So it seems over the last 24 hours everywhere you look from the internet to all the newspapers there is a definite buzz regarding the changes to Canada's food guide and within the health and holistic communities you can almost hear that collective WOOOO HOOOOO!!!!
I would like to start off by reiterating yet again one of my favorite values when it comes to life, being that everybody is different and every BODY is also different. We are as unique on the outside as we are when it comes to our biochemical make up on the inside. Yes, all of our bodies have the same mechanisms for survival, our heart beats, our lungs fill and empty and the blood flows through our veins and so on and so forth but we are as different as can be when it comes to what we need as individuals to "Live our best lives".
Because I run a vegan food company and because I eat a no exception meat free and primarily plant based myself, I am often asked by new clients if that means that when working with them and helping them to rebalance their bodies and address their health concerns through diet and lifestyle choices that they will be forced to adopt a vegan diet as well. The answer? A resounding no.
My rule of thumb is that we all need to EAT FOR VITALITY, or in other words, we must adapt our diet so that it is the most supportive to the specific needs of our body. So for example, although the government recommends certain amounts of each nutrient daily, also know as RDA (recommended daily allowance) to maintain "good health" these can vary vastly person to person because again, every BODY is different. For instance, an individual who is chronically stressed will cycle through much more Vitamin C (amongst other nutrients) and will need a higher level than the RDA in order to support bodily functions. That being said, across the board as individuals, there are still universal rules for lack of a better term of eating that are proven to be more detrimental than others. So a diet including the regular consumption of red meat, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, undesirable fats like trans etc will be worse on any body as opposed to a diet that is high in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean and plant based proteins and healthy fats and so on.
To exemplify this further, rewind back to my earlier days. I worked a fast paced job in transportation, I lived on coffee, fast food and cigarettes, I didn't even know what plant based protein was and I certainly didn't realize that my body was slowly showing me signs that this lifestyle and diet was not working for me. My body was literally shutting down both physically and mentally. (You can read more about my personal story here https://www.tlcholistic.ca/about-us). The point that I am making with this, is that for me and the requirements of my body, moving to a plant based diet was gradual and completely changed my life, my health, my world. Because this works for me, it may not work for everybody and I both support, understand and appreciate that. But what does work for everybody is a diet that is closer to what this new guide is suggesting, a diet that is loaded with whole foods, less meat, less dairy and more plant based options.
That being said, one cannot ignore the evidence regarding the benefits of a plant based, or at least including way more plant based foods in the diet, nor can we ignore the facts when it comes to commercial farming and the detriment it has on the animals, the planet and the huge negative impact it has on our health. For years it has become more and more evident the toll that animal products, including dairy takes on our bodies.
But it is not so simple (it never is). Sure. All of this evidence based information has been around for quite sometime but when it comes to systems of government and certain professions like the dairy and meat industry, complications arise in the fact that the two often work together in a certain capacity for monetary means. I think we can all read in between the lines here as I really do not wish to get into politics. But at the end of the day I commend Canada for finally putting the wellbeing, health, nutrition and quality of life of its inhabitants over continuing to mislead us while promoting the meat and dairy industries.
BUT, that is the very reason that I (along with so many of you out there and like all of the natural health industry) are overjoyed to finally see some support and awesome changes to Health Canada's Food Guide pointing in this plant based direction. So what's new in a nutshell?
The biggest thing for me is that the entire category that was "Milk and Alternatives" is gone. This is HUGE. I know we don't ever want to hear it , we are all like say it ain't so, but it is, that the truth of the matter is that dairy is a very inflammatory food, highly allergenic, extremely congesting in the body and really doesn't provide any great sources of nutritional value that any other plant based food can't do. And yes, I still get asked daily where I get my calcium from because I avoid dairy. And I say lots of plant based places, like take KALE for example. Three and a half cups of kale (easy peasy in one salad or split between your morning smoothie and salad later in the day) boasts 315 mg of CALCIUM which is more than you would get from a glass of cow’s milk. Furthermore, evidence based scientific studies reveal that in the human body, calcium absorption from kale is relatively more than calcium absorption from milk. And lastly, many studies show that the milk of other animals really has no nutritional requirement for us humans.
Secondly, an emphasis on water consumption makes me jump for joy (do you know how many daily symptoms can diminish from simply drinking adequate amounts of water)? Finally juice (hello liquid sugar!!) is NOT considered fruit and that protein is recommended to come from plants as opposed to animals more often is a win in so many ways. I think that these changes are just the beginning and will be a gateway for people to really branch out and see all of the wonderful and amazing whole foods that are out there beyond the classic meat and potatoes with a glass of milk for dinner.
I have chosen to attach an article featured in the National Post because I found it was really well rounded and touched on a lot of the main points that I believe to be so relevant. As both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and plant based human being, I feel both very excited and optimistic about these changes and what they can help do in terms of the overall health of Canadians. Is it s perfect model? Do I agree as a nutritionist with it all? No. There is still a ways to go. But is it a huge step forward? Yes. And I will gladly take it
Want to know what foods are best for you and how you can eat to live YOUR best life? Contact us today and we would be happy to help you find out how to eat for YOUR vitality. Meanwhile. Canada. Wow. Great start. You rock. Pat on the back for this awesome step forward. Read all about it here: