Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Soup of Thoughts on Travel and Food

I'm going to New York City next week, and looking forward to the food. Mainly, I'm staying in Queens, in Jackson Heights, which has more ethnic food of excellent quality than all of Indiana, far as I can tell. I am certain that I will eat Indian and Afghani, and probably eat in Chinatown for Dim Sum. Other options include a huge range of Latino offerings (Mexican, Columbian, Ecuadoran) and of course Italian.

New York is a funny place. Because I started going there in the late 80s, I still kind of think of it as a wild, permissive place. That's not in line with the outward reality, what with the smoking ban, the assault on trans fats, and now an attack on salt. From CNN:
First it was trans fats. Then it was high-calorie fast food. Now, the New York City Health Department is tackling another diet enemy: salt.

The department unveiled an initiative Monday urging restaurants and food companies across the country to voluntarily reduce their products' salt levels, city officials said.

"Salt is a huge problem in our diets," said Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control Program at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "The majority of us consume too much salt, which increases blood pressure and puts us at risk for heart attack and stroke."

New York has partnered with cities, states and national health organizations across the country with the goal of cutting the salt in packaged and restaurant foods gradually by 25 percent over five years. Doing that would reduce the nation's salt intake by 20 percent, Angell said.

The funny thing is, I don't smoke (never have), don't eat a lot of fast food, and I have low blood pressure (have even been advised by my physician to increase my salt intake at times). I didn't need any laws to bring me to this way of life, as astonishing as that may be to a pointy-headed New Yorker.

I'm kind of interested to see what impact these laws have had on the food there. One place I want to visit is Manhattan's Skylight Diner. They have many Greek dishes, but their fries were to die for. I want to see how they taste, along with some of their other obviously high calorie offerings.

This year, I chose to give up sodas. Now, my friends know what a sacrifice that is. I LOVE sodas. I used to drink 4 liters of Coke daily. When I started realizing that I could shed a few pounds just by switching from regular Coke to Diet Coke, I lost eight pounds. But, I've had a kidney stone, and phosphoric acid is an obvious culprit, so I dramatically cut my cola intake back in 2006.

Mind you, I did this without the benefit of a well-intentioned law directing me accordingly. I gathered the data, and made a choice. Isn't that incredible! That's not supposed to actually work in the real world.

And, I've said nothing about root beer. I really loooooove root beer. No matter. I've given them up. Gone 11+ days now without one. It's a matter of my personality that I find it easier to go completely without at first. Maybe come Summer I'll allow myself the occasional fizzy treat. But for now, a clean break. Lots of unsweetened ice teas, with loads of lemon for me!


varangianguard said...

Give up soda? No wonder you're typing looks so shaky.

Seriously, I wish I could give up soda. But, I'm weak, so weak.

And this weekend, I plan to OD on Mountain Dew Throwback.

Mmmmmm. Cane sugar, not corn syrup.

Mike Kole said...

Foul temptor! God love Pepsi for doing the throwbacks twice now. Loved both the Pepsi and the Mountain Dew, and really hoped that Coke would follow suit. But, no! You cannot tempt me, not even with cane sugar! Not even with a cane Abita Root Beer or a cane A&W!

varangianguard said...

Frosty Mug.


Frosty Mug.

Where else can one have a drink made from something other than the fruit of a tree?

Mike Kole said...

I cannot be swayed! Try though you may!

Rex Bell said...

Have fun, Mike. My New Years resolution is not to drink any calories. I'm losing weight, but I probably put a cow or two out of business.