Going Gluten-FreeApril 20, 2010

Size Matters


Living Without’s Laurel Greene says the world may be getting smaller, but she’s been getting bigger. And here’s why.

While sorting through some old dishes my mom saved from her restaurant (she owned a little diner when I was young), I was struck by a very mundane item—a heavy, white china coffee cup. No, I wasn’t struck in the head by it; I was dumbfounded by its size. It was only three inches high! I took out a measuring cup. The coffee cup held just over 6 ounces. Then I looked at the divided dinner plates. The two sections for “sides” were only three inches wide and 4 inches long, about the size of my palm. A juice glass held 6 ounces, a milk glass 8 ounces. As kids, my sister and I shared a 6-½ ounce Coke as a treat.

Sheesh, no wonder we have trouble with our weights and obesity. Everything is so super-sized today we don’t even know what a normal portion is any more! Those going gluten-free have a particular problem with calories, since many of the substitutes used in baking are high calorie, or there's often lots of sugar added. Let’s face it, gluten free or not, any kind of flour mixed with sugar and fat is going to produce a high-calorie product. Can you eat it? Sure. Can you eat all you want? Probably not.

What I try to do is think about what I need to avoid and then look at all the foods left for me, foods that I really love—like fresh fruit and berries, green leafy vegetables, crisp carrots, radishes and cucumbers. All good for me! Then I think about adapting recipes using healthier ingredients. Granitas and sorbets replacing ice cream, for example. Or a brown rice pudding made with coconut milk, fruit and a touch of honey to stand in for standard bread pudding. But mostly, I have to remember portion size. Maybe if I go back to 1960s-sized “normal” portions, I can get back into my 1960s-sized clothes. Probably not! But I am paying closer attention to not only what I eat—but how much of it.  What about you?

Comments (4)

Bravo for you, Karen! The healthiest person I know doesn't eat gluten. I'll bet you can find a recipe for a gf pretzel and make them once in a while! I had an epiphany today and had made a promise to myself...funny thing is, after my neighbor delivered the epiphany I said to myself "as soon as I finish that carton of Turtle Tracks ice cream I bought today, I'll do better." After reading your posting I decided I'll give it away - today. And as you said, I will embrace this change and have high hopes for a healthier future. Thank you for the inspiration!

Posted by: Elgie | May 24, 2010 2:03 PM    Report this comment

I've recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I am not under weight as so many are but over weight. I have to be especially careful and check the labels that state they are GF to see how many calories are in the products. The high fat and calorie content is a bit frightening. I want to make finding out I am a celiac an opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. I was diagnosed on April 29, 2010, the first week was the worst, running a mental list of all the foods I'll never eat again. My life time affair with the Philadelphia soft pretzel now at an end. I am now embracing this change and I have high hopes for a healthier future.

Posted by: Karen W | May 23, 2010 8:19 PM    Report this comment

One good thing about baking your own bread is you know exactly what goes into it. Since I found out how to substitute flax seed gel for the eggs in bread, my GF bread has more fiber and a nice nutty flavor.

Posted by: Karen2B | April 27, 2010 6:55 PM    Report this comment

look back at old tv shows/stars and see how people have gained weight...

Posted by: ann g | April 23, 2010 12:35 PM    Report this comment

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