By Rebecca Putterman
"Do you want to have a little popcorn?" I asked my partner while sitting on the couch last Saturday night, only 3 minutes into a Netflix binge, my iPhone in my lap for easy Tweeting.
We hadn't sat down all day, and it was nearly 12:30 a.m.. Still, my brain was firing a mile a minute, and I was hungry.
*Damage done: 3 tbsp. organic yellow popping corn, 2 tbsp. organic olive oil, 1/2 tbsp. smart balance 'butter', a few shakes of salt = approximately 315 calories per person. (compare with Act II buttered popcorn: 340 calories for 2 cups w/ questioned carcinogens).
As journalists in the digital age, we're both working non-stop. It's kind of an addiction.
"Oooh, 40 people replied to this post on our Clayton News-Star Facebook page so I should do a story on this . . . " I'll often say as we sit down to a movie. The problem is, what I mean is that I want to do a story on it RIGHT NOW.
With ever-diminishing attention spans thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, you name it, my partner and I both tend to do things when we think of them -- otherwise they won't get done. I have about eight calendars, both digital, pulp-based, and chalk-friendly. How old school.
But all of it leaves little time for healthy eating and healthy movement. My mom suggested at lunch the other day that I should make my life into block schedules like the school system. (Maybe I can blame Enloe High School's now defunct 8-period-system for my ADD.) See? Tangents.
Day in the life: 2 young professionals with too many mobile devices:
Part I: Food
Monday 2/20/2012: 6:30 pm: I'm eating carrots before a Town Council meeting in Clayton. They're plain carrots, no dipping sauce or any fancy hummus. I've had approximately 3 cups of hummus already in the last three days. Nevertheless, I'm making an effort to eat my bag of carrots, not Doritos. I love Doritos.
*via http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/ : 1 cup "Bunny Luv" organic carrots; 3 tbsp. Sabra Red Pepper Hummus = 194 cal.)
To give you an idea of why I keep carrots in the office instead of Doritos (although my coworkers will tell you that I bend the rules once in awhile), it's because I'm in final exam mode. You know the way you binge when you have a deadline? I have that nearly everyday, and I'm not even technically working for a daily paper.
So I'm writing this via my MacBook Pro; I just read up on the Wake County Board decision endorsing the gay marriage amendment thanks to an alert from my iPhone's Twitter feed; I'm following ProPublic CEO Paul Steiger's speech on nonprofit online media at my alma mater via TweetDeck's aggregation of tweets from peers at the UNC Journalism school; I'm tweeting my thoughts on Steiger; I'm also promoting a new Twitter #claytoncouncil hashtag for updates from the meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
*hashtags, when clicked, work like RSSFeeds and stream Tweets from anyone using the hashtag in their messages.
7:20 pm: I'm thinking fresh sauteed spinach with garlic and olive oil (a Putterman family staple) and some frozen cheese Ravioli for dinner.
10:15 pm: I'm tired, I'm home, and I have Bojangles' 4-piece chicken supreme dinner reheating in the toaster oven. Yes, it's my weak spot.
After reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, I always think of the industrial conditions in which these now tender, juicy, cajun-spiced, breaded "fingers" were raised. (Thanks is due to Hardee's for their ever-witty commercials, but it's true: chickens don't even have fingers!) And whatever these flaky biscuits and cajun fries are greased with has got to be pork-based (a high-fat meat and/or fatty cooking oil).
(*Relevant tangent: I was a strict vegetarian from age 15 to 18, and then I went to Ghana, and that kind of didn't work out too well. They have fried chicken, and they call it Southern!)
Rewind to 10:10 pm: Still happy with my decision to go the drive-thru route, I come home. "I'm a master chef!" my partner tells me as I enter the kitchen. Good for him.
He shows me a photo of what he had just eaten: enchiladas smothered in actual green enchilada sauce (salsa verde). It looked mouth-watering on an LCD-screen-tinted computer camera, and my Bojangles', live and in person, suddenly did not.
Tuesday 2/21/2012: Previous to my failed dinner, I had only eaten Heart-to-Heart Kashi cereal with Chobani vanilla yogurt and fresh-cut strawberries for breakfast, and a hummus/veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread at Third Place, and carrots. Naturally.
With those healthy meals behind me, could I justify having Bojangles' one week and then Hardee's the next because I was "a good girl" for the other 12 days? Probably not. Like all things in life, you have to pick your battles. I'm going to hold myself to one Fast-Food meal every 4-6 weeks (partially for dietary reasons and partially for sustainability and animal welfare concerns).
So sue me. When I'm busy, I snack. When I'm tired, I eat something easy (like drive-thru). But more often that not, I eat something easy AND healthy, like our current favorite:
- Toasted hummus veggie sandwich:
- Garlic hummus, spinach, onion, tomato, one slice pepper jack cheese, avocado, Goldman's spicy mustard, a dash of Valentina hot sauce;
- All between a toasted flat sandwich round (no butter)
- Prep: 5 min. with interspersed email updates.
And because it's healthy, it's organic (relatively cheap), and most importantly, delicious, I don't even care how many calories it is.