The Smelly Deli Diet


I recently heard on the “John Tesh” radio show, (yes, I know I am a geek), that certain food scents can actually help you lose weight. In one study, Dr Alan Hirsh from the “Smell and Taste Research Foundation”, claims that participants were told to smell green apple, banana or peppermint scents when they were hungry. According to Dr Hirsh, this group averaged 5 lbs weight loss per month and some lost up to 30 pounds in the 6 month study. Evidently smelling these scents triggers your brain into thinking you’ve eaten it, thereby reducing your food intake, ultimately resulting in major weight loss.

Well, this sounds like the diet for me.

The trick is NOT to eat the apple or banana, but merely smell it before you commence to stuff your face.

Another sure-fire way to eat less and thus lose weight, is to walk into my neighborhood deli and breathe.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the loosely used term deli, deli can mean 2 things.

The first is the obvious abbreviation of the word DELICATESSAN. This kind of deli typically is a casual eatery serving such meats as corned beef, pastrami or tongue.

The other more popular term deli is the storefront on almost every corner of Manhattan, usually owned and operated by Koreans, thus the term “Korean Deli”. These delis are typically open 24/7 and 365 days a week, are usually spotlessly clean, well-lit and well merchandised. These mini emporiums sell everything, and I mean everything you might ever need. From Apples and Advil to zucchini and ZONE bars, these tiny superstores have it.

Unfortunately in my neck of the woods (TriBeCa), there are very few of the latter. Unlike the Upper East Side or Upper West Side where you can literally stretch your arms and touch two different delis simultaneously, in my neighborhood you will have to walk a few blocks to get to the nearest one.

I was lazy and opted to go to the closest deli. Big Mistake. Although there was not a bullet proof partition separating the cashier from the rest of the store, there might as well have been based on the decor or lack thereof.

The horrible smell that enveloped me as soon as I walked through the cloudy glass door was enough to make me hurl. The “old grease” stench was thick, heavy and stagnant as clearly the proprietor had never heard of an exhaust fan. I quickly grabbed my hermetically sealed items and waited in line to pay. While waiting on line, I glanced over at the food that was sitting in the showcase. Clearly these items looked like they had seen better days. The filthy and grease ladden griddle looked like a testing ground for new forms of e-coli. One frycook had his finger up his nose and the other had his hand stuck in his waistband. I sincerely doubt that they abided by the required sign in the bathroom “All Employees must wash their hands”. The last tell-tale sign was seeing the large unusually fat cat lurking around the premises. (Hint, when there is a cat, there is or were mice). Ugh.

Upon exiting I unhappily noticed that my newly washed “apple fresh” hair now reeked of old grease from my brief interlude with the dirty deli.

Although I had been mildly hungry before entering this establishment, I was definitely no longer hungry upon leaving. Smelling that dirty deli had miraculously cured me of my hunger!

I wonder if John Tesh would be interested in talking about “my study”.

Chow for now!