INMATES & HEALTH

The Common Fare Diet by Stephen Newman

I’m now on day three of this most unwelcome Orofino Prison Flu. It hit me like a greyhound bus on Tuesday, complete with a headache, fever, chills, and a cough. Now, the cough is all that remains. If I was a woman working a 900 phoneline, my voice might be an asset. Instead, it is hoarse and raspy and every time I talk, I cough. A bunch of us caught this flu all at once. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

So it’s day three of the flu, but day one of my new Common Fare diet. It is a kosher diet, and all the food comes pre-packaged. I microwave it for five minutes in the chow hall, before eating it, except for lunch, which I take back to the unit to eat.

No, I’m not Jewish. I chose this kosher diet because it had the fewest calories of all the diets. I also like the fact the food is pre-packaged and pre-portioned. It leaves less room for error, as the kitchen staff often adds a little extra butter, or more potatoes, or a bigger dessert, and I end up eating more than I want to. This is a forced portion control.

The other reason I started this diet is to force some structure into my life. I am required to go to every meal, which means I have to wake up at 5 am for breakfast. I can then shower by 6, read the paper, and be at work by 7 am. I feel I’ll be much more productive with a set routine, and I hope time will pass more quickly. Now that I’ve been given a release date for November 19th, time has slowed to a crawl.

I hope to lose 40 pounds by the time I’m released. I’m not sure how much I weigh now. Probably 235. So if I can get to 190 by the time I get out, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something this year. Plus I’ll look and feel better! I figure I’d rather diet now, and enjoy food once I’m out, instead of enjoying prison food, and then having to diet once I get out. That’s no fun!

My first breakfast on the new diet:
2 very small pancakes
Oatmeal
Banana
Whole milk
Refried Beans (an odd choice!)

My first lunch:
-Soy nuts
-2 small slices of whole grain bread and jelly
-Green beans in a vinegar dressing
-Cooked carrots
-Sugar cookie

We will.see how dinner goes. One other advantage is that I get to go to the front of the chow hall line. I shout “common fare” into the window of the kitchen, and out pops a frozen meal in a paper tray.

I also.have stopped ordering commissary junk food. I buy only coffee, creamer, diet soda, and pickles. Otherwise, I will survive only on the food I’m given at chow. Most people who try this diet quit within a week, but I’m determined to be successful. I’m competitive. Once I set my mind to something, there’s no turning back.

Stephen Newman
DOC #90843

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