The day I decided to begin this blogging venture about defensive eating and the situations that arise that make defensive eating necessary I attempted to both defensively eat and to avoid a bad food situation. And failed. Twice. First I'll tell you the tale, then I'll explain begin to expound on my food philosophy. It's a long post, but they'll get shorter as I have less background to cover. Or I'll begin to split them up. I will NOT be posting every day or with every meal as this is not actually my day job. ;-)

Here's the story:
I started off with a relatively healthy breakfast of some frozen blueberries with a little bit of crushed cereal and the remainder of my milk. I also had a variety of other things which I have forgotten, but the total calorie count turned out to be about 400. Lunch was OK too: I brought a frozen 200 calorie meal (lots of sodium-salt- there), a mango and some ginger candies to work. But then I got hungry and went to the cafeteria and had an ear of corn....I guess I'll have to give it a conservative 500 calories. Not great, but I had exercise plans, 5:30-6:30pm. 

I got stuck in traffic on my way home from the Bronx (temporary work location) and missed my exercise time. Grrr. OK next exercise time is 7-8pm. This means that I'd have to eat dinner or snack before my run otherwise my blood sugar would run pretty low. Green apple and a 0% Fage Greek yogurt: 200 calories. I sweetened up the yogurt with a tsp of Calorie Free Caramel Syrup from Walden Farms. This was pretty much fine for me, I would complete my run and enjoy the rest of my evening: plans with a girlfriend to drink a glass of wine and discuss girlfriend things. 

It all started to go downhill about halfway through my run with a text message from said girlfriend: "Do you mind if we hang out at my place tonight, I have a pie in the oven". Uh-oh. This could be trouble. I decided to run an extra mile, bringing it up to 5.5 miles (defensive exercise). I had also planned to try to bake tofu for lunch so I went home and got it started (more on this below). 

I arrived at my friends apartment after 9pm and found her there with her boyfriend. We had a lovely conversation over a glass of wine that can only be described as monstrous. The apple pie sat there, cooling on the stove, threatening. The doorbell rings. They have ordered a pizza pie. "You have to try this", they say, "It's from Nina's, the Argentinian Pizza place on 2nd Ave. Best pizza ever!" Sigh. You know what's coming. I had a slice. A small slice, and just one. I decided to go to a hot yoga class in the morning, 6:20am. "I think the pie is finished cooking. I'm so worried it's not like my grandma used to make" my friend worries. "You have to try a piece". I'm sure you can see a theme building here. Yoga at 6:20am, a healthy breakfast, lunch and maybe even a quick turn on the elliptical after work. A small piece of pie later (I'm actually proud of myself for the small piece of pie and the small slice of pizza) and somehow, a bottle of wine has disappeared. Side note: The pizza was merely OK but if my friend reads this she can rest assured she made an AMAZING pie. Some of it even went home with me. I got home, two hours later than intended, crawled into bed and when I woke up I decided to wait until after work for yoga.

Now it's the morning and I am baking the tofu from the night before while I eat breakfast before heading to work. Hurrah, the morning is good (maybe because I know I'll have to document it): one Kashi Pumpkin and Pecan snack bar (120 calories, only somewhat tasty) and a Trader Joe's Apple + Cinnamon oatmeal with lots of boiling water (I like my oatmeal soupy!) + tsp of Caramel Syrup = caramel apple oatmeal! I also have a few crackers and my calorie total is at 350. Success. My yoga mat is coming with me to work...if I drag it all the way there, surely I'll have to use it afterwards.

Now for a recipe, though to be fair, this is the aforementioned second failure.
This is the recipe I compiled from several online sources:

1 block of firm tofu cut into 6 slices (400 cal total)
Brushed with Jerk marinade (generic, can use any sort of marinade)

Squeeze the tofu between two heavy cutting boards (or a plate with a pan on top if you live in a single-cutting board household), brush with marinade, stick in fridge for undetermined length of time.


Bake at 350-375 for 10 minutes, flip, bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

It did NOT take 20 minutes. It took more like 45-50 minutes with multiple flipping. But it did crisp up on the surface. What it did not do was taste good. Not bad, but definitely goes on the defensive eating list rather than actually tasty. And it shrank. Boo.

Still, having nothing else, I take 2 pieces of the tofu, a bit of salad from the deli and a big orange to work today. The deli salad has dressed portobello mushrooms and an unidentified dressing on it. Considering the ~140 calories of tofu and the orange (~100 cal) I'll highball the salad at 200 calories and keep my total at 440 for lunch. Seriously, hot yoga. And quick turn on the elliptical beforehand.


Because this post has been pretty long, I'll keep this pretty short and will elaborate in a future post. I'm overall nothing more than a calorie counter. Sticking to a low-carb or a low-fat or any sort of restrictive diet becomes hard when you don't want to say "no" too often or find yourself not cooking your own food. Plus, there's always something that looks so good you just have to try it. I'm not going to kid myself about my own powers of restraint. They're nonexistent.

I tend to set unattainably low calorie goals for myself and expect to overreach them through the day. I generally feel that attempting to consistently eat 3 portioned meals a day or 6 small meals a day or whatever else is always reccomended is too hard. So I do my best. I try to eat a 300-400 calorie breakfast, the same for lunch and I hit the gym almost every day. At the end, I tally. It's annoying and laborious but if I'm on a train or walking home, it's a good way to pass the time. I tally how many calories I ate, how many calories I have exercised away and see how many more I have before I reach/overreach my goal for the day. This is what I can enjoy in the evening without guilt. Then I enjoy more. With guilt. Oh well, I guess that's why I started the blog, to attempt to hold myself accountable.


04/06/2011 17:16

Tried the baked tofu, instead of Jerk Marinade used 5 spice chineese powder (love that stuff) and ginger-soy glaze. Yeah, baking the tofu definately gives it a "tofu jerky"-like quality. Chewy.
I plan on using it instead of bread for a carb free babaganoush with arugula sandwich later, since it now holds its shape well.

04/07/2011 09:05

Readers: Chinese Five Spice: a mixture of five spices, encompassing all five flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. Most common ingredients: star anice, clove, cinnamon, pepper and fennel seeds.

-Wow, I don't have this on my spice shelf but it sounds so good I think I'm going to have to adopt a bottle!

As for subsitituting the tofu for bread: if you don't need a hands free lunch, you are essentially trading in mostly useless carbs for a load of protein and probably quite a bit of extra taste. Thumbs up.

I suspect this will be more filling but a little more difficult to eat.

09/13/2012 22:33

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    I'm a recent graduate from medical school and a pathology resident living in New York City. Like most girls living in the city, I've found that a lot of my social life revolves around the regular consumption of high-calorie food and alcoholic beverages. I've decided to start a blog about how I am trying to beat the bulge by eating and cooking defensively between social engagements and how even a busy girl can fit exercise into a busy life.

    All recipes are on Petitchef


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