COLUMN: Fresh food for thought

Health Canada’s new food guide is more inclusive of all diets

When I was a kid, we always had to swallow down a glass of orange juice every morning.

Cold, sour and acidic – I was never a fan, but my Mom adhered to the food guide and healthy eating and this was what we were told was good for us.

Canada’s Food Guide in the early ’80s recommended fresh, frozen or canned juice – half a cup as one of the daily servings of fruits.

The revised 1992 guide recommended low-fat foods and low-fat milk products. I remember drinking one per cent milk.

It was watery and tasteless. I had a strong aversion to it, so I stopped drinking it.

Then I went to Asia, where they embrace homogenized or unpasteurized milk – full-bodied and delicious. A couple years later, the pendulum here swung back to full-fat dairy after new research revealed it can actually be good for us. We just need the right fat, not the saturated fats.

In Canada, our relationship with food has been a roller coaster ride.

This is why the new food guide is so great.

Health Canada has shifted from telling us what foods to eat, to what nutrients we should be putting into our bodies.

The messaging: be mindful, cook more, eat with others, be aware of marketing, read food labels and limit foods in high sodium, sugars and saturated fats.

Water is the drink of choice, not juice… and I certainly don’t see coffee in there, darn.

The food guide shows a plate half full of fresh fruits and veggies, one-quarter filled with proteins, and one-quarter whole grains.

At last, plant-protein proponents – aka vegans – are being included, so are the dairy lovers, and all other cultures. Traditional First Nation foods that are hunted, trapped, fished, harvested or cultivated are being encouraged as well. Meat is still in this health guide, but the recommended portion is not exactly New York steak size.

Going through the 62-page report, there isn’t any mention of supplements being recommended over food, only that new found fad diets pose nutritional risks.

The main message is eat fresh, and find joy in healthy eating.

That’s a lifestyle I can dig into.

Shannon Lough is editor of the Prince Rupert Northern View, sister paper to the Peace Arch News.

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