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April 20, 2010
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?