The 9-Inch Diet

Friday, January 09, 2009

During Christmas dinner this year, our friend Gay asked if the dinner plates we were using were actually salad plates as they are only 9 inches wide, and Landon's Mom replied that plates used to be smaller, and that they were dinner plates. The China set I use at Christmas was passed along to me from Landon's grandmother, who obtained it during WWII in Czechoslovakia from a woman who traded them to her for cigarettes. I always thought they were on the smaller side, especially when serving a feast at Christmastime, but hadn't thought about how plates have become larger with the passing decades.

Then I pulled out my People Magazine to read last week, and found out that author Alex Bogusky has just published a book called The 9-Inch Diet, which explains that the obesity rates in France and Italy are 70% lower than the United States, because their standard dinner plates are still 10", whereas American dinner plates are now 12". Bogusky learned of the change in size to American plates when he bought a 1940's lake house, and found his dinner plates did not fit into the cupboards. After doing some research, he learned why--dinner plates in the 1940's used to be 8.5 inches. Have you ever noticed the size of houses built in this same era? Much smaller! At some point, we as a culture started eating more (a lot more), and living in houses and driving cars much bigger (okay, WAY bigger) than our needs require.

By using smaller plates, you eat less through portion control, and the result is that you lose weight. I think this is a great plan, and yet another way to live small, leaving less of an imprint on the Earth by eating only what you need. Have you ever noticed a tendency to fill your plate, even if that isn't how much food you really need? Most people finish what's on their plates, too. I have to admit, I really like this idea of downsizing the dinner plate. While I plan to always keep the family China for Christmastime, I'm considering replacing our old, mismatched dinnerware with smaller plates when it comes time to finally buy a new set. It feels good to live and eat small. Hopefully, we're coming out of the era of living large, and if we aren't already, we might all be forced to do so in the near future.

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