what our grandparents knew about skinny eating

June 13, 2014

A classic 70’s photo – note the teak wall unit behind me complete with copper fondue set and reel to reel music system

When my Mum gave me my grandmother’s old place mats, it brought back a flood of memories from the 70’s: happy family dinners (the meat always over-cooked and dry), the grown ups sipping sherry from tiny glasses, the smell of my grandfather’s pipe, loud laughter, and my favorite dessert of pavlova topped with passion fruit grown in Nan & Pop’s garden.

What shocked me was how small these place mats were. Admittedly their primary task was to protect the table from hot plates and the cutlery was placed either side of the mat, but still, they were tiny!

My grandparent's place mat sitting on top of one I bought this year
My grandparent’s place-mat sitting on top of one I bought this year

When I think about my grandparents lives in the 1970’s, plates and therefore serving sizes were small, there was never anything in their refrigerator to drink other than water or milk (not even juice and definitely not soda), packaged snack foods were not kept at home and there were no fad diets, just moderation in all things. That’s just how it was in the 70’s.

whythesurgeinobesity-figure1-version1source: Centers For Disease Control & Prevention

The 80’s were a different story and with it came the obesity explosion. When trying to track the causes of this sudden rise in weight gain, the only thing that researchers agree happened at the same time was an increase in food consumption. That means an increase in serving sizes and snacking between meals (thank you snack food industry).

We are a bit lazier exercise-wise than we were back then due to sedentary jobs, more cars, and more TV and video gaming but those figures do not coincide as neatly with the increase in obesity, according to this article in The Economist’s View.

whythesurgeinobesity-figure2-version1-1 whythesurgeinobesity-figure3-version5source: Centers For Disease Control & Prevention

So let’s stop handing over our hard earned dollars and good health to the gigantic corporations who are trying to convince us that we need a little pick me up between meals. We don’t. I don’t think these companies are trying to hurt us, they just want to sell more chips, soda, and granola bars.

As my grandmother would say when we complained of being hungry before dinner, “Have a piece of fruit.” Not a hipster smoothie or a $4.00 juice, a fruit roll-up, or some chocolate filled trail mix. Not anything dipped in caramel or coated in sugar or candy of any kind.  Not even an all fruit detox, cleansing 8-day apple-only diet. Just a, picked-from-the-tree, as-found-in-nature piece of fruit to tide you over between reasonable sized meals. Just one. Make it an apple.

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    1. Well said Trace, love the turquoise dress too x

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