulging and not giving into the “no fat is good” hype. J will stuff his face with everything he shouldn’t and be worse off because of it.

Materials & Methods – Materials are food, obviously. Methods are listed above.Data – Will be written out throughout the two weeks.

Being that this the last night before the experiment, I decided to splurge. Cinnamon Rolls. Coffee cake. Chocolate cake with fudge icing! Not to mention a huge serving of ziti and marinara sauce, garlic muffins and chicken tenders. I really put the food away and I’m still hungry.

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