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Our Beloved Food Guide

Canada’s Food Guide is getting some attention these days because a new version came out this week. That seems to be a big deal for some folks. It has been the same document since 2007.  I am not sure what all of the excitement is about. Is an apple different today then it was 11 years ago? I believe it’s our eating habits that have changed and not the basic food groups.

I feel that eating well should be obvious. I appreciate that could be an unfair statement. We are bombarded by so much information that it’s hard to know right from wrong. Is kale better for us than spinach? Is coconut oil magical? Let’s stop searching for answers and get back to the basics!

The best place to start is to determine your daily requirement for vegetables and fruits from the food guide. Look for the fresh produce that is available to you now. From there, only purchase the kinds you will actually eat, and make a daily plan to include them in meals and snacks. They are packed with the macro and micronutrients that our bodies require to function well. Use frozen versions of your favourites when necessary.

The next step is to focus on the servings of “Meat and Alternatives” and the “Milk and Alternatives” section of the guide (this is from the 2007 Canada Food Guide). Once you’ve got the meat and milk servings figured out add in the grain servings. You may find that the required amounts are less than you think. It’s in these areas that we tend to overdo it when it comes to our caloric requirements.

Years ago I read an article that said don’t eat anything that has an ingredient in it that you can’t pronounce or that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize. It’s a great rule that sets the stage for healthy eating. Our bodies have a harder time processing foods that contain chemicals. I discovered this by keeping a diary that tracked how I felt after I ate something. I figured out that some food would leave me feeling tired, while others would give me energy. It’s a great experiment to try. For a two-week period write down everything that you eat and pay attention to how you feel over the next 20 to 30 minutes after eating. It can be quite enlightening and the catalyst for change.

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