My Food Diary, Re-Written by a Celebrity Features Writer
Flirty giggles and all
“I’ve been eating here at least three times a week for years,” Rachel Miller says as she slides into her desk chair and sets a plastic container holding a salad from the Cosí closest to her office down amidst stacks of books and colorful patterned file folders she recently impulse-bought at Home Goods. “It’s my favorite spot.” Clad in Seven jeans she nabbed on sale at Nordstrom Rack three years ago, a white cable-knit sweater, and thick-rimmed black glasses covered in visible fingerprints, she digs into her salad, splashing droplets of balsamic vinaigrette all over her desk’s surface as she does. “I think this is like…500 calories?” she says distractedly as she tucks her foot under her bottom and squints at her computer screen. “Wait!” she exclaims, holding up a single finger and showing off an extremely chipped manicure. “Let me just look it up to be sure!” Then, triumphantly, a moment later: “Turns out it’s actually 550!”
Rachel Miller is holding a mug gingerly between her fingers and examining the brown liquid inside it with the kind of concentration typically reserved for AIDS researchers peering into their microscopes. She just removed the mug from the microwave and is trying to determine exactly how hot its contents got during the two-minute nuking before she takes her first sip. “Tazo tea — I bought it from Target,” she says, looking over the edge of the mug at me and blowing gently on the surface of the beverage. “It’s the Awake one…I think? Is that the purple one?” Miller is wearing a thin white V-neck T-shirt (also from Target, which she enthusiastically calls “the best”), black Nikes, and relatively expensive black yoga pants, even though she hasn’t worked out once this week and it’s already Thursday. “Oh, and a splash of milk,” she adds, furrowing one imperfectly-groomed brow. “So I guess that’s about 30 more calories?”
“This soup is really good,” Rachel Miller says as she takes a bite of the white bean, sausage, and kale soup that she is eating for lunch today — as she did yesterday, the day before it, and the day before that. (“I’m, like, totally boring,” she’ll later tell me of her diet.) Spoon still in hand, Miller hunches over the bowl and scrolls through her iPhone, unaware that an inch-wide section of her mahogany hair is submerged in the broth. “Two hundred calories per serving, but the entire can has one and a half servings, so it would actually be 300 calories,” she murmurs as she searches her text messages for the link to some article about Men’s Rights’ Activists that her friend sent her this morning as she was heading into a meeting. “And the eight Wheat Thins add another 70 calories. I guess I’ll just round up to 400 for the meal.” She looks at me and then giggles.
“We get takeout from here pretty much every Friday night,” Rachel Miller is saying as she tucks into a steak burrito from the newish Mexican place in her Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s 9 p.m. and she’s curled up in the bed where she and her husband Eric eat most of their meals together. She takes a swig of her Shiner Bock and then wipes her fingers on one of the thin paper napkins that she spread over her plaid pajama pants. “I don’t know how many calories are in the burrito, but it’s my cheat meal anyway,” she tells me. “Still, I’m only eating half of it because the portions are HUGE.”
“Baby,” Eric interrupts her gently, “you have something in your hair.” Miller runs her fingers through her bangs and looks at him, expectantly. “Nope,” he says. She shakes her head vigorously, then fluffs her bangs again. “Still nope,” he says. He sets his meal down and meticulously picks at her chestnut strands, eventually pulling a mysterious white substance from her locks “Sour cream?” he suggests. “Oh, nope, Greek yogurt!” she says. “From…breakfast???” he says. Rachel shrugs and winks at me, tossing her hair behind her shoulders and somehow trapping a bit of pinto bean in her tresses as she does.
Rachel Miller, wearing a black Lands’ End winter coat that resembles a sleeping bag, black leggings coated in a not insignificant amount of dog hair, and brown Ugg boots she’s had since college, leans out the window of her 2010 Jeep Compass. Her skin is makeup-free and she’s brushed neither her hair nor her teeth today. “Can I get an Egg McMuffin and a hash brown?” she shouts. “And a Diet Coke!” She turns to me and I whisper my order to her. “And a Number Three with a coffee,” she shouts out the window. “Anything else?” a bored voice asks her through the speaker for the second time this morning. Miller gives me a conspiratorial look, then turns back to the window and cries, “And an order of hot cakes!” Then, to me, with a coy little glance: “My entire meal will be, like, 700 calories. But I’m just so thrilled we made it before they stopped serving breakfast at 10:30!”
“I like to make myself a bedtime snack of a single packet of instant oatmeal that I make with water, half a sliced banana, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and a just teeny bit of peanut butter,” Rachel Miller is telling me as she lifts a spoonful of the aforementioned grains from a pretty blue bowl she bought at Anthropologie in 2011, when she got really into the retailer’s home section but couldn’t justify buying more than one $12 bowl at a time and she was living alone anyway so buying just a single bowl seemed fine. She still finds it hard to believe that in just five years, she’s achieved the level of career success where she can kind of afford to buy four matching bowls at Anthropologie at once. “I try to keep the whole thing around 200 calories, but I don’t obsess about it too much because pretty much everything in it is healthy,” she says, nibbling at the oat mixture and giving me a sly grin. “And, anyway, life’s too short to worry about every single calorie!”