Diet Chili

When I lost my weight, one thing that helped was making sure I meal planned. This is very boring, but much easier if you just plan on eating the same food over and over again. One dish that was very, very helpful was what I dubbed Diet Chili. It was cribbed wholesale from an Abs Diet cookbook. I ate this for lunch every day for about a month. It was a huge help!

Basically, you take a pound of ground turkey – get the lean stuff, because you drain it either way – and fry it up. To this I added a can of diced tomatoes and drained cans of sodium free beans and corn. I mixed up the beans each time – sometimes kidney, pinto, or whatever. Then I used an envelope of chili mix from the supermarket, added some water to the whole mess and usually some ground flax.


On occasion, I would add some diced chipotles or similar, but nothing none vegetable. The whole pot made 4-5 servings for the week. Very high in fiber, protein, low in fat, virtually no sugar. It was filling and tasted good. If I was feeling a little bored, I’d eat it with corn chips (not too many).

Anyway, one key to really dropping weight is being intentional about what you eat. This was what I fixed first (and adding the walking). I didn’t sweat exercise or any of that – I didn’t even count calories right away. I just started to be intentional about my meals and it was HUGE.

Weight For It

What’s happened the past several months has been a small lifestyle shift. I’ve been a heavy dude for the past several years. There have been fits and starts with jogging and such. About 2-3 years ago I said the heck with it. That I was going to be fine with my body and live my life as is. Which was a good first step, in retrospect.

Let’s not bury the lede – I’ve lost over 40 pounds since July, and they are slowly coming off. I’ve trained up to a 5k. It’s been great. Really great.

Aside from feeling better about how I look, there are other strengths. Once I dropped a few pounds I could feel it – I felt lighter. Lightness makes it easier to move, which makes it easier to lose more. There’s a cycle there. More energy in general has been available. More disgustingly, my bowel movements have been better. More regular, and cleaner.

So, you know, that’s cool.

I didn’t do any fancy tricks or diets or anything like that. It wasn’t even that strong of a feeling. My mental shift came around 278, when I realized how close to 280 I was. 250 had been hard enough, 275 had me feeling low, but that was a final straw.

I started very simply with walking and food tracking. The Food Tracking via My Fitness Pal was key. It was strict for the first few months (I don’t do it as much now) but it kept me very mindful of what I was eating, and also how much. This helped end the snacking – the evening binging at the fridge I’d been doing.

Walking was big as well – making sure I was moving. I did buy a FitBit and I have been strict as can be to hit 10,000 steps a day. There have been a few, but it’s been especially good since I bumped it up to 12,000. And that was really it.

Limiting my calorie intake. Making sure I was walking a lot.

If I’d done nothing else, I still think I’d be on my way down. However, once I dropped and felt better, I started the couch to 5k program and recently finished a 5k race. It was a struggle. I had to fight for some of those practice runs, had to run late in the evening. There were days I had to get up very early. But I did it – and I’m lucky that I could.

But it all came down to putting in the time, and tracking my food. No tricks, no weird diet beverages. Just straight discipline.

It also wasn’t only about losing weight – it is about being fit overall. I’ve still got more fitness to go, but this was a big mind shift.

Anyway, that’s it for today.


As I make a sandwich in proximity to Fall
I have a good plan which uses the windfall
Of tomatoes bright red which occur by the bushel-
A sandwich to be fed where tomatoes are crucial.

Toasted bread, mayonnaise, lettuce crisp and bright.
The bacon seems to get the praise, But those who know will fight
To celebrate the juicy red tomato, lightly seasoned.
The lettuce placed loosely, too, is not there without reason.

Layer toast, then dress, then lettuce, too
On both slices with finesse, then bacon due to
Keeping the toast from the sog of fresh, red ripe tomato.
It will taste the most delightful treat one can show.

The finest BLT I ever have made was with the recipe of one Kenji Lopez-Alt. This poetic interlude is based on his insistence to eat a BLT seasonally. And I agree.

Join the Club

Mayonnaise is thinly applied
After the bread is toasted
As well as ample bacon fried
Or in the oven roasted.

Sliced poultry or ham is what you need
On three slices of white.
Lettuce and tomato are decreed
Before you take a bite.

Ingredients are second-hand
To the sandwich structure.
Frilly toothpicks make it grand
And turn it into sculpture.

Slice diagonal once, then twice
As triangles taste better.
Lay them in a circle so nice
Add chips within the center.

Change the meats, change the bread,
Change the condiments.
Keep the picks, the stacks, and let
Triangles hold occupance.

I used to listen to Mitch Hedberg. I still do, but I used to, too. Would a poem about club sandwiches really be right without reference to his brilliant comedy? I suppose if I were a square.

But I’m pretty cool.

The club is claimed to be named for “Chicken and Lettuce Under Bacon. It’s also claimed to be named for the Union Club in New York. Often referred to as a “Clubhouse Sandwich,” there is credence to this theory. But, like the Reuben, it seems the truth is lost to time. Overtime, the structure has certainly overtaken any ingredients’ importance. For a long time, I was under the impression a club was roast beef, turkey, and ham on the same sandwich. But what do I know?


French Soup

You take the onions, just a lot of onions and then you have to french them.
That doesn’t mean make out with them – it means you have to clench them
In a fist on the board and use your knife to cut them into wedges longitudinally.
This can cause many tears to form, so I suggest wearing goggles jubilantly.

Into a big pot the frenched onions go, and then a big knob of butter.
You cook them, and cook them some more until they start to sputter.
The shrink in size, the caramelize, be sure they don’t fry, gently cook
Them. Add a splash of red wine, salt if you have, and then take a look –
You have to watch them closely. Over time you’ll learn
If you aren’t careful – the onions will quickly burn!

But if they don’t – If you won’t let them cook to crisp
You’ll have a small pot of what the total start will seem a wisp.
To your mahogany alliums its time to add a measure of beef broth.
A bay leaf, too, maybe some thyme, will add treasure to the froth.

And then it simmers for half an hour, while you dry out some bread.
Shatter it into croutons so you can shower the finished soup and spread
Some gruyere cheese, or mozzarella, or anything you find nice.
Broil it harshly until you see the fella bubble up and then you can entice
A loved one to a meal with you. With cheese, and beef, and onion.
It’s a delightful soup in a days work, using the stove and oven.

French Onion Soup tastes like a million dollars and is super easy to make. Here is a recipe I wrote several years ago.

French Sandwich

French toast is from Belgium, or so I’m told.

But a sandwich deep fried? I’m sold!

Dusted with sugar and within is the ham.

Accompanied by Comté and raspberry jam.

Add a fried egg, and you’ve got Croque Madam!

Spoil yourself, if your day has gone well

And add a small ladle of hot Béchamel!

It’s a sandwich with confidence, hearty and bold.

Worth it’s weight in delicious caloric gold.

For the Soul

Let’s not pretend this concoction is hard

You could fit it all on one recipe card.

A whole chicken is fine, but with only thighs

The soup will taste great, and pleasing to try.

Take carrot, celery, chicken and onion

Put in some water and click the stove on.

Add the meat and the bones – bones are the key.

The simmering water sets flavor free.

Season it well with rosemary and thyme

And a bay leaf, the zest of a lime.

(Or lemon instead, enough for the zing)

Salt and pepper as it sits simmering.

Leave it alone for a turn of the clock

Pull out the bones and admire the stock.

To this, salt to taste and noodle it up.

When done to your liking, its time to sup.

Chicken noodle is hearty, hot, and nutritious.

Simmer bones longer for added richness.

It’s perfect, I say alone in the bowl.

A 1/2 sandwich will also feel right at home.