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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Food Issues and Mika Brzezinski

This week I cannot stop thinking about Mika Brzezinski and food issues. 
All Things at OnceBack story: I am hooked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. I love all the regulars, but Mika is probably my favorite. Before this week, I’ve never googled her or made any attempt to research her bio. Also, I have yet to read her book All Things at Oncewhich came out earlier this year...but I have wanted to read it and now I'm definitely going to add it to my queue...
I love Mika because she is smart, sexy, strong, and so eloquent in her speech. She stands up to those Morning Joe guys and looks great while doing it. She is an outspoken advocate for healthy eating, which has become a running joke on the show. (Those guys are always razzing her about it and she’s always telling them to eat better, exercise more and lose a few pounds. And I’m all...Yeah girl...Someone is finally on my side!

On Monday’s show (Aug. 30) Joe made a comment about all the hate and vitriol that erupted after New York Magazine posted a food journal that Mika kept for the magazine’s
And so, of course, I had to google it later that day. Oh how my spirits sank when I read Mika’s food journal. You can take a look here if you’re interested. But let me just recount what I found to be the most disturbing day of her food blog (Keep in mind, she says she runs an average of 5 miles every day!):

Breakfast: coffee, two Kind granola bars, 4 mugs of hot water.

Lunch: arugula salad with strawberry dressing and some kind of broccoli rabe dish that includes white wine.

Dinner: omelette made from six egg whites, fresh spinach, and a “little bit of cheese -- probably swiss.”

My first reaction to this was: Mika...Seriously? I thought you were an advocate for a healthy diet, not a calorie restriction diet! How can such a vibrant woman run on so little fuel?
My second reaction was: Is this what eating less looks like? God, I hope not!
Ever since the conclusion of pregnancy and breastfeeding, I have been reluctantly confronting the fact that I eat too much. For the most part, I eat really healthy,  but I just need to eat less, (especially less carbs, sugar, and cheese). 
To eat less is one of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and ever since I watched the documentary Food Inc. and skimmed a few of Pollan's books, I have been thinking about eating less. How would I actually do that? Would I even be able to?
I've never really had to diet to lose weight before. But I have never been as old as I am now (31, if you’re curious).  Lately, I am starting to accept that my only chance to drop the baby weight is to cut back on my food intake. I have about 10 more pounds to lose, but honestly some days I think peach cobbler, buttered toast, and pancakes with maple syrup just might be worth the extra pounds. After all, I am at a healthy weight.
That’s right...I said I’m at a healthy weight, so what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that our culture worships thin women, and I want to be one of those thin women. Does this make me vain? Probably. But I’m sure many of my female readers can relate.
I think my big takeaway from Mika’s food blog is the extent to which it reveals what a thin female celebrity has to endure in order to be a thin female celebrity. Small, low-calorie meals followed by a five-mile run. Boo!!!
I am not a nutritionist, but on this topic I am an expert at one thing: my body. I intend to explore this eat less idea, but only in a way that I believe is healthy for me. Mika’s diet might work for her, but I know it would never work for me. (For starters, I know I’d need a little bit more protein and a lot more whole grains. But remember, I am only an expert on my body, not Mika’s -- or anyone else’s for that matter).
I hope you’ll join me as I make my “food issues” public. If you’re interested, here is what I ate today. (Keep in mind, this is me trying to eat less!)
Breakfast: bowl of cheerios with soy milk, half a banana, coffee, (followed by a refill on the cheerios).
Later: three handfuls of slivered almonds
Lunch: tomato-based white bean soup (leftovers from last night’s dinner), whole wheat crackers with pesto (basil from my garden), and goat cheese, plus all the raspberries that were too mushy to feed the Bear, and water.
Later: More coffee 
Later: Pecans and raisins (probably about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, total), glass of 2% milk
Dinner: Steamed broccoli, baked quesadilla on whole wheat tortilla with black beans, 1/8 cup cheddar cheese, minced onion, tomatillo salsa, and avocado, plus a couple small squares of dark chocolate (85% cocoa) and water.
Later: glass of white wine
Now it is almost midnight, and I’m starving! After this post, I will probably have a banana and a glass of milk, but hopefully that is all.

What did you eat today?


  1. I found your blog through your comments on Jezebel and it's really interesting, thanks for posting! I'm always curious about other people's food philosophies or plans.

  2. Hmm, let's see, what did I eat today?

    I know I overslept, so I missed breakfast, which I was VERY saddened by about halfway through Body Combat. I had a gatorade and two bottles of water throughout the morning though.

    Lunch - About a cup of minestrone paired with a ginormously inappropriately huge bowl of romaine lettuce with a vinaigrette of tasty goodness, topped with grated asiago & mushrooms. Add a diet coke for the bubbly goodness.

    Dinner - THREE slices of garlic bread (I dunno - it called to me. I had no willpower against it. Like the siren's song, I couldn't resist!) To go with the bread of dietary doom, I had some bow-tie pasta tossed with sauteed chicken. I added in some spinach and topped it all with a garlicky sauce. And on the side, another salad but one that was more size appropriate. *sheepish grin

    I read somewhere to eat real food - mostly plants. It's an idea I've tried to keep in mind, but I don't always do so well.

    Japanese food... at least the in-your-face convenience eating food... is my weakness. It is tasty and dangerous in American sized proportions. I'm still trying to lose the weight I picked up shortly after moving to Japan!

    I hafta say, I'm more physically fit than I've been since high school, even if I'm not the same size I used to be. Maybe we just need to start developing more reasonable expectations of people. It's scary to think of having to put in five miles a day and eating like a picky bird, just to meet American beauty ideals.


    Great post - though man I miss having Cheerios with my kid! *laughs Enjoy it!!!!

  3. Jaime, thanks for sharing what you ate!

    Eat real food, mostly plants, and eat less are Pollan's food rules, which I believe he first outlines in In Defense of Food.

    What are your food options on a military base in Japan (I got your location correct, right?) I love to eat at Japanese restaurants in the fave is that ginger miso salad dressing that they put on iceberg that at all like your vinaigrette of tasty goodness?

  4. Can you explain this to me: 4 mugs of hot water.

  5. Scott, that's it. She consumed four mugs of hot water (probably not all at once!) and included this in her list of daily food intake.