Since I discovered that food IS medicine it has changed my life. My favorite mantra is from Michael Pollan:
“Eat well, eat less, mostly from plants.”
The country’s nutritional recommendations encourage citizens to consume less meat and dairy and more plant-based proteins.
After taking into account new research and anecdotal evidence suggesting plant-based diets support optimal health, the Canadian government issued new draft healthy eating recommendations which emphasize a “high proportion of plant-based foods.” Not only is the milk category eliminated, a special focus is placed on the powerhouse legume.
The draft food guide’s first recommendation establishes the importance of a whole food diet. Specifically, a heavy emphasis is placed on legumes as an alternative source of protein. The new guide recommends a “regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein.”
A heavy intake of meat is discouraged, primarily because of the high amounts of unsaturated and saturated fat found in animal foods. The recommendation is for the “inclusion of foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat, instead of foods that contain most saturated fat.” Ideal sources of at include wild-caught fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, and coconut.
Dairy is no longer recommended, either — a “win” for animal rights activists and the animals repeatedly bred (and separated from their offspring) so they can produce milk. Considering 90 percent of non-European ethnicities are lactose-intolerant and the food is very mucus-forming, few are shedding tears about this fact. In place of milk, the sensible guidelines suggest drinking more water.
In a first, the Canadian food guide seems to take into account the link between food choices and the impact on the environment. A high consumption of meat results in more greenhouse gases being produced, soil degradation, a decrease in water quality and availability and wildlife loss. The draft food guide states, “diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are associated with a lesser environmental impact.”
As the Huffington Post reports, “The guidelines are based on a comprehensive review of health evidence, considering both quality and source of the information, as well as actual information about Canadians’ eating habits. Industry-commissioned reports were excluded from consideration.” While the guide is not perfect and still might be revised, it is a tremendous step in the right direction considering diseases of affluence — most of which are linked to obesity — are on the rise.
If you support the heavy emphasis toward a plant-based diet (or don’t), participate by offering feedback on the Food Guide website. What are your thoughts?