Oct 112012
 

Recently I went out to lunch with some coworkers to celebrate another coworker’s birthday. It was a different kind of birthday celebration, more a memorial. Some of you long term readers might remember last August, my office experienced some tragedy. It was a really sad, dark time and no one should ever have to attend two funerals in one day. But this post is not about sadness, it’s about food!

So to celebrate Flo’s birthday, we all went out to lunch to her favorite place, Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Portland. It was a nice way to kind of honor her memory. It’s still weird not having her in the office and I think we all think about her pretty frequently still.

Anyways, back to the food. I rarely eat at chain restaurants. Michael and I are kind of foodies and love trying new (or new to us) restaurants. Portland has a fantastic food scene, many restaurants boasting Michelin chefs, so it’s fun exploring that. In preparation for going out to lunch, I checked out the Rock Bottom menu online to see what they had. This is the norm for me. I like going into a restaurant prepared. This doesn’t mean I always go with the “healthier” option but I at least try.

I was happy to discover that this place offered nutritional stats for all their food! You have no idea how exciting that was (I know, I live an exciting life). It’s just rare that I get to know ahead of time actual stats.

I’d already decided I was probably having a salad or soup. That’s what I was craving. I looked through their stats and was shocked. Here are a few of the ones I had considered getting:

Blackened Chicken Salad – 1026 calories

Salmon Spinach Salad – 927 calories

Crikey! That’s too many calories for a salad. But guess what I discovered? Those calorie counts do NOT include salad dressing. There’s a whole section for that. And that section was really eye-opening.

Balsamic Vinaigrette (the one I usually order because it’s a “safe” bet) – 200 calories for 1 ounce

Caesar Dressing – 174 calories for 1 ounce

I’m not sure how many ounces of dressing a typical salad has, but it’s probably not one. Counting calories is tricky enough, it’s even harder when you realize that you’re not counting correctly! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been mislead by a tricky label that doesn’t clearly state it’s multiple servings, or restaurant foods with hidden add-on calories that I forget to count. It’s easy to miss these little things, but doing the best you can is better than throwing in the towel completely.

Being tricked by labels and servings is easy to do. Look at that above label. What the heck is it telling us? Can YOU figure out how many calories are in whatever that was? I sure can’t. I think I need to sit down with a calculator, a protractor and some graph paper to figure it out…

I ended up ordering the soup of the day, creamy chicken with artichoke. It was fantastic! I am definitely a fan of creamy soups, which I know can tack on the calories but they are simply my favorite. The calories for a bowl of the soup was 183 calories according to their website. I rounded up and called it 220 just in case my hunch that they were a bit off was right. It also came with a roll.

The soup was creamy and had carrots, artichoke and celery in it, too. I loved the flavor and creaminess. I definitely detected a heavy-hand with the salt, though. I’m really glad I ordered what I planned on ordering and I managed to stay within my calories for the meal.

A few of my coworkers ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken–it was Flo’s favorite thing. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and coleslaw. It looked absolutely decadent. Another coworker got the nachos–which ended up being big enough for 5 people to share! Way too much food. (I realize this post is kind of all over the place, forgive me!)

We reminisced about the old days and Flo. She would have been 56 this year. Her cancer took her really fast and it’s still weird that she’s gone. I was glad we could all get together to remember her and have a laugh about the old days.

QUESTION: Have you been tricked by deceiving labels before?

Share
Jun 262012
 

{Buy Here}

I read a book recently that touched me deeply. The book was “Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter.” To be honest, I knew nothing about Karen Carpenter other than she died of anorexia. I suppose I just missed that generation being born in 1980 and never heard the music either.

What drew me to this book was the “why?”–why was she anorexic? What happened to her? The book was a very fast read because it was so fascinating. It started with her upbringing and how The Carpenters came to be, including their successes and failures. The story I really wanted to know was what happened to such a talented, young woman that seemed to have the world in her hands. This book went into detail and explained it, the best anyone really can.

I could tell right away that the “why” was probably her mother. Her mother was an overbearing control-freak who never showed her daughter love and propped her brother, Richard, up like he was a king. Even after it was clear that Karen was the talent and the star, she was still treated like a second-class citizen and neither kids moved out of their parents home until their late 20’s! Honestly her brother wasn’t much better. He was an egotistical prima donna and probably jealous of Karen’s success. There was also something a little weird about their brother-sister relationship (they both tried to sabotage each other’s romantic relationships).

Perhaps controlling her food and appearance was the only in her life she could be in charge of. And I imagine stepping out from behind the drums to become the singer made her even more self-conscious of her curvy figure.

What was most interesting to me was that this happened in a time period when “anorexia nervosa” was nearly unheard of. People just didn’t know. They didn’t know what the disease was, they didn’t recognize the symptoms, they didn’t know how to help.

” ‘Anorexia was not something that was talked about or known about in those days,’ her friend Olivia Newton-John said. ‘People were very thin, but you didn’t realize what it was.’ [pg 246]“

At one point, Karen was taking 80 laxatives a day and was using ipecac to purge. She was doing the classic things that anorexics do: not eating food but pushing it around on the plate to make it look like she was, telling her friends to take bites of her “amazing dinner” to give the food away, wearing layers and layers of clothing to hide just how skinny she was.

“She rearranged and pushed her food around the plate with a fork as she talked, which gave the appearance of eating. Another of her strategies involved offering samples of her food to others around the table…By the time dinner was over, Karen’s plate was clean, but she had dispersed her entire meal to everyone else. [pg 129]“

“She loved to go lay out in the sunshine. I don’t know whether it was to get a tan or to get away from her mother. Anyhow, I happened to go out to the kitchen for something and I saw her out there. She just had on her little bathing suit shorts. You couldn’t tell whether it was a girl or a boy. She had absolutely no breasts. [pg 131]“

She had to buy a new wardrobe for a tour and opted for several low-cut gowns, some were strapless or backless. The manager commented: “…[I] was horrified to see her bony shoulders and ribs. Even her hip bones were visible through the thin layers of fabric. [I] asked Karen to rethink the wardrobe choices before going on stage. ‘I talked her into putting a jacket on over the bare back and bare arms, but the audience saw it.’ There was a collective gasp from the audience when Karen would take the stage. [pg 137]” People wondered if she had cancer.

At the end of 1981, Karen expressed her realization to her family: “Richard, I realize I’m sick and I need help. [pg 245]“ She went to New York to see a therapist and ended up living in a hotel for nearly a year while she got weekly counseling–not inpatient care like she needed. Eventually she went to the hospital for a feeding tube and put on 30 pounds. But that was just too much strain on her heart.

She eventually returned to LA “cured” and stayed with her parents. One morning her mother found her unconscious. The medics were called. It was really too late, but they took her to the ER and tried to revive her. The paramedic said: “Karen looked frail and very thin. A faint pulse was detected with her heart beating only every ten seconds. This is a sure sign of a dying heart. [pg 276]”

32 years old. 32 and she died of a heart attack and dehydration due to years of anorexia. I’m 32 years old. It’s shocking to see photos of her right before her death because she looks like she was 70 years old, not 32.

There really isn’t a “why” that can satisfy anyone. “Why” would someone who was beautiful and talented NOT see it? “Why” would she let herself get so skinny and still think she was fat? Despite the tragic topic, the book was really, really good. I’d give it 5/5 stars.

QUESTION: Were you a fan of The Carpenters? Do you remember when Karen passed away?

Share