Beef and Canada’s Food Guide

Canada’s new food guide has been out for nearly a year – and I love it! Yes, many beef and dairy producers aren’t happy, but I think it’s a major step forward.  Eating a healthy balanced diet doesn’t have to be difficult and the new food guide made great strides to illustrate this simple fact.

For starters, if you do nothing else but look at the picture associated with the food guide (see below) we will already be 90% of the way to eating much healthier. Real vegetables and fruits should make up half your plate.  Quality protein sources (I’ll talk about those in a minute) should make up ¼ of your meal and the other ¼ should be quality grains.  My five-year-old can follow this simple formula.

Canada's Food Guide
The simple but effective Canada’s Food Guide.

This easy to follow guide reinforces one of the things I have long believed, we should focus more on eating real whole foods and less on counting calories.  The great food author Michael Pollen sums up all the diet literature you ever need to read when he says:

“Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

In under 10 simple words, Pollan takes away all of the confusion that the diet and supplement industry has sown over the last 20 years.  This $30 billion industry thrives on telling us it’s too complicated to eat and live healthy on our own – we need a pill, a treatment or a membership.  Pollan and Canada’s food guide boils the truth down to one picture and eight simple words.

So where’s the beef? Where do I fit in as an Organic beef farmer?  The focus should be on real protein. Quality protein that’s nutrient dense and not full of additives like excess sodium, fat, or artificial flavours and preservative.  I couldn’t agree more.  Reduce your intake of meat but make sure it’s raised right so that you get the best nutritional bang for your buck.

The second page of the Food Guide is also very insightful.  It talks about cooking more often at home – I agree.  When you buy directly from a farmer, your freezer is full of meat that is nine times out of ten better than anything you can get in a restaurant. The Food Guide also mentions enjoying your food and eating meals with others. Again, I agree.  Food is meant to be shared and meals are times for friends and family to gather and reconnect.  The dinner table is one of the few times in our busy lives that we shouldn’t have to worry about time and simply enjoy our food and the company of others. 

We would all do a little better if we could appreciate the simpler things in life more than we do.  Canada’s New Food Guide and the concept of eating real food will help us do just that as we get ready to start the New Year.

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