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A Nutritionist’s Take on Canada’s Food Guide
Canada’s Food Guide is designed to be a guide for all Canadians as to the types and amounts of foods we need to eat, in order to be healthy. Nutritionists go to school for two years to study food and its impact on the body. Every nutritionist finishes school knowing that the food guide could keep the people in this country considerably healthier than they are.
Looking at the Grain Products group, we are being guided to eat as many grains as we are fruits and vegetables, if not more. There is no question that we need grains for energy however fruits and vegetables are actually more needed by the body than are grains for their multitude of vitamins and minerals and detoxifying capabilities. And most grains are actually the hardest of all foods to digest; evidence of this includes the bloating and fatigue that so many experience after consuming a bowl of pasta. I don’t believe enough of the healthier, easier to digest grains are mentioned in Canada’s Food Guide. Quinoa is mentioned but it would be great to see spelt, kamut, and millet, to name a few. And the picture of rice depicts white rice when most know that brown rice is far more nutrient rich. And 3-4 servings of them are more than enough in a day.
The number of recommended Fruits and Vegetables is wonderful. I only have three concerns. Counting juice as a serving, when it is often not fresh and is laden with chemicals and sugar, simply doesn’t make sense to me. The nutrient content of frozen and canned fruits and vegetables is not the same as fresh fruits and vegetables yet no distinction is made in the guide. Secondly, no mention is made of the need for organic fruits and vegetables. The soil in which our ancestors’ produce was grown, was loaded with nutrients, far more than the soil of today! Organic is truly the best we have these days.
The Milk and Alternatives “food group” is actually not a true food group! Yes, milk products provide us with extra nutrients but dare I say that we do not need milk? In fact, milk is the number one common allergen in North America due to pasteurization removing 22 digestive enzymes that we need in order for humans to digest cow’s milk. The pasteurization is causing inflammation, mucus and numerous symptoms and conditions. Goat milk and cheese would be far healthier suggestions.
It surprises me that nuts and seeds and legumes i.e. lentils, beans, chickpeas and green peas are included in the same category as Meat and Alternatives, albeit they are all foods rich in protein. The fact that the types of legumes are not listed might explain why so many don’t know what legumes are and why so many vegetarians don’t realize the importance of these foods. Then there is the picture of peanut butter in the chart; a healthier alternative would be almond or sunflower butter. A nutritionist would enforce the need for clean meat, preferably organic but certainly preservative and antibiotic-free. And 4-5 serving sizes of protein each day would be paramount rather than the 2-3 servings that are recommended by the guide.
I wish that the examples of the good Fats we need each day were superior to the types listed. Vegetable, canola and soy oils are some of the least healthy oils we could consume. The healthiest of oils are coconut oil, rice bran oil and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. And I am really surprised that margarine is recommended; butter is a far healthier alternative. Other healthy fats include fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives. But I guess my BIG wish is that many are doing their own research on healthy eating, so that the health of the next generation surpasses that of our current generation.
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Until next time,