Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 114: Eating for the Book, The Latest Hurdle

20080502-scale.jpgI made my first road trip for the Serious Eats book last week. How did I do? Don't know. What I do know is that these book trips are not going to be easy for my serious diet. Why? Because these trips demand concentrated, focused eating in a faraway place that I'm not likely to get back to again before the book gets handed in.

How concentrated did the eating get in Texas? Well, let's just say that Weight Watchers wouldn't approve. I tried to stick to everything in moderation, but in this case everything was a lot. Actually, it was more than a lot. It was an insane amount. Let me explain.


Fried chicken. I ate a great deal this week. [Photo: Robyn Lee]

Day one in Houston (a truly terrific and underrated food city) and started with my friend Robb Walsh picking me up at the airport around 1:30. From there, well, fasten your seatbelts, serious eaters:

  • Fried to order glazed doughnuts at the one Shipley's location that fries to order.
  • Brisket, ribs, and sausage at Pierson's Barbecue.
  • Fried chicken, shrimp and chicken-fried steak at the Barbecue Inn.
  • Fried shrimp as big as steaks at Segari's.
  • Salt and pepper ribs at Pizzitola's.

I tried to limit myself to a bite or two of each thing, but you can count just as well as I can. There's a lot of delicious things listed here.

And that was just the first day. Day 2 featured cheese enchiladas and fried eggs, barbacoa tacos, various and sundry breakfast tacos, fried catfish, sliders, perfect french fried, poached eggs, and biscuits and sausage gravy.

Anyway, I got a lot accomplished for our book, but at what cost to my serious diet? Well, we're going to find out right now.

And no matter what the scale says, I've gotta come up with a plan to deal with these kinds of trips, because I'm probably going to go on a half-dozen of them in the next six months.

What did I learn that I can apply to future trips:

  • Daily exercise is key. I swam a half mile a day, every day but one, in Texas.
  • The two bites rule is equally key. That one is going to be hard, because some things are so delicious it's just too hard to take just two bites.
  • Stay focused on what I am actually eating. If I go on mindless binges, me and my serious diet are sunk.
  • When I come off the road, go into food detox mode. I have to make sure I eat lots of vegetables and fruit during the re-entry phase. I did a pretty good job of that after I got back from Texas, which was not all that hard to do considering how much barbecue I'd eaten. Nonetheless, I was heartened by my disciplined eating on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.

Well, here goes. C'mon, Thinner. Be kind: 223. I gained a pound in Texas. All things considered, I'll take it, because I gained more than a pound of serious diet knowledge and experience in the Lone Star State.