June 25, 2004

Self-Improvement Status Report

WE ARE OFFICIALLY Very Irritable due to a lack of smoke. We would again ask for your patience and understanding as we suffer from the sweats and the shakes as we go about our withdrawal from cigarettes. However, there is good news: the blinding headaches and general feelings of unease have not yet set in. We shall continue to provide reports as time goes on.

Today also marks the second day in a row in which we have had a salad for lunch. We plan to continue this trend on weekdays. As we have the ability to eat the exact same thing over and over again for lunch, we plan to order the -- wait for it -- McDonald's Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad pretty much continuously. It has a grand total of 200 calories, including the chicken. Include some balsamic vinaigrette dressing (40 cals) and the whole thing has but 9 grams of fat. On both calorie and fat grounds, that's roughly 13 pc of the daily intake for an average-sized person.

Here's the amazing part:

1. The salads are not merely filling -- amazing in itself -- but also actually taste good. We ate the first salad dry, as we didn't want to lard it up with the fat-laden Caesar dressing provided with it. But the second, which we got with balsamic vinaigrette, was both healthy and good.

2. The salads are also cheaper than a typical fast-food meal, a bit over $4 after tax is thrown in. So we'll not only improve our health, we'll *save money.* Good incentive.

3. The salads, in our opinion, are far better than anything else McDonalds serves on its menu. We would know.

The only complaint which we would make about the salads is that there is not enough variety -- even we need a change once in a great while. It is true there is something called a "Bacon Ranch" salad, as well as a "California Cobb" salad and a "Fiesta" salad. But these latter three salads concern us.

After all, we know full well that in America, the word "Ranch" is synonymous with the word "fat" -- and indeed, without chicken, half of that salad's 130 calories come from fat. We also note that the "Fiesta Salad" has sour cream and taco meat, which are clearly laden with fat. Lastly, while we don't know what McDonalds puts in its Cobb salad, we know that it was a dish we only ate at dinner back when we were young. So we'll avoid that too.

What we'd like -- in our dreams, perhaps -- is the following:

1. The option to forego dressing altogether and instead get a lemon wedge. A bit of lemon juice can do wonders for even a good salad.

2. Salads that focus on one primary ingredient: spinach, cherry tomatoes, and what not. If they are low-calorie and low-fat, yet taste good, we think they'd have a winner.

3. Instead of chicken in the salad ... put in a bit of lobster. Just a wee bit, of course, and not dunked in mayonnaise (Gawd!) or butter, but just a bit of pure and wonderful lobster. We're in New England, this shouldn't be hard to finagle. Plus, they could probably charge $6 for the salad and get away with it.

Anyway, we hope the McDonalds Corporation will consider these suggestions, as we think they could really hit a home run with them, to say nothing of making a surprisingly-decent lunch even better. If we're to keep this up, we'll need all the enticement we can get.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at June 25, 2004 12:46 AM | TrackBack

Well, Ben, the good news is that the physical addiction to nicotine is usually shaken within twelve to twenty-four hours, so any physical signs of withdrawal typically happen within that period, or not at all. So you're home free.

Posted by: Geoff Brown at June 25, 2004 08:50 AM


Geoff means well but is wrong, at least for the heavy smoker. The third and fourth days are the worst. You still have enough nicotine left over to last for 12-18 hours. Don't let your guard down, and STAY STRONG!!!

Posted by: simon from jersey at June 25, 2004 09:38 AM

Thanks, guys -- I appreciate all your support! The good news here is that I am on the nicotine patch, so I do think that once my body gets used to 21mg of nicotine per day as opposed to the elevated levels I was taking in, things will much improve.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at June 25, 2004 10:56 AM

Well, sure, Simon, but that's mostly psychological. And we all know Ben has the force of will to defeat THAT. Plus the patch will help the rest.

Posted by: Geoff Brown at June 25, 2004 11:01 AM

Keep it up, Ben. I'm rootin' for you!

As one having dropped over 60 pounds since a little over a year ago, I can fully sympathize with the dietary side of your quest.

If one diet doesn't seem to do it for you, feel free to try another. Not every diet works for everyone (I'm on Atkins and it did wonders for me, including dramatically dropping my cholesterol from a total of 213 to 138. However, my friend Charlie tried it and couldn't take it. He went the route you're going and that worked for him.)

Keep us up to date on your quest!

Posted by: DCE at June 25, 2004 11:07 AM