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Now, you see, plates are something that the average person can understand.

June 4, 2011, 12:44 AM

It recently made its way around the news circuit that MyPlate has replaced the Food Pyramid, which itself replaced the “Basic Four“. For those not yet familiar, it looks like this:

MyPlate

I think this is a great step in getting people to improve their eating habits. In one of my appointments with my doctor about three months ago, he showed me this, which I snapped a picture of with my cell phone for reference purposes:

Food plate guide from the doctor's office
(As much as I tried not to, I knew in the back of my mind that this would eventually end up on the Web site, and, well, there you go.)

Same basic idea – some protein, some carbohydrates, and then the lion’s share of the meal should be vegetables ‘n such. I’ve been following that guide now for about two months, plus doing a lot of exercise (three swims and one walk this week, plus taking the stairs up more often at work), and look at me. I think I certainly have improved my outward appearance, though I have a long way still to go. But yeah, take a look:

Splash photo, December 2010  Photo of me from May 30, 2011

The photo at left is from December 2010. The photo at right was taken May 2011 (specifically, on my birthday). See a difference there? There’s a lot less face, for one thing. My pants also fit differently, as I’m having to really cinch up the belt some more, and keep tabs on where the waist of my pants are (but don’t worry – some lessons are ones you only have to learn once).

But with determining the fuel, this is why the whole MyPlate idea is good. With MyPlate, it’s very visual. Basically, you just copy what you see. Monkey see, monkey do. Simple as that. See, this was well-intentioned but overly complicated:

The old Food Pyramid

The problem here was how you were supposed to translate this into meals. What’s a “serving”? You get the idea. This was not something that you could look at, get a mental picture of, and then run with. At least the Basic Four before that was simple enough, that a meal should consist of something from each group. The Food Pyramid was all “ummmm…?” when one looked at it. This new MyPlate is something I can understand and make happen. Look at this:

My lunch from Friday, April 8

This was from “Schumy Lunch” at work on Friday, April 8, when we went to Whole Foods. One quarter of the plate is chicken, one quarter is beans (I brain-farted on beans, and thought they were carbs rather than protein – oops), but then most of the meal is salad, topped with a little splash of vinaigrette. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

So there you go, I suppose. The moral of the story is to keep it in proportion, and to look at ratios, with an emphasis on vegetables. I’ve been eating a lot of salads when I go out now, and in the house, my freezer no longer looks like this anymore. And of course, physical activity is your friend. Good thing I ride Metro, where one can lose all three escalators in a deep station and end up having to walk several stories up the escalator to the street.

Web site: MyPlate

Song: How to Break 2000 Beer Bottles On The Job. Would certainly hate to be the one to have to clean that up.

Quote: And now, I should probably go to bed...

Categories: Food and drink