An Introduction of Sorts

My husband Karl and I are very hip, cool cats. We must be, after all, we live in Brownstone Brooklyn. That’s how that works, right?

Ok, so, it’s Bed-Stuy, and by brownstone, I mean the meager half of a floor in a brownstone. It’s a lovely place for one person, but let’s call two and a cat… ambitious, shall we? It’s the sort of place where the mattress, head to foot, is exactly the same size as the width of the ‘bedroom’ but you’ve gone ahead and oriented it that was so that you can fit dressers for two people. Climbing over the bed to get to the closet? Or over your partner to get INTO bed? That’s how we roll in the Tiny Apartment.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of smaller places – we do have that roomette we like to refer to as the bedroom! I’m quite proud of the living room, for a long skinny room, it does an excellent job of serving as office, lounge and dining room, with a side of library. The various areas are downright livable, and if we could just install a small TARDIS in place of the bedroom, we’d be all set.
Except for the kitchen. The kitchen is an abomination. (And yet, when I was looking for this apartment, I saw far worse!) The actual kitchen area is just under 6′ deep and about 5′ wide, inclusive of counter and some appliances. I say some, because the fridge doesn’t fit in that space, when I moved in, it was sitting against a wall in the main room, the poor kid who got left out of the clubhouse.
My mom and the friends who helped me move in are smarty pants for sure, and came up with the very clever idea of building a shelf house for the fridge with a pair of very elderly Ikea Billy shelves. (I’m 40, and those shelves were the divider between my sister’s ‘room’ and my ‘room’ in our bedroom when I was 14 or so. Really old. Also quite accustomed to establishing non-rooms, I suppose.)
We have since replaced those elderly shelves with the current version of Billy, which turns out to be much larger than the old one, and now masks the fridge entirely while also adding an alcove we like to refer to as the ‘broom closet.’ There was an old trunk that was called the ‘linen closet’ for the longest time, but that title now belongs to the small chest of drawers in the dining area which also serves as either the sofa table (if you’re in the ‘living room’) or the sideboard (if you’re dining.) There is only one actual closet in the Tiny Apartment, so we take our closets where we find them. The old Billy shelves, the 1980s version, turned out to be exactly the right width to fit in our windows, so we cut them down to make a nested-in shelf, which, if you ignore that it’s in the dining area, turned out really well!

Karl and I were both considerably overweight when we met, and I have been since I was a teenager. I’ve tried all sorts of diets and exercise routines, with very little success, since then. Every time I would get discouraged (or get excited about some social event and the related eating and drinking) and fall off the wagon, and then, since I was already sitting in the mud on the side of the rocky road, I’d just open up another pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Rinse. Repeat. I just never found the motivation to stick with it. Being thin/fit/healthy/whatever the word of the day was, never quite felt like enough of a possible goal to stick with restrictive diets and difficult schedules. And then I met my husband, and I realized on a much more visceral level why my mother was always so worried about ME. Turns out, I really do care about having a long and healthy life,  and I really care about HIM doing the same.

Several years ago, mom recommended Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. She didn’t recommend it as a “diet book,” which I probably would have ignored, but rather as an interesting food science tome that she was reading at the time. I picked up her copy idly while I was home for Christmas, and then when I returned to the Tiny Apartment, found that I wanted to know what else it had to say, and bought it for my Kindle. It’s a pretty dense book, full of science and history and politics, and I thought it was fascinating. Taubes is a science journalist who has written for Discover, Science and other magazines, as well as several books. He started out focused more on physics and engineering, and I should probably read some of his other work. In Good Calories, Bad Calories, he’s moved on to health and nutrition, and advocates carb restriction for weight loss. I’d read Atkins, of course, being a corpulent person, and the South Beach Diet, but neither of those managed to convince me or explain the science the way Taubes’ absurdly named book did. (Seriously, it SOUNDS like a bad diet book….) Nor did they so effectively explain to me why we’d been getting such conflicting advice from medical professionals and governmental organizations. If you’d prefer a more concise version with a lot of the same conclusions, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It  might be more your speed. It’s Taubes attempt to mainstream what was, I think, an unexpectedly popular book. So, once we got through our wedding, which was lovely, thank you, but rather a pain in the ass, we decided to do something about our weight, and when we did, Gary Taubes was still hanging out there in my back of my head.

With the help of the good people at /r/keto, we set out to track our food and cut our carbs pretty drastically, eating a very low carb, nutritional ketosis diet. 20g of carbs per day was the goal, and it took some adjusting, but also meant a lot of food experimentation, which is fun. And it worked. Boy did it ever work. All the sudden, I had so much more energy without the constant rise and fall of sugar driven consumption! And Karl’s pants started falling off. We fell off the wagon again over this winter, between holidays and some general life stuff, but unlike every other time I’d fallen off a wagon ever, I didn’t feel helpless about it at all. I felt like, “well, we know how to fix this, we just have to do it.” So we’re doing it again. Which is my long-winded way of saying that the Tiny Kitchen produces Tiny Carbs most of the time.

This week’s agenda includes an update to a Buffalo Chicken Casserole recipe we’ve enjoyed in the past, and finally trying out Cauliflower ‘Mac’ and Cheese…. Stay tuned for more!

 

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About Sarah

Freelance NPC
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