Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Losing weight by eating more

Well nothing has worked so far. As we draw close to the end of February, I have been singularly unsuccessful at becoming an alcoholic. You may remember, from my 2006 health plan, that I was supposed to be entirely dependent on alcohol by this point in the year. Alcohol was to replace the food, after my January of gluttony. And the food was replacing the nicotine. Oh, yes, I believe in nursery rhymes… I swallowed the spider to eat the fly. But now I can’t stop eating spiders (well not REAL spiders, obviously. That would be icky. I mean METAPHORICAL spiders – the ones that taste like bacon sandwiches and seconds of jam roly poly).

I just can’t stop eating at all. My attempts to replace food with alcohol have failed dismally, largely because of my limited opportunities for inebriation. They tend to frown at dribbling behind desks in an alcoholic stupor at my workplace. Very uncivilised. I knew I should have become a lawyer.

To cap it all, a couple of days ago I was offered my dream job: Restaurant Critic! Ok, it’s part time (1 restaurant a week), and the pay is in … er food. But who cares? I get to eat at the best restaurants regularly, and for the cost of only 500 words a meal. After describing the décor and ambience, that’s only 100 words a course! As you would expect, I accepted in a dignified manner (fell to my knees and wept with pleasure). I can hardly wait for my first mission… hopefully no one tells them about the Valentine’s dinner debacle.

My wife was unimpressed when I bounded (wobbled) home with the news. I was too elated to listen much, but I recognised the odd word like ‘cholesterol’ and ‘not coming to your funeral’. Anyway, the eventual upshot is that I have promised to go on a diet, or else I am only allowed to review salads.

So I have been pondering deeply about this diet. It’s obvious that conventional diets are not going to work with me. I get hungry too often, and I’m damned if I’m going to eat cottage cheese and celery. I have taken a brief peep at the Atkins diet, but spotting which bits on the plate are carbohydrates is going to be too complicated for me. And looking at the list of banned foods… nah.

And then I hit upon it! All these diets are aimed at reducing energy input. And everyone recommends doing exercise in order to burn up the energy. Well, what is needed is obviously a way of eating that uses up more energy than I consume! For instance, chewing gum: lot’s of chewing, not a lot of calorie intake. It’s like exercising while eating. And what else makes you sweat when you eat? Chilli! Eat some hot chillies and all that sweating must burn off bucket loads of energy. And the more chilli you eat… the more weight you must lose! So that’s the basis of my new dietary plan. I will add chilli to absolutely everything (except when I’m doing restaurant reviews: those chefs can be sensitive types). And then I will eat as much as possible. The pounds will drip off me.

Now the hottest chillies in the world are scotch bonnets. (Wikipedia: these peppers are known to cause dizziness, numbness of hands and cheeks, and severe heartburn). They don’t grow in Tenerife (or at least there’s no one mad enough to grow them). You are advised to wear gloves before handling them. But these little babies are gorgeous, and surely worth at least 1kg of weight loss each. And I have a bag of them in my freezer… Tally ho!

Post Script:
Shit! Only 2 scotch bonnets left in freezer! No one stocks any real killer chillies here. I have looked everywhere. I have asked everyone I know. Normally I have scotch bonnets smuggled in for me, but my supplier’s not coming out for a while. So this is a quick shout out to any trans-atlantic smugglers trafficking to Tenerife: forget the cocaine… that’s for wimps. Go for GLORY: smuggle scotch bonnets. Will swap for surplus of calabaza jam. Oh and, er… wear gloves.


Anonymous Heimy said...


It's seems that someone (crazy Germans, or so it seems) living here in La Palma, at Los Llanos, is selling small quantities of (among others) scotch bonnets, so if you can have 'em as alternative smugglers. It's in eBay, but their ratings seem good. One of my co-workers said something about going there and buying some to check the "mercancía" ;)

3:14 pm  
Blogger Tenerife Scribbler said...

Hi Heimy! EXCELLENT news. Thank god for crazy Germans. Now let me have a go at buying them...

3:54 pm  
Anonymous Heimy said...

Not only that! I've been doing some research and the guy sells a number of specialties:

- Tabasco chilis in vinegar
- Habaneros in "salsa agridulce"
- Habanero sauce!

When I said they were crazy...

9:30 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

How about pepper flavoured chewing gum? It will make you run, and running is good for us, right? :-D

1:57 am  
Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...


I'm completely with you on the chile-deprivation blues. None of my local supermarkets sell any fresh chiles. The closest they offer (and admittedly, it's not even close) are pimientos de padron.

I find this very odd, because Spain has many, many immigrants from South America and I assumed that they were large consumers of chiles. Either that assumption was wrong, or the rules of supply and demand don't apply here. I suppose that would also explain why I can't find cilantro or limes to save my life.

However...the spice rack of nearly every supermarket I've seen offers dried cayenne peppers. And those are, in fact, pretty damn hot. What I do is grind a large handfull of them in my coffee grinder. Then I gently heat them in olive oil until they give-off a toasty fragrance. Then I let the oil cool, strain out the solids, and top it with an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil.

Perhaps it's not a substitute for Scotch Bonnets, but it still tastes pretty good drizzled over...everything.


4:45 pm  
Anonymous Julie said...

Have you tried the Chinese market upstairs in Valdez Centre? It sells what looks like Thai 'mouse shit' chilies. They might not be Scotch Bonnets) but they might do the trick ;)

4:27 pm  

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