Monday, March 9, 2015

1950s Diet: Day 6 (Mexican Food and Final Thoughts)

Well that was a looooong stretch in-between posts! I could give you the long winded version but basically me and my old lady ways threw my back out so the last week has been somewhat of a crap shoot. But! I'm better now, so onwards with the bloggin. 

Day 6 was probably my most true to form day of the 1950s diet-

I had a picture perfect breakfast:
About 1 cup of Cheerios w/ 3/4 cup of milk and 1 tsp sugar, 1 glass of OJ (about 6 oz) and an 8 oz glass of milk
and lunch:
1 sandwich: whole wheat bread, 2 slices of Swiss cheese, around 4 tsp of mustard, lots of lettuce, 1 hard boiled egg, and grapes. I had the apple later for a snack. (Betty says you can have lots of fresh fruit!)

Both meals I was able to do without any substitutions, and keep exactly to the book's suggestions. Dinner was one of my favorites, Mexican food, yay! I forgot to take a picture (blame the margaritas), but I had a delicious vegetarian taco salad. If this was the 50s my choices would have been more limited, with only really one or two options. Here's a 1950s menu from El Toreador, "The Only Spanish and Mexican Restaurant in Miami":

What's up with the spaghetti!?

So as you can see, only a few vegetarian options, but I'd be perfectly content chowing down the "fried tortillas with melted cheese" option, just sayin'.

Your choice in restaurants was quite a bit more limited as well, there were of course family owned places sprinkled around, but from what I gather the first chain was El Torito, which first opened in 1954 in Los Angeles. The chain's success had a lot to do with the "mild" version of Mexican food served there, it was a lot easier for those who were unfamiliar to ease into. 

For the more adventurous, canned Mexican food and cookbooks dedicated to the cuisine were also an option for home cooked meals:

So that just about wraps up my eating journal for the week! Here are my final thoughts and take aways from the week: 

1) Dinner has definitely been the hardest to keep authentic throughout this experiment. It relies heavily on meat and as someone who only eats fish about twice a year, it's not a great option. But I was able to get the jist of the balance of the meals and work around that. It seems like most plates were about 1/4 protein, 1/2 vegetables (2 different kinds), and 1/4 some other kind of fruit/soup/starch (this was sort of a mixed bag and didn't seem to follow a pattern). You also always got a "healthy" dessert like sherbet, stewed fruit, or jello, and of course, 1 glass of milk. (As an adult with a slower metabolism I think it's smarter to cut out the 1/4 mixed bag portion, and keep it to one or two glasses of milk a day, not "one with every meal plus one extra" as Betty advises for the teenage quota of about 2,000 calories a day. 

2) I saved a bunch of money (about $45 bucks!) just eating my breakfast at home and bringing lunch. As I said in a pervious post, this is definitely one aspect of the experiment I will carry on doing!

3) Even with what felt like "extra" food, the portions were smaller, and the emphasis seemed to be on a little bit of everything, and with that variety (taste, texture and visual), in the end you felt more satisfied and full. 

4) I loved having homemade, fresh meals (versus my usual microwaved dinners or oil filled omelette breakfasts), and that is also something from the experiment I want to keep on doing. 

5) Taking the time to make and have breakfast at home (instead of rushing around in the morning then eating breakfast at my desk) really sort of set the tone for a more collected day.

Now for the ultimate question...did I lose any weight? Was this diet even really a diet at all? Well the answer is sadly no, not really. When I weighed my self on Day 7 I was exactly the same weight as when I began this whole shebang. BUT I felt and looked much less bloated thanks to less salt and oil, as well as the homemade meals. A few days later however I weighed myself and was down .8 ounces, hey, that's something, right?! Like Betty says, "Do not be discouraged if nothing happens immediately. A diet that progresses slowly progresses more surely." I definitely believe this to be true, but my patience is still coming to terms with the "slow and steady wins the race" mantra. 

Well I hope you all have enjoyed this little vintage diet experiment as much as I did, till next time, happy eating!

Friday, February 27, 2015

1950s Diet: Day 5 (Dining Out and a Fifties Fail)

Well, the day started out positively. 

Here's what I had for breakfast:
Black tea (no milk or sugar), fresh mixed fruit, 1 slice of marble rye (no butter), 1/2 an avocado, and 1 scrambled egg (no oil), salt & pepper

This ended up being my favorite breakfast thus far, SO yummy. Avocados and I are BFFs though so I pretty much love them in any way they come. I doubt avocado for breakfast was very common in the 50s but I wasn't feeling the milk so I allowed myself a few extra calories elsewhere. 
Lunch was black bean soup and salad from the work cafe. I used balsamic vinaigrette on the salad which I thin would have been 50s acceptable since in the book they suggest "vinegar dressing" with your dinner salad. The black bean soup not really 50s at all.

Dinner was a complete Fifties Fail. There's just no way around it. I had Chipotle. No picture needed. 

But if I were a teenager in the 50s eating out with my folks, here's what it might have looked like:

Italian - Dago Mike's Italian Restaurant 
Polynesian - Trader Vic's
French - Le Gai Pinguin Restaurant

Chinese - Guey Sam's
American food/coffee shops/diners aside, these were pretty much your choices for dining out in the early-mid 50s. Italian, Polynesian/Tiki places, French food, and Chinese were the most common choices if you wanted something "exotic." Japanese food was around a bit but didn't really take off until the mid 60s when it was brought to Los Angeles. Indian food really gained popularity in the 1960s as well, with the  huge spike in interest for Eastern culture. I'll touch on Mexican food a bit tomorrow. I tell ya what, I would have been (and still am) all over those Tiki places and Mai Tais, given the chance. 
The Tonga Room, San Francisco, 1950s
I mean look at that place, a water tank in the middle of the room?! A floating band?! The best. Speaking of the best, a a huge thank you to my Amy who helped me loads with inspiration for today's post (P.S. Her blog is my favorite).

So hopefully today's fail won't accept my weight loss, Day 6 should be better. See you then! xoxo

P.S. If you missed any of the fun click here to read from the beginning!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

1950s Diet: Day 4 (Cheerios and More Improvising!)

Okay so doing research for today's post was really fun. I'm a (home) baker and foodie, so I absolutely love seeing what products and foods were available during my favorite decade.

I went with option #2 for breakfast:

1 cup Cheerios, 1 tsp sugar, about 6oz orange juice, 8 oz of milk (I had black tea at work)

Now for the fun part. I found this adorable little cereal timeline (you can even see the complete list of what came out a particular year). 

Just for contrast, here's what came out the year I was born:
What a difference, huh? By the 80s things seemed so much commercialized, and heavily aimed at kids and their movies/tv shows. I have to say though, I remember that Ghostbusters cereal, and it was delish. 

So I ended up choosing Cheerios as my "ready-to-eat" cereal as it seemed the most common , economical choice for the average family, being that it's something everyone could enjoy, and you know those 50s ladies were budgeting wizards! 

How cute was that commercial? I wish ads were still like this, they're so much more convincing and the fun jingles really make you remember the name of the product. And you know what? I did feel the "go power", this breakfast wins for keeping me full the longest. 

For lunch let's pretend that I went out to the diner and got a burger and fries, the classic 50s teen-age meal! In reality this was a veggie burger from my work cafe, but it was really yummy and super duper filling. 

Dinner was 2 Gardein (vegetarian) "meat loaf" patties, about a cup of frozen peas, and a little over a cup of fresh spinach (lemon juice/salt/pepper dressing). I passed on the glass of milk, sorry Betty.

Despite the big lunch, yesterday I still didn't have that "bloated" feeling that I have sorta (unfortunately) become accustomed to. I think the general improvement has a lot to do with the smaller portions, and lack of oil (canola, which I had been having every morning in my omelette). I'm not sure if I've lost any weight or not, I'll weigh myself at the end of this experiment. But I think things are definitely headed in the right direction. 

Still might look into getting one of these fat jiggler machines though.

Pretty sure this lady doesn't need one.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

1950s Diet: Day 3 (No-Chicken Soup and Teen-Age Exercises)

Hey All!

Day 3 was relatively uneventful, but on the upside, I think I'm getting the hang of things and it's easier to put together the meals without having to meticulously consult the book. Another plus is that I am majorly saving money eating breakfast at home and bringing my lunch a few times a week. With the rent increase notice I received yesterday, this is definitely one part of the experiment I will carry on doing.

Since I had oatmeal the day before, yesterday was an egg day. So breakfast was: 1 piece of whole wheat toast, 1 scrambled egg (no oils of any kind added), banana in place of the grapefruit, and as ever, that faithful glass of milk. I also had some (plain) black tea at work, getting used to it.

Lunch was a glass of milk and sandwich from home (Monterey Jack , Lettuce, mustard, since mayo is against the rules!), plus a fruit cup and two hard boiled eggs (both purchased at work).   

Dinner was just the same soup as yesterday, I didn't bother taking a picture. Here's a simple recipe if you're interested, it's a great filling recipe and totally customizable to your taste. Plus it's a one-pot meal, can't beat that!
  • 1 package (12 oz) egg noodles
  • 3 or 4 fresh carrots, chopped
  • 3 or 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • About 1/2 chopped onion (add more or less to your taste! For me, this seems to be the best balance of flavor without being overwhelming)
  • For the broth: use a mix of Imagine's No-Chicken Broth (2 boxes), and whatever vegetable bouillon cubes you like. I use a mix of Knorr and HerbOx (I usually do about 3 Knorr and 1 HerbOx)
  • Seasonings: salt and pepper, and either thyme (for a more authentic "chicken noodle soup" flavor), or sage (which makes it taste like delicious Thanksgiving stuffing!)
*Slightly under-cook the egg noodles (in salt water), drain and set aside. (you'll want to cook them in a BIG pot)
*In that same pot, dump your carrots, celery and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and sauté until the onion is a bit translucent. 
*Add the boxed broth, and bouillon cubes/water. Bring to a boil, then add the egg noodles back in. 
*Turn down the heat to a simmer, add herbs, salt and pepper. Let everything simmer, covered, for about 20 mins (or longer if you like, depends how saturated you want the flavors), and enjoy! :)

Now for the exercises! Nightly, I have been doing the suggested "Teen-Age Exercises listed at the back of Betty's guide, and let me tell you, I was sore the next day. Either they really work your muscles, or I am even more out of shape than I thought! ha 

Here are the exercises if you'd like to give it a go:

You can say that again, Betty. I'm tryin', I'm really tryin'. 
Ok, that's it for today guys and gals! See you tomorrow for Day #4! (Or if you want to read from the beginning click here!! )

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

1950s Diet: Day 2 (Improvising and a Major Case of the Hungries)

Well as the title says, yesterday, Day 2 of the diet, was filled with lots of improvising (you can see Day #1 and all "suggested" meals here). I choose breakfast #4, the hot cereal option (as per the book's suggestion of alternating cereal and eggs. Apparently that way, it won't get boring, and I'll "forget" I'm even on a diet!...haha not likely) :

I ate at work, so compared to yesterday's cute soft-boiled egg and toast arrangement, here's my improvised version:
Fruit cup in place of the sliced orange, hot cereal (about 3/4 cup of steel cut oatmeal) with 1 tbsp of brown sugar (I allowed myself a bit more sugar since the oatmeal was made with water, not milk), 1 slice of marble rye with 1 tsp of butter, and black tea, in my very touristy mug from Graceland :). I forgot my glass of milk at home, but I was kinda over having so much of it, so that worked out.

This kept me full for several hours unlike yesterday's breakfast, but oatmeal is really not a dieter's friend, calorie wise, so I'm not entirely sure why that's on the menu, but ok!

Lunch was a salad, this is what the book has to say for those of us who "bring money to school instead of a lunch-box":

After looking around a bit I came to realize that French and mayonnaise-based salad dressings were the most common, which ruled out my beloved ranch :( Hidden Valley started producing it in 1954, but it really didn't pick up speed and become popular until much later. "Salad oil" was around, but being that French is being considered too oily, that easily rules out Italian dressing too.
Adorable Wishbone ad from 1959. I would have been all over that "cheese" dressing!

My non "genie-us" salad: spinach ("leafy greens"!), cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, avocado, 1 hard boiled egg,  Monterey Jack cheese, croutons (to make up for the slice of bread), and I was stuck with a lemon juice/salt/pepper mix again for the dressing. 

It was all downhill from here. About an hour later I was starrrrvinggg. Like Chris Farley Gap Girls hungry.

My modern stomach is definitely not used to these potions, sad.

Here's what the book has to say on snacks: 

So munch on an apple I did. I could almost hear my stomach laughing at me for the lame attempt. By the time dinner rolled around I was famished again, here's what din looked like:
A salad (made up of spinach, pearl tomatoes, Beyond Meat grilled "chicken" strips, and the ever faithful lemon/salt/pepper dressing), homemade (vegetarian) vegetable/egg noodle soup (it tastes *just* like chicken noodle soup!, and could be made vegan with a noodle swap), 1 glass of milk (my only one for the day).

About two hours later I was starving again, so I broke into the Thin Mints. 

Fun Fact: by 1951, the Girl Scouts had three cookie varieties; Peanut Butter Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints). 

Now where can I get one of these swell 'Fatty' sweatshirts?!

That's it for Day 2 Daddy-Os, see ya tomorrow for Day 3 as I continue to navigate my way through this 50s diet!

Monday, February 23, 2015

1950s Diet: Day 1 !

Like most girls who struggle with their weight, I feel as though I've tried just about every diet out there in order to shed those pesky pounds. Slimfast, portioned controlled food delivery services, and various protein meal replacements all work, given you rigidly follow them, don't mind the "fake food", and the unsatisfied feeling you get after eating. Yeah, I can't hang either.

So after reading about the lovely Maya Van Wagenen who wrote, "Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek" , after deciding to follow the advice given by model/author Betty Cornell in "Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide" (circa 1953) for a school year, I was inspired myself. Now obviously I am not and haven't been considered "teen-age" for quite some time now, but if you read my last blog post, you know that I am really attempting to better myself this year, starting with my weight. So why not combine the need to diet with what I love most?! 1950s how-to's are right up my alley, so for a week (starting yesterday, Feb. 22nd) I will follow the "Figure Problems" chapter of Betty's book, and doing the "Teen-Age Exercises" listed at the back of the book, just for the heck of it.

Here is what the book has to say in the way of breakfast: (excuse the iPad "Library" links etc)
(click to enlarge)
I was home yesterday so I was able to follow this pretty closely, here's what my breakfast looked like:
I had to substitute half a banana for the half a grapefruit (couldn't find any at the store), but other than that, I followed sample breakfast #1 pretty much to the T. I took a "small amount of butter" to mean about 1 tsp (it felt so skimpy! oink). I'd say the hardest part about this breakfast was having my tea black. I'm used to some milk milk/sugar/honey/something in it, but it wasn't awful, and I should get used to less sugar in my diet anyway.

Well as cute as this was, I ended up being hungry about 2 1/2 hours later :(   So I consulted the book for lunch recommendations:

Here's what I went for, a sandwich on whole wheat bread, subbing Monterey Jack for Swiss (didn't have any but M. Jack was still around at the time) w/ lettuce and nothing else (!), the other half of that banana, and for my "small container of cottage cheese" I used 1/2 cup of 2%. That was one dry sandwich, let me tell you, but surprisingly yummy (maybe I was just that hungry?!), but anyway this meal kept me full for much longer thankfully. 

Dinner was a bit more of a challenge, I'm not into eating meat for moral reasons so I definitely had to make some adjustments for these very beef-centered suggestions:

I can relate, grumpy hungry girl.

My din: 2 "meatloaf" slices from Gardein (with 1 tbsp of their "gravy"), prepared on the stove I might add (no microwaves!), about a cup and half of spinach, a few chopped pearl tomatoes, with a lemon juice /salt dressing, and of course, another glass  (8oz) of milk. 

I had one last glass of milk before bed in an effort to try and reach their recommended 32oz, but I was still a glass shy. 

So there's the day's food (that clocked in at a total of 1, 532 calories in case you're wondering). It really wasn't that hard, just took some planning.  I'm ashamed to admit that as I was preparing breakfast, getting out the pan to boil the egg, toaster etc, I thought ,"Geez all this stuff, just for breakfast!", and right afterwards eye-rolled myself for being such a princess, it's really not that bad, get a grip! But it hit home just how much we as a society (me included!) are driving the packaged/convenience food industry, if we can't even be bothered to wash a few dishes for the sake of having a fresh, home-cooked meal. So note to self: cook more. 

Till tomorrow Daddy-Os, see ya then for a review of Day #2!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lonely Weekends (A 2014 Reflection)

Apologies in advance, this blog is 1) a bit late and 2) definitely veering off-topic from my usual make-up/baking theme. I don't usually write down things of such a personal nature, but I thought maybe I'd do a Costanza and try the opposite of what I normally do, see how that works out.

2014 was an odd year for me, I said good-bye to a lot of things this past year. A darling little hamster named Timmy, my beloved Clarence (a 1970 Beetle, which had been my baby for a decade), anything close to my "high school weight", and the last decade I could really be considered "young" (a true lady never reveals her age, let's just say I'm on the wrong side of 25.)
R.I.P. Tiny Tim 

Austin, me and Clarence a few years ago!

A more recent portrait.
But as I entered my 30s----crap----I mean, this new decade of my life, unlike previous birthdays, I decided it was time things change. I spent most of the last decade in a state of limbo, sort of just getting by. The reasons are long and complicated (involving ex-boyfriends, ex-friends, etc), but I'm hoping to finally move on. In the words of the all-mighty Oprah, "Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different." A simple concept,  of course much easier said than done, but it needs to happen. Along the same lines, "Life becomes a lot easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got," R. Brault. You know, I'm just tired. Tired of holding onto anger and frustration, tired of feeling emotionally drained. Tired of just being tired really, I don't have the energy for it anymore.

Like most people, part of my promise to myself as I started the new year was to lose weight. But more importantly, to lose the weight I've been carrying on my shoulders (deep, I know) for the better part of 10 years. How I am going to do this? I'm not 100% sure yet, and for once I'm cutting myself some slack. It's o.k. not to have all the answers right away. I'm figuring out that taking it one step at a time is really the key, to pretty much any tough situation in life. Yep, it's taken me 30 years to *really* learn that. But it holds true, whether it be for that To-Do list of chores, or taking steps to better yourself and your quality of life. Getting one small task done at a time, and gaining a sense of accomplishment from that, is a thousand times more beneficial than staring at a laundry list of things ahead. The tricky part is reminding myself of this, often. So, I'm starting with the physical aspect, and moving on to the emotional, taking baby steps.

Please don't misunderstand-this past decade of my life was not all bad. I was very fortunate enough to be able to travel to some incredible places; Liverpool (England), Los Angeles, Hawaii, and even Memphis, Tennessee, to the home of The King (which spilled into 2015, so I started off the year on a positive note), mostly thanks to the amazing Mom I was luckily enough to get. And traveling really does so much for the soul, gives you perspective and for me personally, it's energizing just to get a change of scene. I've had really great laughs with friends, and gotten to spend some wonderful quality time with my family (which includes members of the furry variety :) ). I am so so grateful for all of the afore mentioned. It's those in-between times I'm talking about, those "Lonely Weekends", that's what needs the work.

So, in short, I'm trying to be a healthier, kinder, more evolved human being this year. No sweat, right?