I want them to understand where their food comes from, how it’s grown and how it’s raised. I want them to know how to garden and cook and preserve what they’ve grown. I hope I can raise them to believe in science and to use it in their decision making process.
Lastly, I do not want them to ever experience guilt or shame over how they choose to eat, what they can afford to eat and what brands, labels or trends they choose to support.
Some good changes, but an overstep
Health Canada has just released the new Food Guide. There is a lot in there that I am happy about:
- We are finally having a conversation about portion control, cooking and cutting down on the amount of preservatives we consume.
- It talks about increasing our water intake and being mindful of balance and eating with others, not just eating to eat.
- There are helpful tips on how to incorporate new ideas and foods into our daily lives and there is more of an emphasis on what our bodies need, like protein, iron and calcium.
All that said, as a mother and a farmer I believe Health Canada strayed by taking it one step further. Instead of saying your body needs protein and listing ways to get that protein, Health Canada said “choose protein foods that come from plants more often.”
Even though this saying is a positive for my business —I grow lentils, a great source of plant-based protein — I still take offence to it. Why not let the individual figure out what works best for them based on their dietary goals, demands and restrictions?
I also feel that some adjustments made to the food guide come from the emphasis on reducing our country’s carbon footprint. Canadian agriculture is sustainable and becoming more so ever year. It is part of the solution not the problem.
Tell us what we need, not how to get it
We are all different. That diversity is something to celebrate, but also means that what I need to fuel my body and to make myself feel good and healthy is going to be different than what someone else needs.
What my body needs is also going to change. What I need now training for a marathon is not the same as what my body needed when I was pregnant or breastfeeding. It is important to recognize that all of these differences exist and to not direct someone as to what will work best for them at all times.
When my youngest, who is three, is sick she will refuse to eat for days on end but she will drink milk continuously and that doesn’t worry me. I know that her body is getting what it needs from that milk to not only sustain itself but also fight what ever bug has its hold.
It is my choice as an individual what I put on my plate, just like it is ultimately my four-year-old’s choice what she eats, regardless of what I put on her plate!
I would like to have seen Health Canada tells us the building blocks our bodies need, list options and then stop right there. The best diet is a varied diet. We know this. So don’t take it further and tell us what type of protein to eat or how and where to get our calcium.