March 26, 2004

Bean Man - The Aftermath

Pat & Beans Regular readers of The Sneeze will remember that my friend, Patrick, made a public vow to eat nothing but baked beans for a month after Ashton Kutcher's recent movie "The Butterfly Effect" made more than $40 million in its first 4 weeks.

I interviewed him when he began his bean-filled odyssey, and here we are 4 weeks and many many many cans of beans later. As we near the end of Pat's Baked Beans Challenge, we talked about how it all went.


What has been your average daily intake of beans?

Three cans. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Occasionally, I skip the breakfast can and just chew on some gum, then have a can between lunch and dinner as a snack. Amazingly, I haven't had too many problems with hunger, but it's becoming a bigger and bigger struggle.

Have you cheated? I know there are penalties in place if you did.

Sadly, yes. I went to Ithaca, where I attended college, on day six of the challenge. I had every intention of just eating beans at the motel, but I grew weak and couldn't pass up the legendary Rogan's Pizza I had eaten as an undergrad. Once I did that, it snowballed into a weekend of regular eating. But I've been, ahem, busted.

My penalty is watching Dude, Where's My Car?, My Boss's Daughter, and whatever the film was that starred Brittany Murphy - Dude, where's My Anorexic Newlywed or something. Those are all on tap for April. Watching them will be more difficult than the four weeks of bean-eating.

Are you showing any signs of disease?

Nope. During the first two weeks of the challenge, I actually became more focused at work with higher energy levels. A result of not snacking. Week three, my energy levels were more normal, but my focus was just as high, only it wasn't on work - it was on avoiding Easter candy.

Do baked beans still taste as good today as they did on day one?

No. I've stuck with one brand for most of the challenge, and that was a mistake. I'm beginning to have the gag reflex as I open a can of this particular brand, so I've shifted to others. My favorite? Grandma's Baked Beans. Good ol' Grandma's been a savior. Grandma and catsup.

What is the one food item you miss most?

During the first two weeks, it was chocolate. Now, it's anything that lives in a barn.

How have your gas levels been compared to before the challenge?

First couple of weeks were very normal. Then everything changed for about three days. I hit a high during the end of week two where I literally spent hours of my day deciding when it was safe to let off some steam. Fortunately, I'm back to normal.

Now here's an interesting fact: bean gas doesn't smell that bad. Given the amount I was emitting, I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of odor. Oh, and it turns out a Week 3 bean fart is rather quiet and calming - the Enya of the Fart Kingdom.

PatHas your weight changed?

People have told me I actually look healthier now. I didn't weigh myself prior to the challenge, but I can say I believe I've lost a few pounds. Nothing really noticeable, but one or two pair of pants that had been really tight are now only tight.

After this challenge is over, how long before you eat baked beans again?

2011. The thought of that gooey substance that canned beans comes in is really beginning to turn my stomach. I actually used some of it this weekend to spackle my bathroom.

Has your fiancee eaten beans with you at any point as a show of solidarity?

No, but Joanna's been amazing. Even though I know she thinks what I'm doing is assinine. She called me one night while out with the girls - they had walked into some deli in Manhattan and found "Beanies & Weenies," loved the name, and wanted to grab me three cans. I agreed, but it turns out that the "Weenies" taste like a cross between silly puddy and peat moss. But it was fun trying something new. At her desk at work, she has a big color photocopy of me napping with baked bean cans scattered all over me. Underneath the photo she's written: "Yes, I'm going to marry this man." I'm a lucky guy.

Has this challenge brought with it any unexpected insights or wisdom?

Yeah, three things:

1) Sneeze readers are really into this challenge.

2) I'm beginning to see looks of disappointment in my co-workers' faces when they ask, "How are you feeling?" and learn I've never been better.

3) I'm a moron for doing this challenge.

Imagine me sitting at home, it's 11pm, and I'm hungry as a bear coming out of hibernation. I know that I could easily go into my kitchen and just pig out on cookies, frozen pizza, birdseed, anything - and no one would ever know. But nope, I stick to it. Why? Because I'm a moron. But damn it, I'm a moron with principles. And Enya farts.


Check out Pat's Buzz List here.

You can read our pre-bean interview here.



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