Note: I originally wrote this piece many years ago for another site. It is not available anymore, so I am republishing it.
I had some tomato soup with crackers for dinner recently. While cooking, I grew increasingly frustrated with counting the carbs until I finally fell apart. It went something like this.
Okay, there are two and a half servings per can–mixed with milk instead of water (I can’t forget to add the carbs from the milk). I’m also eating crackers with my soup. There are four crackers per serving at 9 grams per serving.
How many servings of crackers am I going to eat? Wait; back to the soup. It’s not even cooked yet. Crackers can come later. What did the label say? Two and a half servings per can. The serving size is one-half cup condensed. Who in the heck measures out their condensed soup? All right, how about I cook the whole can, then split it out after it is done?
So I’ve got two and a half times twenty grams per serving. Okay, there are fifty grams of soup in the can. Don’t forget the milk – let’s add thirteen grams for a cup of skim milk. Fifty-plus thirteen is sixty-three. There. I’ve got sixty-three grams of carbs cooking in the pot there.
Wait! Is a “can” of milk the same as a “cup”? Crap. Okay, think. If there are two and a half servings of soup in the can, and each serving is ½ cup (condensed), then does that mean there are one and one-fourth cups in that can? Sounds reasonable. So, one cup of milk is thirteen grams, divided by four is … … three point something? Okay, close enough. So I’ve got thirteen grams of carbs for the cup of milk and another three-point-something for the additional one-fourth cup. I’m going to round down and call it all sixteen grams.
Damn, my brain is tired already. It’s all simple math. I know. But I just want some freaking soup! I don’t want to take a math quiz!
Can I think about the crackers yet? Yes. How many crackers am I going to have with my soup? Heck, I don’t know! Can’t I eat my soup with crackers until there is no more soup? If I’m trying to be accurate with my carb count, I can’t do that. So I’ve got to count my crackers.
Let’s start with setting aside three servings. I think I’ll go with that and add more if I want to. So three servings of crackers are 27 grams of carbs (sheesh!).
How’s the soup coming along? It’s almost ready.
Now how do I measure out a single serving of soup? I’ve already mentally “math-pressed” (like a bench press, but with my math muscles?) a total of 66 grams of soup & milk. So how do I split it out into what I want to eat?
Great. More math is coming up. So I have one and one-fourth cups of condensed soup and one and one-fourth cups of milk in the pot. That makes two and a half cups total.
But wait. That number is suspiciously like the number of servings. Does that mean that one cup equals one serving? It sounds suspicious. Too easy. But what about the milk? Doesn’t that throw the math off?
My brain is math fatigued. Can I divide sixty-six grams by two and a half? That’s hard math for me in my current state of diabetes math overwhelm! I’m tired of math. I just want my soup and crackers. Oh yeah, the crackers. More counting.
In the end, my tired brain just talked me right into the whole pot of soup. See, I already had that number. I figured out the total, and dividing it back up again seemed overwhelming. I know it’s not hard math. I know it’s not overwhelming. But you must understand – it was more than I could do then. The numbers paralyzed me.
Adding in the crackers seemed easy to me after fighting with the soup. Four equals nine. Four equals nine. Four equals nine, and so on. But because I ate the whole pot of soup, I had many more crackers too.
I was thankful for how easy the crackers were to count. There were no fractions or decimal points to wrestle with, no division to confuse me. No extra ingredients to complicate matters.
But I was still bitter about all this counting and math for a simple dinner of soup and crackers.
After eating, I felt good because tomato soup and crackers are all about warmth, comfort, and satisfaction.
But I also felt defeated. I was bested by a can of tomato soup. My math muscles crumbled under pressure, and I took the easy way out.