"Cheese has a happiness protein in it," Lori says, explaining that, like refined sugar, cheese comforts with an immediate (and ultimately false) chemical lift. For similar reasons, she also shoots down my other favorite thing: cereal. I have at times lived on raisin bran, Honey Nut Cheerios, and granola, but Lori says, "Never eat cereal after noon. You know what? Just don't eat cereal at all."
The salad bar seems like safe enough territory until Lori lays waste to the wasabi peas ("They're fried"), to too much egg, and to chickpeas—too many chickpeas will equal too much Paige. "If you gotta have beans, go for kidney over garbanzo," she says. "Less fat, more fiber."
Gloppy dressings: like, never. You'll want red wine or balsamic vinegar, Lori says, and very little or no oil. You'll want the baby greens or the romaine lettuce, not the iceberg, because the darker and leafier the vegetable, the healthier it is. Sunflower seeds—okay, a few. Croutons? Dream on. Cheese topping? Nice try; see above.
We eventually build a day's menu that uses all the food groups without blowing more than 1,500 calories. We have organic chicken, organic sliced turkey breast, and mahimahi, which Lori likes to bake on aluminum foil spritzed with olive oil–flavored cooking spray. We have Kashi GoLean hot cereal and Mr. Krispers, which are chips baked in sea salt and pepper—you can eat, like, five million of them for 120 calories. We've got Amy's organic frozen lasagna and frozen palak paneer and a cart full of kombucha—fermented tea @ $3.99 per.
We've also got a price tag of about $100. And I am not an heiress.
"How long will this last us?" I ask.
"The perishable stuff, about a week," Lori says. The Olave first-cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, the Bragg apple cider vinegar, the Nasoya fat-free faux mayonnaise, the mineral-rich Redmond sea salt ("Don't be afraid to use it!")—all that will last a bit longer. I have a feeling my cost-to-cart ratio is far different from a cost-to-cart ratio at Costco. Then again, a lot of these items aren't available at places like that. If they were, a lot more people would be healthy, right?
Not until they can make Wasa taste like dark chocolate, at which point the answer is: Maybe, but probably not even then.
Next: This is your brain on bikram
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