Jan. 19: What I Ate. Plus: "Clean Plate's" First Dramatic Meal Re-enactment, Why I Love the Chef, and the First Chocolate in 17 Days.

Jan. 19: What I Ate. Plus: "Clean Plate's" First Dramatic Meal Re-enactment, Why I Love the Chef, and the…

Jan. 19: What I Ate. Plus: "Clean Plate's" First Dramatic Meal Re-enactment, Why I Love the Chef, and the…

Outrageous experiments in sensible eating.
Jan. 19 2011 9:16 PM

Jan. 19: What I Ate. Plus: "Clean Plate's" First Dramatic Meal Re-enactment, Why I Love the Chef, and the First Chocolate in 17 Days.

Had to leave early to go to the dentist. Felt nauseated, but mixed Grape-Nuts with Fage Greek yogurt and topped it with berries and banana slices. How good does that look? Time spent eating: 6 minutes.

Ellen Tarlin Ellen Tarlin

Ellen Tarlin is a former Slate copy chief and writer of the "Clean Plate" blog. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBrooklyn Bridge, Bark, and  the RISK storytelling podcast. Follow her on Twitter.

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Coffee while waiting for the train. Just a few sips. Finished it after getting to work.

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A kind co-worker who is a big proponent of eating away from one's desk wanted to eat lunch with me to support my mindful eating, so naturally, I forgot to photograph my lunch. So, for the first time in Clean Plate history: a dramatic re-enactment of my lunch, and by "dramatic" I mean "frozen" and with understudies. Playing the role of whole-wheat pita in this evening's performance is white pita. Playing the role of frittata is frozen frittata. Time spent eating: about 22 minutes. Amazing! That's what happens when you eat with other people (two other co-workers joined us, and everyone had made and brought their lunch: hurray!).

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I was hungry today--I believe from starting the day so early. My first snack was cottage cheese and pineapple. Time spent eating: 4:33.

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Snack No. 2: almonds and a tangelo. Time spent eating: 8 minutes. If you like oranges, I highly recommend eating one extremely slowly. It's an exquisite experience. (Pineapple, too.)

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Still hungry, I went for snack No. 3: half a banana. Untimed. Work gets very busy at the end of the day.

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Then I emptied my lunch box and polished off these carrots.

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Either I hadn't brought enough food or I hadn't brought the right foods, or my day just started too early. I was still hungry. I had to stop at the drugstore on the way home, and I was starving. I knew this was the danger zone. All that candy up at the registers. I eyed some dark chocolate M&Ms but decided I could wait till I got home. Then I walked by Jacques Torres Chocolates on my way to the train (six stores in the entire city and one is around the corner from my office--another is around the corner from my husband's). Yeah, that's what I want , I thought. You can smell that deep, rich, pure chocolate from the street. But I didn't do it. Instead, I took a big inhale. That was a pleasant experience in and of itself.

On the train home, I tried to figure out what to have for dinner--what I'd missed during the day. I figured I needed more protein: beans. But it was late, I was tired, I didn't want to cook. Fortunately, I had frozen several servings of Week 1's vegetarian chili, so I popped one in the microwave and had a great meal within minutes. Can I just tell you how much I loved myself for having been prepared? It's topped with shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, and Fage Greek yogurt. Time spent eating: 7:45. OK, I scarfed it. I was starving. But it was extremely satisfying and filling.

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And, at last, the chocolate we've all been waiting for. This is one from the boxes my parents sent. It's a raspberry cream from Haven's Candies in Maine . Oh, boy, this was good. Time spent eating: 90 seconds. I can feel that old addiction surging through my veins.

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A book I ordered from Amazon arrived today: Easy Beans: Fast and Delicious Bean, Pea, and Lentil Recipes . It looks good. I'm pretty excited about getting more beans into my life.