09 Jun2007

Mindless Eating…

by Marketman

mind1

Mindless Eating. I thought the book was an unauthorized biography of Marketman!! I was just shocked to receive this book in the mail a few days ago…worried sick that a phrase I so incredibly embodied was now the title of a book that detailed the most sordid mind2aspects of Marketman’s food habits!!! Hahaha! Yikes. Actually, this book DID arrive in the mail for me from a long-time reader of the blog, who is based in Canada. Many, many thanks to that gracious and generous reader, I truly appreciate it. I must reiterate that I rarely encourage that anyone send me anything. However, on two occasions, I have accepted books from readers. The first time it was the Namit Gid cookbook, and the second instance was this book, Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. Folks who have interviewed me for articles have also sent me magazines or newspapers with the related articles in them. And once, I got a terrific CD. But I really don’t encourage these packages at all… and I will describe a classic Pinoy red tape tale, so that you know why that is. I don’t typically give out my postal address to readers, but when I mailed out the Yummy Magazines a few weeks ago I had to put a return postal address… so for those of you who received those magazines, please do NOT send anything to that address. I am always grateful, but absolutely no reciprocity is necessary…

I was in Cebu a few days ago and my wife called to say there was a package addressed to me that needed to be picked up. After sending the driver to pick it up from the nearby postal office box, he was told that the package had been levied a small tax (P35, or 80 U.S. cents) by the Philippine Customs so he couldn’t pick it up at that location but had to go to the Makati Central Post Office. Once there, they of course insisted that more than just the package notice was required as proof of ownership, and that a photocopy of my identification was also necessary, along with an authorization letter. So from Cebu, I faxed a copy of my driver’s license and the driver returned to the post office. Of course they refused to release the package again since it was addressed to “Marketman,” and how could they know that “Marketman” and the name on my driver’s license was one and the same person?!! Forget that my license and the name of the owner of the postal box number the envelope was addressed to were one and the same name… Now they wanted an identification card that read “Marketman.” Hahaha. What a joke, I said from afar. So I whipped out my Philippine passport that said “Marketman,” no, I jest you sillies. Annoyed, I told the driver to ask them if they thought Superman or Catwoman would give away their identity to the neighborhood customs officer… and so the saga continues.

Finally, my wife got involved and intervened and made two trips to the neighborhood postal office and the Central postal office. Meanwhile, one of our lawyers happened to mind3be in the office for a meeting and after a brief consultation with him, he assured me that it was in fact legal to receive a package in the name of a pseudonym, and that as long as it was addressed to my postal box, I should be able to claim it. But try and explain that to the customs guy who was holding my book, probably intrigued by its title, maybe thinking someone might want to eat his less mind… Actually, at this point, I told my wife to have the postal service just mail the book back to Canada. To make a longer story shorter, Mrs. MM was just incredibly Pinoy and sugar sweet nice (something I CANNOT do in such ridiculous circumstances) and managed to convince them to release the book, and she ended up paying PHP50 instead of PHP35 since “they had no change…” Suffice it to say, if it were me at the post office, I would have probably told them to mindlessly eat the book instead, if not make them do so forcibly…

But now that the book is out, I am really glad Mrs. MM was able to get it released. The book is terrific. It is in fact the story of my life in a way. It clinically describes with accurate detail every single thing I do that makes me and everyone in our household eat far more than we should… It’s better than a diet book, in fact. And it is apparently all based on fact and careful studies. It is common sense that you simply don’t want to acknowledge. And though I now know for sure WHAT I am doing wrong, I still don’t think it is going to help me pull back on caloric intake despite now being fully conscious of all the bad decisions I make from minute to waking minute with respect to food. Frankly, this blog has probably caused at least 15 pounds of unwanted body weight for Marketman and if the solution is to stop the blog, I suspect a couple of thousand readers would send me bad karmic waves from across the planet.

What are some of the things the book makes painfully clear? Don’t stock too much selection of any food in the house. Only keep small portions of everything in your pantry. Do not hoard. Do not expose any goodies to tempt you. Do not serve too many dishes as you tend to eat more. Do not entertain or eat with lots of friends or you eat more. Use smaller ugly plates to make your food less appetizing. Do not gussy up your food. Eat the same thing again and again so you get bored with it. Do not shop at warehouse clubs. Do not go to the market or grocery frequently. Do not think about food constantly. Yikes, is right. To give you an idea of how I fail every suggestion the book makes, I will describe to you exactly where I am at the moment and what I am doing…

I am at the beach for the long weekend. I am sitting in my kitchen facing my pride and joy, my newly serviced Viking stove. In the stove is a humongous apple pie baking away at perfectly regulated heat levels. The crust alone has a pound of butter and some Crisco, and the filling is made up of 12 tart and crsip granny smith apples, with cinnamon, sugar mind4and butter. It is browning nicely and I am savoring the aroma that is wafting through the kitchen while I type away on this post in a 19 degree airconditioned environment. To my left is the best thing (I thought) since steamed rice, a see-through drinks and goodies refrigerator. I have always known that the fridge was a fantastic choice for the beach as it shows guests exactly what drinks options they have before they even open the fridge and they can just walk up to it anytime during the day and take a cold drink. This fridge is the sari-sari store type but it does the job. I have always noticed that this encourages folks to drink more and at the start, I used to make sure there were at least a dozen different drinks to choose from. Lately, the selection seems to have dropped a bit, particularly because this time of year is typically low season at the beach. So what is in there at the moment? Cold still water. A bottle of Perrier. A bottle of San Pelligrino. Snapple Iced Tea, Peach Flavor, Blue Bolt Gatorade, Pink lemonade Gatorade, Welch’s White Grape Juice, some UHT Milk, V8, Del Monte Pineapple Juice, Canada Dry ginger Ale, Mirinda Orange Drink, Sprite, Dalandan Soda, Diet Dalandan Soda, San Miguel Light, A&W Rootbeer, Diet A&W Rootbeer, Diet Cokes, Kalamansi Soda, Welch’s Sparkling White Wine (juice), Sparkling Red Wine (juice), Tropicana Twister Lychee Apple, TT Pineapple, TT Orange, Tsing Tsao beer, three kinds of red wine, three kinds of white wine, a bottle of champagne and assorted food items that don’t fit in the main fridge! That’s 30+ different drinks options…no wonder I keep gaining weight!

Directly in front of me on the table is the snacks selection for the weekend. There are large bags of Ruffles original potato chips, Tostitos Tortilla Chips, Cheetos Twisted Puffs, Vinamit dried jackfruit, V-cut potato chips, Nova multigrain chips, Crispy spicy dilis, dried mangoes, banana chips, piknik shoestring potatoes, two kinds of Pringles, Lay’s Stax, graham crackers and marshmallows (S’mores for the kids), Reese’s cookies, Butter wafers, chocolate chip cookes, popcorn, etc. Let’s not even delve into the chocolate selection in the fridge… Clearly some serious restraint is in order. Hmm, maybe next time at the beach… or maybe not. If you are curious about the hundreds of subconcscious cues that lead to mindless eating and are serious about changing the way you consume food, check out this terrific book when you get a chance… Now I need to get started on our dinner…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. ykmd says:

    Classic Pinoy red tape tale that sure is…made me chuckle so much my poor husband woke up! It is our “lazy Saturday morning” here and pretty soon we will all be up and about doing most (all?) of the things that book says we shouldn’t do! We do try to be conscious of what we eat and so TRY to eat in moderation :) I shall look for that book next time we’re in Borders.

    Jun 9, 2007 | 9:20 pm

     
  2. Apicio says:

    Speaking of pies, don’t you find it difficult to get a whole slice of pie from the traditional pie pan, specially the first slice? I have learned a long time ago to bake them in deep fluted tart pans with false bottom. This way you can easily dislodge the whole pie once it has cooled down and slice off perfect wedges each time.

    And assuming there is still going to be left-over, you can do what you did with your blueberry pie, ripple it in ice-cream. They make a fantastic version of this at Zabar’s.

    Jun 9, 2007 | 10:24 pm

     
  3. Myra P. says:

    Information is the key to conquering mindless eating! Learn about portion control, visual cues, learned behavior… and how food manufacturers, retailers and restaurants keep on trying to trick us into eating more than we need.

    http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/education/index.htm

    http://edition.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/diet.fitness/03/24/hb.eating.habits/index.html

    Jun 10, 2007 | 12:40 am

     
  4. Sister says:

    I guess I am doing everything wrong… I stock far too much, have a selection of everything there is worth eating or drinking at Union Square, Citarella, D’Ag, Fairway, and Sherry Lehman etc. I offer a number of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and could easily feed my building’s 30 apts. occupants for a week should the FBI lay siege to the building. So how come I haven’t made it yet to the dining section of the NY Times? Maybe the 20 extra lbs would go away if I simply cleared out the pantry and fridge and moved to a hotel for a month… If it were not for the elderly neigbors and the doormen who help keep the inventory down I would weigh 200 lbs!

    Jun 10, 2007 | 2:43 am

     
  5. flip4ever says:

    …the crispy spicy dilis…with a kalamansi soda…at the beach…that sounds so good!

    Jun 10, 2007 | 2:56 am

     
  6. elaine says:

    hahaha! really funny, marketman! The book seem to have a universal appeal. I think all of us are guilty of mindless eating. Thanks for sharing it with us…I would definitely include this book on my “to read” list. Thanks again!

    Jun 10, 2007 | 8:22 am

     
  7. millet says:

    …and here i am eating roasted cashew nuts while reading this post…just because! i think after reading that book i would want to go to confession afterwards :-)

    Jun 10, 2007 | 8:43 am

     
  8. bernadette says:

    I really had a good laugh when I read your red tape story kasi we have had our share of the P.I. postal system boo-boos a lot of times. But then, there ARE also those postal folks who try their very best to make it very convenient. I had an experience making phone calls to the Central Postal office in Manila to locate a parcel filled with herbal medicines and they really called back and kept tracing if it went to the Paranaque post office, etc. Thanks also for sharing the book and giving a gist of it! I would also have a tough time if I have your apple pie aroma wafting around my house!…and a larder full of goodies!

    Jun 10, 2007 | 9:26 am

     
  9. mikelinparis says:

    ur such a gourmand MM. here my stash includes grilled sliced almonds, lays chips(37% reduced fat), 85% cocoa chocolates, gouda cheese, shelled pecans, pana cotta w/coulis rouge and fruits. ur welcome to it when next ur in town!

    Jun 10, 2007 | 5:15 pm

     
  10. lori says:

    I saw this book at the bookstore and didn’t even have to think twice about NOT buying it. Why on earth would I want to kill the soul of my very passion which is food??!! I might as well pull the plug on my blog if that were true.

    Jun 11, 2007 | 5:36 pm

     
  11. Maria Clara says:

    Awareness mitigates the unpleasant bulges of mindless eating!

    Jun 12, 2007 | 1:11 am

     
  12. lee says:

    “Annoyed, I told the driver to ask them if they thought Superman or Catwoman would give away their identity to the neighborhood customs officer…”
    Reads like a script. Superman, Catwoman, Marketman.

    Jun 12, 2007 | 11:50 am

     
  13. Mila says:

    I read the book two months ago, found the overall topic interesting, and several of the tips a good way to be more conscious about how to eat. Knowing that packaging is developed to make us eat more, I’ve now ordered small size beverages instead of thinking I’m getting more value with a taller cup. And I find myself seeing the serving sizes in a more rational way.

    But no way can I follow some of the other options like limiting choices, not shopping for food every week/day, and not to think about food so much. Sheesh. Talk about a boring existence!

    As for the postal service mess, I remember how the central post office would send us a bill for P7000 or more for books we’d receive from the US. These were clearly marked not for sale, and no taxes to be levied. So we’d have to contact the book supplier and tell them to send it via FEDEX, which they weren’t willing to do since it cost them a heck load more. Corruption at every angle.

    Jun 14, 2007 | 2:36 pm

     
 

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