Honestly, thank god for the food scale or I would have gone insane trying to figure out these quantities. Though I will say,I’m starting to get the hang of how much these things weigh and what my daily limit.
For example, a tablespoon of olive oil is around 14g. The reference diet for unsaturated oils is 40g, with a range of 20-80g. So a little less than 3 tablespoons for olive oil a day, an easy thing to keep in mind when cooking. Also, I know what a tablespoon of peanut butter looks spread on how many grams of grain of bread. 16 g of peanuts and 50 g for the toast. So, while the first couple days consisted of a lot of weighing, which meant a lot of washing of bowls and measuring cups, its slowly starting to make sense.
Still, there were somethings I needed to take the calculator out for. Like for milk equivalents. I already knew the milk equivalents for cheese because #priorities, but greek yogurt? No clue. Turns out the internet didn’t clearly know either. But thanks to the lovely people of the internet, I was able to get it down (see the end for values).
Furthermore, it’s Friday. And what if ya wanna turn up this weekend? Or at least grab a glass of wine or a beer with some friends. To our collective dismay, alcohol takes resources- like grain, fruit, and sugar- to make.
Is it really that significant? Well, in the US we drink 9 liters of pure alcohol per year. Now, not sure how much that translates into wine or beer, but I’m assuming it’s a lot.
And how do other countries compare? Check out this cool map from Our World in Data. See Russia and Eastern Europe coming in red hot? I guess some stereotypes do reign true.
EAT-Lancet, of course, does not offer a reference for sustainable alcohol consumption. Probably fair, offering a recommendation for alcohol sounds irresponsible. Or is it?
This probably warrants another post, but there are plenty of studies that look at moderate alcohol consumption and what that means for health. Some even say that small amounts can be positive. Glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away? Sounds a bit too good to be true. But the report dives into these kind of studies for red meat, which is often unhealthy and culturally inappropriate, so why not alcohol?
Anyway, I took to my calculator to at least figure out how many grains in a glass of beer and grapes in a glass of wine. With another thanks to the people of the internet, I got the numbers. Probably way off, so if you know better- please weigh in. [Pun intended]. The whole point is to make this diet realistic…right?
- Milk to cheese equivalent: 10 to 1 (ex. 250 grams of milk is 25g of cheese)
- Milk to greek yogurt: 4 to 1 (ex. 1 gallon of milk is 1 quart of greek yogurt)
As with anything on the internet, these may not be accurate. But it offers something to work with. If you have better values please share!
- Beer: 30 grams of grains
- Wine: 200 grams of grapes
Full disclosure, this was even more a shot in the dark than with milk, using spottier internet information.
So, as with anything on the internet, these may not be accurate. But it offers something to work with. If you have better values please share!
I will update this with other conversions if needed (and more importantly, if I can figure it out).
You may be thinking: this is great and all, but what did you eat? Here’s a breakdown below.
And how am I tracking all of this you ask? A good ole spreadsheet. I will upload an easy to use version of this once I nail out the kinks (and figure out how to do it on wordpress).
I’m not much of a breakfast person, but this diet is forcing me to become one. For better or worse? Probably for the better.
My breakfasts have consisted of either two pieces of toast (100 grams of grain), with peanut butter (16g) and some honey. Or a piece of toast and a grapefruit (160g).
And yes, I drink coffee, and no I didn’t figure this one out. But I did take it black- no cream or sugar which doesn’t cut into my dairy or added sugar limits. So at least there’s that.
So, for lunch one day I had a salad with chicken. The next day I went to a seminar that had a free lunch. FREE LUNCH. I couldn’t pass up. They did have a vegetarian option, caprese sandwich. Issue: I didn’t have a food scale with me, as you won’t in the real world. I have gotten a bit used to this gram thing though. I estimated that the baguette was about 100g of grains, and the tomatoes and lettuce were easy to guesstimate (and accuracy there doesn’t matter as much).
That fresh mozzarella though. Diary. And here’s where the limit does in fact exist [Mean Girls reference anyone?]. I was conservative and guessed that it was my daily allotment for cheese (21 grams). Considering it was fresh mozzarella, the 10:1 ratio is probably a bit less.
And yes, I did mention chicken. You see that bit of chicken, there? On that salad? That’s twice a day’s worth of meat (86 grams). As mentioned before, I’m sticking to one kind of meat per week, with a weekly (instead of daily) limit…making this realistic, remember? See day 0 under the toggle “breaking it down”, on how I tackled this meat issue.
Dinner is easy enough if you’re creative. Or good at planning if you’re not. I just looked at what I had left and went from there (along with what’s in my fridge).
One day it was a buffalo cauliflower salad with a greek yogurt dressing. Here’s a point, when looking at these more “processed” food items, I went with what’s listed as first- what it’s made mostly of (generally speaking). In this case I just assumed greek yogurt dressing was all greek yogurt, and used the milk equivalent.
The second dinner was fish. Sustainably sourced flounder, which according to Seafood Watch is in the clear. What’s great is that they’re individually packaged (around 50 g each). What sucks is the packaging. Nothing’s perfect.
50g of fish is about twice that of what EAT-Lancet recommends daily. But it’s also my first time eating fish on this sustainable dieting journey. So, THERE.
Finally, I realize that sweet potato is huge. I was very hungry and in a rush (microwave- classy cooking I know). It’s about 350g and a weeks worth of potatoes. WOOPS. Though EAT-Lancet does give a range, so if you’re a potato fan, you can eat up to 700g in a week. Or two very large sweet potatoes.