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The 11th Opposite Diet Tip #11

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

11.  The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “The best place for an overeater to live is in the U.S.A.”  Why?  Because food is served in restaurants on extra large plates overflowing with gigantic portions.  And people cooking at home take their portion size cues from restaurants.  Unfortunately this largess can lead to obesity and that can result in severe medical problems such as diabetes and heart disease.  The result is too often painful and shortened lives. Being overweight even restricts a person’s activities until nearly the only enjoyment left is eating!  I have often heard people complain that a particular restaurant’s portions are too small.  That only indicates how expectations have become distorted.

Now there is a popular movement to serve “small bites” in a restaurant.  Unfortunately this isn’t done for the health of the diner since most patrons can not tell when they have ordered and eaten too many “small bites.” That fact is, of course, that this trend is to the restaurant’s advantage.  The cost of each small bite is not insignificant and it adds up. Wouldn’t it be helpful if restaurants suggested how much a person should eat based on their age, height and gender just as they now like to suggest what wine can be paired with the entrees. But since that is not going to happen, it is up to the individual to order less, to leave something left over on the plate or take a good portion of the portion home.  Maybe then restaurants will get the message that they providing too much food.  And when eating in those restaurants that specialize in “small bites” or “tapas” – just order 2 or 3. Then if you are still hungry you can order another one.  In other words, don’t overdo it to begin with!  And remember to to eat slowly so you can tell if you are still hungry.  Speed eating overwhelms your sensory indicators!


I am blown away by the positive responses I have received from you, my readers.  While my blog following is not in the thousands – or even the hundreds – I am amazed that anyone has found me.  After all I have done no promotion, no links, no anything to warrant anyone’s attention.  But some of you have found me and the encouragement makes me want to write more.  I am very happy if my little blog can help one person.  So thank you to all who have responded.  I wish you a happy and healthy 2016 filled with delicious and healthy food – but not with portions that are too big!

The Opposite Diet Tip #10

Friday, December 13th, 2013

December 13, 2013

(To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to ther right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”)

The 10th Opposite Diet Tip:

10. The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “Maximize The Over-Maximized.”  What does that mean?  Well, basically there are rules to follow in order to make sure you eat as much as possible.  TAOO describes 10 rules that every overeater must memorize.  I will cover each rule one-at-a-time.

Rule #1 – Never share when eating at a restaurant.  Only you get to eat everything you order, even in family style restaurants where the huge portion size is based on sharing.  REALLY?

Eating with others is the oldest communal activity.  Humankind wouldn’t exist if food was not shared.  In many if not most cultures sharing food is a sign of hospitality and good manners.  But besides good manners, good firendship and love, another reason to share food is to keep your weight within normal range.  Sharing food allows others to eperience what you are eating while you are eating less.  That’s what I call a win-win situation.  If you fear that by giving up some of the food on your plate you will be hungry, get over it.  You probably had too large a portion anyway.  Also, the rules of the game require your companion(s) to share the goodies on their plate too.  So be a generous good sport about sharing.  I guarantee you will enjoy your food more.

My Rant ‘N Rave

I once lived in New York City and one of my favorite memories is how everyone celebrated every holiday.  On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone was Irish.  On Columbus Day, everyone was Italian.  On Hanukkah, everyone was Jewish, on Christmas, everyone was Christian and on Kwanzaa, everyone was African American.  I am sure I have left someone’s holiday out, but what I am trying to describe is how people in New York share (that word again!) in the joy of celebration with everyone else.  So in that spirit I wish all of you – my faithful readers – a very happy holiday season and a truly happy and healthy 2014!

The Opposite Diet Tip #9

Friday, October 11th, 2013

October 10, 2013

(To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to the right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”)

The 9th Opposite Diet Tip:

9. The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “Avoid the poduce department.  For an overeater, the supermarket is heaven – with the exception of the produce department.  Avoid it.”

Of course, you must do the opposite of this “tongue-in-cheek” advice.  When you go to the supermarket make the produce department your first destination.  The longer you wait, the older the lettuces, tomatoes, apples, pears and bananas are becoming.

Once you are there fill your shopping basket with the delicious fruits and vegetables.  The available variety is amazing.  Try different heirloom tomatoes – yellow, orange, purple and green.  Or try the grape tomatoes.  Fruit is plentiful from all over the world so there are seldom out-of-season times.  Try exotics you might be unfamiliar with.  The produce employees can direct you to the taste you like – tart or sweet.  Try different kinds of lettuces and herbs.  Mix it up.  This will add flavor to a salad.  Besides a mixture of lettuces, I put broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, dill, basil, Italian parsley, arugula and fruit such as grapes, mandarin oranges and blueberries in my salad.  And since the salad dressing is key to a great salad, below is a repeat of the my simple, quick recipe for vinagrette dressing that is also described in Tip #8.

Once you have filled your shopping cart with fruits and vegetables, you will have less room and less money available for the unhealthy and fat-excessive foods of the cookie and cracker aisles, the frozen ice creams, the sauce-satuated deli foods and the sugar-filled bakery goodies.

Once again, my easy vinagrette salad dressing:

Best to make the dressing in a dressing container called a cruet. These are made of glass and have a removable lid with an opening for pouring.  Most supermarkets sell them with a Good Seasonings packet of dressing ingredients.  I give the packet away and keep the cruet.

Fill the cruet with balsamic vinegar up to the “V” (for vinegar) line.  Use canola oil or safflower oil to fill the rest of the cruet to within 1 inch of the cruet top.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Keep refrigerated and shake well every time before use.  Of course, you can vary the oil and vinegar according to your own taste.  Pretty easy, huh!

My Rant ‘N Rave

I realize that clothes are either in style or out of style.  But I don’t understand how every designer designs the same thing.  All the same color clothes or the same width of pant legs or the same kind of collar on a blouse or shirt.  Do they text each other to discuss what they are going to design for the next season?  There is a great deal of variety in the runway shows, but when the clothes hit the stores, they are mostly the same.  I think being a clothing designer means being in style but also being individual.

The Opposite Diet Tip #8

Monday, January 16th, 2012

January 15, 2011

(To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to the right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”

The 8th Opposite Diet Tip:

8. The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “Forget the Food Pyramid and follow the guidance of The Food Circle.  That way you can eat whatever you want in any amount you want because all food groups are equal in the TAOO Food Circle.

OPPOSITE DIET Advice: The U.S. Department of Agriculture must have been reading The Art of Overeating because it stole my idea of The Food Circle.  However, the Government’s Food Circle isn’t about eating equal amounts of chips, salami slices and fudge pops (or whatever your favorite unhealthy foods are.)  Instead, their food circle is divided into 3 sections – 1/4 for protein, 1/4 for grains and 1/2 for vegetables and fruits.  And there is a little circle floating nearby for dairy.  This is a good recommendation if you want to lose and/or maintain your weight.  To make it  easier to follow, you can mark a dinner plate with a line dividing it in half and then a line dividing one of the halves.  This would work best with a plastic plate or you can even buy a plate which is already marked for these different food groups.  Then fill up 1/4th of the plate with protein – usually meat for fish. Fill the other 1/4th with a grain.  Any kind of rice will work.  The remaining half of the dish is filled with whatever  fruit and/or vegetables you like.  Don’t say you hate vegetables!  Todays vegetables in any good supermarket deli are are very different from the ones your mom tried to shove down your throat.  There are many offerings of creatively mixed and interestingly seasoned vegetable dishes.  I have even had yummy brussels sprouts (my childhood nemesis!)  And you can make a delicious salad.  There are secrets to making a good salad and for that information, see my “Rave” below.

One word of caution about following the new Food Circle.  Nothing on your plate should exceed an 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in height – except the salad!

My Rant ‘N Rave

When I was  a kid, we always had a salad before the main course.  It consisted of iceberg lettuce, a few slices of mushroom and a couple of cherry tomatoes.  The dressing was always some creamy concoction my mother bought at the supermarket.  This did not make me a fan of salad.  However, the idea of having a salad with dinner stayed with me.  So as an adult, I looked for ways to make a great salad.  What I have learned is that the lettuce has to be fresh and crisp, so throw out the wilted, soft leaves.  It is much more interesting tasting if there is a variety of lettuce types.  If you don’t want to buy whole heads or bunches of different lettuce, then buy a mixed pre-packaged container. (This can even be economical since there is likely to be less wasted lettuce.) Take your cue from restaurant salad dishes.  For example, I’ve had salads that have included dried cranberries and/or herbs such as dill and basil and/or fruit such pineapple of mango. When I tried these creative additions at home, my salad was great. Finally, the key to any great salad is the dressing.  I actually make my own.  I bought a cruet and I follow the indicated amounts on the bottle – athough you can vary the proportions to your taste.  I fill to one line with a balsamic vinegar, then I fill to the next marked line with canola oil (or safflower oil or olive oil.)  I add a lot of ground pepper and a little salt.  Sometimes I add a little mustard.  Of course, I shake it up before each use.

If you try my easy dressing recipe, I think you will RAVE about your salad.

The Opposite Diet Tip #7

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

February, 2011

(To learn more abut The Opposite Diet, go to right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”)

The 7th Opposite Diet Tip:

7.  The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “Anytime is a good time to eat….Don’t worry about whether you’re hungry or not…the more you eat and the more often you eat, the less hunger is a factor.”

OPPOSITE DIET Advice: That’s true.  And it’s a “vicious” cycle. Once hunger is less a factor, then not only can you eat more and more often – you do eat more and more often!  So you have to get back to hunger dictating your eating.  How do you do that?  Eat 3 meals a day – breakfast by 9:00AM, lunch by 1:00PM, dinner by 6:00PM.  Furthermore, the portions of these meals must be half of what you are eating.  Will you feel hungry in between?  Yes, you will.  Will you die from feeling this hunger?  No.  Will your hunger feeling adjust to become only apparent just before breakfast, lunch and dinner?  Yes.  How long will this transition take? It could be 0ne or two weeks or maybe even one month.  Can you last that long?  Yes!

A caveat to this is that you can eat once between each of these meals – as long as you eat a small snack of fruit or nuts.  How do you make sure that you eat only a small portion?  For snacking on nuts, use a small bowl or container or cup that is about 2 inches tall by 2 inches wide and 2 inches in diameter.  Fill it only to the top.  If you have fruit, your container can be double that size.  That’s your snack!

My Rant ‘N Rave

(sometimes about food and sometimes not…)

I recently read an article that informed me of something I did not know about the new health care legislation.  Undocumented immigrants will not be able to buy health insurance in the newly created purchasing pools/exchanges even if they pay entirely out of their own pocket.  That means uninsured undocumented immigrants will most likely  go to a hospital emergency room , especially when they are seriously ill.  So the American public will end up picking up their health care bill for  more expensive illnesses.  Whether someone is pro-immigration or anti-immigration, this seems to me to be a mean-spirited and dumb idea.

The Opposite Diet Tip #6

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”

The 6th Opposite Diet Tip:

6.  The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “Always clean your plate…because you will make the dishwasher’s job easier.”

OPPOSITE DIET Advice:  In addition to that great reasoning, many of us associate the phrase “always clean your plate” with our parents’ admonition that it is wrong not eat everything because – somewhere in this world –  there are children that are starving.  So, a lot of us have grown up feeling guilty if we leave food on our plate.

Let’s get real!  What good does it do anyone else if we don’t eat everything.  You can’t mail your leftovers to others that need it.  Donating money to charities is a much better and more efficient way to help.

As someone brought up in the Midwest, I am “genetically” predisposed to not waste anything.    However, it is not my fault or your fault if the portions we are expected to eat are large enough for an entire football team.

A past boyfriend liked to take me to expensive restaurants.  When he saw me struggling to “clean my plate,” he told me, “I’m paying for a meal to bring you enjoyment from its taste, not from its volume.  Eat to your comfort level.”

I realized then that food is actually more enjoyable if we eat enough to satisfy, but not enough to stuff.  So make it a habit to leave something on your plate – and I’m not referring to the twig of parsley.

If you still feel guilty – get a dog. They love leftovers!

My Rant ‘N Rave

(sometimes about food and sometimes not…)

My vote for a great dessert goes to sorbet.  It has everything.   It’s sweet, tasty, refreshing and low calorie.  And the flavors!  You name it. Sorbet can be made in endless flavors.  There are fruit flavors such as mango, lemon, orange, lychee and on and on.  Then there are more exotic tastes.  I have had basil sorbet and, recently, honey.  Both were delicious

So if you haven’t tried sorbet for dessert, give it a try.  I think you are in for a treat.

The Opposite Diet Tip #5

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 5th Opposite Diet Tip:

While I was writing down my husband Martin’s overeating exploits – which inspired me to write my book, The Art of Overeating, it occurred to me that for him, food equaled love.  Given his background, this made sense.  He was an only child in his immediate family, as well as his extended family.  The entire family expressed their love for him and for each other, with food.  They gathered often for extended eat-a-thons, lavishing extra helpings and treats on him – a dollop of this, a scoop of that.  Every Sunday, his mother asked him to make out his menu for the coming week – and she made everything on it.

This got me thinking about the connection of food with the emotion of love.  After all, as I point out in my book, the first love we ever receive is given to us in the form of milk from Mom.

There is nothing wrong with associating food with love or with good times.  That is why so many of us feel a sense of wellbeing when we eat our special childhood “comfort” foods.  The problem comes when we use food as a substitute for love and happiness.

When you pass the deli counter and every liverwurst is screaming out, “I love you,” every salami, “te amo,” – that’s not good.  While you can love and enjoy food, food cannot love you back.  It can sustain you and give you pleasure.  That’s it!

Food fills your stomach, not your heart.   So this Valentine’s Day, look for love in other places.  Find it in a person that will say “I love you” or an animal that will have that special shine in their eyes or that wagging tail when you are with them.

Besides a companion, there are so many ways to reap the reward of  love.  There are children and people who need your help.  There is an old friend or relative who would be so happy to see you.  There is the puppy or kitten waiting for you in the animal shelter.

Enjoy your food and live to love.  Than love will fill you up!


Today, my rave is, appropriately, for love.  When we express love, when we give love – we are putting out positive energy.  That helps everyone – and even the planet!  Most of all, it helps us.  Positive energy attracts positive energy.  So spread your love and reap the reward.

The 4th Opposite Diet Tip:

Friday, February 5th, 2010

To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”

The 4th Opposite Diet Tip:

4. TAOO says “Save the environment and eat everything you order.”  OPPOSITE DIET Advice:  The idea is that if food is uneaten or left to spoil, it goes into the garbage and then into a landfill.  So, the TAOO joke is eat everything you can to cut down on landfill waste.  However, there is another important way to keep excess food out of the landfills and help the environment.  That would be to only buy or order the amount of food you can eat and need to eat.  All food production has a carbon footprint – gasoline for farm machinery, and water and fertilizer to grow the food; gasoline for the delivery of food to markets and restaurants; electricity or gas to prepare the food and water to wash the dishes, pots and pans.  In other words, a lot of energy goes into producing what you are eating.  How much better you would feel – psychologically and physically – if you ate just what your body requires and cut down on the energy waste and your waist!


(sometimes about food and sometimes not…)

Have you ever noticed how unhappy people like to share their unhappiness by trying to make everyone around them miserable with rudeness, thoughtlessness, anger and sometimes outright cruelty.  It might come from the unhappy store clerk or neighbor or driver. I guess that is where the saying “misery loves company” comes from.   My best advice to you and to me is to not let them affect us.  Refuse their “gift of misery.”  Don’t give them power over how you feel.  While you are walking away or driving away, feel sorry for them and think a positive thought for yourself.

What is your opinion or your Rant ‘n Rave?  Let me know.

Next week – Opposite Diet Tip #5

Interview with The View from the Bay

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I was on “The View from the Bay” show in San Francisco. Everyone on the show was welcoming and wonderful. I had the opportunity to talk about my book and my “Opposite Diet” tips. What a great experience!

The 3rd Opposite Diet Tip

Monday, January 25th, 2010

To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to the right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”

The 3rd Opposite Diet Tip:

3. TAOO says “Order from every category on a menu.” OPPOSITE ADVICE – Keep it to 3 dishes. Have you noticed how lots of restaurant menus have added more and more categories? There’s the bread, the starter, the appetizer, the soup, the salad, the specialties, the 1st course, the 2nd course and on and on. Think they want you to order – and eat – more food? Don’t fall for this. Make up your mind before you see the menu – even before you enter the restaurant – that you are going to have 3 courses and no more. A balanced and enjoyable meal would be one appetizer or salad or soup, one main course (with no sides) and one dessert. Choose any dessert you want, but pass on the accompanying scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.

By using the same strategy at home, you will save time in meal preparation and extra food costs, as well as calories.


(sometimes about food and sometimes not…)

Today I have a Rave! I just had a new (to me) dish at one of my favorite restaurants. It is called flash fried spinach. If you like salads, as I do, this is worth trying. It is so tasty and different. The spinach is crispy but moist. I found a recipe for it online:

– Heat 4 c peanut oil in a deep fryer (or deep pot) to 375°F.

– Deep fry 10 oz of clean fresh spinach (about a handful at a time) for about 30 seconds.

– Remove and drain on paper towels.

– Sprinkle parmesan cheese to taste.

This salad is delicious. Enjoy!

Next week – Opposite Diet Tip #4