The Food Diaries

Welcome to the Food Diaries, a new column where locals track their eating and fitness habits—the good, bad, and ugly—and blog about it anonymously. Up first, a Los Angeles-bound twentysomething with a boot-camp coupon to burn.

The Stats
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Height: 6’2”
Location: Bowie
Profession: Recently employed journalist
Self-described activity level: “I’d say I’m pretty active but not too much strenuous activity. ‘Active three days a week’ is probably right. I walk a ton and I’m not averse to exercise—I just don’t always have time.”

Day One
5 AM: I’ve started doing a fitness boot camp I bought from LivingSocial. This requires me to wake up at hours reserved for elementary-school teachers and long-haul truckers. I drink a protein shake (strawberry, mixed with water) beforehand, just so I have something in me. The guy who works at the GNC on L Street downtown always talks me up to the most expensive kind, but he also always gives me a discount.
5:45 AM: Boot camp starts and focuses on the upper body. It’s mostly older women, but there are some people my age here. Lots of running, pushups, and crunches. Sarge says it burns about 600 calories in an hour. We’ll go with that.
7 AM: Another protein shake—gotta get ripped. And back to sleep.
11:30 AM: Turkey sandwich on a sub roll with two slices of provolone. This is about as healthy as a lunch gets for me. I hate sandwiches with barely any meat, so I put on probably six or seven slices. Grilled in a panini-maker, duh.
2 PM: Off to the mall to get my computer fixed. I eat a Red Delicious apple on the way. It’s red, true, but not that delicious. While I’m there I find out I got a job, so no more slacking for me. I have to move up a trip to LA to visit my cousin . . . to tomorrow. Wasn’t planning on that.
7 PM: I eat three square slices of pizza—two with spicy pepperoni, one cheese. It’s made from packaged Pillsbury dough, which I’m sure has tons of nutrients.

Day Two
5 AM: Up and packed for Los Angeles. And getting ready for Sarge. Today is supposed to be an “easy” day. Not enough time for a protein shake.
5:45 AM: We’re outside. It’s cold, though not horribly so, but very dark. This is when people who run actually run. We’re supposed to run two miles. We run four, which is exactly two more miles than I’ve ever run at one time.
6:45 AM: I shower in the sink.
7:15 AM: At BWI, time to eat. I go for bacon and provolone on an English muffin from Subway. They give me like half a strip of bacon. Not sufficient.
7:50 AM: Realizing I might not eat for many hours, I grab a huge parfait from Silver Diner. It has strawberries, granola, and blueberries. I eat this on the plane and pass out.
Noon Central Time: Sitting on a plane in Austin. Getting hungry. I eat a tiny packet of honey-roasted peanuts in record time.
1 PM Mountain Time: A new time zone, and I’m at the Phoenix airport. Since I’m close to Mexico, I go with Mexican. I get chips and kind-of-spicy salsa and a burrito. It’s got chicken, salsa, lettuce, and refried beans. Way better than Chipotle, but I don’t think you can get very authentic in an airport.
2 PM Pacific Time: Another bag of peanuts and a tiny cup of Sprite somewhere over the desert. Thanks, Southwest.
5 PM: Time for In-N-Out Burger—I don’t see what the fuss is. I get a double double. It’s okay. The bun is toasted, which is always a plus.
8 PM: I’m wandering around Hollywood waiting for my cousin to get out of class. I get a small coffee at some Disney-based cafe. I do about three hours of walking down Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. My feet are bigger than John Wayne’s, in case you were wondering.
9 PM: I grab a Shocktop beer at Hotel Roosevelt. I do not see Lindsay Lohan, even though I later learn she was there. It’s my goal to see someone famous this week.

Day Three
8 AM: I eat a frozen bagel with butter. It tastes like a frozen bagel with butter.
9 AM: I go to class with my cousin. Out front they have a lady selling fruit for 50 cents. I get a cup with three strawberries and a few grapes.
Noon: Lunchtime. We go to small restaurant near her school. I have a side salad of carrots, lettuce, arugula, and tomatoes—no dressing. Then a small (like, 20-noodles-small) bowl of penne with tomato-basil sauce and whatever “Italian bacon” is. Whenever I see the word bacon, I don’t ask questions. I demolish some of the free bread. It’s awesome, as baguettes usually are. I have probably four little slices with butter. I’m really full.
6 PM: I have a couple hours to kill while my cousin is in class. I walk around for a bit and have a latte, which is my new favorite kind of coffee. I didn’t know that cafe con leche and lattes were the same thing until last week, which is kind of sad.
7 PM: Dinner: chicken-picatta sandwich on a baguette from the Oaks Gourmet. I don’t know what picatta is, but the sandwich is awesome. Comes with arugula which is now my favorite green-food item besides the Ecto-cooler Hi-C’s I used to drink in elementary school. I also like to say “arugula.” What a word.
9 PM: Finally, I’ve seen a famous person. Okay, she’s not that famous but I see Anisha Nagarajan from NBC’s Outsourced standing in line to see the comedy show I just saw at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Outsourced is a horrible show, but I recognize her right away. Then I walk to my cousin’s school, which is about a mile, mostly uphill because I get lost. No sweat.

Day Four
9 AM: Another cup of strawberries and grapes. Hard to beat at 50 cents.
11 AM: Today is going to be an unhealthy day—we’re going to Disneyland. I eat a McDouble and a medium order of fries from McDonald’s to avoid blowing my life savings at America’s most magical place.
2 PM: I get two sticks of meat from some stand near the jungle cruise. One is beef, one is chicken. Both are horrible and doused in some sort of sauce. I am still starving. Also, Space Mountain Disneyland doesn’t hold a candle to Space Mountain Disney World.
3 PM: I take a bite from my cousin’s churro. Not in the top five churros I’ve ever had. It’s started to rain really hard. I think of the 70-degree weather in Washington and get jealous. Does shivering count as exercise?
6 PM: I get a bowl of some sort of penne alfredo with chicken from a space-themed diner in Tomorrowland. It’s not horrible, but I could go for about three more bowls. I finish my cousin’s cheeseburger, about two bites.
8 PM: Latte again. It’s freezing. End up going on the log flume ride anyway. I’m already soaked.
10 PM: We’re leaving Disneyland with about ten hours of walking and standing behind us. That’s gotta kill off some of the calories from that gross meat-on-a-stick, I think.

Day Five
9 AM: Three medium-sized pancakes with maple syrup, both made by Aunt Jemima. I want her secret recipe.
Noon: We’re walking around Studio City
and I spot a burger joint called Counter. There is a long line so it must be fantastic. I’m a sucker for places with long lines. The people know what tastes good. This time, the line ends up being too long so we go to the movies instead.
2 PM: We barely make the movie, but my cousin runs out for some popcorn anyway. She comes back with a small tub—MISTAKE. It’s gone immediately. I ate about half of it. This was the smallest movie-theater-popcorn bucket I’ve ever seen.
5 PM: I don’t know about all these bad reviews because Unknown is awesome. Not as good as Taken, though. Afterwards we go to a place called Townhouse, where I have a double cheeseburger with sweet-potato fries. Sweet-potato fries are always either awesome or horrible. These are both awesome and horrible, half are soggy, half crispy. The burger comes with barbecue sauce, lettuce, and tomato. I don’t eat the onion straws. I also have a beer—some sort of Cali take on a Belgian-blonde. It’s good but I forget its name.
8 PM: I drink two cups of Folger’s coffee (black) and get ready for an ’80s zombie pub crawl, which is about as cool as it sounds.
9 PM: I order a Bud Light. It’s a 23-ounce draft and I’m ready to hang out with my undead brethren. And eat some brains or whatever. But my cousin and her friends aren’t into drinking, so we sit in a restaurant for a few hours while I drink water. Not hungry. Would love some more beer and undead dancing.

Day Six
9 AM: I do 40 pushups and 100 crunches because I haven’t exercised for a while and I don’t want you guys to think I’m lazy.
10 AM: I have two corn muffins that you make from that old-timey looking box.
Noon: Possibly the healthiest thing I’ve ever eaten: a huge strawberry-and-walnut salad from Nikki at Venice Beach. It has spinach, chicken, and, you guessed it, arugula. It also has a raspberry-vinaigrette dressing and goat cheese.
2 PM: I’m walking by a fruit stand and can’t resist. I get a huge bag of mixed fruit (at least a pound of watermelon, mango, coconut, cucumber, pineapple, and cantaloupe). The guy working there squeezes a lemon over it all and throws on some salt and cayenne, which gives it a kick. It’s great.
6 PM: My cousin’s roommate has somehow scored a free Dominos pizza. I have two slices of cheese.
7 PM: We’re at the Improv Olympics for their Oscar-spoof sketch show. It’s horrible. The bartender guilts me into having a PBR while we’re waiting for it to start, even though I don’t want anything. I eat a couple handfuls of free popcorn while the show is on.

Day Seven

9 AM: More pushups and crunches, same as yesterday.
10 AM: I’m hungry so I have a slice of leftover pizza. Pizza for breakfast. Jealous?
11:30 AM: We go to Cafe 101, where there are supposed to be famous people. Don’t see any, but it’s alright. I have a small coffee (black) and a bowl of chicken penne with tomato-basil sauce. And the two slices of garlic bread that came with it. It’s just mediocre.
2 PM: Ben and Jerry’s is calling my name. I get a strawberry-cheesecake sundae with hot fudge and walnuts, no whipped cream. Also, they were out of cherries. I feel ripped off because of this, but mostly because it set me back almost $7. It was right outside of Universal Studios.
7 PM: We were going to go to a dueling piano bar but couldn’t successfully kill four hours, so we just went back and watched Boys Don’t Cry. I have two more slices of Dominos pizza, successfully stretching leftovers to a third day.

From the Expert
Local dietician Rebecca Scritchfield says, “This might not be typical because he’s traveling, but OMG this is not healthy at all! At least 1⁄3 of his plate should be fruit and veggies at each meal and no more than 1⁄3 should be carbs. Most days, he doesn’t even meet half his fruit-and-veggie goals, and the carbs are almost always too high. A tip for frequent travelers: Pack your carry-on with dried fruit and nuts to avoid unhealthy airport dining. And when you’re on the plane, order sparkling water with lime to avoid liquid calories.”

Are you brave enough to keep a food diary? We dare you. Send an e-mail to with your contact information and why you think you’d make a good diarist.

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