Health Canada published a new food guide for the first time in a decade this past week. And the message is quite clear; eat more plant based foods and less meat and dairy. The 4 rainbow coloured food categories are gone, and it has been replaced by a plate of food, showing half the plate covered in fruits and vegetables. For those of us that chose to follow a plant based diet, or for people that have studied nutrition, this seems like an obvious suggestion. Eat foods that are high in nutritional density; vegetables, fruits, whole grains. These are the foods with fundamental vitamins and minerals that can help us thrive. But there are so many people in this country, trying to follow the Food Guide that the Canadians government has supplied for us. This new detailed diagram provides us with healthy options and doesn’t put a limit on our intake. Measurement and daily serving recommendations are gone, and a greater empathises is put on proportions.
“It’s not about portion per se, but perhaps about proportion,” Dr. Hasan Hutchinson, director general of Health Canada’s Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Health Products and Food Branch, told reporters.
Notable changes came from the food categories, with Health Canada eliminating the dairy group. Dairy products have now been combined with proteins, and now have less emphasis put on them. For years, Health Canada has told families across the country to eat multiple servings of dairy products on a daily basis.
Human beings don’t need milk from another species. Animal products increase our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Instead of a loaf of bread and bowls of cereal in the whole grains category, we now have quinoa and brown rice. It is refreshing to see that healthier options are now being suggested.
The New Food Guide is not only educating us on what to eat, but also on what not to eat. Advising us to avoid processed foods, artificial sugars and saturated fats. My favourite part about the new food guide is the Food Behaviours. Be mindful while eating, cook at home and take your time while eating will all help encourage healthy eating habits.
Hydration is also addressed. Can you believe that for many years, fruit juice was listed as a practical option for fruit? Most fruit juice is filled with artificial sugars. It should have never been included in the fruit and vegetables category, and thankfully now, it has been removed, and a warning about sugar content in other beverages is now being addressed. Canada’s drink of choice? Water. Such a vital aspect of life, is now getting some love.
Overall, I am pleased to see the adjustments made. Although I do believe that everyone should be able to make adjustments to their own diets, according to what their body needs, I feel like it is encouraging to see so much plant-based wholefoods being suggested to us. This food guide is not a law. It is not mandatory. It is simply put in place to help educate individuals on a well-balanced diet that can help us live a long and healthy life.