San Diego Zoo

Thursday 28 September 2006, 10:38 pm

On late Tuesday night and Wednesday, we drove from San Jose to San Diego. At 80 mph, and catching the LA traffic just right, it was a much shorter trip than I'd imagined. We left San Jose around 9:30 pm and arrived in the San Fernando Valley around 2:30 am, just five hours later. Next morning, one more hour to Anaheim, and two more hours to San Diego. Of course, after being up late the night before, we did have to take a nap. But a quick and enjoyable trip all around.

In the San Diego Zoo, we found a reptile building we don't remember having seen before, and a monitor lizard that is so huge he has his own building. The polar bears were not out, boo hoo! Their exhibit was being cleaned last week. We did see the pandas ... there are getting to be so many of them, only half are on exhibit at any one time. (This is partly because they are solitary animals and they don't get along when you put them all together.)

We had really good success with eating on this trip, despite the fact that we have two strikes against us: in addition to avoiding gluten, we are both now on Weight Watchers (more about that later). We found that Denny's has a "Fit Fare" meal that is a tasty omelette made with Egg Beaters. I think we ate one every day while we were gone. It does come with toast, which we asked them to replace with sliced tomatoes. It does not come with hash browns, the Denny's dish that makes me gag because of the putrid oil they use. The eggs themselves don't seem to be done in any oil or butter, because they are not greasy at all.

In San Diego, we ate both nights at Anthony's Fish Grotto in La Mesa. They have a wonderful rare tuna served with pineapple salsa (which doesn't contain any vinegar). We counted up the Weight Watchers points and discovered we still had enough remaining to split a glass of wine, which they graciously split into two glasses for us both times. Both waiters knew just enough about gluten allergies to ask the right questions of us and the cooks, and thankfully both times they steered us away from choices unsuitable for us. (They also have a special "healthy dining" menu specifically useful for those people counting calories, but most of those menu items contain gluten.)

OK, so on September 1 we both signed up at the local chapter of Weight Watchers. Mary has been on it before and she found it effective. I had developed a "Buddha Belly" and we decided to bite the bullet at the same time. We're our own 24/7 support group! And it has worked well. After one month, we have each lost about 15 pounds. Our grand goal is about 40 pounds each, though, and we hope to get there by around Christmas.

One item that really bites me is Coke. Three points per can. I can't drink Diet Coke because the Aspartame messes up my kidneys. I discovered this when I went to the chiropractor complaining of back pain. No, not the back, but the kidneys. In the store, I found Pepsi One, which contains Sucralose but no Aspartame. There is a similar Coke product but it has smaller amounts of Aspartame and other sweeteners. I do have a case of regular Coke in the garage and I grab one every once in a while when I want "the real thing" and I have a few points to spare. In our local Nob Hill store, I also found a special line of Diet Rite Zero products that use Sucralose. One is a cola but it has no caffeine. The others are Raspberry and Peach. The Raspberry is good; I haven't tried the others yet.