Worst plate ever

In their seemingly never-ending quest to prove that they know less than nothing about nutrition, the USDA has recently replaced their highly successful Food Pyramid with the new MyPlate food icon (I think I can hear you cheering from here).  Check it out in all its glory at www.choosemyplate.gov.

In case you can’t tell by the tone of that last paragraph, I’m less than thrilled about MyPlate.  Aside from the fact that I’ve always found it insulting that our government thinks adults need a colorful reminder about what foods to eat, they still seem intent on feeding us crap we shouldn’t be consuming.  But that doesn’t matter, because it would be stupid to grow all that grain if you couldn’t sell it to everyone, right?

It just seems a little preposterous that we allow the group responsible for promoting the trade of foods like grain and dairy products to tell us what we should be eating.  Anyone think that perhaps they’ll work backwards from “we’ve got grain and it’s not going to sell itself”?  I wonder if anyone would care if the FDA started telling everyone to take two Prozacs a day… but I digress.

I suppose I should be happy that the USDA was little more subtle about being in cahoots (yes, I just used the word cahoots – it’s a fun word and I recommend you try to use it today) with the industry that makes money selling us food.  Rather than make grain the entire foundation of our diet, they’ve decided that roughly a quarter of your plate is good enough, nevermind that no human would ever eat grain naturally in the first place.  The dairy thing is more than a little weird, too.  Anyone notice that we’re the only adults in any species that drink milk?  Weirder still is that it’s not even our milk!  I wonder who first thought drinking cow milk sounded like a good idea… I can only assume this person wasn’t in the running for a Rhodes Scholarship.

Anyhow, please do not make MyPlate your plate.  Eat what nature (not farmers) gives you and let the government get back to what they’re best at – spending money they don’t have.




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6 responses to “Worst plate ever

  1. Jane

    Sounds like you’re a fan of “The China Study.” Maybe we all need to take a look at Drs. Esselstyn and Caldwell’s ‘MyPlate.’

  2. Actually I’m not a huge fan of the China study. One of my biggest beliefs about nutrition is that studying it just leads to confusion, because one set of data can almost always be used to draw multiple conclusions (not to mention that lifestyle studies are almost exclusively observational and there are too many variables to identify true cause/effect relationships). Look at native cultures that have lived in cold climates and you’ll find that many subsist on high amounts of animal protein (some even subsist on it exclusively, yet they remain healthy as a people). We know what to eat – imagine you had to go out into the wild and find the foods that nature provides… no making your own food. You’d eat all the vegetation you needed to get you from one successful hunt to the next. Depending on your location and time of year, the ratio of plant-based foods and animal-based foods would vary, but there wouldn’t be any dairy or grain-based foods. The biggest concern I have is that a government agency responsible for helping to trade certain foods is telling us what foods are healthy to eat – an obvious conflict of interest that we shouldn’t accept.

  3. Nancy

    I have recently learned this about grains and cow’s milk — unnecessary to harmful for many. My confusion level is where to draw the line — “some” grains/no grains; other milk products/no milk products; other kinds of beverages in the place of milk (coconut milk, almond milk)/none at all.

    Nutrition and proper food intake is and has been a huge challenge for me, both in knowledge about it as well as consumption of it. I am interested in learning more about your view and knowledge of a “perfect” diet and meals plan.


    • Hi Nancy, the biggest thing I can preach is that a small amount of grain, let’s say two or three servings per week, isn’t really going to hurt most people. But it should not be a daily staple. Grain consumption of any kind is not a normal human thing, so I’ve never been too concerned about what kind of grains – they’re all foreign to us, so just enjoy the little grain you do eat. Same applies to dairy. First, try not to drink calories in the first place, but if you must, keep dairy consumption to a couple times a week at most, and try to substitute almond/coconut (NOT soy) milk when possible. The good thing is that we’re a pretty hearty group, we humans… we’re tough to kill, especially when it comes to food, so don’t sweat it too much. Just try to do your best to eat a combination of animal-based foods and plant-based foods (the ratio is something you’re going to have to tinker with to find what you feel best with) and avoid grain/dairy as much as you can.

  4. Wait, I thought the calcium in milk was good for the body, and I’m not understanding why grain is so bad for you. I LOVE cheese… do I really have to give it up? 😦

    • Hi Liz, calcium is important, but we shouldn’t be getting it from dairy. Green veggies are an excellent source of calcium and they’re good for us. Dairy is to help baby cows grow. We’re adult humans, so we don’t need milk anymore (especially not cow milk). Cheese is like everything else, you don’t have to give it up entirely, but you really should moderate it – a couple times a week at most. Grain is so bad for you because our bodies don’t know what to do with it. It provides lots of calories that we have no use for and our bodies get sick trying to digest too much of it. For hundreds of thousands of years we never ate any grains at all, then suddenly (with the agricultural revolution) we started eating them in large quantities, but our bodies have never adapted to their intake. The prevalence of grain and dairy are a big part of the problem we face with weight in this country – we have the USDA telling us to eat them as staples in our diet, but our bodies haven’t adapted to those foods.

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