Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates. Because I’m a rebel.

I have been eating a lot. A lot. And it bothers me that I feel guilty because of it.

Bear read a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories not too long ago. And he’s pretty sure that refined carbohydrates will be the death of me. It sounds like kind of a smart book, actually, but I don’t want to read it. Because I like killing myself with muffins. Not killing myself. I like eating muffins.


Bear doesn’t eat any carbs. Neither does my little brother Gabe, who is a diabetic, too, and who interns for Bear now, at Bear’s new job. Gabe comes and stays with us, and he and Bear talk about the world economy (it’s always depressing) and eat salad together. I am learning more about the world economy as a result.

My other brother, the middle one, put himself on a strict diet and workout schedule years ago, when he started college. He lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle and he doesn’t eat any carbs. He also doesn’t drink diet soda, because of the artificial sweetener. He drinks water with lemon juice, which is actually quite good. His willpower is crazy. It’s more like a superpower. It can probably make him fly by now.

Neither of my parents eat carbs. My dad is a diabetic and my mom has cut them out of her diet (though she’ll have a piece of chocolate or a bite of my cake occasionally).

I’ve written about this before, but I need to write about it  again, because here I am, in my new apartment, eating carbs all day long, and feeling guilty. And writing about it on a blog called “Eat the Damn Cake.”

DUMBO has the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. It’s right on the waterfront. You stand there, eating your incredibly expensive, incredibly creamy ice cream, and looking at Manhattan, shimmering across the river. It has Jacques Torres– the ice cream place and the chocolate store. In fact, the man himself lives here in DUMBO. I know, because my friend the handyman gets free desserts from him sometimes.

(The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Which one an award for best ice cream in the city. source)

DUMBO is full of interesting muffins. They always have something in the middle. Like rhubarb and necterine. A little gift of fruit at the center of the fluffy wrapping. They taste sort of healthy. I know it’s all lies, but I fall for them every time.

For the past week or so, I have eaten ice cream every day, at least once. The heat seems to demand it. One night, I craved ice cream so badly that, after jogging with Bear, I made him accompany me to the grocery store, where I bought chocolate ice cream and strawberries for a milkshake. When it turned out the ice cream was actually low fat frozen yogurt, I  was distraught. Well, slightly less than distraught, but you get the idea.

And then yesterday I went to Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the insane pie place in Gawanus, right on the edge of Park Slope, where a friend initiated me to “salty honey” pie. Which is  like the filling from pecan pie. No pecans. Straight up sugar and corn syrup. And it was delicious.

(there it is. In all its glory. source)

And I caught myself making this vow as I stumbled back onto the F train: “I will never eat again.”

My mind started doing this really, really mean thing. It went like this “Look at her, over there, you see her? Do you know why she’s prettier than you? It’s because she’s thinner. That’s why. If you would just have some goddamn self-discipline, you could be ten times better looking.”

I hate it when my mind does that. When it tries to convince me that thinness is the definition of prettiness. That’s just wrong. I hate it when I feel like a failure for eating. Like, “OK, you can do better. Tomorrow no ice cream.” But I LOVED that ice cream…

When my mind gets like this, it always goes to this one scene from my past, where I am on the treadmill, and my personal trainer (from a very, very brief experience using a personal trainer) is saying, “If you want to lose weight, it’s all about eating less. Exercise has nothing to do with it.”

It was before my wedding. And of course, she had assumed that I was there to lose weight, like all brides are supposed to. Why else does a bride go to the gym? Um, to be healthy? I don’t know.

Eat less, my mind whispers. It sounds a little like Voldemort. Eat less

That was the take home message, apparently.

And here I am, NOT eating less. Eating more. Eating more because it’s summer and because there’s amazing famous ice cream and because I have to eat it with all of my friends, who I am showing around, and because I have to explore all of the restaurants in the area, and because I just WANT to.

There it is. I want to. I enjoy it so much.

My mom said, half jokingly, on the couch after we ate ice cream, “They say ‘nothing tastes better than skinny feels.’”

“That is not at all true!” I said, suddenly impassioned. I can’t remember ever looking in the mirror when I was much thinner and thinking, “God, this is amazing. Forget ever eating pizza again. It’s not worth it.”

But I can perfectly remember biting into a juicy, dripping slice, and feeling like I was in heaven. Amazing. Absolutely perfect.

*  *  *

Unroast: Today I love the way I look with a buzz cut. Yup. I did that. But I didn’t feel like writing another post about my hair. And it was totally casual, anyway. I just walked into some place called “unisex cuts” or something, in Park Slope, and asked for a buzz cut. And I got one. And I love it. My dad doesn’t know yet. He’s going to flip.

P.S. I just need to share this little story, to get it off my chest: So you guys now know about Grimaldi’s the famous, famous pizza place near my new apartment, that always has this HUGE, insane line? Well, I walked by with my mom and my aunt the other day, and there WAS NO LINE. (“There is no spoon….”) It was a miracle. There were empty tables. It may be the first time this has EVER happened, in the history of Grimaldi’s. It is definitely the last time it will ever happen. So I’m freaking out and jumping up and down and yelling things like, “Pizza! Pizza!” And my mom and aunt go, “We’re full…”

Yes. They turned out their (and my) only shot at Grimaldi’s. At least without waiting three hours on a sidewalk. Just like that. As though it didn’t even matter.

I told Bear when he got home, and he was like, “You didn’t get any to go??!”

Nope. They were out the door and on their way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

And I will never speak to either one of them again.

I’m kidding. I totally will. But it will hurt me to do so.

P.P.S. These photos are for Krystina:


Kate on August 11th 2011 in food, new york

50 Responses to “Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates. Because I’m a rebel.”

  1. Krystina responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I love this. I think every chick feels this way. :) Please, please, please share a picture of your “buzzed” haircut! I am sporting a mullett right now due to a brain tumor operation. I haven’t gotten the courage yet to chop all my hair off!

  2. Krystina responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    …you also have me craving a muffin…

  3. Kate responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    You got it. Putting photos at the bottom of this post now. I really, really hope your brain is OK! And I bet when you cut all your hair off, you’ll feel a lot freer. That’s how I feel :)

  4. Maria responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    First: you look absolutely gorgeous in a buzz!

    Second: I can SO much relate to what you describe in this post – that Voldemort-voice is in my head too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and reminding me that Voldemort-voice doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Next time I have a piece of cake, I’ll think of you (in a she’s-cool-and-that-post-made-me-feel-great-way, not the creepy-stalkerish-way, I mean).

  5. Amy responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    It amazes me that no matter what you do to your hair, it (YOU) look great. Confidence looks good! I do envy that you can wear a tank top without a bra. I have never had nice smooth breasts that look good that way. I always have to employ band-aids or tape. Not a comfortable proposition. Strapless bras are out of the question.

  6. Lorelai responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but have never commented, but now I must stop lurking and say that I LOVE your hair. I am so, so jealous. I would absolutely buzz my head, but alas my head is secretly kind of weirdly shaped under all this hair. CRUEL FATE. But you look awesome and I love your blog (and muffins).

  7. Harriet responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Love the hair! I have to say I have known very few men who are as drawn to sweets and carbs as most women I know are. My husband and I went to Paris for our honeymoon, and if it hadn’t been for me we would never have ordered dessert or tried the pastries. I believe that I’m the one who was the good influence. :)

  8. Tina responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    :) Wow. You made my day. Thanks bunches Kate! You look great and I am getting my hair chopped off soon. I think you’re right, I will feel better after I do it.

  9. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    I just started reading your blog, which I enjoy very much by the way. I’m not a big sweet eater and rarely eat ice cream, but I can appreciate the attitude. I will never give up carbs. I also have to say…you USED to be thin? As in you’re NOT thin now? Wow…you look great. Keep eating ice cream, you look good…and healthy. Love the buzz cut!

  10. Kate responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I don’t think I would describe my breasts as “nice and smooth” :)
    And honestly, I rarely have the confidence to go out braless. But when I do, it feels great and I feel awesome. I’m trying to do it more.

  11. Kate responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Yeah, what is up with that? Is there really something gendered and biological about sweets? Could that be possible?

  12. Kate responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Well, I used to be skin and bones. Like, my ribs showed when I took off my shirt. I’ve gained twenty pounds since then!

  13. LIT responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Watching a re-run of Chappelle show last night, Dave was showing a woman how no one would like her if she didn’t have large breasts. My hubby turns to me and asks if I’ve ever wondered how life would be if I didn’t have huge boobs. I said no- but I’ve always wondered how different I would be if I were thin. He told me he always wanted to be bigger and more muscular. I said, “I probably would have been a slut” and he says, “yeah, I probably would have been an asshole.” We high-fived about the fact that we’re probably better off just the way we are. I’m so glad to acknowledge that even my dream self would have problems!

  14. Mme Wong responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Pretty girl!
    Love the hair, and the dress, and the everything!

  15. Pam S. responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    There is good science behind the low-carb diet. Chronically elevated insulin levels cause all sorts of problems, so good for your dad for knowing he needs to eat low carb since his pancreas can’t produce the insulin needed to keep the blood sugar in check.
    I never realized that insulin had anything to do with Fat storage until I read the following article. I always thought eating fat is what made us fat, but not the case!

  16. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Have you ever had butter tarts? They’re an amazingly delicious Canadian dessert phenomenon ( I recently discovered this… I always figured butter tarts were available internationally) and they’re a lot like that “salty honey” pie of which you speak. Except a tart and not a pie.

    …although the French Canadians make a variation called sugar pie (tarte au sucre) which is, in fact, a pie. And is, in fact, delicious.

    And while your on the Canadian dessert bandwagon try some nanaimo bars and thank me later

  17. Kerry responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Harriet – I completely agree with you. I have never in my life met a man who experienced the magnetic reaction to sweets that I have seen in myself and girlfriends.

    Also just a fun fact – I work with Alzheimer’s patients and a side effect of dementia is a craving for sweets as the appetite for all other food groups diminishes. That brain is a crazy organ, it is.

    Kate, keep up the great work!

  18. Kate responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    @Pam S
    Couldn’t agree with you more! Just love carbs…

  19. Nicole T. responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Just have to mention that I know all about Gary Taubes & GCBC, and have done a lot of research into his theory. I have found his argument full of holes, so don’t be scared to keep eating those muffins.

  20. Shari responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Fantastic Blog! Love it, thank you for writing all of the thoughts in my head.

  21. San D responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    You mean the basic food groups aren’t chocolate, fat, salt, sugar and flour??!! Say it ain’t so.

  22. gwen responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Kate, you look amazing with the buzz cut. UH-MAY-ZING! Someday I will be brave enough to do that too.

  23. Jessica responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    About the “Good Calorie Bad Calorie” book, I have found that putting a moral emphasis on food, only makes you obsess and put moral value on your self when eating those good or bad foods! And I dont like that idea! So go you! Eat what you want and I will too!

  24. Sooz responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    I feel EXACTLY this way. I am always feeling guilty no matter what I eat. Even though I really really enjoy eating. ALways there is guilt. And after eating I always say, “I’ll only eat salads from now on”. Who do I think I’m kidding? Anyway, you look lovely with your buzz cut. Very becoming. :)

  25. PJ responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Damn that muffin looks good. Although now I’m thinking about pizza. And I cream. Crap. Pftttt it’s summer, eat the damn ice cream. Before you know it, it will be winter and then you can sip on skinny soup. Or cream soups :) Great blog, really glad I found it. Oh I dig your hair too although I have no idea what it looked like prior to the buzz, it looks good on ya.

  26. Jen responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    I believe in GC/BC, have read and listened to the author explain it, and still–it is really hard not to eat carbs. It must be what cigarette smokers and alcoholics endure–an steady siren song, beckoning me to eat what I know is my thinner self’s undoing.

    As I look at my wiggly tricep and inner thigh fat, I think, “If you would never touch another piece of bread, if you would relent your dark chocolate and wine attachment, those layers of fat energy would burn away and you’d look as lean and strong as you actually are (I’m quite strong but none too lean).

    When I went low carb for about six weeks, I dropped to my lowest weight (still a lot, by female standards). I felt powerful. I felt I had conquered my chubby body finally. Over the last eight years, ten lbs have crept back. It’s the carbs. Damn them.

  27. Karen Fridkis responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    gorgeous – as you always have been and always will be!

  28. Gaby responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Do you know who said that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”? Kate Moss. Do you *really* think you, or anyone, should live by what she has to say? I hope not :)

  29. Michelle F responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    1) I can think of at least forty-two things that taste better than skinny feels. And what’s great is that I can pick any of those things, playback what it felt like to eat it, and it makes me happy. Playing back how I felt when I weighed less never makes me feel happy. So, go ahead, eat the damn cake.

    2) I don’t know what Grimaldi’s is, but if I’m ever with you in your ‘hood and there’s no line, I will totally go with you. As a matter of fact, I’ll go with you even if there is a line.

    3) LOVE the hair. =)

  30. Sarah responded on 11 Aug 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    The ‘no carbs’ thing is absolute silliness. So much pseudo-science (written in a ‘sciency’ way) that it’s not even funny. Really. I think it’s important that you not feel like you’re doing the wrong thing by eating carbs, even if so many people you know are presenting evidence that appears convincing. The internet is so infuriating sometimes, but even more infuriating is how difficult it can be to get people to recognise pseudoscience.


    You look great, Kate. Love the hair.

  31. Mandy responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 12:57 am #

    That guilty feeling might not have anything to do with food, and everything to do with being able to enjoy something people around to you can’t.
    Which, if true, is just plain WRONG. Depriving yourself isn’t going to do others any good.
    So, enjoy your carbs. Delight in them. Savor them. A little decadence is good for the soul!

    Unroast: Today, I love the fact that I can eat what I like without feeling guilty. Thank you, Kate, for reminding me what a real blessing that is!

    PS: I think “shapely” is a much better term than “skinny”(a term which reminds be forcibly of Olive Oyl–ugh!). “Shapely” can be anything from muscular to curvy to slender.

  32. Mandy responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 1:01 am #

    San D:
    Sugar, salt, fat and CAFFEINE are the four food groups! Chocolate is almost perfect, because it has 3 out of 4!

    And, BTW, thank you for explaining DUMBO to me earlier.

  33. Sari responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 2:55 am #

    Screw the ice cream. You just made me want to buzz my hair off again. But I like my never-before-in-my-life curls. And I liked the buzz. Damn you! (It looks awesome, obviously! I vote for keeping it for awhile!)
    Ok, back to ice cream… there’s a place near my apt in Tel Aviv with amazing stuff. I usually opt for the sorbets bc it’s so f-ing hot, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out when my choices are flavors like guava-mint and campari-pink grapefruit. ;-) Ok… and sometimes tiramisu ice cream… (Ice cream would be a good reason to come visit Israel, right?)

  34. Quin responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 5:27 am #

    I found this blog fairly recently, but now I’ve been going through the archives when I have time. And checking for new updates once or twice a day…

    I’ve always been referred to as a stick figure by my family, so when I started filling out (I’m 20 and my hips finally decided to become more “childbearing” instead of “continuation of legs”) my first reaction was to blame my job at a coffee shop with access to free pastries every day. It took me months to realize that freaking out over an extra 15 pounds (that brought me up to my first ever “healthy” BMI) was stupid, and now I’ve learned to embrace the hips (although I have learned self-restraint with the free pastries).

    The whole thing made me realize that it would have been much more beneficial if my family had complimented me when I looked healthy, not famine-stricken.

  35. Layla responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 5:52 am #

    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t eat carbs. I find it odd that there are people who don’t, you need some carbs to stay healthy and give you slow release energy.
    My boyfriend actually likes cake more than me, which is good. I love cake. I actually want a muffin right now after seeing that photo. And that pie sounds amazing…Mmmm.

  36. Meredith responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 7:33 am #

    No carbs? Your body needs carbohydrate! Even diabetics need carbohydrate, just in consistent amounts throughout the day. Of course, there are “better for you” carbs that are preferred (whole grains, fruits, starchy veggies, skim milk). I really hope your family and Bear haven’t completely eliminated these!

  37. sophie responded on 12 Aug 2011 at 8:48 am #

    that voice is my worst enemy but constant companion. i hate it

  38. kyla responded on 13 Aug 2011 at 1:35 am #

    your hair looks amazing, it suits you perfectly :)

  39. dsquared responded on 13 Aug 2011 at 10:48 am #

    I love your blog but I really don’t get you, sometimes. The impression you give when you write about fighting the guilt about eating (and enjoying your food) would leave one to believe that you are a 500 lb. blimp-of-a-being,who needs to lose weight.
    In every picture I see of you, you appear to be thin (even with the camera adding 5-10lbs).
    Why the struggle? You eat what you want, all the while maintaining a healthy weight. I bet there are many women who aren’t as blessed with your metabolism who must read this and think of you as a “whiner.”
    One last thought…and I’m asking this gently and conversationally…why do you obsess about your hair and cutting it off?

  40. Mandy responded on 13 Aug 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    May I gently point out that the point (at least as I see it) is that even women others would consider thin have difficulty seeing themselves objectively, and can have body issues.
    Kate isn’t “a whiner.” She is just voicing fears and insecurities we’ve all had, regardless of how much or little we weigh, or how attractive we might be to others.

    And Kate’s hair? She isn’t obsessing–she’s done something with it that’s very daring, for a woman (how many women do you know who have buzz cuts?) She evidently found it empowering, and is sharing that feeling with all of us. For which I thank her.

  41. Deanna responded on 13 Aug 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I never believed the hype about a low carb diet. I always ate a balanced diet carbs and all and maintained my weight well into my 40s. I was always thin, healthy and fit. Then I got my blood test results and although I knew I had some trouble with high LDLS I had no idea my glucose levels had been climbing. The doc insisted I go on a low carb diet which…by the way, IS KILLING ME. I have decided that since I have to cut back on the carbs I have to eat more in the way of fat since without carbs or fat there isn’t much left to eat. I also workout all the time so I am hungry.

    I think there may be some truth to this carb thing. I have no idea how my glucose got so high but I am hoping that with my next blood test the levels will be lower since I have cut back (not eliminated because that is virtually impossible for me)on all sugar products, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. I also limit myself to two or three glasses of wine a week as opposed to 5 or 6.

  42. Yan responded on 13 Aug 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I’m dairy-free not entirely by choice, so I understand where some of your family members are coming from — and I also know that my friends often react to my lack of cheese with cravings and guilt.

    The fact that this is carbs, with all their loaded meanings in current US diet culture, and that you’re female add a different dimension to your musings. Not to the contrast between your diet and Bear’s, but to the food choice guilt.

    Personally, I think that if you’re enjoying your food, it is not making you sick, it is feeding your body and soul, then you are making empowered choices for your own life.

    I may need to go make muffins now, as there are no amazing bakeries in my neighborhood that don’t use dairy.

  43. sara responded on 13 Aug 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    I totally understand the guilt, not in terms of weight, because I wouldn’t mind gaining a few, but health-wise. Sometimes I just feel so guilty about not having a more balanced diet or eating out too much (can’t really afford to do that either). We forget that skinny doesn’t mean healthy (I think Already Pretty linked to a post about it this week). I’m skinny but I don’t exercise enough and I need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Yes, I can eat yummy treats too, but I feel like I have to start making the healthier alternative a priority. (I also have a sensitive stomach and get sick easily so healthy eating helps me there too)

  44. Lucy responded on 15 Aug 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I just wanted to chime in and say I do know a man who’s very much into sweets. They don’t seem as common as women dessert-lovers but they’re out there. He’ll match me chocolate bar for chocolate bar.

  45. Kate responded on 15 Aug 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    That sounds like so much fun! I’m kinda jealous.

  46. j responded on 17 Aug 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    I am from your new neighborhood, and I am here to tell you: don’t feel bad. Grimaldi’s was super awesome like fifteen years ago. Now it’s really only so-so, and Fascati – you know, the kind of sketchy little place on Henry Street? is way better, and there’s basically never a line. Go there instead. I’ll even take you, since I’m in town right now. (Yeah, I know you don’t know me, but your blog makes me smile on the regular.)

    Also you’ve mentioned like ALL MY FAVORITE THINGS IN ONE POST. Nom.

  47. j responded on 17 Aug 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    p.s. I <3 your hair.

  48. j responded on 19 Aug 2011 at 11:21 am #

    aaand I just walked by and Fascati is closed until early september. doh.

  49. Danielle responded on 22 Aug 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi Kate,

    I’ve just discovered you through a piece that was published on nerve and I have to say, I’m in love!

    I have been poring through your blog all morning. (I “work from home” so it’s easy enough!). This entry spoke to me particularly loudly. I was sitting here, eating my whole wheat english muffin with all-natural peanut butter with flaxseeds and feeling guilty for it, because I should have been eating fruit. Yup, just fruit.

    Must. deprogram. immediately.

    Also, I want some ice cream, with extra chocolate sauce. Maybe for lunch. :)

  50. Hannah responded on 22 Aug 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    I would not want voldemort in my mind and I loooovvvvvveeeee ice cream !