Avoiding The Fat With Tips From Simon Doonan

By: Saira Malhotra

This week, Jeff Gordinier of the New York Times spoke to Simon Doonan of Barneys about his new book 'Gay Men Don't Get Fat'. As usual, Doonan brought his witty self to the interview and talked with Gordinier about the differences in food choices made by heterosexual and gay men.

The interview provides a tickle as you experience the conversation Gordinier and Doonan have over lunch. Gordiniers choice of dish - a Cuban sandwich with ham and cheese bursting at the seams and a generous helping of guacamole, Doonan's choice - a black angus meatloaf paired with arugula rather than a traditional dollop of mashed potatoes. Gordiniers choice represents indulgent gluttony while Doonan's choice represents indulgent balance.

As tongue and cheek as Doonan's delivery might be, there is an underlying message here. We are presented with food and beverage choices throughout the day whether it's from our very own kitchen or a restaurant. Why not make these choices consciously where we consider more than just palate and understand the wider impact on our health and personal goals.

Ordering a Caesar salad just to avoid the fattening options on the menu just doesn't cut it at times; after all, it is a salad. If you take a minute to deconstruct the dish you have chosen and align it to your reduced fat goal, you might be in for a surprise at that Caesar salad's content- after all it is the dressing ingredients in a lot of salads that pack on the fat.

A big juicy burger with fries and onion rings is an obvious fat laden choice, but what are some of the other dishes one should look out for at a restaurant? Doonan gives us some tips on how to avoid the extra fat while eating out. With Doonan in mind, here are a few foods to avoid:

1)Velvety soups, chowders and bisques - Cream-based soups are loaded with fat.

2)Chilies and stews - Often made with fatty cuts of beef and pork and then loaded with fried onions, sour cream and cheese, try to avoid these.

3)Pot pies - Frequently reinforced with extra fat for that unctuous mouth feel and crusted with a pastry laden with even more butter, pot pies are a no-no!

4)Salad dressings - Dressings are typically made with a ratio of 3:1, or rather, 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Ask for the dressing on the side and sparingly pour over the top.

5)Pastas with Mozzarella cheese - Mozzarella has a high fat content but weak flavor. For it to make any difference to your food it requires a substantial amount. Ask your server to substitute the mozzarella with parmesan which has a much more intense flavor and requires a lot less of it.

6)Tuna salad sandwich - Sounds like a sensible choice, but is it? With all that mayo to bind the tuna flakes, you may as well eat a lump of butter.

7)Eggplant anything - The options for this vegetable tend to be grilled, sauteed or deep fried. Any of these methods require a lot of oil because eggplants have a sponge like quality and soak it all up.

8)Breaded anything - AKA deep fried!

9)Scaloppine - Not obvious from looking at the dish (such as Chicken Piccata or Marsala) as it is finished in a sauce, but the method requires dredging in flour and cooked in a fair quantity of oil and butter.

10)Bacon - Sure it's better with bacon, especially if you're sporting the butter ball look this season.

What are some other health tips you use to avoid fat while eating out?

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