Prison Pete

Sunday, November 07, 2004
  So many calories, so little good for you.
Yes, there is a lot written in this blog about food. Perhaps that is because food is one of the few areas we can actually spend money on. And the other thing, as I have personally found out, is it is also an area one could actually improve one's physical, mental, and emotional states.

The physical aspect is proven by the weight loss and a decrease in the cholesterol level in my bloodstream. Without using any drugs, I lowered my overall cholesterol number from 206 to 187 in less than six months. That was mostly due to a change in diet and not much exercise. I have not had a test in the last year, and since my diet has continued and my exercise is up, I can only assume that my cholesterol is even better now.

While the commissary list is heavy on the non-nutritional junk food, I usually stay away from most of the junkier stuff. Okay, not all the way away.

I found it ironic that despite all the hate directed at McDonalds, their latest financial reports show a continued increase in profits. Not just increases in sales, but they have managed to continue to squeeze more profit out of the way-too-many dollars that we, okay, not me but the rest of you, silly weak-willed consumers hand over to Ronald on a way too frequent basis.

So I guess the outrage at the way mean old tricky Ronald has managed to empty your pockets and packed your waistlines and blood vessels has not really caused too much damage to good old McDonalds? Yeah, it is easy for me to sound so self-righteous seeing as the one area the fast food industry has not yet penetrated is the prison system.

Not enough disposable income? Well, that is not entirely true. We do occasionally get the overstock and post-dated discards from some of the fast food giants.

So I thought I would share a little lesson that I have learned about watching what you eat and saving those dreaded fat calories for when they would really count. I was thinking of a pint of Hagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate-Chip. Yeah, they did actually sell that here a few years back and I am glad they took if off the list. It was way too hazardous to my waistline.

So what with all te mackerel I may be feeding myself a little too much mercury (I will need to get that checked at some point) the average calorie/protein mix cannot be beat. You mix 3.25 oz. of pre-cooked long grain rice, 4.25 oz. of mackerel, a tablespoon of mustard and chili-garlic sauce, a dash of Mrs. Dash and dinner is served. So what do you have from a nutritional standpoint?

Product / Calories / Fat cal/grams / protein / carbs / cost
Rice / 350 / 12.5/2.5 / l0g / 79g / 50¢
Mackerel / 130 / 35/4 / 23g / 0g / $1.25
total = 480 / 47/6.5 / 33g / 79g / $1.75

For Comparison - Junk Food

Product / Calories / Fat cal/grams / protein / carbs / cost
M&M peanut candy / 250 / 120/13 / 5g / 30g / 50¢
1.74oz. jumbo Blueberry donut / 480 / 230/26 / 3g / 59g / 65¢

3.75 oz. Heavenly Trail Mix 10 Oz. $2.60. Contains: Peanuts (coated in "confection coating" dried pineapple, cranberries, almonds, coconut flakes.

I brought one bag at noon yesterday, mixed a bunch into my weekly pint of generic ice cream, and by 12:22 PM today (Saturday) it is all gone. The bag shows that there is supposed to be 9.5 servings per bag. So in just over 24 hours I have inhaled 9.5 times 140 calories = 1330, 80% of those calories are fat = 760.

Okay, all is not lost; the protein is 3g = 28.5 g. The point of the above is that I do not as a rule buy the trail mix. Is it good? Yes. Can I make it last a week? I guess not, and the bottom line is that it is not all that healthy. So just because it is "Fresh Start Natural Foods", it is not always so. True, it is the execution that is a problem. But even if the bag lasted a week, would it be any better for me?

The point I find with most junk food is that it does not take the place of the "meals." So even though I have inhaled the 1330 calories, I have not decreased the normal food I eat. So yes, in my humble opinion it is not just the number of calories you intake but where they come from.

Personally I find that if I do not get a bunch of protein, my brain seems to fire a little slower.

As I have mentioned in prior postings, eating in the chow hall on a regular basis provides for a diet rich in carbs and fat, but low in protein. So while the mackerel may not be the best thing for me in terms of possible mercury, in terms of cost and nutrition it is the best deal around for me.

There was mention on the radio recently that they have been studying the genetic link that exists in humans as far as the body's response to fat intake. That is that when the body is ingesting a high fat food source, it tells the brain that this is a good thing, so feed me more!

While it is not very scientific, I certainly find that my mackerel and rice meal is just the right amount of food and it leaves me satisfied. On occasion I have doubled up on the mackerel when I though I was extra hungry, and by the time I finish the bowl with only an extra 130 calories, I feel overly stuffed.

Yet eating more than one bag of M&M's (250 calories each) is no problem. So in my not so humble opinion, it is finding what types of messages your brain sends out as you eat various foods that is the key to keeping the body functioning at peak efficiency.

As I explain to people who laugh at me drinking a Diet Coke while eating a pint of ice cream, it is that I know I like sugar and fat, I just want to "save" them for the places in my diet where I can really enjoy them. Sugar-free chocolate? No thank you. Fat free cheese? Not. And let us not forget pepperoni!

So there you have it, the food world of a Federal inmate. Go out and enjoy some extra cheese pizza or a pint of Hagen-Dazs for me!
In the CDC its Top Ramen all the way baby! Smoked oysters, sardines… After years of living on these items I can’t even look at them now. Probably the same fate will bestow your mackerel when you emerge back into the world where fast food is still king.
Post a Comment

View my profile
Contact Prison Pete
Contact the Editor
Blogroll Me!

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006

December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004


Powered by Blogger


Emily Dickinson
Janet Evanovich
Ian Fleming
Jonathan Franzen
Robert Fulghum
Sue Grafton
Tami Hoag
Jean Shepherd

Johann Sebastian Bach
Virgil Fox
Benny Goodman
Vladimir Horowitz
Itzhak Perlman
David Russell
Lonnie Smith

Radio and TV Shows
All Things Considered
Capitol Steps
Fawlty Towers
Fresh Air
The Infinite Mind
Jazz After Hours
Jeeves and Wooster
Pipe Dreams

Media, Publishers, Networks
Augsberg Fortress Press
Hamilton Bookseller
NY Daily News
NY Newsday
NY Times
PC Magazine
WNED Buffalo, NY

Helpful Organizations

Federal Bureau of Prisons
NY State Court of Appeals
NY State Department of Corrections

Typing with a Dvorak keyboard
Fastback Book Binding System
Who links to me?