O where to begin….
This is a loaded topic. By loaded I mean many theories, opinions and ever changing research.
America has come a long way with in the world of nutrition. Since the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act in 1990, which made it mandatory for most food items to contain a Nutrition Facts Label, the many versions of MyPyramid (now My Plate), the Atkins diet phase, the low fat phase etc., no wonder why we are all so confused!
As a Registered Dietitian I have studied all aspects of nutrition. This includes food chemistry, food safety, community nutrition, clinical nutrition and with that we learned all about different types of diets. Through my entire life studying and changing my lifestyle to be healthy and nutritious, there has only been on practice that works. It is all summarized with the quote below.
“Eat Food, Not too much, Mostly Plants.”
These words of wisdom were spoken by Michael Pollan, author of Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of food, Botany of Desire and numerous articles regarding food and agriculture.
Many people would say this is silly statement, “I eat food every day, and these are not words of wisdom.” However, this means a lot more than just Eating Food.
Food should be wholesome, nutritious and be as natural and organic as possible. This does not include slim fast shakes, or Atkins protein bars. When Michael Pollan speaks about Food, he means whole foods, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes etc. Eating these types of Foods (not chemicals) is what fuels the body, makes you feel good. Processed food will not fuel the body, and will not make you feel good. Ever eat a diet food but no matter how much you eat, it never seems to be enough? Or “indulge” in that diet ice cream, but does not satisfy the sweet tooth? This is because these foods do not have the nutrients our body needs or even wants. If you want some ice cream, eat some real ice cream. Low fat ice cream has more sugar, and low sugar ice cream has more fat FYI.
“Not too much”
This has portion size written all over it. This I can say with 100% confidence that portion control is everything. There is no reason you can’t have your favorite ice cream every night without being healthy. You just can’t have 2 cups every night and expect to stay healthy.
Veggies Veggies and….. more Veggies!! As a general rule, half your meal should consist of fruits and vegetables. My Plate suggests 4 – 5 cups of fruits and vegetables/day depending on age and gender. This may seem like a lot, but if you scale it to size, it is not too much. The banana you see at the grocery store is typically 2 serving sizes and a type glass of 100% juice has at least 2 servings.
As you have probably noticed, there is a wonderful move happening (in my eyes) about the importance of sustainable and local foods. Local food has many benefits.
- Many nutrients found in fruits and veggies are heat sensitive and light sensitive meaning they lose nutrients when exposed to these types of environments after time. Local food which does not have to travel as far will not be sitting in warehouses and or trucks as long and will therefore not be exposed to these types of conditions.
- Local Foods have a lower carbon food print (less gas is used to bring the food to your plate).
- Helps the local economy. Most local farms are family run or run by smaller a company which helps the local economy.
- Taste better because it is fresher.
Sustainable food involves foods that are grown/created in ways that are beneficial to the environment, farmers, and are not as harmful to animals. This includes free range poultry, eggs, not using harmful chemicals, supporting organic farming and much more.
Please email me if you have any nutrition questions. I’ll be happy to answer them or write a post about it.
Check out these great Nutrition Resources