Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Size Matters

Have you read any of Michael Pollan's books? Or seen him on Oprah ? If you haven't seen, heard or read him yet, he is a best-selling author who recently published an eater's manual, called "Food Rules," in addition to his other hits like "In Defense of Food" and "Omnivores Dilemma." I love his new book because, well, it's little and who has time for a BIG, heavy book these days with all those words?

"Food Rules" is a pamphlet of sorts that spells out what you should, and should not, eat. I love the simplicity and common sense of some of his rules, like avoiding foods with ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce and steering clear of breakfasts cereals that change the color of the milk. So simple and so true.

Rule 52 suggests that we should buy smaller plates and glasses. This is actually one that we have been following for a while, admittedly though because our big dinner plates don't fit in our dishwasher very well. So we have been using the smaller salad plates for the last two years and I think it helps with portion control. I still have the sense of having a full plate, which I really like, but the portions are smaller by default.

Pollan's research found that simply switching from a twelve-inch plate to a ten-inch dinner plate caused a 22% reduction in food consumption. That adds up to big calorie savings, especially over time. It's actually a pretty simple change to make, even if you are not dishwasher-challenged like we are, and one that shouldn't result in too much push-back from your significant other or children.
If it's true that you eat with your eyes first, then enjoying the sight of a dinner plate heaped high with delicious, healthy foods is a good start to a satisfying meal. Personally, I would rather feast my eyes on a FULL plate of delectable food than a sparse sprinkling of fare on a bigger plate.

Regardless of your stance on plate size, keep in mind my favorite of Pollan's rules: it's not food if it arrives through your car window.

'Nuf said.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Also, don't forget to have a GREEN SMOOTHIE today to celebrate St Paddy's Day!

  2. love the food through the car window rule!

  3. One of my other faves is don't buy your fuel the same place you buy your car's fuel.

  4. love both rules. funny AND true.

    I find myself buying new stuff at the store, but still resisting trying it at home. But I did last night for dinner. I made salmon, asparagus, and this stuff I bought at TJ's - it was a mix of quinoa, couscous, mini garbanzo beans and something else I can't remember. I was super resistant, even though I bought the damn stuff, and I may have put some butter in there (c'mon, it was organic unsalted butter!!), but I have to admit, it was GOOD.

    I did not, however, get my green smoothie this morning b/c we were super late, and Lexi started saying, "NO SMOOTHIE!! IT'S SCARY." any tips on where I can buy a blender that doesn't make so much noise that my 2.5 year old is scared of it?

  5. Erin, can you have a 'healthy-ize' guest who can take a yummy recipe and convert it to "Erin-healthy" while maintaining the yum factor? I have one to start with . . . involves spinach . . . what's not to like?

  6. SLM - i heart spinach. bring it!

    (wonder if there is such a thing as eating too much spinach? if there is, i am guilty)

  7. btw - i'm hooked on agave sweet nectar of the Gods. hooked.

    thanks, erin.

  8. i heart spinach too. bring it on SLM. you know where to find me ... send it!

  9. I heart spinach too! Can't wait to see it.
    I saw a few minutes of this guy on Oprah last week. One of my favorite rules of his goes something like this:
    Don't eat it if it's something you're great grandma wouldn't recognize....I got a kick out of that one. Makes sense though....back then, our mamas' mama's mama didn't have access to anything but fresh food, right?

  10. I love Mr. Pollan. Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too Much. Perhaps that should be my new tattoo. kelly- my kids hate the blender too. i have to tell them when im turning it on so they can run downstairs and hide.

  11. I love Michael Pollan! "The Omnivore's Dilemma" changed the way I think about food. My favorite food rule is: it isn't food if a third grader can't pronounce it. Of course, my husband quotes this one to me when I serve quinoa. Sigh.

  12. Allison ... let your husband know that Glennon's first-grader can not only pronounce quinoa but he also named his pet frog Quinoa. Love that Chase Melton!