Just burn those excess pounds away

2b

November 05, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

If people have enough faith in Dr. Spiro Antoniades to let him operate on their spines, why not trust the guy for weight-loss advice? Two words: hot sauce.

The Hopkins-trained spine surgeon has just written The Hot Sauce Diet: A Journey of Behavior Modification, a self-published book that's for sale on Amazon and will soon be stocked in the gift shops at Mercy and St. Agnes hospitals, where he operates.

Antoniades tells dieters to douse their food with Tabasco so they eat slowly and drink lots of water. He also advocates taking a straight shot of the stuff when food cravings strike, to more or less unring Pavlov's bell.

"For serious, inappropriate, uncontrollable hunger, I recommend a full swig of hot sauce straight from the bottle," he writes. "I know this is drastic, but inappropriate hunger behavior needs to be punished. Once the swig is in your mouth, you should not swallow it immediately but rather swish it around like a wine connoisseur until the burning effect diminishes."

If that sounds hard to swallow, consider that the physician has healed himself. A year ago, he said, he had 265 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame. The 40-year-old father of three said he dropped 70 pounds - and is ulcer-free.

Hot sauce gave him the negative reinforcement he said he needed to shake off the gluttony and guilt wrapped up in his Greek-American roots.

"My dad grew up in Athens, during the German occupation," Antoniades said. "Any time I didn't finish my food, I had to hear that lecture, how they were hungry during the occupation. ... You can't eat at family houses because they think you're sick if you don't just gorge yourself."

Antoniades said he didn't even try shopping his book around to publishers. He just wanted to create a guide for colleagues who keep asking how he lost all the weight. He has no plans to become a full-time diet guru.

"I have a day job," he said.

Cut! Splice! Debate!

Martin O'Malley wanted to stand. Robert Ehrlich wanted to sit. O'Malley wanted a formal debate. Ehrlich wanted a conversation.

Given all the bickering that went on before they actually got down to the business of debating, who would have predicted that the governor and mayor would go head-to-head one more time - the day before Election Day?

Not that voters are likely to be influenced by Jojo and Reagan's Non-Influential Non-Political Political Debate, airing tomorrow morning on Mix 106.5.

"We asked both gubernatorial candidates hard-hitting, demanding questions, like, `Where'd you take your wife on your first date?'" host Reagan Warfield e-mailed me.

Warfield shared some of the highlights from the faux debate - created with clips from separate interviews (O'Malley at City Hall, Ehrlich at the station's studios).

What did they get in trouble for most as a kid? Ehrlich: "Very little." O'Malley: "Not coming home by dinner time."

First job? Ehrlich: "Lining the fields for the Parks and Recreation Department in Baltimore County." O'Malley: "Working at a La Pizzeria in Rockville, scrubbing dishes and mopping floors."

If each candidate had Jojo and Reagan over for a home-cooked dinner, what would he make? Ehrlich: "I would not cook." O'Malley: "I'd probably just do steaks on the grill and some steamed vegetables."

Favorite board game? Ehrlich: "Stratego." O'Malley: "Risk."

Warfield - a Scattergories and Taboo fan deeply troubled by that last exchange - wasn't giving everything away.

"[W]ill we ever see Bob and Martin put partisanship aside and join up for a common cause, just like Clinton and Bush Sr. have in recent years? One candidate says, `Doubtful.' The other says, `Sure, he just needs to lay down his arms and surrender unconditionally and we could be friends,'" he wrote.

You'll also have to tune in to find out where the Ehrlichs and O'Malleys went on their first dates, how each candidate proposed to his wife, and what embarrassing fashion trend each regrets taking part in.

Connect the dots

No telling which one will win, but we know Ehrlich and O'Malley will be close on election night. Close, as in just steps away from each other at their after parties. O'Malley's shindig will be at the Hippodrome, and Ehrlich's will be at the Wyndham. ... Ex-governors usually can look forward to getting a bridge or building named in their honor. Poor Harry Hughes gets a kind of confusing mouthful: the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology in Queenstown. The center, which is affiliated with the University of Maryland, will be dedicated this month, in honor of Hughes' 80th birthday. ... Who was that really, really tall guy at Baltimore's ESPN Zone the other night? Gheorghe Muresan, the former NBA player who stands 7-foot-7. My spy says he was watching basketball and greeting fans.

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