Sunday, March 2, 2008

The "Dear Jon" Letter

Dear Jon,
Your epicurean heart will continue to bleed for me after reading this post. Hope you are enjoying all of the Luger steaks and Vietnamese pork and fat sandwiches that NYC has to offer :)


Back in Philadelphia, my friend Jon and I bonded over food. Any food. At Sharples, our college dining hall, we bemoaned the pasta bar. We'd escape to the Media, PA Chinese-Japanese restaurant Margaret Kuo's for lo mien, sushi rolls, edamame and peanuts. We'd head into the city to for real Mexican Food from Tequillas or we'd just order the usual college delicacy, pizza, from Renatos.

But since moving to California, things have changed. Jon is in NYC. I am in LA. He's a med student. I am in entertainment. And food wise -

1. I no longer eat meat (seafood excluded)
2. I cook dinner for myself almost every day
3. The preparation for my meals must take significantly less time than it does to eat, or I will not cook it at all.

So when Jon hears of my limitations and my ridiculous patterns of eating, I think he dies a little inside. had a great article on Maintaining Your Learn, Mean, Racing Machine, It provides a formula for how much and what athletes should be eating.

Here is the formula, although keep in mind these are not hard and fast rules:

Your weight in kgs (X pounds / 2.2) x 30 = How many calories your body needs each day. This figure approximates how much energy your body needs in its base state. Eating, sleeping, walking around, breathing. All the "little things" you do unconsciously that require energy.

On workout days, you have to factor in the extra effort.

For running you want to add .19 x (minutes of running) x (weight in kgs) to your total caloric need. The .19 varies from person to person and with your effort level. The article gives a range of .15-.29, saying that .15 is a jog and .29 is a 5min/mile.

For biking, add .15 x (minutes biking) x (weight in kgs) to your total caloric need.

On weekdays when I run before work (usually 3-4 miles) and then bike to and from work, the formula says I need about 3000 calories. On the weekends when I put in double-digit miles for both running and biking, I am looking at upwards of 4000 calories.

You'd think this would give me free reign to dip my head into a half gallon of ice cream. And while that isn't an unappealing idea to me, it seems that the more I work out, the better food I want to eat.

Right now, my breakfasts are cottage cheese and cantaloupe and 1-2 cups of Muselix cereal. (Free from the caf at work! My job feeds me!) Occasionally during the week, and definitely on the weekend, I go for a bowl of oatmeal. 2-3 cups of coffee between breakfast and lunch keep me going.

Lunch is veggie salad, fresh fruit salad, tuna (twice a week), soup and a cup of frozen yogurt. I am very addicted to the *free* frozen yogurt (and all of the free food) the movie studio provides its employees. Thank you JK.

Dinner is eggs and salsa and a Cesar salad. Sometimes it is shrimp and salad or a salmon Cesar salad. Microwaved or steamed veggies always work too. Spelt tortilla and almond butter (for protein) are a handy dessert, as are the 5-8 pieces of fruit I eat throughout the day.

Okay, so it doesn't look like all that much, but trust me, the amount of food I am eating puts me well into the 2500-3000 cal zone. Ha, calzone. I like those too.

I like routine. At work. At exercise. And in my meals.I've been riding Max for about a month now and I can really tell that I am working hard, because, man, I can't stop eating! The goal over the next three months is to get more grains and more protein into the tummy. I'll be experimenting with some new plates that will hopefully fall into this routine well.

But pork fat and noodle soup or Crif Dogs will not be one of them.

(yes, I've eaten that)

Sorry, Jon.


matt said...

all hail the grif dog...

Jonathan said...

Dear Emily,*

I'm honored to be mentioned in your blog! That post had it all! Food, crif dogs, puns, innuendo ("I've been riding Max for about a month now and I can really tell that I am working hard, because, man, I can't stop eating!"). We're both so busy so it's sometimes hard to find time to catch up. But I think of you often (almost as often as I think about pork fat!) and am flattered to know you think of me too.

On Saturday, I took Ryan and my new girlfriend, Kirsten, back to Crif Dogs to take the edge of my buzz and put the edge back in my intestines. The late-night crowd has caught a whiff of the deep-fried, bacon-wrapped air and has descended upon the East Village to disturb the once secret Crif Dogs/PDT hideaway in such great numbers that I can no longer eat my surely toxic snacks nor watch my softcore porn in peace. That is to say, Crif Dogs is overcrowded. But I'm making new friends: my favorite dog is no longer the Chihuahua (avocado and sour cream); I now like the spicy redneck (chili, jalapenos and cole slaw). I'll bet your athletic stomach churns at the mere thought.

And for that, and in response to your gift, I offer you this:

Mark Bittman (the NYT's minimalist) new blog. Perfect for you: simple, fast, delicious recipes, heavy on the vegetables and fish, and provocative food pieces and commentary to sustain your interest. I made his roasted brussels sprouts with garlic last night and am still smacking my lips.

Food-related topics aside, I'm glad to know you're doing well and excited that the training for next January is going swimmingly (or runningly. or something). You are my role model for measured rationality, responsibility and wit. Whenever I'm faced with an important decision, I think of how you negotiated your CA/NY struggle and it helps me trust my instincts. I'm starting to sound a little obsequious. I meant for this to be a funny retort to your post, but after a few sentences I took a bathroom break and lost my caffeine buzz to the NYC plumbing system.

I'll have to settle for this, then:



*This is the first time I've addressed the author of this blog by her proper appellation. I did it so as not to confuse the readers of this comment, but you should know that in any other situation I would call her "Econ." Why "Econ?" It is the obvious diminutive of her first initial and the first three letters of her last name, and it's also the nickname we all used for her in college. Our mutual friend Rhiannon, fond of odd nicknames, once shortened it to "Eeks," to which I've also taken a liking. But "Econ" brings me more historical amusement because of the day we met. We were sitting beside each other in Introduction to Economics on the first day of our second semester of Freshman year. Emily turned to introduce herself to me and said, "Hi, I'm Econ." I replied, "Yes, this is econ," referring, of course, to the class we were about to begin. She tried again: "No, I'm Econ." I offered, "Yes, I know; this IS econ---I'm also taking it." This confusion continued until I figured out what information she was actually trying to convey. Miss you, Eeks.