The Food Pyramid was first introduced in 1992 and was touted as being the guideline for a perfectly balanced diet. But unfortunately, this perspective was jaded by the greed and power of the food industry giants who had much to gain from guiding people toward consuming processed and refined foods. Nearly 20 years later, the guidelines were updated in 2011 as reflected in the new ‘MyPlate’ graphic.
Although visually appealing and easy to reference, the original six food groups were reduced to five, eliminating the recommendation for dietary fat of any kind. They did, however, encourage the personalization of food choices. But how do you know who to believe and where to start? Well, let’s take a common-sense approach to this issue and start by imagining our own colorful plate.
- Load up on non-starchy vegetables. Since these vegetables are packed with an array of powerful nutrients, they can create dramatic changes in the body within a short period of time.
- Consume high-quality animal protein (Sparingly). Look for locally and humanely raised animals by organic and sustainable farmers. Grass-fed beef is best as it contains important fats and other nutrients obtained from the grass.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats. These are essential for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. They provide energy and help to support healthy cells. These fats can help produce essential hormones as well as keep your brain happy and in good health.
- Enjoy low glycemic carbs. These include berries, beans, and other healthy fruits.
- Drink plenty of clean water. Clearly a no-brainer, but it’s worth emphasizing. Avoid drinking tap water, which is full of chemicals and other toxic contaminants. Look for pure water in glass bottles.
But what about the grains? Most bread and pasta products come from modified grains that contain higher amounts of a protein known as gliadin. Found in commercially prepared products made from wheat, oats, barley, and rye, gliadin can cause significant digestive distress for those who are unable to tolerate it.
Some doctors and scientists believe these sensitivities are due to the increased use of insecticides and herbicides, as well as genetically modified varieties of grains. And to make matters worse, gliadin causes significant changes to the lining of the digestive tract leading to what is known as intestinal hyperpermeability or 'leaky gut.' So, it's just best to leave the grains alone.
Here's the best way to think about your new Superfood Plate: make sure half of the food you eat at each meal is comprised of vegetables and fruits and let the rest be your protein and fat. This makes your plate colorful, tasty, and stimulates your digestive system for a delicious meal!