There are some differences between the United States and Europe – Germany, to be more specific. I know, duh! Well, but this particular one is related to healthy living. And please remember not to leave your sense of humor at the door. No offense meant – or as we would say, nothing for ungood [nichts für ungut].
On Saturday I started tracking calories with MyFitnessPal ( add me! ) and while I am absolutely in love with the site as a whole, there is one thing that is driving me nuts. I really don’t like cups. Not the ones you drink tea from, but the measurement unit cup. Here, cups are for bras.
If you are American, using cups, tablespoons and teaspoons is probably completely natural to you. In fact, your measurement system may even *gasp* make sense to you. In which case I may or may not be a little jealous.
You see, in Germany we use scales and grams. That makes sense to me because in my opinion, for most solid food, it makes no sense whatsoever to measure in volume instead of weight.
Using cups for measuring sugar or flour? Sure. For liquids? No problemo. But for something that’s bigger? Like chopped veggies? Or pasta? How is that accurate? I mean wouldn’t it depend on the size of the veggies and pasta and how densely they are stacked in your measuring cup? When I cut a bell pepper into strips, I am hardly going to squish the strips into a measuring cup to see just how many I can fit in there because I need a cup of bell pepper strips. Scales, on the other hand, are always accurate. Regardless of how small or big your pasta is, 100g remains 100g. If you are measuring something as small as macaroni – yup, not a problem with a kitchen scale. Something as unshapely as uncooked spaghetti? Bring it on!
And then there are spoons. Teaspoons, tablespoons. A perfect way of kidding yourself into believing you are only having a teaspoon of peanut butter while what you are really having is a heaped teaspoon of peanut butter – which could be as much as a tablespoon. But who really has time to get exactly a teaspoon of peanut butter out of the jar? I mean, that stuff is pretty sticky. But guess what? If the kitchen scale says you’ve had 15g of peanut butter, there is no way to kid yourself and say, well but it was only a teaspoon. Which, per definition equals 5g.
Heck, I have spent a year living in the States. I love the place. I get a lot of things other Europeans don’t get. But the measuring units over there? I’ll never get used to them. Beginning with feet, miles and Fahrenheit, ending with ounces and pounds. I can convert most in my head after years of practice (and when I can’t, Google does it for me) but they’ll never make sense to me. I like my measurement units to be metric. They make much more sense. Decimals. Kilometers, kilos & grams, Celsius, liters, that’s what I’m talking about.
Occasionally cooking or baking an American recipe, and using US measurement units for it I can handle. I even own not one but two sets of measuring cups. But on MyFitnessPal I sometimes have to scroll through several duplicate entries of the same exact food until I find one that has nutrition facts entered for portions measured in grams. On a daily basis, I just need my measurement units to be metric. It’s so easy to just set a plate on the scale and add ingredients bit by bit, simply hitting tare between different ingredients.
The measurement units are actually one reason why I stuck to German Weight Watchers for so long: German measurement units and most food brands are already in the database. But you know, if all it takes is a little extra patience and entering store-bought products into the database myself, right now I am thinking it’ll be worth it to stick to MyFitnessPal and cancel my Weight Watchers subscription. If only because the social networking aspect is a thousand times better on MyFitnessPal and on top of that it’s free!
I’ll just have to clench my teeth and be brave. Cups and spoons, you can’t get me down!