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You keep using that word…

July 10, 2012

Trigger Warning:  Talks about calorie counts, and briefly touches on diets.

Like many of my friends, I have an account with Pinterest.  (Warning:  If you don’t already have an account, don’t go to this site. It’s a massive time sink. And by massive, I mean I can waste whole afternoons following people’s pins, reading about the projects they’ve done, looking at the fashion, hair, food, etc., etc., etc.)

The boards I usually look at are Food and DIY Crafts. I’ve found a lot of ideas I’ll eventually get around to doing (you know, when I’m not looking for more ideas on Pinterest), and also some really good recipes.

Last night, I was looking through Pinterest to try and relax after a long day. I came across a graphic for a smoothie somebody called a “Popeye Smoothie.” The recipe is: 2 cups spinach, 1 cup yogurt, 1 sliced banana, 1 cup strawberries, 1 teaspoon peanut butter, 2 tablespoons ground almonds, and 1 tablespoon honey. Put all into a blender, blend, then enjoy the smoothie.

Now, this doesn’t sound appetizing to me at all. I’m not a person who likes sweet and savory mixed like that. I have a hard enough time having craisins or raisins in my salads, so the spinach, banana and strawberries combined just don’t do it for me. Take out the spinach, and the peanut butter, and it sounds good to me.

I could have just passed it by, except I saw a comment train on the post I was looking at. Most people thought it looked good and healthy, and were going to try it at some point. One person asked about calories, and the number was given: 457 for the whole smoothie.  (And seriously, even though it doesn’t say, looking at the amount of ingredients in this, it looks like it should be a two-serving smoothie.)

And then it happened. Another person commented about how unhealthy it was because of all the calories in it.

Unhealthy. Just because of the calories.

Unhealthy because this double serving is full of iron, calcium, various vitamin Bs, potassium, vitamin C, protein, vitamin D, and trace minerals,and could be drunk instead of eating a Lean Cuisine®. You know, because it’s calorie count (as somebody else wrote) was  almost half of a 1,200 calorie per day diet.

I guess it doesn’t matter about how that smoothie would give a person most of their 5 or 6 daily servings of veggies, and their 3 or 4 servings of fruits, as well as some of their protein servings for the day.

It’s unhealthy.  You know, like we know that all fat people are unhealthy just by looking at them. Because nobody that big — no food that full of calories — could be healthy! I mean, it’s not like the fat people ever exercise, or that smoothie would be high in lots of different essential vitamins and minerals or low in simple carbohydrates or the “wrong” types of fat.


They keep using that word.  I do not think it means what they think it means.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2012 8:37 am

    That’s just ridiculous.

  2. July 10, 2012 9:33 am

    Fact that I really, really can’t stand vegetable-based juices aside (and yes, tomato IS a vegetable in that context) that’s a ridiculous accusation. It’s a liquid meal from the ingredients alone, as are most smoothies. Let me guess: Disguise the smoothie as a recipe, write non-fat yogurt in as an ingredient and suddenly they’re all lauding the amazingly tasty, fresh and low-cal option the OP has discovered.


  3. vesta44 permalink
    July 10, 2012 10:12 am

    I’m sorry, anyone who considers 1200 calories a day enough to really live on – well, they’re sadly deluded. That’s a starvation diet that can’t be maintained forever and is why people who use that level of restriction to lose weight inevitably end up regaining everything they lost and then some. *headdesk*

    • Raymond permalink
      July 16, 2012 2:25 am

      Actually, in point of fact, a woman around 5’2 and 35 years old is recommended to only eat around 1300 calories per day, so 1200 is not much of a stretch.

      • July 16, 2012 7:23 am

        In what universe is that Raymond?

        Are you talking about BMR? The BMR for a 5’2, 120lb woman gives a BMI of 21.9 and a BMR calculation of about 130. That same woman at 140lbs has a BMI of 25.6 a BMR of 1400. That same woman at 165lbs has a BMI of 30.2 and a BMR of nearly 1500.

        The BMR is a calculation that is not exactly scientific gold you should live your life by, for many reasons that I’m not going to explain right now. However, even if we’re taking the BMR at face value, which is the only place I can assume your numbers spring from, it’s a number of calories supposedly expended for someone who is literally 100% sedentary. As in, didn’t get out of bed that day sedentary. Any level of activity, even fidgeting in bed, boosts caloric needs past the BMR level. So no, 1200 is not enough to live on, for even a shorter than average woman (average is 5’4), unless she is somewhere around 40 or older and weighs less than 120lbs. That’s a pretty small segment of the population.

        • Kala permalink
          July 16, 2012 1:25 pm

          By the way, 5’4 is average in the USA only, as a clarification.

      • July 16, 2012 10:48 am

        Actually, in point of fact, Kala nailed it. I love when people come on here and throw out random numbers like they found them in Albert Einstein’s notebook on weight loss. I would love to see the source for this claim.

        But let me elaborate on Kala’s comments. The Minnesota Starvation Experiment included 36 conscientious objectors with an average weight of 152.7 pounds. During the 12 week control period, participants were put on a 3,200 calorie per day diet, while the average 24 week semi-starvation phase included 1,570 calories. These men were also required to walk 22 miles per week. The effects of this diet on the health of these men was devastating and unsustainable. The only reason they were able to endure the trial was that they all lived in a single facility and were not allowed to leave without a chaperone. Under these tightly controlled conditions, one subject, in a fit of despair and delirium, chopped his own fingers off with an ax.

        Even if your mythical woman were completely and utterly sedentary, 1,300 calories a day is far too low. But as Kala said, even the slightest movements compound the caloric needs of a person. To suggest that 1,200 calories is not much of a stretch belies your ignorance on the subject.


  4. July 10, 2012 10:17 am

    Huh. Now I sort of want to try that smoothie (minus the almonds).

    But yeah, parts (read: a lot) of Pintrest scare me. I have boards on body image, fathletes, and yoga, so I find myself checking out the “fitness” category a lot. And… yeah. :/

  5. Pattie M. permalink
    July 10, 2012 11:05 am

    Actually I figured the calories to be somewhere inthe 580 range for the whole thing… minus the almonds it’s 160 cal less, but then you loose alot by removing them.

    I don’t get lost on pinterest, I simply go in and look at the categories I want at the time, and yes mostly food, diy and gardening.

    But honestly people have become “calorie phobes” I have discovered watching the many women in my extended family go on this diet or that diet, then head for the frozen food section and buy nothing but weight watchers and lean cuisines. Seriously? I won’t deny that I on occassion purchase processed foods, but seriously… learn to cook! I gave up calorie counting years ago. So the attitude has become, trade calories for chemicals. I won’t say that I diet per se, but several medical conditions dictate my food choices. Given that I have kidney stones, diabetes, HTN, lupus, cyclic vomiting and many others I fast found that many of the “diets” contradict each other. The running joke in my house was that I was relegated to a diet of cardboard and water and I had to be real careful on the cardboard because too much fiber would plug my ileostomy. What I also fast discovered is that the $250 I was charged to see a professional nutritionist or dietican was wasted money. Not 1 and I do mean not 1 could help me figure out a baseline dietary plan or guidelines for me. Seems if you have more than one condition, they cannot open a file drawer and pull out a canned plan and they cannot “think” or put together one from scratch that would meet my physical needs. So now I have adopted an “everything in moderation” attitude.

    I also believe alot of people are overly focused on every morsel they put in their mouths and the number of seconds they exercise. I eat an apple because I enjoy it, not for the negative calorie expenditure. Peoples bodies are what they are, metabolisms can be whacked out for whatever reason, for some no matter how many hours a day we move or exercise or what we put into our stomachs will make a huge difference. I agree the changes need to be for your personal health and the goal to get healthier. I still eat becaue I enjoy good food. I can eat something light in the morning and not be hungary until dinner… then eat healthy, and still not lose an ounce. I’m so very tired of hearing its a numbers game… when will the medical profession and society learn that phisiologic norms are just averages and that each and every one of us is different?

  6. Mulberry permalink
    July 10, 2012 12:04 pm

    Do people really think that the only way your body reacts to calories is to add or take off weight? The Popeye smoothie sounds like it has all sorts of nutritious ingredients that would last a person for a few hours. It sounds like it would be convenient to tote around in a thermos for a sip when you need a pick-me-up but haven’t got time for a whole meal.
    Years ago, they just used to call a calorific food “fattening”, without considering its health value.
    Sometimes I feel like the last person who doesn’t consider calories evil. For example, I sometimes check the calorie counts on a restaurant menu to consider how filling a dish might be relative to how hungry I am. You can’t always tell from the rest of the description how big a platter might be.

  7. LittleBigGirl permalink
    July 10, 2012 4:55 pm

    Now I know I couldn’t have been the only one who heard Indigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” in my head when I read this post title. ;-P (“Inconceivable!” – Vincinni)

    I am *so* over the whole “bad/good/healthy/unhealthy” food thing. I think the only thing you can say with any surety about any food is if it has a good amount of nutrients, which the aforementioned smoothie clearly does. I would never mix spinach and peanut butter, but I would eat both separately for the vitamins, protein, fat, and the fact they are yummy.

    I have to wonder how our cave man ancestors managed to prevent themselves from gorging to dethfat since they had never heard of calories much less how to count and decrease them. /sarcasm. >_< (Incidentally, does anyone know how long the concept of 'calories' has been around?)

    Now excuse me while I ice my eyes – I strained them when the whole "unhealthy" thing caused them to roll back too far. 😛

  8. Linda Ramos permalink
    July 10, 2012 8:58 pm

    It’s being culturally drilled like this. Every time you see something on tv about some food being “not a healthy” as you think.. it’s about the fat & calories. Rarely are vitamins, minerals, fiber, heart healthy fats mentioned. One of my biggest peeves.

  9. July 11, 2012 5:04 am

    Sounds like Pinterest has the same time sink problem Tumblr has. Seriously, Tumblr is like you can scroll for hours on subjects. By the time you’re done, you’re like, “Where’d that hour go to?”

  10. July 11, 2012 11:22 am

    When your definition of health is, essentially, having a BMI under 25, then hyper-focusing on calories, rather than nutritional quality, makes absolute sense. In fact, read any announcement about a healthcare initiative aimed at the “obesity epidemic” and you can clearly see that “health” is just another word for “thin.”


  11. Janet permalink
    July 11, 2012 1:15 pm

    I just spent the weekend with a “friend” who wants to lose weight. Now she was never fat for most of her life, only just in the last three years has she put on the pounds. She doesn’t look fat to me, merely a little chunky but she doesn’t like her body. Now I’ve been an amply proportioned lady all my life, from childhood on up. The most I’ve weighed is 280 and I’ve come down since then. Having been diagnosed with diabetes this last year has made me reavaluate my food choices (mostly the carbs, processed foods and sugar – which in large amounts are bad for everyone). But all weekend, all she could go on about was “We have to eat really good this weekend. We can’t eat junk.”, and she harped on about this all weekend, like I don’t know how to eat right when I’m the one who’s been to the nutritionist recently and I’m the one with the sugar problem and I’m the one who’s been bigger all our lives. I hate know it all’s who get an idea stuck in their head, read one or two things and then decide they are the expert. Seriously, people who eat at McDonalds or other fast food joints are eating unhealthy. People who drink too much are unhealthy. Smoking is unhealthy. Drug addiction is unhealthy. Food addiction is unhealthy (and you dont’ have to be fat to be addicted to food). Seriously, I want to hit people who act like this. I’ll be spending much less time with this “best friend” (her words, not mine) in the future. I have finally had enough of her negativity, dominating personality and judgement. Glad I found this place!

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