Last month, the USDA announced it had discarded its hard-to-interpret Food Pyramid and replaced it with “MyPlate,” a simple, colorful, icon designed to teach Americans how to eat more healthily. The pyramid was terribly flawed (it suggested 6-11 daily servings of “bread, cereal, rice, and pasta,” for example) and MyPlate is an improvement on that. The USDA’s website encourages us to “enjoy your food, but eat less,” and “avoid oversized portions,” which are great ways to avoid adrenal burnout and maintain a healthy metabolism and weight.
Though I disagree with some of its recommendations, the good news is that MyPlate emphasizes vegetables and fruits. If I were to create my own version of MyPlate, I would use half the plate for vegetables, eliminate the dairy category, and move fruits over to where dairy is now: eat fruit for dessert. All the meats would be grass fed, and the produce would be organic. Looking at MyPlate’s grains serving, if you are under 22, it’s okay to include whole, unprocessed, gluten-free grains as 25% of every meal. Most adults, however, should be eating far less.
MyPlate also doesn’t take food allergies and sensitivities into consideration. Many people suffer from allergies and sensitivities that have not been diagnosed. Making a blanket statement that everyone should eat grains and dairy is unwise.
On an interesting side note, the federal subsidies that support farming are not in line with MyPlate at all. MyPlate shows us that each meal should be comprised of about 50% fruits and vegetables, yet fruit and vegetable farmers receive less than 1% of subsidies. Please contact your congresspeople to let them know that while MyPlate is a step in the right direction, the government needs to alter its agricultural policies in order to truly promote healthy eating.