How I lost 41lbs from January to March

TheFoodAss | General, Life | Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Ok, you may think this is a little crazy coming from a website entirely about food and it’s prep. Afterall, food makes you fat. Especially really good food, right?

So why am I talking about losing weight? Because, maintaining a proper weight and fitness level are probably the most important things you can strive for in life. When you dont feel like a big fat ass you are better at everything. You’ve heard it all before, and obviously you dont need to hear the benefits again, it just plain rocks.

So why am I talking about it? Because, food is the gatekeeper to eternal happiness, and the reason for it all.

Your fat: Food

Your skinny: Food

You cant get up the steps before the fone stops ringing: Food

You suck in the sack: Food!!

Food is the fuel for everything. I love good food, I LOVE it. I love fricken mostacolli. I love pizza and calzones, wet burritos and deep fried mexican style tacos. The key is finding the proper balance between calorie intake, and calorie expenditure. Thats ALL there is too it. Everything else you ever hear or read is total crap. If you eat 2,600 calories a day, and burn 2,600 calories a day, you break even. No weight gain, none lost. If you eat 5,000 calories a day because you eat total crap (like I used too), and burn 1,500 because your completely lazy. Well Sir or Madamn. You’ve just gained a solid pound, today. That’s because, 3500 calories equal approximately 1 pound. Burn 3500 more than you eat, lose a pound. Eat 3500 more than you burn, gain a pound. Simple math.

Flashbackward to December 2005. I’m 6′1″ and about 221lbs (I’m a dude, if you dont know that yet). That’s overweight.. alot. In fact, it is just a hair below obese by Body Mass Index standards. I feel like crap, look like crap and take way too many weird crap’s. My whole bod is outta whack.

After a bit of research I decide to cut my calories from 4000 crappy one’s, to a solid 1,800-2,400 calories from (mostly) healthier sources. I also COMPLETELY eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), because it’s the devil. Coke OUT. 2 liters of water a day IN.

So, throughout January I eat…. Burrito’s, Sandwiches, Pizza’s and other tasty carb filled goodies. There is no reason to ruin your life by eating total crap. Instead of a personal pan pizza and 3 breadsticks with 2 coke refills for lunch, I’d hit 2 solid slices of local pizza. Effectively cutting my calories consumed by 2/3. I’m not going to give up some of the best pleasures known to man. But I DID decide to reduce their intake.. What happened? I felt ALOT better immediately. This is with minimal excersize, just a reduction in calories.

At this point I wasnt thinking about whole grains VS processed or any of that business, JUST calories. I’d look at the labels for EVERYTHING. Plan my meals ahead of time online (still from fast food, and restaurants.. remember, I dont have a home, and eat out 3-4x/day) and keep rough count of my daily calories.

By the beginning of February 10lbs were gone. I felt ALOT better.

In February I started eating healthier as well. Whole weat english muffins instead of white (And not Thomas, ingredient #3 = HFCS). Less processed fast food. More Subway/Jimmy Johns and less McDonalds. Oh, of course I still eat at all the dirty places. I just manage it better. By the end of February 15 more lbs were gone.

By the end of March.. Another 15. I’m now a solid 40lbs lighter than I was in December. I’m fricken unstoppable. I’ve added in lots of fun activities. Mountain Biking, Hiking, all that crap. Not to lose weight (I have food for that), but to improve my overall health.

In fact, in May, I had to conciously INCREASE my caloric intake beyond what I was eating. I was losing more weight than I wanted too, dropping into the low 170’s. All because of food.

I’ve since switched to maintenance mode. I eat fried ice cream with the chick (we share, half the cals that way), and everything else I want. I just drastically limit the amount of total crap that goes into my body, and put a total block on the ultra corporate cheap processed junk. (HFCS, Hydrogenated whatever, and the scary preservatives). I now eat a solid 2,800-3,200 cals/day. Which coincides with my current activity level. My weight is rock solid at 178.

Stop dicking around, and eat proper. No more worries. If your a fricken baloon, it’s no ones fault but your own. You choose what you grab with that meaty paw of yours and stuff down your gullet. I know, I was there in December.



Firegirl

TheFoodAss | Grocery Reviews | Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

www.firegirl.com

Amazing hot sauce collection. Great website for people who, like me, don’t think the local stores carry “Hot Sauce”.

Firegirl carries the wild 7.1 million scoville unit (Jalapeno = 5,000ish) sauce “The Source”. Eyedropper for your chili is alot easier, and more effective than mashing down a pound of Habaneros. Bummer that it’s $99.



Fricano’s

TheFoodAss | Restaurant Reviews | Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Man, Fricano’s is pretty fricken mint. I love small places like this, that make one thing, and make it good. For those unaware, Fricano’s is a small chain of pizza joints in the West Michigan (and other?) area’s. There is one in Grand Haven, one on the Northeast side of GR, Comstock Park (On Alpine) and a couple others I believe. I have been to the Grand Haven Joint, the Comstock Park location and the NE Riverside GR Joint. For all of em, hit up www.fricanospizza.com

Fricano’s offers up one choice. You get a 12 inch, thin crust pizza. Don’t want a 12 inch thin crust pizza? That’s cool, go to fricken Pizza Hut and get a 4 for all or something..

Fricano’s thin crust is perfect. Ultra thin, cracker style crust, but with the perfect amount of tenderness. They have a selection of toppings, but it isn’t as varied as you may be used too, just the basics. Pepperoni, Sausage, Cheese, Green Peppers, Anchovies and that’s it. This is the real deal people. If you hit the Comstock Park location you will probably run into the owner, Doug Fricano. He makes pizza, talks pizza and will genuinley ask how your pizza was.

The Grand Haven Joint is ALWAYS super busy, and sometimes has a long wait. It is in an old bunked out house, and kinda weird. I dig it. The NE Grand Rapids locale is just a hole in the wall.Go in, buy a pizza, leave. My only dig at them here is that they dont open til 4pm and close at 10pm. I would totally snag their pie’s for lunch if they were open earlier. I am assuming since they arent a frozen pizza factory, they dont have the customer base to support opening earlier.

Their website says “No Onions” because their pizza doesn’t need em. I can get down with that. I dig when restaurants are entirely confident in their product “we’re soooo damn good at this one thing, we don’t change it, and we don’t mess with it.” and they aren’t lying. Top notch local pizza.
Some people may knock down Fricanos for their lack of offerings. They dont have a super-mega square cheese stuffed pie, and flying buffalos or any of that stuff. What they DO have is PROBABLY some of the best pizza in the world. I have eaten pizza in most of the states, and at multiple locations in Italy and around the world, and am PROBABLY more qualified to talk about it than you are.

Fricanos > Any pizza I have tasted.

Rating: 9

Food: Very good. Top notch thin crust pizza. Fricano’s does one thing, and does it right.

Atmo: Busy, busy, in Grand Haven. Old house is weird. The Other restaurants are different. I wish they were open earlier/later.
Price: Seriously, Cheap.

# of times I’ve eaten here: About 30 I’d say.



Chicago Deep Dish and Dogs

TheFoodAss | Restaurant Reviews | Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

EDIT: As of October 2006. Chicago Deep Dish and Dogs is now CLOSED. Bummer.

Ok, so check it. A year or so ago if you asked me about Deep Dish and Dogs (DDD). I would have told you it is sweet, and given it a solid 8 rating, then something happened. Earlier this year they changed their menu around a big, and seemed to change out most of their wait staff. My co-worker and I regularly eat there for lunch (couple times a month) so we noticed right away that things were a bit different, no worries.

I used to get 2 Dump Truck dogs, fries, and a water. It was $7 something before tip. The hotdogs are proper dogs. All beef franks, sold chili, real shredded cheese, big chunks of tomato, real neon relish and good sport pepper. In fact, compared to lots of the dogs in Chicago I have tasted, these lean to the more “gourmet” side, and are great. The only bummer is you can get them with ketchup, unlike alot of Chicago joints. (BARF)
The first time we went after the changeup, my meal was $11 for the same thing. The crazy waitress charged me for an appetizer of fries ($3.95) instead of a side of fries because I didn’t get a soda as well, to make it a meal (add soda and fries for $3).

I was like, y0, this sucks, and they changed it. It was a huge hassle, and took an hour (seriously). I was pretty bummed.

The next time I went with my girlfriend, about 3 weeks after the first screwup. This time I told chikkie I wanted a water, and a side of fries (like a meal) but I didn’t want to pay for the drink (because I got a water). This was confusing for her, but she got it right. It also took an hour. Unfortunately, this caused me to “swear-off” DDD, and remove it from my lunch options.

3 mo’s later, me and co-worker went back, to give it “one more try”, and we were surprised. Pretty ok service, and the meal price accurately charged ($5 for one dog, fries and a drink). co-worker even got a water, and they didn’t charge him the full meal price (- $1.25 werd).

Total cost for both of us, for lunch, was $10.13. This is within my $5 awesome lunch range, and we were stoked. Service was still kinda “weird” and there was only one table (full of employees) besides us in the place. I hate when employees hangout in dining rooms where I can see them, but whatever.

It wouldn’t be even close to fair of me to not rate the pizza at a restaurant with “deep dish” in their name, so I will. I have eaten about 6 Chicago Deep Dish Pizza’s. Usually with my girlfriend, and usually a small cheese pizza. Like most REAL deep dish pies, a small is alot for two of us, and we dont usually finish it. The pizza is good, real good. I have had the pleasure of enjoying Chicago Deep Dish at lots of the more notable locations IN Chicago. Uno, Due, Giordano’s, Geno’s and so on. DDD certainly holds up as a good entry, especially for being 190 miles from Chicago. It is mos def LIGHTYEARS ahead of the processed chain “Deep Dish” crap from places like Pizzeria Uno (The Chain, not the Chicago Original) which isnt even real deep dish, as it comes to you on a mini rack placed inside a deep dish type pan… wtf?

Anyway, I’ve gotten off track. DDD’s deep dish is very good. It has a nice, chunky, aromatic sauce that is done right. I usually ask for extra. A proper amount of cheese (ton) and a decent crust. The crust being the only part that isnt very good. I would consider it average. A little too thick at the edge, too thin in the center. A bit tough and bland. So, decent. Average pricing on the pies as well, although they do have nightly specials, and one of them (Wednesday? I forget) is small deep dish night, and then it is a smokin’ deal.

Because of the good deals, they are back on my ok list, and I rate them a solid 7.

Rating: 7

food: very good. Hot dogs are kind “gourmet” style Chicago dogs (more presentable than the dogs I have hot in Chicago) and are top notch. Chicago style deep dish pizza is good, and probably the best dd we have in GR. Thin crust is good as well.

atmo: Good, Not too pretentious, but empty during lunchtime (lately).

price: Very Good, if they charge you right.

# of times I have eaten here: 20 or so



The Adobe In/Out

TheFoodAss | Restaurant Reviews | Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

I hate “gourmet” food, and I hate crappy food. In between those there are a whole crap-ton of other categories, with the lowest being what I call “Appliance Food”.

Basically, Appliance-Food works like a white appliance. It works good and gets the job done, but you dont really care about it. Most fast food is Appliance Food. You may think “WTF, this dude with a food blog eats fast food?”. Heck yea I do, I dont discriminate. Sometimes you are hungry, need food to fuel the rest of the workday and need it fast. Subway is a perfect example of Appliance Food (And in my opinion, the #1 restaurant for this category). Subway makes cheap, reasonably tasty sandwiches fast (usually). Perfect to get your day on track. Taco Bell is Appliance Food.
I am still undecided as to whether the Adobe In and Out, A local chain in the Grand Rapids area, is or isnt Appliance Food. Certainly it is on another level compared to Taco Bell or Taco Johns. They have freshmade salsa/hot sauce and they make their own chips. Again though, they are ultra cheap, and ultra fast. Often serving a quick “Mexican” appliance meal when I am on the run. Hmm.

I’ve been going to the Adobe since the first in/out opened a couple years ago. I actually went on opening day, and they gave me a rose, pretty sweet.

Adobe is mint because you can get, 1 taco, 1 mini-chip, 5 hot sauces, guacamole, and a nacho for $5.25. Now, pay attention here because it is important. Adobe has good Tacos, Nacho, Hot Sauce, Guacamole, and a few other things, but verything else on the menu really sucks. Especially the burritos. BLECH. If you think the burritos are good at Adobe, you obviously haven’t been to El Sombrero.

The employees at Adobe are kinda whacked out, at both the locations I frequent (Downtown GR on Fulton, and Leonard) they are not terribly friendly, and sometimes make you wait ~10 minutes before they notice you. Usually because they are too busy talking about gettin drunk to their whacked out Adobe employee friends behind the counter. This is especially common on the weekends, and at night, when they aren’tterribly busy. I absolutely DESPISE seeing employees jabber jaws to their crazy employee friends. It is the #1 (Or maybe #2) thing to piss me off.

The food is pretty fresh though, good and presentable. Nice real tomatoes, and they make their own chips/shells etc.. on site. The salsa (It isn’t really “Hot sauce” although they may call it that) is good, but pretty inconsistent, and I am pretty sure their guacamole has sour cream in it (gag me with a fricken spoon).

They hit my $5 lunch rule though, so I go there a lot.

Rating: 7.5

Food: Some things are good, and taste fresh. Chips and salsa are made in-house I think, which is pretty unusual for fast food. Burritos are disgusting.

Atmo: Usually sucks. If it is busy, it is very busy. If it isn’t busy, you can hear employees talking about parties and whip-it’s.

Price: Very good if you don’t get a “dinner”, which is a scam. Also, their 2 taco meal is more expensive than ordering the items individually, and they charge WAY TOO MUCH for refills of soda (which are small in the first place). Drink water though, HFCS kills.

# of times I have eaten here: At least 200 (No, Really)



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