Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's thoughts, including how to eat pizza like less of an idiot!

You might as well cremate yourself in the brick oven after eating this death 'za

Before I get to this, it's important to note that many of my "theories" and deeper findings come from scouring Men's Health outstanding Eat This, Not That Web site. Before that, I thought that my food selections would have to be greatly reduced in order to eat better. Once I started to really dig around there, I realized that I just would have to really do my homework.

Thankfully, this kind of homework can help you look better naked. And it can be delicious to boot.

Before I get specific, here's What I Learned about Lessening Pizza Evils

1. The thinner the better

Kate Moss is a good role model for your pizza. For your daughter? ... Not so much.

Unlike a human being, the general rule of eating health(ier) pizza is to look for less depth. Deep dish pizzas provide heavier doses of carbs but also have more space for more calories. The bread-to-good-stuff ratio should be as close to 1:1 as you can get.

2. Meat will be the only thing you'll be loving anytime soon ...

Apparently pepperoni is one of the worst things you can put on a pizza. It's probably worth noting that anything approaching "mystery meat" isn't great for you.

Abel won't like this, but Canadian bacon tends to be a MUCH healthier alternative than it's American cousin and most other ham-ish substances. Or whatever the hell goes into salami, sausage and pepperoni.

3. Find clever ways to give yourself less slices

Today, I cooked only half a pizza and gave a way a third of that half.

This means that I was able to eat approximately the suggested serving size of the Krogen brand Italian Margherita Pizza that was the centerpiece of a pizza and spinach salad dinner that blew my mind tonight.

If I indeed only ate 1/3 of the thin crust pizza, that means I only consumed a perfectly reasonable 290 calories and 12 grams of fat. While it wasn't greasy with processed meats, it provided a delightful little mixture of cheese, tomatoes and fancy spices. If nothing else, it scratched that eternal pizza itch.

The spinach salad helped me to refrain from heating up the other half of the pizza, but simply not having that other half of the pizza to temp me with its sad "take me" stare really helped make my dinner a fairly reasonable meal.

Which brings me to a few products I've been using lately.

Now, keep in mind I'm not a doctor and the stuff I'm using is far from perfect. Still, I've been able to find some half-decent substitutes that either have some nutritional value or greatly reduce the harm normally associated with given foods.

The Margherita Pizza is a good example, as its crust is thin, its calories are limited and the ingredient list seems pretty simple (a very important factor in judging foods). If you eat the whole thing, you're looking at a little under 900 calories and 36 g of fat ... but it could be even worse.

(Don't eat the whole thing though. You don't need it. I promise.)

Anyway, here are two other nice little options if you cannot live without their fattier or less beneficial brothers. (And they're all approved ... by my taste buds, at least)
  • Ken's Steakhouse "Healthy Options" olive oil & vinegar dressing
Stats per serving: 50 calories, 4g of fat and 240 mg sodium

Comments: I imagine there are lighter options for Italian/vinaigrette type dressings (feel free to leave recommendations in the comments), however, this dressing tastes just as good as any full-fat Italian dressing with minimal harm.

Advice: I've always found it difficult to "eye-ball" the right amount of dressing to put on a salad, particularly with the most common wide open lids. I always Peter North my salads in a sad eruption of oils and salts. So I just made it simple enough that even an idiot like me can figure it out: I simply drop two tablespoons (the recommended serving) on the salad and it works fine.

If you're really picky you can try one tablespoon, but for me, I just want to enjoy the bejesus out of a spinach salad and that's happening every night. I'll take 4g of fat to make spinach a part of my daily life.

Drawback(s): Not much nutritional value, aside from the salad you're covering. That being said, it's made from virgin olive oil, so it might be comprised of "good" fat. Bonus ... unless I'm wrong. *shrug*
  • Mission brand Carb Balance PLUS! Flour tortillas (small tortillas)
Stats per tortilla: 2g of fat, 80 calories, 12g carbs, 7g of fiber, 3g protein and 220 mg sodium

Comments: I haven't done much comparison shopping with tortillas, either, but this is a very impressive little wrap. You truly might be able to threaten a day's worth of fiber intake merely by throwing a heaping portion of black beans in this bad boy.

An inventive Chipotle alternative?

My friend Tyler was skeptical about going with a Burrito Bol, but what if you brought Chipotle back home and put a bol's worth of goodness in a couple of store-bought tortillas? After all, consuming 44 extra carbs late at night - not even counting rice and other fillings - is a recipe for disaster.

For the sake of comparison, I'd say that two Mission tortillas could be a reasonable (though still not as large) answer to one Chipotle monster burrito. If nothing else, it could be a decent compromise.

Humor me and take a look at how they compare:

2 Mission brand tortillas: 4g of fat, 160 calories, 24 carbs, 14(!) g of fiber, 6g of protein, 440 mg of sodium


1 13" Chipotle tortilla: 9g of fat, 290 calories, 44 carbs, 2g of fiber, 7g of protein, 670 mg of sodium

So, the two Mission tortillas cut the fat in half, cost 130 less calories and a considerable 20 less carbs while giving filling fiber and less salt. You lose 1 g of protein in the deal. Considering the crazy amounts of protein in Chipotle's meat, beans, guac, etc., you're almost better with less protein.

To me, that's an obvious substitution if you just can't live without a burrito. If you try this option, I think you'll find that Chipotle is delicious because of its fine meats, sauces and accessories. Not what holds it. And maybe you'll move on to a more logical, less tortilla-heavy existence.

Note: even if you did three tortillas, it would still cost you less calories, carbs and fat. And you'd poop like nobody's business.

Drawback(s): The ingredients list is a little longer than I'd like to see. Be careful to not eat TOO MANY of these, as 7g of fiber per tortilla can add up and be a bit much.


So, feel free to share your thoughts. How do you avoid scarfing down pizza? Any other grocery store Italian-ish dressings you'd recommended? Tortillas? More?

I'd love to hear feedback so don't be shy folks.


  1. I like what you have to say about pizza. Some other things I have read also say that the more veggies you can load onto that thin crust the better. Not only will fewer slices go a long way in terms of number of toppings, you get the benefit of the nutrients and filling from the vegetables too! Broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, all good choices.

  2. Yup, although I think it's also important to note that just because it has vegetables doesn't mean it's good for you. Like, if it's on an extra cheese deep dish pizza.

  3. Good advice, maybe it's time I hop on your bandwagon and do something about my moobs.

    This new blog has come a long way from the days of your old geoshitties website ; )

  4. Pizza is my number one keep from over indulging I buy the fresh made not frozen pizzas, cut them into individual servings, and only cook one serving. And my other pizza advice is flip everything over and read the nutrition...not everything is created equal, the fiber or calories can be different even if they look identical...sometimes you get to eat more just from buying a different brand!