(In which I fit self-indulgent food photography, a restaurant review, health and wellness tips, and a whole lotta yum in one massive post.)
I realized, belatedly, that I have never done a legitimate “Cheat Day” feature – which is, really, a travesty if you think of the rate I talk/write about those things. To be honest, though, I had never had a truly satisfying cheat day ’til yesterday. So that’s what this post is going to be about: the ideal cheat day, and how to handle it.
After 6 days of eating a mostly-raw, partly Slow Carb, moderately vegetarian/vegan diet of tofu, vegetables, legumes, nuts, kimchi, nutritional yeast, and cottage cheese (sample meal pictured below); Saturday couldn’t have come sooner.
Now, two things acted as a catalyst for my self-motivated, lose-yourself-in-the-noms approach to yesterday: 1) my Slow Carb Supplements (aka PAGG and AGG stacks) came in the mail at last; 2) I was really…really sick of my existing meal plan. Armed with the new promise of trying out the PAGG and AGG stacks* and testing their effectiveness, I started the day bright and early with a healthy breakfast: cottage cheese, freshly squeezed lemon in water, and tuna. I then proceeded to walk a kilometer or so to a friend’s house to drop some things off before we walked another couple of kilometers to run some errands. Once those were out of the way, I went home and did the first 25 minutes of the Insanity Workout (Plyometrics Circuit) before I had to jump in the shower and make it out in time for lunch with my flat mate and her boyfriend. In honor of my zeal for satiating (hyperbolically almost) all my cravings, we had collectively decided on the pretty newly-opened Dean and Deluca in Orchard Central.*
Upon arriving there it took some time to get a table (it’s free-seating), and then another 15 minutes of waiting in a long line to place orders at the counter (where there are only two registers) only to discover that anything ordered from the kitchen would take 25 minutes. I had initially wanted the Angus bacon cheeseburger with egg*, but because that was on the “kitchen” menu, I opted instead for my 2nd choice – selections from the display case by the counter: a 3oz Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin medallion ($12.00 SGD), and a spinach and salmon quiche ($8.50 SGD). The counter is right next to all the breads, though, and as I was paying it occurred to me that I hadn’t had a croissant since Cambodia*, and wanted to have one then, so I threw one in the mix as well ($3.00 SGD).
My flat mate ordered the American Breakfast ($22.00 SGD), and her boyfriend, the lasagne (which was in the display case, amazingly – but I didn’t catch the price tag on it). After paying, we grabbed some house water, sat down, and waited.
10 minutes later my quiche arrived.
It wasn’t too big and it was perfectly toasted and delicious. The crust, I could’ve done without oddly enough (and did, pretty much). I took a couple of bites but wanted to wait for my friends’ food to come, and my beef to come, so we sat there patiently…
…for another 5 minutes…
Then the American Breakfast arrived. 10 minutes early. Meanwhile, our display-case-orders (lasagne, croissant, and tenderloin) were still nowhere to be found. Now, see, this is one thing I really hate about Singapore. You almost never get good service.* Annoyed by the idea that our food was taking forever to simply heat in a toaster/microwave/on a pan, I debated with myself on whether or not to follow it up when I noticed that the two women behind us in line were happily tending to their sandwiches and (get this) beef tenderloin. 😐 GO. FIGURE. So I decided not to waste any time, got up, and followed up the orders with a confused looking woman who seemed to need to look over our receipt multiple times before the idea sunk in that we were hungry and still unfed.
She disappeared for another 5 minutes, and then (and only then) did the food come out.
Juicy and delicious. And I suppose worth the $12. But it was a little overdone for me. Still nice and moist, though, so there’s that!
This wasn’t what I ordered (another testament to what failures they were at service). But it was still good and I didn’t want to bother returning it anymore. This was some kind of caramel banana almond stuffed croissant. Light and flaky and overall a good croissant but not a Dean and Deluca creation. It was supplied by Maison Kayser – another swanky patisserie/cafe/brunch place nearby.
After having our fill of our entrees, we headed back in line to place orders for dessert*.
And we lived happily ever after with orgasms in our mouths.
I didn’t actually eat any of the dark chocolate cake. I did, however, devour half of this one. This delicious red velvet concoction was basically the tastiest tarty cream cheese on top of bittersweet chocolatey red velvety goodness. I would say that the Dean and Deluca here in Singapore doesn’t quite cut it, next to New York that is, except for one thing: this cake. If I ever go back to Dean and Deluca Singapore it’ll be for their cakes (this one and probably the cheesecake).
Overall a good experience but so-so value-for-money. I still left completely satisfied though. And I didn’t even let it bug me completely that I probably had 800-some calories for lunch alone! It did however keep me full all the way to “dinner,” at which point I ate another croissant with a tbsp of nutella, and then another friend and I went to a Turkish restaurant where I ordered a pot of Zataar tea and had one bite of his delicious lamb dish and hummus but that’s about it. I couldn’t even breathe. Seriously. Even a full 8 hours after lunch, my body was still digesting, it felt like. But it was GREAT! Because I felt completely satisfied. In fact, I felt so disgustingly over-satisfied, like I had over-compensated for months of trying to be “healthy” and half-hearted cheat days…that I probably won’t be craving anything for the next few weeks!
And that’s where I segue into my tips and tricks for Cheat Day:
- I’ve said this here before, but let me say it again: ALWAYS START A CHEAT DAY WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST. You have the whole rest of the day to not count your calories, and not count your carbs, and just devour. So start the day right so that your metabolism can actually respond appropriately when you overload it later on.
- Really go all out. Eat out all day, don’t bring home any of the junk that you’re consuming because you don’t want any of it to be an option post Cheat Day.
- Share the meals with friends. The good conversation, and the happy company, will satisfy the emotional part of the experience so that the food doesn’t do it for you and you don’t feel anchored to the food as the central reason for the happiness behind that experience.
- Work out. Do any kind of HIIT* OR Glut4 exercises (air squats, wall presses, et al).
- Stay mobile. Walk a lot!
- Drink PLENTY OF WATER
And most importantly of all:
As they say in Rent, Forget regret or life is yours to miss. Allow yourself these off days, these rests, these delicious breaks from the reality and the good habits you are building for yourself; and you will be better for it.
Last night after dinner I weighed myself and I was 5-lbs heavier than I was before breakfast. But I was happy. Then today, just to see if it ruined my life like so many people worry cheat days do*, I weighed myself after a heavy cardio work out, and a moderately heavy brunch, and I was exactly the same weight as I was before this whole foodie fiasco.
So there you have it, kids. CHEAT DAYS ARE GOOD FOR YOU. HAVE THEM ONCE A WEEK AT MOST AND ENJOY THEM WHILE YOU CAN. Make them count!!!
*For more information please visit http://www.4hourbody.com or wait for tomorrow’s post on the matter!
*For those who are not in the know Dean and Deluca is New York City’s famous gourmet grocer/deli/eatery and it is now in Singapore on the 4th floor of Orchard Central, Orchard Rd. 🙂
*I’m a glutton, I know.
*In June. (Yes, yes. Glutton.)
*Except I did tonight at the Handburger, but that’s for another post another time.
*Yes, we weren’t done yet!!!!
*High intensity interval training
*Which only causes them to get discouraged and really fail.
A Final Thought/Note:
I wasn’t sure where in the post I wanted to include this so I figured I’d just throw it in down here for anyone likely to read through. One thing I noticed about yesterday’s cheat day was that it had me so stuffed and bursting at the seams until about midnight, at which point the fullness started tapering off and making way for something new: body heat. I’m no doctor or scientist, but I swear it was around that time that I started to experience a spike in my body temperature, and then at about 4 in the morning I woke up to go to the bathroom and my whole body was on fire! It felt like I was burning up from the inside. It was amazing! I hadn’t had that many calories, or that much bread, in a long time, so I think it might make plenty of sense to believe that a cheat day done right can really aide in fat loss! I was hardly moving, and we had the ace on full blast and yet there I was…sweating like a piglet in a really light sleeveless nightgown. Amazing.