As part of my halfhearted attempt to shake at least a few of the ten pounds I've regained over the past year -- or at least preventing any more from piling on -- I'm trying to cut back on my usage of 'diet dark' (aka Diet Coke and/or Pepsi). Why cut back on diet drinks while dieting? Let's just say I'm becoming more and more convinced that the regular consumption of calorie-free sweet treats without consequences is about as plausible as a truly free puppy.

Cutting back on diet soda sounds easy enough, but boy howdy, there's nothing quite like cracking open a cold one in the middle of a long afternoon at the day job, you know? Yeah, water is the gold standard, but I already drink a fair amount of it and besides, it's just not the same. Some days I just want a cold bottle/can of... something, and beer is generally frowned upon in the workplace.

I recently realized that bottled iced tea could fill that void quite nicely, if I could find one that 1) tasted like tea and b) didn't have high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. I'd even drink something with (gasp!) real sugar before either of those, as long as it wasn't too sweet.

Luckily, both Lipton and Snapple put out products that fit the bill. I don't think the Snapple version of lemon tea would be recognizable as tea in a blindfold test, but it wasn't bad enough to spit on the floor. Lipton has both a plain unsweetened tea (as a Northerner, I'm OK with that) and a lemon tea with sugar. I haven't tried the lemon yet but the unsweetened stuff tastes like tea, which is kind of the point.

Sure, I feel stupid paying a dollar-something for 16 ounces of plain tea, and sure, I could make my own damned tea and drag it to work and drink it from a glass like normal people, but if spending a few bucks on some glass bottles helps keep the diet dark monkey off my back, I'm all for it.

It's just a drop in the sea of compromise, but I need all the drops I can get.


Salted yogurt and cold bananas: Who knew?

(No, not together!)

I've had a couple of revelations recently that I must share with you.

First, at the ripe (ha!) old age of 49, I just learned that you can indeed keep bananas in the fridge. Yes, they end up looking like hell, but that's just the peel -- the fruit stays perfectly firm. The cold slows the transformation from banana to fruit fly farm to a crawl. Unfortunately, I've also learned I have a problem eating cold bananas, so I have to let them come to room temp before peeling and enjoying.

If I had a dollar for every banana I've thrown away because I didn't know this....

And, if I sort through my freezer to cull all the baggies full of frozen over-ripe bananas, we could eat banana bread for months. That's not such a bad idea, really.

Secondly, last night I made Veggiecakes. This time I used a medium russet potato (grated), the same amount of grated sweet potato, and maybe a slightly larger quantity of grated zucchini (because that's what I had) along with the other ingredients. I didn't have sour cream but wanted something to plop on top, so I reluctantly turned to the full-fat plain yogurt. I've never been a big fan of subbing yogurt for sour cream because, not matter what they say, it's not "just the same".

However, this time, thinking of the raita I had last time we went for Indian food, I threw a little salt in it. And you know what? It was pretty darned close. Both my son and SO went for it, big time. The fact that it was full-fat didn't hurt -- I don't think low-fat yogurt would have been as well received. I doubt we saved any calories, but I felt so much 'healthier' telling myself I was eating my practically-deep-fried Veggiecakes with yogurt rather than sour cream. Calories notwithstanding, salted yogurt earned a big thumb's-up all around. It's well worth a try.

The last bit of news is rather sad: My trusty digital bathroom scale has finally given up. I can't bring myself to run out and buy a new one as we already have another perfectly good scale but, if you remember, it weighs SIX POUNDS heavier than mine.

Let's just say I was very sad this morning when I stepped on board.

Hey, have I mentioned we're getting married in about a month? I suppose, according to the traditional model I should be freaking out about my weight, but in reality I'm pretty sure it really doesn't matter what I weigh. Unless they've installed scales at the entrance of the Office of Civil Marriages in Las Vegas, I'm pretty sure I'm OK as is.

Truthfully, it would be nice not to gain any more. Thanks to that damned scale I already feel like I gained six pounds overnight.