Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolutions, discoveries and tangents

I don't think I am declaring a resolution this year so much as recognizing a basic principle:  less is more.

Throughout the coming year I'm going to apply this strategy in a few areas.

In January I'm going to focus on my weight, because if I keep indulging myself the way I have I'm likely explode!  But there is a problem.  I hate strict diets. I don't like counting calories or keeping track of 'units', and when I feel deprived I get cranky.  So I am going to follow these few simple guidelines for one month and see how many pounds I lose by Jan 31:
  1. Drink less wine and more water or tea during the week.
  2. Take the elevator or escalator less and use the stairs more.
  3. Work through lunch less, instead get out and walk more.
  4. Eat less meat and more plant food. 
  5. Eat less food that is calorie dense and more food with a lower caloric density.
 I was reminded about #5 when I pulled my copy of 'Food Matters' by Mark Bittman off the shelf:
Simply put a pound of cake contains more calories than a pound of broccoli... calorie-wise you are better off eating 2 pounds of plants than 2 pounds of junk food, animal food or refined carbohydrates... to do the math yourself, divide the calories in a food by its weight.  The lower the number, the lower the caloric density.  (For a comprehensive source of all nutritional data go to "Nutrient Data Laboratory"... look up the values for 100 grams of any food; find the number in the kcal column, move the decimal point over two clicks to the left, and you have the caloric density.
So by default I guess I'm adding "less cheese and more soy."

Now for the discovery and tangents:

I found the above illustration of one of Arcimboldo’s fabulous creations when I did a google image search on vegetables. Wow! He was born in Milan in 1527, the son of an artist.  His fantastic works were rediscovered by the surrealists in the 20th century.  

Vertumnus, a portrait of Rudolf II
(Vertumnus is the Roman god of seasons, change and plant growth, as well as gardens and fruit trees. He could change his form at will; using this power, according to Ovid's Metamorphoses (xiv), he tricked Pomona into talking to him by disguising himself as an old woman and gaining entry to her orchard, then using a narrative warning of the dangers of rejecting a suitor (the embedded tale of Iphis and Anaxarete) to seduce her.

Wikipedia notes that "Arcimboldo's conventional work, on traditional religious subjects, has fallen into oblivion, but his portraits of human heads made up of vegetables, fruit, sea creatures and tree roots, were greatly admired by his contemporaries and remain a source of fascination today."

Giuseppe Arcimboldo - Winter, 1573

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