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The super-sized potatoes vs the info on the bag

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Last week I bought a 10 lb bag of Russet baking potatoes. They were on sale; we were expecting family during holidays, and we are descended from sturdy, potato eating, peasant stock. I was surprised to see nutritional information printed on the bag. I suppose in the “low carb” era, it was understandable that the company would want to tout the healthfulness of their product.

Only 110 calories per potato, read the information on the chart, for a 5.3 oz potato. The other nutrients also indicated a very healthy food choice. As a life-long consumer of carbs, a lot of them from baked potatoes, those numbers seemed low to me. Then, I weighed a few of the “spuds” in the bag.

Most looked like this.

14.2 oz which translates to 295 calories.

The smallest potato was this one

10.6 oz - exactly twice as large as the one described on the bag – 220 calories.

Of course, this is before any butter, sour cream or toppings are added.

There was no deception here. Everything was clearly and appropriately labeled. Yet, when have I ever seen BAKING potatoes half this size? Are potatoes growing larger along with everything else?

The lesson learned here is to be vigilant. I love my food scale. It keeps me honest.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HPSANDDOLLAR 1/7/2013 8:12AM


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BOILHAM 1/6/2013 6:29PM

    Not to get too peevish, but I have been shopping for glucosmine with condroiton tablets.

On different BioFlex bottles the recommended dosage spans 1 to 3 per day. The nutrition label appears to be identical on each bottle! I spent a long time looking for the flaws in my reading and comprehension abilities, but I failed to find any difference in the ingredients.

Check it out sometime and let me know if I am wrong. Just kidding, I know how busy you are, running a mile a day.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WOLFKITTY 1/5/2013 1:07PM

    Serving size is so important for loss, and maintenance, and general health!

Those are big potatoes. I remember when I found out that a little red potato was one serving, it made me realize that I needed to know more.

Good post!

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MJZHERE 1/5/2013 12:27PM

    Wow, and I know my sweet potatoes always are bigger than potatoes. My scale doesn't work real well and I don't think I want to know as this is my one real staple during the holiday months.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/3/2013 11:55AM

    I love my scale too. I would never know what an ounce of something is unless I stuck it on my scale.

About potatoes though, it all about how you prepare them. Just by french frying them and cooking them in oil, the become twice the amount of calories from all the oil.

Love baked potatoes!

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KANOE10 1/3/2013 10:59AM

    I love my food scale also! Great blog.

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CELIAMINER 1/3/2013 10:48AM

    Ouch! The second picture you posted looked like a nice size, but it's TWO servings?! I'll start using my kitchen scale more often. DH and I frequently split a sweet potato, so that helps.

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LOLATURTLE 1/3/2013 10:32AM

    I love my food scale so much, I bought a little one that's about the size of my cell phone to carry in my purse!! (I just wish I could FIND it. I may have left it at my mom's house after Christmas!)

I think you are right. Everything IS getting bigger, including produce! Look at apples. I often see apples that are bigger than my fist! I think they might be even larger than "large" apples in the tracker. I started a few months ago weighing my fruits and veggies, because I got tired of trying to figure out if it was a "large" or "extra large" banana, or a "medium" or "large" potato, or whatever. I weigh all my bananas and write the weight in grams on the skin with a sharpie, haha. Same for oranges. Apples I write the weight on the sticker with a pen.

I recently bought a ton of sweet potatoes, because they had some that WEREN'T the size of my head!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/3/2013 9:59AM

    Yes, ma'am. I have a food scale in my purse, at work, at home, in my car, at my sister's house in AZ... LOLOL

I wouldn't be able to figure what is going on or how much to eat, without it!


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WILSONWR 1/3/2013 9:07AM

    I love my food scale also - it has been invaluable. Although the bag may have been labelled accurately, it still seems misleading to have a serving size smaller than what is possible only by cutting the potato. That's like a small bag of something that is labelled as 2 servings. You just have to read the fine print...

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SUZYMOBILE 1/3/2013 9:04AM

    Yikes! They're probably genetically modified, too.

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LOVESTOWALK49 1/3/2013 8:37AM

    I prefer the smaller potatoes, more flavor. Still, it's good to know.

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NELLJONES 1/3/2013 8:26AM

    As an exchange eater, 5 oz raw or 4 oz cooked has always been my guide. Where would we be without good kitchen scales? Use the kitchen scale and the bathroom scale will follow.

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62NVON 1/3/2013 8:26AM

    I find the same problem with frozen chicken breasts and fish. There are a variety of portion sizes in the same bag, so like you... I weigh it to get accurate NI. =)

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LEB0401 1/3/2013 8:22AM

    I've had potato trouble in the past when trying to track them. SP has them down as "small, medium, or large" and gives no weight options. Is a small potato a fingerling or a new potato? Is a large your baking potatoes or one of those 8-oz. microwave wrapped ones? Who knows... I added potatoes weighed in grams to the database so I can figure it out.

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    Thanks for the heads up! I will be using my scale alot more often this time around!

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DAISYBELL6 1/3/2013 7:49AM

    Thank you for this heads up. I don't use my food scale often enough!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/3/2013 7:45AM

    Very good. That food scale is priceless! I'm proud of you.

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SKMINNY 1/3/2013 7:45AM

    Wow , those taters are large! I haven't thought to weigh them.. no wonder i can't get the scale to move... too many taters.

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Even our alcohol has become supersized.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I did not know this.
I’ve compared life today with my childhood in the 50s in many different areas.
This article describes the sizing creep of our mixed drinks.

I gave up cocktails a long time ago simply because I prefer to get my calories from something I can chew and crunch. I still drink wine occasionally and sample different types of beer when in Europe, but water has been my liquid of choice for over 20 years.

Still, this article was interesting to me since customers’ resistance to attempts at downsizing reflects our denial of other areas of our supersized lives – sizing creep in clothes, larger dishes filled to the edge, enormous drink cups and bigger furniture to accommodate the inevitable result.

Today many people are still recovering from a New Year’s Eve of revelry which included mixed drinks. To each his own, but as for me, I prefer my calories in the cheesecake.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MJZHERE 1/5/2013 12:30PM

    Another supersize. Think about growing up with everything supersize - this would be the norm for you. Now that is scary.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/2/2013 8:12PM

    Good for you!

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WILSONWR 1/2/2013 7:52PM

    You're right! Some of the better beers now come in either 22 ounce "bombers" or 750ml bottles. The alcohol content also often ranges from 9 - 18%!! I like to try some of the better beers now and then, but I pour some in a smaller glass and then vacuum seal the bottle like you can do with wine. I enjoy it over the next day or two this way!

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JESSICABOOTY 1/2/2013 4:55PM

    So many people have left such interesting comments on the size of just about everything!!! I use salad plates, the rest of the dishes are in the basement. I don't drink cocktails and I agree that liquid calories are a waste of calories. Every dinner out starts with bread off the table and a left-over box which is filled when the food is served.
It's a full time job just getting past the portion size creep.
Thanks for reminding us.

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CELLISTA1 1/2/2013 12:21PM

    Supersize food/supersize drinks = supersize people.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/2/2013 10:58AM

    When I go to certain restaurants, I am fortunate to have a couple of people that will split an entree with me. I remember when a small pop was 8 ounces (maybe it was 10?) at my first job at McD's. Plus I'm not 'that' old. 16 ounces is not "value".

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SWEDE_SU 1/2/2013 10:23AM

    it is amazing how supersizing has taken over everything. when i got serious about weight loss last spring, i gave up wine for the first month and the pounds absolutely fell off. i also prefer my calories in crunchy chewy form. while i will have my glass of red wine most evenings now in maintenance, water is my drink of choice.

i can't understand those huge glasses/cups of pop that people get in fast food places - no one needs that amount of sugar! and now alcohol too!

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KANOE10 1/2/2013 9:36AM

    Interesting article. I had no idea that we were making large cocktails..I bet margaritas are even bigger. You are right it fits in with the super sizing in the rest of society.

Thanks for sharing.

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GINIEMIE 1/2/2013 9:28AM

    As we have learned/are learning in our journey, bigger is NOT better. That starts with super-sized fruits, rolls, burgers, meals, salads and drinks-except of course water. And even too much water can be bad for some people.

Read, become savvy, and demand moderate portions or kid sizes. I'm into ordering an appetizer in place of an entree at some of the restaurants I go to.
Happy Health & Holy New Year to all.

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ITSMATT 1/2/2013 9:24AM

    Good article and very interesting blog post. Thanks!

It is pretty ridiculous and sad that we just don't get what a reasonable portion size is anymore.

Make it a great day!

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FITFOODIE806 1/2/2013 9:23AM

    Thanks for sharing. Liquid calories are dangerous!

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HAKAPES 1/2/2013 9:01AM

    Great article to share!

Since I'm on the healthy track, water became my main source of fluid, and such drink. I made drinking 8 cups of water (glasses) a daily habit, and since then, I drink it.

Also, for enjoying calories, I prefer "chewing them", so I consume fruits and vegetables as fresh, or maybe cooked, but usually not as a drink. Although smoothies and fruit juices are promoted as healthy.

As for the portion sizes - since I do portion control, I often find myself to be "less environmentally friendly" and buy smaller packaged poritions, or be less "cost effective" buy buying a smaller portion at a higher cost/size ratio.
And I look at it as a small expense for not having to consume calories. Makes me happy.

Thanks for the article, I share it with friends!

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SUZYMOBILE 1/2/2013 8:59AM

    Boy is that ever right! And if it isn't in mixed drinks, it's via happy hour!

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DARJR50 1/2/2013 8:50AM

  It is hard to find single serving packages of anything now days. I end up tossing a lot of food because I either can't find small size packages or refuse to be ripped off by the higher unit cost for small sizes. I am single and it bugs me to have to open a 3-4 serving can of something because I know it will spoil before I use the rest of it.

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NELLJONES 1/2/2013 8:38AM

    I don't even buy Vente coffees for the same reason: by the time you get halfway down the thing it's cold. Remember the old jokes about "everything is bigger in Texas"? Now everything is bigger everywhere. I don't get it.

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Days of cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and TV

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

And the question is: What did you do when you didn’t have Internet, Eileen?

Actually, I had SOME Internet access. It was just enough for frustration to set in. For me frustration = grab some carbs and vegetate. It didn’t help that the weather was too cold for much outdoor exercise and I was too lazy to drive to the gym.

So I ate more sweets than I’ve been used to and sat around more than I should have.
Thanks to TLC’s marathons, I learned some unusual (and rather useless) stuff from reality TV. There’s an American Gypsy community I never knew existed and there are some Amish who act definitely “un-Amish.”

There were good visits with family too as well as TV marathons of nostalgic old TV shows – time to look backward and reminisce.

Now it’s time to look and move forward. Fortunately, after 3 years of maintenance, my body seems determined to keep a stable weight in spite of my temporary “unsparklike” behavior. I’m at the very top of my goal range and looking forward to being able to track again. I’m not delusional enough to think I can behave this way indefinitely and not do some damage.

Happy New Year everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COACHMOMMY 1/2/2013 2:48PM

    I feel like I was reading my own blog! Except for me it was HGTV - for some reason I'm became addicted to watching people buying/renovating a house (especially international!). Unfortunately my body was not as determined and I find myself having to make a "weight loss resolution". I'm just glad to get back to my routine.

Happy New Year!

Comment edited on: 1/2/2013 2:49:33 PM

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SWEDE_SU 1/2/2013 10:25AM

    happy new year to you too! it's a good thing that new years resolutions follow hectic holiday splurging... and that we have a range in maintenance to make it work!

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WILSONWR 1/1/2013 10:25PM

    I think we've all had a few "un-spark like" moments lately. Now we begin anew!

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WATERMELLEN 1/1/2013 4:13PM

    Isn't it lovely to know that maintenance cuts us a bit of slack now and then?? Thanks for your comment on my "more of the same" blog and welcome back to full internet!

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SUZYMOBILE 1/1/2013 3:56PM

    Ah, we all need days like that ... for a little while! Thanks for your note, by the way! I really appreciated it.

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JESSICABOOTY 1/1/2013 3:54PM

    That last paragraph says it all. Let's get back on track. Luckily there are tracks out there that we can jump on! I've got my own "goodie gain" to deal with.
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SOUTH_FORK 1/1/2013 2:05PM

    Oh, how i miss cable tv (been a year without it)! Here's to a wonderful New Year... even the most sensible have to just flake out a bit every now and then....

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LOLATURTLE 1/1/2013 12:50PM

    Oh, TLC. Hahaha! It's been a while since I've watched. They have a lot of medical shows, and watching shows about freaky super rare ailments turns me into a hypochondriac, so I'm not allowed to watch most of their stuff. hahahaha. emoticon

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COCK-ROBIN 1/1/2013 11:56AM

    You can do it!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/1/2013 11:56AM

    You can do it!

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KANOE10 1/1/2013 10:14AM

    Happy New Year to you also ! I am at the high end of my range also and will work on getting it back down!

Maintenance is work!

Have a great new day in the new year.

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MS0669 1/1/2013 9:19AM

    Happy New Year - I had a very un-spark like couple of weeks, but my body reacts terrible to processed carbs. YIKES ! But I am going to make myself drive to our community center and use the track today, nothing like a silly date on the calendar to get me back into the healthy groove !

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BIGDOG18 1/1/2013 9:09AM


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KITKAT717 1/1/2013 9:05AM

    Happy New Year!!! I am in the same maintain slump!! Hope you have a great start to your New year!! emoticon

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Nature’s Decorations of the Season

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It’s a dreary Christmas morning in Virginia,
but it was beautiful last week in the Black Forest in Germany.

Even indoors, nature provided the decorations.
This “tree” of all poinsettia plants was in the theater in Wiesbaden.

Merry Christmas!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESSICABOOTY 12/27/2012 7:29PM

    Both photos were so beautiful. Chicago didn't get its white Christmas this year so seeing yours felt good.

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LOLATURTLE 12/27/2012 11:52AM

    Those are beautiful!! You are a good photographer. emoticon Merry Christmas!

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SOUTH_FORK 12/26/2012 9:48AM

    Just caught up on your blogs since returning state-side! I truly looks like a wonderful trip. Hope your Christmas was very, very merry!

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ALLISON145 12/25/2012 1:14PM

    Beautiful! We were supposed to have a white Christmas here in Arkansas, but nothing yet!

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CELIAMINER 12/25/2012 11:13AM

    Great pictures! Glad the Virginia fog has given way to a brilliantly sunny day!

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WATERMELLEN 12/25/2012 9:54AM

    Beautiful indeed!

It's a snowy day here for Christmas, quite pictueresque: and I'm hoping for skiing tomorrow!

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COCK-ROBIN 12/25/2012 9:45AM


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BRASKIN 12/25/2012 9:07AM

  beautiful photos.

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BOOKWORM27S 12/25/2012 8:49AM

    That is beautiful! I'm in Texas, and all we have is rain this morning.

Merry Christmas! Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

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WILSONWR 12/25/2012 8:43AM

    I love Europe in the winter. Great pictures! Merry Christmas!

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BOILHAM 12/25/2012 8:39AM

    Bright and sunny here in Florida. Alas, no snow!

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KANOE10 12/25/2012 8:07AM

    Have a great clelbration with your family today. I love your pictures.

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DMEYER4 12/25/2012 7:36AM

  have a wonderful holiday

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A symbol of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation

Monday, December 24, 2012

On December 14th we were visiting St Stephen’s Church in Maintz, Germany. This is the site of the Chagall stained glass windows where visitors sit in rather austere surroundings bathed in ethereal light from the all blue windows throughout the church.

Chagall, the Russian-born Jewish artist, who fled Nazi-occupied France, wanted nothing to do with Germany after the war. Yet he was prevailed upon by his friend Msgr. Klaus Mayer to create a symbol of reconciliation in his church. Chagall began this project in 1976 when he was 90 years old. He had completed the nine main windows when he died in 1985. The rest were completed by his assistant Charles Marq. Final installation was done in 2000.

We returned to our ship that day to learn of the news from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut - holocaust on a smaller, but no less horrific, scale.

You can get a better sense of the scope of these Biblical and abstract images at this website.

I wish you all a tranquil holiday and a peaceful new year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COCK-ROBIN 12/25/2012 12:10AM


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LOLATURTLE 12/24/2012 12:00PM

    Those are lovely, thank you for sharing. Happy holidays!

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CELIAMINER 12/24/2012 11:36AM

    Spectacular pictures! Thanks for sharing your own and the link to the others!

Merry Christmas!

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WILSONWR 12/24/2012 10:38AM

    Looks like a beautiful place. Thanks for the story!

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WATERMELLEN 12/24/2012 10:18AM

    Thank you for the link! Chagall is such an amazing artisti . . . and these images and colours are glorious. As a former art history teacher, the aesthetic is for me pretty consitently the main portal to spiritual experience.

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DAWN14163 12/24/2012 9:42AM

    I'm not a church goer, but I get tingles every time I enter these beautiful cathedrals.

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BOILHAM 12/24/2012 8:51AM

    Gorgeous, thanks for posting.

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MARYJOANNA 12/24/2012 8:09AM

  Beautiful windows!

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