No, not the town in Kent. What I mean by sandwich is what most of you would think about straight away. Food! Now, I like bread and I like fillings in bread and hence I like to eat sandwiches. However, I am rather fed up at being made to feel as though I am greedy when sandwiches are on offer. Here’s an explanation.

At Home
If I make a sandwich at home I will use four slices of bread and make two sandwiches, or in proper terms, two rounds of sandwich. A round of sandwiches is what I would call a sandwich and has two pieces of bread.


In A Shop
If I buy a sandwich in a shop it normally comes in a triangular prism package and contains one round of sandwich cut diagonally with all the filling showing. This makes it look like there is a lot of filling, but there isn’t, it’s all pushed towards the middle of the bread and hence on display. It is socially acceptable to buy one of these packets but not two, that would be greedy but equal to what I would make at home.

Tesco Sandwich

At An Hotel
If you eat sandwiches from a buffet then they are normally single rounds of sandwich cut into quarters.
Posh Sandwich
Now, I will grant you that the filling tends to be a little thicker and substantial that the supermarket offering but there is a social awareness problem when deciding how many quarters to put on a plate (or how many “returns” to the buffet are acceptable). If I eat two rounds of sandwich at home and I expect to be able to eat the same amount when out then I will put 8 quarters of sandwich on my plate. This looks greedy and also restricts what other items can also be placed on the buffet plate. It would seem socially acceptable to place four quarters on a plate (although this looks a little greedy being a male ape I tend to get away with this). This means I need to make two trips to the buffet table to ensure I have eaten what I would consider a polite amount. Socially this a mine-field and deserves more academic in-depth study. The social pressures of buffet eating should be considered when designing the food and perhaps, one day, mankind will break through this glass ceiling of the sandwich/buffet trip dilemma.

Image credits: Tesco and some blog.

One or Two Fingers?

Recently the WW and I have been on a bit of a health regime. This requires us to not worry about supplements (mostly rubbish) and just keep track of food and exercise. It’s been a while since I have felt physically fit and at a healthy weight. There have been a number of times when my mass has been measured by a health professional and they’ve said that I was a bit over-weight. Yes, that was true, but I was also quite aware of it.
So over Christmas I decided to copy the WW and I installed an app on the iPhone that tracks my calorie intake. I can scan the bar code on foods and select the correct amount and then try to keep to a particular daily calorific maximum. This I have done reasonably successfully and have now reached a healthy mass of 82Kg (if you want my weight then just multiply by your local value of g).
More recently because of the change of official time to British Summer Time (something I am not convinced has any particular basis) I can also take advantage of the light evenings and go running. I should point out that my version of running is really just a jog. The biggest problem with this is that I also take the dog. He doesn’t really understand that I just want to go at a steady pace for 30 minutes or so and he runs off to sniff other dogs or just plain gets under my feet. Anyway, the upshot of the last month of running is that I can comfortably run about 5km in just under 30 minutes and am doing this about 4 times a week. A secondary bonus is that the dog has lost a little bit of his winter fat and is now also looking much healthier. See this Fooyah communication for the route I tend to run.
And so to the crux of this Fooyah communication. If you are calorie counting you need to decide whether certain foods are worth it. For me, cake is plainly not worth the calories. My enjoyment of cake per calorie is particularly low. To give me a sense of “is it worth it” I use the international SI unit of food expectation/enjoyment which is a finger of Cadbury’s Twirl. One standard Twirl finger is 115 kCal. Now whenever I am faced with a choice of snacks or foods to eat I balance it with the Twirl. Is the energy content I am about to eat greater in enjoyment to the Twirl or less. If the answer is less then there is a lower chance of me actually eating that particular food. For example: a small iced sponge cake from Tesco is 150kCal. Compared to the equivalent in Twirls the enjoyment is much much lower and so the cake should not be eaten. A banana is about 80 kCal and so although not really tasty is quite cheap in terms of calories and so worth eating. One teaspoon of Nutella is 81 kCal and so not really worth it but is a nice treat if I feel like it.
The rest of my life is probably going to be a calorie counting feast of Twirl decisions but I can live with that if it keeps me on the right side of healthy.

The app on the iPhone is called: MyFitnessPal.


I’ve given up treats such as chocolate, crisps and donuts bought in by other department members.
Essentially I’m not bothered by crisps but I do like chocolate. I have decided to give up all “treats” for around six months or so. I won’t eat them at home or buy them.  If they are offered as food at a friend’s house then that is fine.
Really this is about losing (or not gaining) weight and proving I have some willpower. Now I just need to promise that I’ll play the PS3 a bit more.