Jan. 20: What I Ate. The Snack Attack Is Back.

Jan. 20: What I Ate. The Snack Attack Is Back.

Jan. 20: What I Ate. The Snack Attack Is Back.

Outrageous experiments in sensible eating.
Jan. 20 2011 8:05 PM

Jan. 20: What I Ate. The Snack Attack Is Back.

Funny thing: If I ever happen to be awake at 5 a.m., I am ravenously hungry, to the point at which it hurts unless I put something in my stomach. If I go back to sleep or sleep past that point: no hunger.

Breakfast: Granola with Fage and berries; plus coffee with milk  and tea. The sugar in the granola definitely cuts the sourness of the yogurt. Time spent eating: 7:40. Early breakfast is definitely the best time for eating meditation.

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.



First Starbucks of the year, on the bus on the way to work. I definitely use coffee to combat hunger. I expected it to be foul: I'm no Starbucks fan but it will do. It always tastes burnt to me. But it was pretty good, though after a few sips, Starbucks basically desensitizes me to the taste. Out of habit, I had poured in whole milk and I could really taste it--so much for mindfulness.


My co-worker seems to be starting a Mindful Lunch Club. Today there were five of us, one who wasn't even eating but came over because, she said, she is totally behind what I'm doing. I don't know how mindful I'm being at these lunches, but at least eating with others slows me down, and I love to see what they've brought.


Lunch looks good enough to eat again: minestrone, frittata, and baby spinach. I realized I was short on greens yesterday. Time spent eating: 23:02. When I was reheating it in the microwave, a co-worker I didn't know came in to get coffee and said, "Smells good." One of today's lunch buddies said, "For healthy food that looks pretty good."


And then I just got really snacky all afternoon. I decided I should only eat meals mindfully and away from my desk; snacks at my desk are fine, though I should still try to be slow and mindful. I don't know. I don't think it went so well.

First: a heart-shaped chocolate that tasted like Red Hots candy inside, but not hot. Time spent eating: 2:54. That's right. Almost 3 minutes to eat one little chocolate. Well, answer me this: Why chew chocolate? Is there any reason to chew it? It's a food for tasting not for filling you up. Chocolate should sit in your mouth and melt away slowly. Try it.



Then some cashews: 25 to be exact. Time spent eating: 3:36. Cashews don't melt in your mouth but they are fun to chew.


Then a banana. Sorry, it really took a beating in my backpack. It was fine under the peel. Time spent eating: 2.24. I eat faster as the afternoon wears on.



Then the whole-wheat pita I forgot to eat at lunch. I just felt like munching. Time spent eating: 4:32 but just because it was sort of dry and chewy.


Next up: Ye olde cottage cheese and pineapple. Sorry, this looks really watery and nasty from sitting in my lunch box. Untimed but I can assure you it didn't take long.



Then, shockingly, I wasn't even hungry for dinner, so I just had a Cara Cara orange. Time spent eating: 2:30. Too fast.


And then chocolate No. 2. Time spent eating: 2:29.


Chocolate just makes me want more chocolate. I think I'll go back to being more strict about eating meditation tomorrow.