Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bagel Day Revisited

I had a blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese as usual on Office Bagel Day last week, and I lost 9 pounds in the meantime. So I figured I could continue the trend today. After all, one bagel and schmear per week can't kill me.

But that's the kind of curious thinking that has led me down dangerous paths in the past.

  • "It's okay if I have a just a piece of coconut cake from Whole Foods. Once a week, at most."

  • "A seafood and crab sub won't be too bad for me, if I just do it once...a week."

  • "I don't eat Snickers that often; it will be a treat to have a whole bar. And the peanuts have protein and 'good' fat."

  • "If I happen to eat this whole box of (frozen) Fruit Roll-Ups/Strawberry Gushers, I'd only be eating 500-600 calories. I can skimp the rest of the day."

  • "An order of Shrimp Pad Thai ( once a week can't hurt, especially if I pair it with a cucumber salad."

  • "This entire supreme Tombstone pizza won't kill me if it's all I eat today. I'm hungover; I need the salt and protein. I'll eat a salad later on to get my veggies."

It's a slippery slope, as you can see. I have had all these feelings in the span of one week before, several times over. Imagine two slices of coconut cake, or a whole 5" cake if they don't have it in slices (how do you think I spent my December 30?); imagine 3 days of seafood and crabbing, even though I promise myself to get turkey every time; imagine a Snickers or other peanutty candy every other day; imagine both a box of Fruit Roll-Ups and a box of Gushers in one night, over several trips to the freezer for "just one more." The pizza, on the other hand, I can only do that for one day a week, tops. Not a big fan of pizza, unless I make it myself or it's a frozen one when I'm hungover.

By the by, contrary to how I justified my various trips to Taco Bell and White Castle after Wednesday night karaoke at the Jeff Street Lounge in college, your body doesn't need salt, grease and fried stuff after a night of drinking; it needs water. I heard that the effects of a hangover - headache, nausea, dry mouth - are all because you're dehydrated; drink Gatorade and lots of water to restore function. Tip for ya - one that I learned too late.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I decided that maybe I should take steps to make my celebrated Bagel Day have less of a caloric impact on my body, while keeping mindful of the slippery slope I'm used to. I did after all decide to "make better choices" this year, so why not apply that to the bagel?

As for the type of bagel, I won't give up the master blueberry. I've loved them forever. I know it's not a true "bagel man's bagel," but it's a happy holdover from my youth, reminding me of the visits to Chicago and Bill and Paula's house, when Bill would get fresh bagels every morning while walking his dog, Happy. My young palate was never interested in the onions and the sesames, but did I love those blueberries. They were like fruity muffins in a healthier form. Pair that with strawberry or pineapple cream cheese, and it was an exotic treat.

Since then, thanks to my old coffeehouse job at Benjamin's in Franklin and close working proximity to Bronx Bagel in Jasper, I fell in love with the savory everything bagel with homemade veggie cream cheese. Right now, Eppy's Deli next door to my office has the best Everything/Veggie combo of all time, but I can't think of that now because I'm talking blueberries. And I don't want to start craving Eppy's, even though I've already begun.

So I'm sticking with blueberry at the office because they don't even have everythings, and I feel like an occasional sweet treat will do me right. And I won't budge on strawberry cream cheese. How am I going to make this bagel "a better choice?" And when am I going to finish this entry?

A-ha! I decided on a course of food trickery. After slicing the bagel in half, I took a spoon and scooped out much of the extra dough, leaving hollow wells in my bagel halves. I toasted them til crispy and smeared them with 2 Tbsp of whipped cream cheese. The best part is I thought I would overdo it on cheese because there was more space to fill, but I actually used less than normal; since the cheese had to cover more surface area, it seemed like I was using more. On a regular bagel, I would be tempted to pile on the cheese to mimic the ads on Philadelphia cream cheese commercials. It's tough to explain my long-time imitations of commercials (maybe that's another blog), but it makes sense to me.

Think of the empty calories I saved!

So there's that,


No comments: