Friday, February 1, 2013

Spiceless in Seattle

The first few days of the Guyenet-endorsed Dan's plan didn't go according to plan at all.

I just could not stick to only one spice in my coffee!  I had just "booted up" a new nutmeg, and took a whole 20 minutes while monitoring the pressure cooker to grind the WHOLE THING.  It is fresh and fragrant, and I wanted to use it while it is hot.

So, cinnamon and nutmeg into the coffee.  I can feel myself gaining weight already.  Boo hoo!

There is another known danger of using multiple spices.  Since we piled on the cinnamon and put it in everything, when one container was completed, I pulled out another.  I got complaints from the "service dining room" that they couldn't find the cinnamon.  So I solved that problem by putting the cinnamon in a large cinnamon container and the nutmeg in the small cinnamon container.

And, you are probably laughing right now with the container mix-up, but I am telling you, living with all these spices confuses judgement even more.  One of my diners sheepishly entered the kitchen to explain that he had accidentally put tons of cumin into his coffee, instead of taking from any of the numerous containers marked "cinnamon".  Worse yet, the cumin doesn't have a shaker top.

I tasted the concoction.  It was exotic, floral, strangely Indian, but also not.  I longed for cardamom, and then disappointingly realized that cumin is just the gateway drug for all types of Indian food debauchery.

My thoughts went to giant platters of papadam, topped with bright green mint-coriander condiment, then drifted off to chick-pea sweets and tandoori chicken.  If you need a visual, check out the video accompanying this post.  (And look how fat and lazy they are!)

Now I am 8 pounds higher than when I drank yesterday's coffee, and I am certain that if we had just stuck to plain cinnamon, non of this tragedy would have happened.


  1. STOP IT! you're making me hungry! :-)

  2. ...not to mention you're adding in confounders -- doesn't cinnamon affect glucose metabolism somehow?

  3. oh, that vid would be my new aerobics video if the food didn't look so good.

  4. What about the Shangri-La 'crazy spicing' idea that was supposed to confuse the body and what flavours it associates with calories and lower one's set point???

  5. sorry, I don't know all that much about Shangri La, but personally I think tons of variety in your diet can be fattening just because there is more junk to use up in the fridge if you make a new entree every night.

  6. I seem to have missed something. What are you talking about?

  7. Seth Roberts wrote a 'diet' book discussing his idea that your body's set point (for fat) is related to a connection (within the brain) of flavours with calories. His suggestion was to sip a spoonful of completely flavourless oil (eg lite olive oil) ie something with lots of calories but no flavour twice a day. You also mustn't have anything an hour before or an hour after. An alternative is to sip fructose. Lots of people on his forum claimed that it stopped them wanting to eat. I guess you'd have to be able to stomach sipping oil. Another suggestion of his was, instead of sipping flavourless oil to destroy the brain's association of flavour with calories, was to 'crazy spice' ie to add random spices to your food, so that you weren't getting the same flavour every time.

  8. Dr. Guyenet recently posted about Dan's plan, a plan that is based on his diet recommendations. It is basically a high protein, very low fat, whole foods diet. One of the rules is that you can have only one spice at a time. Dr. G actually believes that animal data proves that since certain foods in combinations affect our brain dopamine system, that people will lose weight when they give up spices. Others (me!) skewer this comment, and I, of course, actually have data. Check out the blog posts in the "food reward" category.