Follow the Cheddar Brick Road: Things to Buy

There’s an inconvenient truth to a lifestyle change. Something that can almost never be avoided. It costs something.


Yep, just like Jenny Craig or a Chuck Norris gym, it takes money to spend money. My eat the good stuff way of living works well, but there’s still an initial cost to swallow to do it right. Fortunately, a lot of the things on this list are investments and will actually SAVE money in the long run. Save money by eating healthy, good-tasting food? Please, tell me more.

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No burger for you!


So it should be clear now. I like burgers. I eat them a lot. In fact, at one point, this way of eating healthy became the burger diet. Seriously. Not just beef either. Salmon, Chicken, peanut butter, whatever. All burgers.

Anyway, for some reason, burgers are like the Demonic Grail of dieting. Friends, I’m here to tell you all; it’s a lie. All a lie!

Burgers True Form

Burgers to official “diets”

This one is remarkably simple. There’s a rumor going around that only fatty, low-percentage beef makes juicy burgers. For a burger to taste good, it can be no more than 80% lean. That’s like saying chard doesn’t taste good unless it’s 80% red. (It doesn’t; bad example)

I noticed in a lot of these examples, these false claims of burger juice, that they had a few things in common. By their cherry-picked stats, yes, they’re right. But I can fix that.

  • Use extra lean beef. Like 93%. Grind a steak if you want, it doesn’t matter. “But it’s so dry!” Hence, point 2, er, dot under this:
  • The patty has to be big. I eat half pound burgers. And I lose weight. “But isn’t that terrible? Half a pound?” Yeah, I guess. It’s the big boy on the restaurant menu. It depends on your size, but anything lower than 1/3 pound probably will be dry. But that’s okay, because a half pound of 93% beef has less calories than 73% beef. And protein helps you to feel full!
  • Supposing you’re still having trouble (or want McDonald’s size patties for some reason) add an egg to the mix. I have chickens, so I add eggs to most things, but maybe those white store ones work fine? First world problems.
  • Don’t overcook. If you’re one of those Cro-Magnons that shudder at the site of pink on the meat, might as well give up now… On life. These burgers are juicy if they aren’t overcooked=not charred black

And that’s it. Oh yeah, directions. This is for a clamshell grill, I use a small Cusinart from Costco:

  • Turn the grill on 325
  • Add seasonings, to taste. I use just salt and pepper. Simple.
  • Add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • Toss some onions on the grill unless you’re one of those allergics or whatever that won’t eat them.
  • Cook for about 8 minutes, then open up and add cheese if you want. Muenster is good.
  • Stick on some lettuce or tomatoes or pickles or anything else that makes it look healthy.

So cheesey

Then eat it! Burgers. I’d recommend Litehouse 1000 island for pseudo Mac sauce, or Portland ketchup for low-cal burgers if you’re lucky enough to have it around.

Follow the Cheddar Brick Road: D. Thomas’ Journey

We’re all fat in one way or another. Some people are fat in riches, others in fame. Me? I’m just fat on food.

I’ve been at the weight loss thing for awhile. Known as Buddha Baby growing up, I’ve been “well-endowed” in all the wrong places before I could walk or talk. Bad metabolism, thyroid, toxins from pulled Orange Slice soda, I’m not sure what to blame. And right up until my senior year of high school, that’s how it was. Then, since I was already stuck in PE, I thought I’d try and make more drastic changes, see if it could work. Surprisingly, it did. Success!


Try hard enough and you’ll learn baseballs are made of chocolate cake.


Then I got married.

And like many people, I ballooned back up, beyond my initial high point towards infinity. Finally after a few years of feeling the ocean blues, both me and the wife decided it was time for us to hop off the gravy train and onto the quinoa handcart. But how?

I tried a lot of things over the years. Slowly, we cut out the things that were obviously bad–sugar soda, triple-layered all meat pizza, fried chicken buffet, so on. Of course the weight sticks like flies to a horse’s ass and dropped a hell of a lot slower than it stacked on. But each time, I learned a little more, until finally, I cracked the secret: Don’t give up the foods. Just make them better.

It’s really that simple. The strange part is, after eating some of these substitutions I’ll go over in this blog like turkey pepperoni over pork/beef/squid pepperoni I don’t even want to go back. The healthy foods taste good, because they’re not “healthy” foods at all: they’re the good tasting finger-lickin’ good without the grease. I eat a half pound burger and a couple of loaded burritos and pizza every week, yet the weight goes down. Hard to believe, I know, and not without some failures. Pictures help, but of course, I could be making it all up and secretly be drinking a liter of cabbage water a day, but ain’t nobody survive on that. Take my word for it (Tried the liquid diet, plegh)

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Trust me, I didn’t spend 10 years and over 500 attempts perfecting sourdough pizza to replace it with bran muffins and unsweetened green tea. And with those weekly pizzas, I’ve transformed from boulder man above to largish-rock man below.

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3 years later, and yes, that’s my Finalist ribbon. Perks of healthy eating I guess?

I still have a ways to go, but I’m over half way done. Down over 50 lbs over the last year, I intend to eat these foods for the rest of my life, because not only are they healthy, they taste damn good (mostly thanks to the wife, but she’s gracious enough to include her secret recipes!) and there won’t be a reason to quit this lifestyle change.

And wasn’t the goal of dieting to not have to diet all along?

D. Thomas Joe

Me, in 3 more years of eating healthy