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I am so tired of idiots and idiotic advice…

January 7, 2010

I must admit my day was going quite well.  I even braved heading over to the ‘Eat This Not That’ website.  I figured I must have been a little hard on the website and its founder David Zinczenko.  Maybe the fact that they suggest that you can lose weight switching from a 2 scoop French Vanilla and Peanut Butter n’ Chocolate sugar cone to a 2 scoop Hot Fudge Sundae at Baskin and Robbins isn’t as obscenely stupid as it sounds (food swap here)…

Why I mention this is because even after going to the website and seeing stupid health advice from what must be the king of the idiotic health tips really didn’t upset me.  I wasn’t even going to write this blog entry, but then…

I took the kids to Pastameli of New York after family pottery night.  We normally just pick up a some individual pizza slices and eat them at the counter or take them home, but we had a friend with us so we actually sat down for dinner.  I ordered my usual favorite pizza of tomato, pepperoni and feta cheese and a salad with a house vinaigrette.  The kids were exhausted and we didn’t have long for dinner.  The kids meals arrived and a little while later the waitress told me my pizza was on the way…  Turns out they made it without feta and with barbecued chicken.  I hate barbecued chicken on my pizza.  I have to be precise here, because I love barbecued chicken in general, but whenever they say barbecued chicken on a pizza, it is normally just roast chicken cut up and drowned in barbecue sauce.  So it really isn’t barbecued chicken, just chicken and pizza drowned in barbecue sauce.  I was asked if I wanted this pizza or if I wanted them to cook me up  a new one.  After figuring out that this wasn’t an actual barbecued chicken pizza but chicken drowned in barbecue sauce (I actually thought it might be the real deal as they make awesome pizza at Pastameli’s),  I suggested that we were out of time and that they could just bring me the bill as the children had pretty much finished up their dinner.  She said it would only take 10 minutes, I said I didn’t have that long.  She came back to tell me they were going to do it in 2 minutes.  I said, fine.  Now I know what you are thinking, and that is they can’t cook a pizza in 2 minutes.  I know that, and when my kids were suitably impressed with the idea of a 2 minute pizza, I pointed out to them that the physics of pizza demand that there is a set time to cook a pizza and we would still be waiting at least 10 minutes and probably 15, but given the batting average of this waitress, I certainly wouldn’t have cleared off the bill by then, so I said sure, just bring me the salad I ordered at the beginning of the night and put the pizza in a box to go.

The pizza arrived quickly and I had to drive home with the pizza sitting next to me, and I did already say how good this places pizza is, right?  My mouth watered the whole way home and I was so excited to dig into the pizza.  On top of being so good, it was cooling to perfection.  Normally when the pizza arrives I am can’t help but dig in, no matter how hot, and I spend the first three slices burning the top of my mouth, but here I have been forced to wait until the pizza is perfect.  I got home, opened the box and dug in…

You can imagine my surprise and anger when I discovered that the pizza had cold grated feta on top and was still bathed in BARBECUE SAUCE!!!!  It appeared to me that they had taken about 10 minutes to pick off the chicken and grate some feta on top!  I got on my phone and looked up the website for Pastamelli’s of New York, figuring that I could find the West Vancouver location from the website.  I was shocked to discover that there is no ‘of New York’.  I had actually mused on whether they were still paying franchise fees to Pastameli of New York after being in business for around a quarter of a century, only to discover that they had never paid franchise fees because there is no Pastameli’s in New York.  Now I was fuming!!

So, I get a hold of someone at the restaurant and after explaining my predicament, they get the manager on the phone.  I suggest that they may have just picked the chicken off of my pizza and re-given it to me.  I was ready for an argument over this issue with me saying, yes there is barbecue sauce all over my pizza and him saying, no sir, you must be mistaken, we would never do that.  To my shock, he says, yes, why would this be a problem…  I am sputtering and beginning to flip out-really, you just don’t want to mess with my food, I get a little irrational and angry, even more so when I am really looking forward to my meal.  Before I can get anything more out, the guy asks me for my phone number and name.  I give it, and he tells me that on my next visit, I will get a FREE small pizza…

Now I am flabbergast.  I don’t even know what to say.  I ask him if he is joking…  Apparently I had just paid for a pizza that I wanted to eat in the restaurant, but now, much later, I am finding out that I won’t be getting my pizza today, in fact I will have to go back to the restaurant and get my pizza on some future day… that is unless something goes wrong on that day, then who knows when I will be getting my pizza.  I try to get this point across to the manager.  He suggests that they could deliver me a pizza, which would have been a good offer if I could wait an hour for my pizza, or if they delivered pizza all the way to my house, but I have a historic aversion to getting pizza after a mistake has been made.  That is a different story and about as long, so I will just link to it here (link to follow shortly) and get on with this discussion because I am trying to get to a point here (okay, very slowly, but still, trying to get to a point).

So, after sputtering and asking if the manager is serious… and he suggests what more could he do for me?  I suggest he could offer me more than the future promise of a pizza I paid for already, and he says, nope, you can just maybe someday have the future pizza…  I decide this isn’t going anywhere and because I want to eat at Pastameli’s again in the future, the pizza really is spectacular, I get the manager’s name and the owners name and suggest that I will take this up with him.  Okay, I know that this is the hollowest of all hollow threats.  He knows that I won’t call the owner and I know I won’t call theownerand I know that he knows I won’t call the owner.  After all, I will have eaten something and my anger will go down.  Further he knows that the owner probably doesn’t care about this incident and that there would probably be a stack of customer phone numbers and names for future pizzas sitting next to the cash register if they most likely didn’t lose them on a regular basis.  The pizza is very good here, but I am figuring the staff, not so much.

So, why is all of this important. Well, as I said I was in a good mood when I was at ‘Eat This Not That’ earlier today.  Now I am not in such a good mood.  As well, I am thinking about Pizza right now.  When I was at the ETNT website I checked out the list of best restaurants/worst restaurants.  While browsing I clicked on ‘Little Caesar’s Pizza’:

Start with a few chicken wings to get some belly-filling protein in your system before moving on to pizza. Since Little Caesar’s isn’t selling thin crusts, you’ll have to settle for a regular cheese pizza. Just be sure to close the box after two slices.

I don’t know if I just had to think about this food recommendation for awhile before calling David Zinczenko out again for childishly stupid advice, or if I just needed to get angry, but seriously… did I read this right?!?!  Is David Zinczenko seriously recommending that I eat chicken wings for my protein needs?!!?  I looked once, I looked twice… and yes he is….  Okay, in his defense…. maybe he thought that because these are oven baked chicken wings they might be healthy, but look at the numbers:

For 1 barbecue oven baked wing you get 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and 3 grams of carbohydrates…  Yep, a 70 calorie wing has only 11 grams of food in it and half of the calories of that food are from fat.  That sure sounds like a winning way to get your protein.  At this rate you will weigh about 400 pounds getting your daily protein.  There is no world that you will get fit eating chicken wings to lose weight.  Don’t get me wrong, but fit people can eat chicken wings and be fit.  You can too eventually, but not if you take the advice of eating chicken wings as a weightloss method.  In fact, the baking versus deep frying doesn’t appear to make any difference in the calorie content or make up.  As well, what are the odds of actually eating chicken wings without dip?  I never have, at least willingly…  That is another 250 calories or so.  Depends on how much dipping you do.  Finally, what are the odds that you are going to have just the right number of people to split the wings with so that you each get three and there are none left over.  Odds are much better that you will order 12 wings (or however many you get in an order) with one other person and split them all.  Always be careful about having the opportunity to eat more than you planned.  This is one opportunity you won’t pass up.

So, after giving this winning advice for getting protein, instead of say recommending adding additional ham to your pizza (a better protein source than chicken wings) or skinless chicken meat (I don’t eat at Little Caesars, so this may not be an option), David Zinczenko then suggests you order the cheese pizza…  If you are trying to lose weight and you are eating pizza (which is a terrible idea, but does happen), then eat a vegetable pizza.  Pick the vegetables you like, add as many as you can.  Follow this advice, especially if you don’t like vegetables.  They taste good on pizza and it is an excellent opportunity to get used to vegetables.  If you do like them then they add a lot of bulk to a piece of pizza.  Next time you eat a pizza loaded with vegetables think about how big and heavy it is compared to a cheese pizza.

Still, the whole notion of swapping bad foods for worse foods is terrible, terrible advice.  You can go from 400 pounds to 350 pounds that way, but you can’t get fit.  You have to learn that these restaurant foods are terrible choices no matter what.  You need to massively reduce your dependance on restaurants.  The portion sizes are too large, the foods are way too calorie rich and it is way too easy to eat too much.  As for Little Caesar’s, don’t eat pizza at a restaurant that doesn’t have an italian salad or even better a greek salad.  It is impossible not to over eat without one of these.  I can’t believe that David Zinczenko has moved on from making money on his plethora of ‘flat abs’ diet tips, and ‘keys to better sex’ and now is making money on bad diet advice…

The real point of this blog entry though is that I realize that my connection to food, my anger at getting my pizza wrong, all of these things point to an ongoing problem that I am always going to have with my love of food.  I am clearly not a fit person, and I will always be fighting these temptations.  Still, I refuse to let a someone offer such terrible advice without challenging it.

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