Dear Oprah, Bread Is What Got Me Here In The First Place

In case you missed it yesterday, Weight Watchers new spokesperson and 10 percent shareholder, Oprah Winfrey, tweeted Eat bread.Lose Weight.Whaattt? #ComeJoinMe and SURPRISE…the stock shot up as people flocked to join. Don’t get me wrong, I love Oprah and I’m delighted that she reportedly made 12 million dollars from that stock surging tweet, but seriously, BREAD IS WHAT GOT ME TO WEIGHT WATCHERS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

For diet enthusiasts, bread is usually the first thing that you most reluctantly drop. Burger no bun, lettuce wraps and the I’m-so-sick-of-fucken-salads-salads is the basic drill. Gravy and sauces laugh at you from the bottom of your dish, because your plate gets cleared before you can sop-it-up with that b-that-shall-not-be-mentioned.

A few months ago, on a 10 day trip to Southern Italy, I promised myself that I wouldn’t hold back on anything and as a result, I had an intensely romantic affair with bread. To say that I went in head first would be an understatement. What’s not to love about untreated, non-processed, all natural grains baked to perfection? And that crust? OMG, I just couldn’t get enough of it. Ask my friend, Amy, who witnessed my full on bender. She’s still talking about it.

The problem with bread, and even good bread is that it’s not a stand alone. There’s olive oil, cheese, preserves, sauces, meats, and even PIZZA…yes, pizza is bread.

5.5. pounds later, I’m back home with pants that won’t zip.

My Mom, who’s been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers’ for years, suggested I give it a try. “New point system, with a great phone app that’s super easy” she promised. “And you get 30 points a day!” she added. Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus system is based on the protein, fat, carbohydrates and fiber content of foods. The app makes it super easy to type in anything and get the point value.

One, small, hard roll is 5 points. In Italy, I ate 6 of those a day….a least.

“If you like to eat, and want the diet to work, go for the zero point foods” suggested another friend. That would be fruits and vegetables. (Note: pants were still hard to zip because of bloat/gas factor).

I’m happy to say that Weight Watchers does work, if you follow their point system which is a clever way of instilling portion control, but I don’t think it’s BREAD FRIENDLY, Oprah…at least not for breadaholics like myself.


Well, this is embarrassing. I just received an email with my Dunkin Donuts Perks stats.

Yes, I am one of those coffee chugging peeps who downloaded that incredibly convenient Dunkin Donuts phone app.

In the last 610 days, I’ve made 690 visits to Dunkin Donuts. Actually, I need to make an adjustment there. Of those 610 days, I was out of the country for 28 days, and in states where there wasn’t a Dunkin Donuts for about 30 days, which leaves me with a revised count of about 552 days.

I had at least one a day and then some because on top of that, I was awarded 47 free beverages for my coffee chugging loyalty.

OMG. I think I should be flagged when I donate blood. I had no idea I was this loyal.

I have to admit, I really appreciate the stroking of my ego with this badge-qualifying email, but seriously folks, how many more coffees do I have to drink to get the free shirt?

Sugar Babies At Bedtime

These are the kind of old snapshots that make the Throw-Back-Thursday posts worth a billion dollars.

Every picture tells a story and this one makes me laugh out loud because it is says so much about my Mom. In order to understand this photo, you have to understand the circumstances.

My Dad, may he rest in peace, was a Dentist. Candy was seldom seen in my house unless given on a special occasion. It was a rare treat. Never at bedtime because sugar would “stick to your teeth and rot your enamel”. In this photo, my brother and sister and I are freshly bathed, in our pajamas, tucked into my parents bed, watching their TV and eating SUGAR BABIES. This says one thing to me…

My Dad wasn’t home.

I can tell from our ages that my youngest brother was probably just about a couple of weeks old and down the hall in his bedroom, and…in all likelihood, wailing his ass off.

My Mom, who was a devoted candy worshiper, was most likely exhausted and probably needed us to behave, so I assume she raided her own stash and whipped out the big guns. Does that picture look like well behaved kids or not?

I am just so grateful that my Mom snapped this photo. It’s a rule breaker and an honest parenting gem.

The Ivy League of Vegetables

If you mention Kale to any nutritionally informed person, be prepared for the “gotta have it” speech as they will sing its praises as if the vegetable were good in bed. That being said, I’m trying to include this cruciferous vegetable in my meal repertoire, but I’m struggling with how to cook it and make it tasty and nutritious at the same time.

Let me state for the record that the “Green Smoothie Drink” did not fly.

Non-disputed research shows that there are three standout benefits from Kale. It’s loaded with: (1) antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, (2) much-needed macronutrients (in which the average U.S. adult is currently deficient), and (3) cancer-preventive nutrients called glucosinolates. In addition, Kale is packed with Vitamin K and is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese; a very good source of copper, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium; and a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorous, and vitamin B3.

Seriously, that reads like the back of a multi vitamin bottle and it even has FIBER.

I’ve thrown it raw into a salad, but the one hour-post-meal flossing made it a real chore to eat. How do you cook this stuff that resembles a freshly mowed lawn while retaining all of its nutritional value?

A friend of mine has a snack-like recipe where you chop the kale, toss it with olive oil and cider vinegar, season with whatever spices you like (I used a ton of garlic salt…big no-no) and roast it at a high temperature until it gets crunchy. If you close your eyes, you can pretend you’re eating salt and vinegar chips, but the roasting kills most of the nutrients. Does anyone have a good Kale recipe that tastes good and delivers on all the nutritional hype?

Born This Way

Many, many years ago, when I was 8, my grandmother slapped my hand at her dinner table for smelling my water.

“It smells bad, ” I countered, “Here, smell it!” and I shoved it in her face. Had I been better informed, I would have known that the sense of smell is the first thing to go on old people.

“Water has no smell,” she scolded and removed my glass for the rest of the meal. “If you’re going to smell your water, then you’re not going to get any,” she declared. Thank goodness she took it away because to me, it smelled like metal. The distinct smell of the tap water in the city of Pittsburgh was my first clue of my acute sense of smell.

To this day, if you ask my Mom about it she’ll tell you, “Susie smells everything”.

I really do. It’s a gift when there is a gas leak, a burning leaf, hidden dog shit on the beach, dead mouse stuck somewhere in the wall (I can always find it), and  a curse when you’re in public and it’s bad perfume (from 100 yards away), random fart, dirty hair, cooked food that lingers on your clothes and the one that drives me absolutely nuts…cigarette smoke. I get that face at the 50 yard mark that reads, INCOMING!

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace my special ability and not let it get the most of me. In fact, my husband congratulated me last week for not waving-off a stinky cab when I needed to get downtown. (The torrential rain might have helped). I channel my inner-scientist when I’m in a theater which usually entails burying my head in a large tub of popcorn…smelling it first of course, to make sure it’s fresh.

I can’t help but wonder if I too will lose my sense of smell as I get older. That’s the kind of old-age-loss that might be a good thing.