Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 129: My Lettuce Abandonment Issues


[Photograph: Muffet on Flickr]

Lately I've been ordering a Chipotle Mexican Grill salad a couple of times a week for lunch. I used to order them with a bag of freshly fried chips and salsa, eat a third of the chips, and give the rest away.

Lately, as my own kind of plate discipline has improved, I manage not to order the chips. Even without the chips, a Chipotle salad is a satisfying and solidly delicious meal. I usually ask for a combination of two meats—chosen from among chicken, barbacoa (beef), and pork—along with black beans, peppers and onions (thanks, Erin), and Chipotle's mild chunky tomato salsa. I pour the dressing and toss the salad, and then the eating begins.

I invariably pick out all the meat and tomato salsa first, thereby leaving a mess of lettuce in the bottom of the aluminum oblong plate the salads come in at Chipotle. Dressed lettuce, to be sure, but abandoned all the same. I realized that I have been a serial and chronic lettuce abandoner my whole life. Until this week. This week I have embraced my inner lettuce leaves.

On Tuesday I got down to the lettuce and looked at the sorry pile of green stuff I had left. Then for some reason, maybe because I was still hungry, I started to eat the lettuce, which was in fact mighty tasty. Before I knew it I had finished all the green stuff. I was finally a member of the clean lettuce plate club. I felt virtuous, not to mention full.

Wednesday came around and I found myself in my usual state of salad affairs, eating all the protein and leaving a bunch of the lettuce. But then I thought about how satisfying it had been to finish the lettuce the day before. And oops, I did it again (Sorry, Brittany). I ate all the lettuce morsels.

And again, I felt cleansed and virtuous and sated. Lettuce, particularly dressed lettuce, rocks. I hope I now have a whole new lettuce world view. We'll see as the dog days of summer wear on if I continue my lettuce loving ways.


In theory, at least, eating more lettuce and more salads should help me lose weight. I had a bunch of meals out this week, including a great hamburger at Keen's (I ate half the bun and substituted roast vegetables for the fries), a breakfast at a cheffy diner with the Serious Eats gang that featured many pork products, but I was very careful about limiting my intake to two bites even of things I loved. I even survived the final cupcake tasting. So the interim weigh-ins have been pretty encouraging.

Here goes: 219. Down two pounds from last week. I'm finally back under 220. That feels really good. Thank you, lettuce. I'll never abandon you again.