Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Food Matters: portion distortion

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Portion distortion is so real

I was reading a post about how much food portions had changed over the years. What a shocker!

A mocha coffee with whole milk is .... 350 calories. Or, 1464.4 kilojoules. That's enough for a whole lunch! Add to it a muffin.....500 calories/2092 kilojoules. That's another whole meal. But, this is a usual wee "snack". I had a very social day last week where I had 3 small flat whites, a brioche, & a toasted sandwich. I don't even want to count that all up.

We end up eating too much food

Some researchers are now saying that when we eat more than 600 calories/2510.4 calories in one sitting, it messes with our blood sugar. And this can set us for becoming pre diabetic, later in life. It is now very easy to consume that many energy units in one sitting. Mostly because our serving sizes have become so big, & these big sizes have become the norm.

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People say to me: how come people were thinner in the (for example) 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s? Portion distortion is one of the major reasons why. We now eat bigger meals. And monster snacks. A pasta meal eaten out can have 2 or more cups of pasta.....& that's before we add sauce, maybe garlic bread (seriously? when we're already having pasta?) An "older" serve of pasta was about 1 cup. 

I found an earlier book of the famous New Zealand cook, Alison Holst..... I cannot remember a time when Alison was not in my life. She was big on feeding people with nutritious, normal foods, & I have never forgotten reading one of her very old cookbooks (I search op shops just to read them!), how she would choose root vegetables over grains like rice, pasta. Because the vegetables had more nutrition. And it's hard to eat 2-3 cups of spuds!

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We can eat off smaller crockery

Our plates are bigger. To me, they are ugly & vulgar. But that's just me..... Our bowls are so big, too! And coffee mugs! 

I went to our local op shop & got some old crockery, in smaller sizes: 

  • a floral dinner plate
  • 1970s coffee mug, which is so-o-o much smaller than the monster coffee cups we now use
  • a teacup, saucer & side plate
  • a cereal bowl
 The teacup is so small compared to the now normal coffee mugs, but I love it. You can't actually fit much on the side plate, & the cereal bowl....is really tiny. I had been having porridge in a modern bowl. It's more of a mixing bowl, really. But now I just use the smaller, older dish, & of course, my portion is way smaller, because I can't fit too much in the bowl. And the dinner plate is plenty big enough. It's just not oversized.

Have smaller food

I have downsized to Vogels very thin bread, & now get grumpy when I can't find it, because even the sandwich slices are too much now. And I got really excited at a recent party when I saw small strawberries! Instead of those giant (vulgar) ones. I was getting a bit miffed that my favourite bought biscuits, gingernuts, & shortbread, had gotten really small. But now I'm pleased.

I was in Bali for 5 weeks a couple of years ago. I don't do well on peanuts, but there I had peanuts in some form every day. They were tiny, compared to the peanuts that we buy in New Zealand. And I really felt that because they hadn't been messed about with, by the growers, that was why I didn't react to them. 

And that to me, is a valid point. When I see our food getting bigger & bigger, such as apples & carrots, I get a bit sad, knowing that more & more people will not handle them so well.

It helps to say "no"

I haven't really ever mastered the polite art of refusal. I had a coffee with a friend on my above mentioned social day, & she had a piece of cake, cut it in half, ate one half, & wrapped up the other half to take home. 

I have to learn how to ignore politeness, & eating what's on the plate, & instead learn how to do this, too.

We get offered a piece of cake, or a slice, & they are so big! You could almost use a bakery biscuit as a plate, & eat off it, they are so big (& awful....). 

I want little food to come back! It was really nice. 

I nearly always have poached eggs for lunch out because big, heavy lunch meals make me instantly sleepy, & that's not a good way to be. But now I notice that eggs are often size 8. So even they are bigger. 

I would like to indulge in a cream doughnut occasionally, but they are the size of a small loaf. Half the day's calories/kilojoules, no doubt.

And make better choices

Sometimes I'll get a fresh vegetable juice when I'm out, because I love them, they are nutritious, & you can get a small size. And I feel so virtuous ticking all those boxes. 

And I once found an old-fashioned cafe, more of an old style caff, where they had wee sandwiches. What a treat. Nice carbs that don't make you sleepy.

I guess, really, that we need to re-educate ourselves as to portion sizes. Or, is it really un-educate ourselves. 

I love nice little food. It's delicious & you end up eating mostly good, untampered food. With the occasional small bit of rubbish. I think that when we are advised to snack on carrots, apples, celery, etc, we don't realise that it becomes a laborious task of endlessly munching, just because they are so big!

I am also now thinking to educate myself about units of energy: calories &/or kilojoules. I think that having a bit of knowledge about this, & combining this with portion sizes, & small crockery, is a much smarter way to eat.

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