Have you seen the latest food pyramid?

Have you seen the latest food pyramid?

“Enjoy a variety of food and be active every day”


This is the overarching principle in the latest revision of Nutrition Australia’s Food Pyramid.


Not bad, NA. Not bad.


But we’ve taken the liberty of adding an asterisk.


“Enjoy a variety of food and be active every day*”


So long as your food is sourced locally, ethically, organically and meets your unique biochemical needs. And as for being active? Do it in intelligent & meaningful ways, with respect for your personal goals.


Did you cast an eye over the latest dietary recommendations? (Shaped suspiciously like a triangle of Toblerone…?)

 


If not, we’ve summed up our thoughts. Think of them like a Enliven Cheat-Sheet for making informed conversation with your health-savvy friends.


Every critique should begin with the positives (it’s called ‘the criticism sandwich’ - praise, judgement, praise).

 

Here are our HURRAH! points:


WE LIKE


MORE PRODUCE: That the bottom of the pyramid is looking a lot like a fresh Enliven Organics produce box. Minus the legumes and frozen peas.  


LESS GRAINS: Grains have been demoted to command a smaller portion of the pyramid. We’re no longer urged to eat 57 billion serving per day.


A NOD TO HERBS & SPICES: We all know how incredible herbs & spices are for health - not just flavour. Having the new pyramid acknowledge their vital role in everyday health is a huge leap forward.


EMPHASIS ON WATER: The new pyramid encourages us to choose water - the ultimate beverage & staple. No longer glasses of (processed) milk, Orange Juice & Sports drinks.


HEALTH-CONSCIOUS ALTERNATIVES: Grains still command a leading space in the food pyramid, but at least they include gluten-free options such as quinoa.


WE’RE NOT SO THRILLED ABOUT:


LEAN MEATS & ANIMAL PRODUCTS: Occupying a still-small portion of the pyramid. You don’t have to go cave-man-crazy and subsist on steak, but it’s important to eat nose-to-tail, protein-rich cuisine that keeps bodies nourished & strong. We also got a little teary over the recommendation to choose ‘lean cuts’. Fat-phobia is on the decrease, however Nutrition Australia seems determined to perpetuate the myth.


PROTEIN ALTERNATIVES: Such as tofu, lentils & beans are included with animal foods as ‘protein’ - we beg to differ. These foods can be prepared traditionally to mitigate digestive irritation and increase nutrient value, but we wouldn’t count them as a reliable source of protein. They are mostly complex carbohydrates, and should be classed as such. Also, the problems with soy are well-known - we won’t re-hash them here. It wouldn’t be out first (or second, or third) choice on the protein-portion of the pyramid.


TINY FAT TRIANGLE: This makes us weep. Suggesting that olive oil should be the sole source of ‘healthy fat’ is a crime. What about saturated fat? The pastured, organic kind? Butter, lard, tallow, cream, coconut oil, duck fat...oh the humanity! Saturated fats are crucial, down to the last human cell. Let’s give them props.


BOYCOTT SALT: Hmmm. Salt continues to be denied recognition as an important dietary inclusion. Sure - Table Salt is out - but natural sea salt, crystal salt & mineral salt is in. We need it for healthy nervous system function, cell signalling, adrenal health, electrolyte balance, stomach acid production - to shun salt is a danger indeed.


SOURCE & PROCESSING: The invisible question that determines food quality is missing. No credence is given to the origins of this pyramid food. Where did it come from? How was it grown? Is it biodynamic, organic, cultivated on fertile soil? We know it infuses ‘how to eat’ with a certain ambiguity, but it’s about time the leading bodies in health started asking.


WHAT WE’D ADD:


WHERE’S THE BROTH? No mention of traditional superfoods such as bone broth & stock. Vitally important staples of a nutrient-dense ancestral diet.


WHERE’S THE PICKLE? Fermented foods rate no mention - except for yogurt. Sauerkraut, kefir, kim chee, pickles, lacto-ferments, cultured dairy products, kvass - these fermented foods are crucial for the gut. Let’s add ‘em in.


WHERE’S THE OFFAL? Liver? Lung? Bones? Heart? Brains? What about the rest of the animal!? Steak is the tip of the iceberg. We’d encourage people to hark back to more frugal times. Embrace nutrient-rich organ meats & animal bits, for health & ethical eating.


WHERE’S THE FAT? We already mentioned this earlier, but it never gets old. Part of a healthy, energising, life-supporting diet - is fat. Saturated fat, primarily. And some from monounsaturated (olive) and polyunsaturated (nuts, seeds & seafood). The amount differs for everyone, but it’s certainly more than a teaspoon of olive oil with dinner. We’d love to see Nutrition Australia be bold & bring back the fat.

 

We’re excited to see mainstream nutrition moving in a positive direction - away from processed foods, white & floury staples and low-fat dairy. But we’ll suspend our applause until ‘weird’, ‘unhealthy’ & ‘artery clogging’ foods are back on the menu. Pastured fats, broths, offal, fermented foods & traditional staples.

 

What are your thoughts? Will you be heeding the latest guidelines or taking them with a pinch of iodised table salt?



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