Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

4 months and counting…

December 3, 2012 5 comments

In July, my weight fluctuated between 285 and 290. When you’re that heavy, five pounds is pretty much inconsequential. I was scheduled to have my annual physical and was not particularly concerned. I had been this weight for years and it hadn’t been an issue.  Sure, I had been diagnosed with diabetes a year earlier, but I was on medication. No prob. I could eat the same as before and let the meds do their job. Right? RIGHT?

Let me step back a little and explain what diabetes mellitus type two is. From Wikipedia:

Diabetes mellitus type 2 (formerly noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes) is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. This is in contrast to diabetes mellitus type 1, in which there is an absolute insulin deficiency due to destruction of islet cells in the pancreas. The classic symptoms are excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% of cases of diabetes. Obesity is thought to be the primary cause of type 2 diabetes in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease. (emphasis mine)

The recommendation is for your blood sugars to be below 125 and your HgA1C to be below 7.

I last tested for it the previous year and my HgA1C was 9.2. I was ready to see how far it was down. The physical itself was uneventful, except for the fact that, turning 50, I now had to face tests and procedures that, heretofore, had not been necessary (don’t ask. It involves a camera and one’s ass). I waited eagerly for the results (okay, I wasn’t particularly eager, but as I mentioned earlier, unconcerned).

I got the call from my PMD and got the result.


I was stunned. This couldn’t be. I took my meds religiously. My blood pressure was controlled well by meds, as was my cholesterol. Why hadn’t my diabetes? I researched some more and I talked to my doc some (one advantage to working at the same place as your doc is that you see them all the time and get free face-to-face time with them) and found out that DM type 2 has some pretty significant issues that manifest itself in many nasty ways. Such as:

  • a ten-year-shorter life expectancy.
  • two to four times the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • a 20-fold increase in lower limb amputations (!!!)
  • blindness
  • kidney failure
  • cognitive dysfunction and dementia
  • increased infections
  • sexual dysfunction
  • frequent infections


Here I was, with two young kids, probably eating myself into a state where I would not see them marry and have children. I got scared. So I started talking to bariatric surgeons, since getting the surgery was the quickest way to resolve the issue. After much deliberation and constant talking with friends, and most importantly, my wife, I decided AGAINST the surgery.

Either path would have been difficult, but I chose the slow painful way over the fast painful way. I am still on this path and and have reconciled myself to being on this path the rest of my life. I made very small changes.

  • I switched to a smaller plate at dinner
  • I ate less rice
  • I stopped eating fast food
  • I brought lunch most days
  • I started working out 10 minutes a day twice a week
  • I went and signed up, not for a gym membership, but a personal trainer

Now, four months later, I have increased my workout regimen to 30 minutes of elliptical five days a week, 30 minute training sessions three days a week and Pilates one day a week. I have maintained the dietary changes I listed, but, unlike the surgery (which would have prevented me from eating some foods and beverages), I am able to have whatever within reason. I have a great time with my trainers and even though Pilates is hard as shit, I want to keep it going. I’m down to 242 and have given away all my larger sized clothes. I have no end point in mind, because there IS NO END POINT. I don’t have a target weight, I have a target number.

About four weeks ago, I re-tested my HgA1C.


Now excuse me while I work out.

Happy New Year and A Resolution (or two)

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Haven’t been posting in a while, primarily because work has been crazy busy. Also because just as most families in this time, we are filled with kids activities, adult activities, travel, conferences, holidays, blah, blah, blah.

I hope that all of you had a good holiday and here’s to a great 2012, regardless of what the Mayans say.

I only have one resolution this year and that’s to live a healthier and greener lifestyle. I figure if I make the resolution broad enough, then I can claim success even if I am only able to make an incremental improvement in my lifestyle.

kitchenSo, one change we are making is to eat as per the new health guidelines, using whole grains, more veggies, more fruit and less sugar. So far, the biggest issue is keeping enough fruit and veggies in the house to accomodate the kids’ appetite. Zachary had four apples (!) as a snack on Sunday (not all at once). We also switched to brown rice. This was most difficult for me. after all, growing up in Asia, white rice was all we ever used. Rice cookers do not work with brown rice, they work better with plain old white rice.

So those small incremental changes will be accompanied by a slight change in our shopping habits. In an effort to reduce recycling and trash, we want to try to get as close to a zero waste kitchen as possible.

I found this great site, which tries to limit the huge amount of crap we throw out every day. I am pragmatic enough to know, especially with a child with allergies, that we will not be able to achieve true zero waste (the need to have soy milk and soy yogurt comes to mind); nevertheless, any step towards that goal will be helpful.

OK, maybe I have another resolution. I will try to post at least once a week on the blog, even if it’s just a link.

7-Eleven Introduces The Hot Dog Flavored Potato Chip: Gothamist

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment


Courtesy of the Gothamist

7-Eleven Introduces The Hot Dog Flavored Potato Chip: Gothamist.

Not sure what to make about this. 400 calories packed in 22 chips.

Wisconsin Craft Brewers Under Attack

June 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Wisconsin = beer/cheese/and the Green Bay Packers (and not necessarily in that order. Now, large beer manufactureres are trying to pass legis;ation to place impediments on small breweries (which produce superior beverages to the large conglomerates, in my opinion. Read more about it on the Beer Club blog:

Wisconsin Craft Brewers Under Attack.

Also, sign the petition:

Petition to support WI craft brewers

Categories: Food

What will people eat?

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

So in a warped experiment, I have decided to bring in to work a bunch of half-opened, old, unwanted items from my pantry to see if people will consume anything placed in the break room marked as “FREE.” I brought in pretzels that were from last year’s Halloween, Twizzlers from March,  marshmallows from god knows when, candies from July and mystery dried fruit from last century. I will pic the results after the day is done.

Here is proof of the start of the experiment:

Free Break Room Food 8:30am

**Update: 10:45 – Just saw the department chairman walking by with a bag of my pretzels in hand.

**Update: 12:15 – Twizzlers almost gone, marshmallows gone, pretzels almost gone, candies and mystery fruit still there.

Free food at 12:15pm

Categories: Food, Humor, Stupid shit

Starbucks customer dis-service

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

SBux SuxSo as some of you know, my daughter has severe allergies and has anaphylaxed several times, including once on an airplane as we were landing in Tokyo. Given this history of trips to Emergency Rooms, we try to make sure we are prepared and cautious about eating out. We do not let her allergies stop us from doing things as a family, such as eating out, we simply make sure we find out if it’s safe for her to eat (what ever IT may be).

Consequently, we found ourselves at Starbucks and was unsure about the ingredients of their Vanilla Creme Frapuccino. One person told us it was dairy free and another told us it wasn’t. We were in a rush so I didn’t have an opportunity to look at the ingredients on their mixes, which is what I’d done before. I went to their website to ask the question about allergens. Here is the text of the auto generated email:

— Original Message —
From: “Ody Granados” <>
Received: 10/15/10 4:41:39 AM MDT
To: <>
Subject: allergens

Could I please have ingredient list for both strawberries and creme frap and the vanilla bean frap? I have a daughter with a dairy allergy and wanted to make sure neither had any allergens. Thanks.


Name: Ody Granados
Address: xxxx x xxxxx xx Whitefish Bay WI 53217 US
Event Date:
Event Time:
Store Location: Whitefish Bay

—— Please do not remove your unique tracking number! ——

I thought it was a reasonable request. As you can see, I specifically mentioned the allergy issue. Apparently, Starbucks disagreed with my assessment that it was a reasonable request.

Hello Ody,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

Unfortunately, the information you are requesting is proprietary information, which we are unable to divulge. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you for your interest in Starbucks Coffee Company. If you have other questions or comments regarding our site, please feel free to respond to this email, or call us here in Customer Relations.

Warm regards,

Emily P
Customer Relations
Starbucks Coffee Company
800 23-LATTE (235-2883)
Monday through Friday, 5AM to 8PM (PST)

If you would like to share your thoughts about your experience with Starbucks Customer Contact Center, please click on the link below to participate in a short survey.  Your comments will be used to ensure that any future experiences with Starbucks Customer Contact Center meet your highest expectations.

What? Are you FUCKING SHITTING ME? I can waltz into any store and ASK FOR THE MOTHER EFFING INGREDIENTS off the box. So, being of sound mind, I fired this off as a response:

You are shitting me, right? Can you just tell me if there is milk, whey, milk solids, etc? You do realize this is a HEALTH ISSUE right? As in my daughter can DIE? And you’re worried about  proprietary information?

I will go to the store, ask to look at the ingredients on the box and find out that way. Then I will post this dialog on my blog and tweet about how unhelpful Starbucks customer service is. And I will never visit another Starbucks again…

Congrats. Your unhelpfulness has lost you another customer

Ody Granados

So, as promised, I am blogging about it. I will forward this little link to FAAN (Food Action and Anaphylaxis Netowrk) just to make sure they’re aware of these issues. Alterra, Caribou, Stone Creek, Uberdork Cafe, here I come. Please be more helpful than Starbucks. Warm regards, Ody.

Categories: Family, Food Tags: , , , , ,

Coa – Bayshore Mall

July 22, 2010 1 comment

My father-in-law is in town this week and so we decided to try Coa in Bayshore for dinner. We’d been there before for drinks and brunch but never for dinner. While the atmosphere was decidedly upscale (for Milwaukee, that is), this Bianchini owned restaurant (same group that runs Cubanitas and Osteria del Mondo among others) falls somewhat short in the food. Oh it’s fine enough, but not what you should expect when you’re paying $3-4 per taco.

We started off with some cocktails – we’d had the signature Coa drink before (a mix of tequila, prickly pear puree, and agave nectar) – that may have been the highlight of the evening. The bowl of tortilla chips were freshly made and the salsa was delicious. I asked for the spicier salsa that had hints of lime and chipotle, making it a bit smoky in flavor, which I enjoyed very much. The only negative was that the drinks took a long time to come to our table. Given that there were only a total of four tables occupied at the time, and given that the bartenders were obviously not busy, this was a bit annoying.

As an appetizer, we had the fresh guacamole and the queso fundido and both were pretty good. The queso fundido had bits of onions, green and red peppers and came with a side of flour tortillas, just like in the little restaurants in Mexico and was made not with melted Velveeta with some salsa mixed in like other popular Mexican restaurants in our city, but rather with Chihuahua cheese, the way it’s supposed to be made. The guac had a light topping of queso fresco and hints of garlic and cilantro but we like it to be a bit more chunky. It seemed like it was processed through a Robo-coupe.

For dinner, my father-in-law had the daily special – Yucatan style baby back ribs – which at 5:30 was down to the last 2 or 3 orders remaining for the evening (apparently they forgot to order the baby-back ribs from Sysco on their last food order), my wife and I tried 6 different tacos:

  • Al Pastor (chili-marinated pork, onion, pineapple, cilantro ) – $4
  • Tinga (stewed chicken, sweet onions,  cilantro, chipotle sauce) – $4
  • Chorizo (chorizo, black beans, cilantro, crema) – $4
  • Camarón (sautéed shrimp, cilantro, tomato, avocado, mango-lime sauce) – $5
  • Rajas (roasted poblano peppers, rustic potatoes, crema, grated cotija cheese) – $3
  • Frijoles (black beans, garlic, avocado, cilantro, crema) – $3

Each set of three came with the Coa rice (san marzano tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, peas, saffron)and your choice of black beans, refried beans or Coa Beans (pinto beans, Dos Equis, chorizo, bacon).

The Coa rice and the Coa beans were nondescript and a bit bland. Disappointing to say the least. My father-in-law enjoyed the ribs – I always believed that the mark of good ribs is the meat falling off the bone and just a hint of sauce to let the flavor of the ribs shine. He enjoyed them. As for the tacos, I enjoyed the taco al pastor, although I have to admit, it wasn’t nearly as good as the ones from hole-in-the-wall taquerias I’ve been to in Mexico. For a $4 taco, I expect more, but I guess I’m paying for the ambience.

The tinga was not a favorite of mine as the chicken seemed soggy and devoid of a distinctive taste. I know it wasn’t good since I had to slather it in slasa to enjoy it. By the time I got to the chorizo, I was full of chips and salsa and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it.

My wife had the other three tacos and she liked the shrimp taco but did not care for either of the others. The frijoles were simply beans and some meager bits of avocado and the rajas were overpowered by the mass of potatoes. She would have gone with three shrimp tacos in the future.

All in all it was an uneven experience. If the tacos had been more consistent and the price a bit lower, I would have given it a higher mark; however, given the high rent at Bayshore, I can understand the need to price their tacos higher. Go for happy hour and then eat elsewhere. Like Cempazuchi.

5750 North Port Washington Road
Glendale, WI 53217-4510
(414) 967-1451

M-Th 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat 11am to 1am
Sun 11am to 9pm
Happy Hour 4pm to 6pm Daily