Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Fig Newtons in the Garden of Eating


Sometimes, late night when you have run out of dog food and you have to make a special trip to the big box grocery store, you may reward yourself with ice cream or cake or some other frivolity you shouldn’t buy. With an 18lb bag of dog food under my arm, I certainly didn’t plan to be in the cookie aisle but it was late and I was flying auto pilot.

And there they were. Fig Newtons, a blast from the past. Boyhood friends cocooned in cellophane and cardboard. I couldn’t remember the last time I had one. Remember, I said one. That’s important. One single sleeve carton seemed harmless enough and enough to satisfy so resettling the dog food on my shoulder, I grabbed the Figs Newtons while making a mental picture of the cold milk.

Once home, I dutifully fed and walked the dog. Simple. Not the task, the dog. Simple. No. Simple. Her name is Simple. Who’s name? The dog’s name. Yes it is. It’s Simple. Got it. Simple. OK, let’s move on.

I filled a glass with cold milk preparing for my Fig Newton frenzy. After all, this was a “reward” for getting dog food wasn’t it? I devoured 2 cookies before blinking enjoying every bit of fig flavor just as I remembered it chasing them with a perfectly cold gulp of milk. As I bit the third with a satisfied grin, I pick up the box curious, but not commando, about ingredients and the serving size. And here it began to unravel.

A serving size was 2 cookies. 2 cookies. You’ve got to be kidding. The box held 20 cookies. 10 servings! In the devil’s canyon in my head, I had considered eating them all. Now, I couldn’t. I probably wouldn’t have but I hadn’t made a biblical decision even though I believe I heard a voice say, “Thou shall not eat all the cookies.” After all, these were Fig Newtons not fig leaves. 10 cookies would be 5 servings and 550 calories without adding the glass of milk! What was I thinking?

Marketing meets American Meals. “Can I Supersize Your Order”. Remember that one? If the server failed to ask, you got a supersized order FREE! We are beat up by ads that tell us to eat and eat and eat and charts that tell us that serving size is ridiculously small. After all 2 slices of toast is 2 servings. So is 2 Twinkies. You usually get and eat both servings.

Talk about the horns of a dilemma. (Don’t you love that expression. Someone translate that into Spanish for me please.)

So as America gets heavier, health problems related to obesity increase. Those problems include heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, and breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for a short episodes during sleep) and asthma.

The Serving Size Wars rage on! This link will take you to Bored Panda’s “What 200 Calories Looks Like.” It’s an eye opener.

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