Matt Brundage

Archive for the 'food' category

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Big-ass salad

The salad, in all its glory. This evening, I took Leo Babauta’s advice and made myself a big-ass salad. I used the biggest serving bowl that Annie could find. You can’t really get the scale from the photos, but the pile of vegetables is about the size of a regulation-size basketball. It was a manly pile of salad and took me close to half an hour of non-stop eating to polish this thing off.


Red-leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, Chinese broccoli, raw mushrooms, mushrooms An alternate view of the salad. marinated in red wine vinegar and minced garlic, a carrot, an orange bell pepper, a roma tomato, a handful of cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil and Italian spices, non-marinated sun-dried tomatoes, green olive tapenade, pistachio nutmeats, shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and toasted corn kernels. Tomato juice to wash it down.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The bunny diet

Matt with Munch A couple days ago, I was attempting to feed our rabbits something delicious: I believe it was a grape.

“That’s so unhealthy for them!”, Annie interjected.

Our rabbits tend to subsist primarily on hay, hay/alfalfa pellets, leafy greens (kale, lettuce), and carrot pieces. Sugary treats such as dried mango, raisins, and plump red grapes are apparently out of the question now, as we want our sniff machines to live as long as possible.

Then it dawned on me: kale — by far the healthiest food in our fridge — was more or less reserved for two eight-pound Holland Lops. So that’s when I decided to start eating raw kale. It’s actually quite tasty. And healthy as all get-out.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I’m at a loss

I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds since the summer of 2008. I now weigh more or less what I weighed when I started college in 1998, so — needless to say — I’m pleased.

The cause

What’s changed? I haven’t exactly increased my exercise regimen. It’s still the same old running, volleyball, and casual weight training. In fact, when I initially joined a gym in 2006, I was mystified that my weight just kept creeping up. So I’ve learned not to attribute weight solely to an exercise regimen.

Japanese macaque Diet! I’m no longer eating meat (except for fish). I’m no longer overeating to the point of abdominal discomfort. I’d like to think that I’m consuming higher quality calories — and in reasonable quantities. Mainstays: nuts, beans, brown rice, fish (salmon, tuna), potatoes, tomatoes and tomato-based products (soups and V8), oatmeal, yogurt, milk, natural sweeteners (honey and maple syrup).

The effect

Last month, I went clothes shopping and bought a couple of size small polo shirts at the Gap. Small! And they fit just fine. Small is apparently the new medium.

The post-volleyball knee pain is completely gone. Two years, ago, I’d come home from volleyball and I’d barely be able to walk from the car to the front door — the pain in my knees was so bad. At the time, I didn’t even put two and two together; I just attributed the pain to repetitive jumping and pivoting. It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that it dawned on me: I was carrying around the equivalent of two adult Japanese macaques 24/7!. How I managed to even run or jump at all is a mystery to me.

Aside from volleyball, I’ve been running progressively faster and for longer distances. I’ve even somehow begun to do sets of unassisted chin-ups at the gym. Remember, no more snow monkeys on my back.

The data

weight, 2001-2010

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Adult Onset Pescetarianism

It all started on May 22, 2009, en route to Bethany Beach. Annie and I pulled up at a stoplight somewhere near Bridgeville, DE. Next to us was a big red truck full of live chickens, presumably heading to a slaughterhouse. The chickens were virtually motionless and didn’t look too happy. Annie became distraught and I’ll admit that I was a bit freaked out by it as well.

The “Cluck Truck” incident has slowly changed our eating habits. While I had been observing meatless Fridays for some time, Annie soon started the same. Once a week became twice a week. Then thrice. Meatless days became the rule, rather than the exception.

Over the summer, our meat supply dwindled and was not replenished. Beef, pork, and chicken: gone. By fall, practically the only non-vegetarian food in our house was fish and seafood. And we’re starting to wean ourselves off the cholesterol-laden seafood as well.

If we had to put a label on our eating habits, we’d be “pescetarians with rare exceptions.” My recent exceptions include a trip to Outback Steakhouse in November (rationalized with a $10 coupon) and a hamburger at a company party last week. Perhaps with time, these dalliances will become less frequent, and then peter out.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Brain Dump, post-Memorial Day Edition I wonder what effect — if any — Billy Graham’s Crusades and ministry had on the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council. Ecumenicism is a major part of Vatican II and was one of Graham’s hallmarks.

Mixing equal parts Mike’s Hard Lemonade™ and regular lemonade should yield Mike’s Somewhat Firm Yet Pliable Lemonade™. Likewise, equal parts Mike’s Hard™ and, say, grain alcohol, should yield Mike’s Extremely Difficult™.

Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cloudy” may not be Paul Simon’s best song, but the arrangement is top-notch. If there is ever a Baroque-pop revival, “Cloudy” should serve as the blueprint.

Jens Meiert is delving deeper into the increasing pedantry that is long-term HTML/CSS maintenance.

Politician A from Political Party X just did [something]! If instead, Politician B from Political Party Y had just done [something], then media and public reaction would be totally different. Double standard! (wash, rinse, and repeat)

(\s\?[^>]|[^< ]\?\w|\?\s(?-i:[a-z])|“|”|’|?|?|?|—| \s|\s |(?-i:the) FAA(?!\s(?-i:[A-Z<]))|(?<!<cf.*)&(\s|(?!(\w{2,5}|#\d{2,5});)))

I’ve decided that I thoroughly enjoy swimming at the beach. Not just wading up to my knees like a little girl but actually swimming.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Pet Peeves

Being a snob, it was only a matter of time before this list surfaced. Enjoy.


The way that incredible technology always seems to be 2 or 3 years away from implementation or cost-effectiveness through mass production. Think mainstream electric cars, LED lighting, OLED display panels, super-efficient solar panels, SSD, or basically any improvement that promises to cut energy usage “in half.”

Microsoft Internet Explorer, namely the 6th version.

The subtle adverts that Quicken puts in its software — software that I’ve paid for, I might add.

The seeming inability to change the color of unread messages in Lotus Notes 6.5.1. It’s a bright fire-engine red. I just know that this must be having a detrimental psychological effect on me.

Politics and government

The over-reaching scope of the US Federal government. The apparent inability of the government to stop taxing, regulating, and subsidizing once precedents have been set. For instance, subsidization of corn and excessive taxation of diesel fuel.

Studies that reveal that many Americans can’t name the three branches of government, identify a single Supreme Court justice, or point to a well-known country on a map.

The tendency for people to vote for a candidate for non-political reasons, as such historicity, popularity, stage presence, or charm.


mama celeste The ingredients list of certain Celeste pizza products. Hint: you’re not eating cheese. Instead, your body will attempt to digest Imitation Mozzarella Cheese (Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Casein [Milk], Modified Food Starch, Trisodium Citrate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor, Disodium Phosphate, Artificial Color, Guar Gum, Sorbic Acid [to Preserve Freshness], Artificial Flavor) An abomination before the Lord! Lately, I’ve taken to making my own insalata caprese-style pizza. Now that’s what I call food.

My inability to ingest spicy hot foods without having an acute attack of the hiccups.

The ubiquity of high fructose corn syrup.

Social settings

Being expected to laugh or smile at jokes that just aren’t funny.

Having to resist the urge to say “I shouldn’t have to tell you more than once!” when playing volleyball.

Annie’s camera shyness. This is especially cruel, considering that she’s the most beautiful woman since at least the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Loud talkers with nothing to say.

The inevitability of the aging process.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


I’m becoming more and more of a snob every day. (Well, at least according to Annie.) I’d rather call it “discriminating taste” — or in its simplest form, just a preference for one thing over another.

  • I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, partially hydrogenated oils (margarine), other “unnatural” fats, and needlessly processed food products with unpronounceable ingredients. Instead, I purchase “real”, “natural”, or “organic” whenever possible. I don’t mind paying a bit more for quality. For that, I am a food snob.
  • I won’t drink Merlot, Rosé (White Zinfandel), or wine that has been “embellished”. For that, I am a wine snob.
  • I am through with North American lagers. Instead, my gaze is fixed upon Ireland (Guinness) and Belgium (Chimay). For that, I am a beer snob.
  • I consume an enormous quantity of music, much of it esoteric. I typically get blank stares or polite nods when I try to describe my tastes to people. I value my vinyl records just as much as my CDs. I’m not the kind of music snob who categorizes his collection as classical, jazz, and “other”, but I am a snob nonetheless.
  • While my video collection is comparatively more mainstream than my music collection, certain “guidelines” still apply: Since the beginning of 2008, I have completely stopped purchasing DVDs and have moved on (without any hiccups) to Blu-ray. I’ve even been replacing my old DVDs with their Blu-ray versions. I will never stretch or crop the picture. I prefer to watch a film in its original, theatrical aspect ratio, whether that be 1.33:1, 1.85:1, 2.35:1, or any other variation. I cannot be happier that “Full-screen” DVDs are finally being phased out. I am frustrated with people who just don’t get it, especially those with capable widescreen televisions. For that, I am a film and video snob. In this regard, the label of snob may be warranted.
  • My requirements for church are becoming more and more specialized. While I’ve always been Catholic, my adherence to the “weekly requirement” hasn’t always been strict. And by that, I mean that, a few times a year, I would attend a non-Catholic church service and count that as my “weekly”. Never again. It’s even gotten to the point where I’m hesitant to attend a Novus Ordo Mass — especially if it’s in the vernacular; I need to hear the old Mass in Latin. For that, I am a church snob.
  • I’m a stickler for proper grammar usage — a great deal of my Wikipedia edits involve grammar corrections or diction in some form or another. I’ve corrected people in everyday conversation: I remember telling someone once that they had “split the infinitive.” Lately, I’ve been surprised at the frequency at which people use the word “less” when they really mean “fewer.” It boggles the mind. I have strong preferences toward the increased usage of both the serial comma and the subjunctive mood. For that, I am a grammar snob.

In addition, Annie says that I’m a snob in the following categories: cars, clothes, computers, paper shredders, razors, lamps, light bulbs, and books. That’s right. I’m officially a paper-shredder snob.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Sodium and sports drinks

I recently got a message out of the blue from a woman who felt compelled to respond to a report that I had written in 2000 for a college health class assignment. Her message below has been lightly edited for clarity:

I have a friend who must work outdoors no matter how hot or humid. Last night, we were discussing that maybe he should drink more Gatorade, etc. (This worked for my ex-husband so well: I could tell by looking at him if he had drunk[1] water or Gatorade when it was hot. With water, he had that exhausted look; with Gatorade, his skin looked good and he had lower exhaustion.) The problem is that my friend has high blood pressure, so I worry if he might get too much salt from the sports drinks. Could you suggest something he might buy or make to help himself? He was really feeling poor last night. I feel bad for him. Budget is an issue for him as well, so, it couldn’t be anything too expensive. Thank you so much! Look forward to an answer.

The 110mg of sodium in a serving of Gatorade is there for two reasons:

  1. to replenish the sodium lost naturally when you sweat;
  2. it gives the body that “thirsty” feeling, which then encourages you to drink more, thus maintaining proper hydration.

Keep in mind that your friend’s high blood pressure may not necessarily be the result of salt sensitivity. While there is indeed a correlation between the two, it’s not quite as strong as conventional wisdom would have us believe. Other factors that can contribute to high blood pressure are obesity, renin homeostasis, insulin resistance, genetics, and age. Obesity is perhaps the most prominent contributing factor.

When I exercise (jogging, weight lifting, volleyball), I usually just drink water. My workouts usually don’t last long enough to warrant the consumption of sports drinks…

If your friend is worried about being exhausted after strenuous work, but wants to limit sodium, I would suggest tomato juice. It has half the calories of your average fruit juice, but still has enough calories to keep your blood glucose levels up. (Incidentally, tomato juice has about half the sugars of Gatorade.) It’s overflowing with potassium, with over 25% RDA per serving. Campbell’s even has a low sodium variety, which I drink on a regular basis. Ounce for ounce, it’s a healthier, natural alternative to Gatorade.

I’ve also found that bananas are good before or after exercise. They’re easy to digest, contain loads of potassium, and are a healthy source of energy.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Food and the general state of things

weight Just when I thought it was safe to eat healthy again, Annie goes to the store and brings back two large containers of ice cream, at least two packages of Pepperidge Farm cookies, a dozen doughnuts, tea cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies (with sprinkles), spicy hot potato chips, Boboli pizza dough, two four-packs of Starbucks Frappuccinos, and Lord knows what else. Add to that my new affinity toward Dagoba dark chocolate and Jif peanut butter — and Annie’s propensity toward putting those bite-size chocolate morsels and Reese’s peanut butter cups in little bowls in the living room — it’s a wonder that my body hasn’t completely gone to seed.

On the bright side, at long last my weight now starts with a “1” instead of a “2” (well, at least for this week), so I must be doing something right. Let’s see how long it lasts. Here’s another meaningless graphic for those of you who enjoy such things…

Friday, 16 May 2008

An open letter to Trader Joe’s regarding their Chocolate Nonfat Yogurt

Trader Joe's chocolate yogurt I have a comment about the design of the yogurt container. There is no mention that the yogurt must be stirred. I ate about 3/4 of a yogurt before I realized that there was a huge dollop of chocolate at the bottom. Before I discovered the chocolate, I was thinking, “, what a bland yogurt!” Perhaps I was just having an off-day.

My suggestion would be to replace the text on the front (“With Imported Cocoa”) with “Chocolate on the bottom”, “Please stir”, or something to that effect.

Furthermore, calling it “imported cocoa” isn’t necessary, as the US doesn’t even grow the cocoa bean. The phrase borders on deception, as some consumers do not know this and assume that “imported” cocoa is a luxury.