Thursday, November 24, 2016

New Canada Food Guide - Input Needed

For the first time in many years the Canadian government is revising the advice it offers to Canadians on what we should eat. In the current food guide, two of the four food group categories are consumed by animal products. Mercy for Animals and other organizations working to improve the lives of animals (human and otherwise), and to improve the life of the planet, are asking us all to go the the Health Canada website and provide our input. They have provided one template for answering some of the key questions. I'll provide another below in the hope that it may be useful. But please act now; the website questionnaire is open only until December 8.

To find the questionnaire, google Canada Health Guide Questionnaire.

You'll find the following among the questions:

Would healthy eating recommendations based on the level of processing of foods be helpful to you?


Why do you say that?

There is now a huge amount of evidence that a whole foods, plant-based diet is the best way to go. The "plant-based" part is vitally important; as the scientific evidence which and pother sites are continually presenting and analyzing clearly indicates, eating animal products is bad for our health in myriad ways (increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and on and on). But the "whole foods" part is important too; processed foods tend to be less nutritious in many ways.

To what extent are the current food groupings (vegetables and fruits, grain products, milk and alternatives, meat and alternatives) useful to you?

Not at all

Why do you say that?

The current categories are absurdly weighted in favor of foods that are bad for our health, bad for the environment, and horrendously bad for our fellow creatures. Two of the four categories foreground eating the flesh or the milk of non-human animals--the consumption of which has been conclusively shown to be associated with increased risk of myriad health problems, from cancer and diabetes to heart disease. (Plus, the factory farming methods that produce today's meat and dairy products are horrible for the environment and endlessly cruel to cows, pigs, birds, and so on.)

If animal products are to be included at all, they should be included in a single category of foods that may provide some nutritional benefits but that have huge health risks and other negatives associated with them.

The recommended categories should be as follows:

vegetables (possibly sub-divided into leafy and root vegetables); legumes (or pulses); fruits; nuts and seeds; grains

Rather than including things such as soy milk as "alternatives to milk" or such things as tofu as "alternatives to meat," they should be presented in a category of healthy foods that is separate from any category of animal product.

What else can Health Canada do to help improve the uptake and use of its healthy eating recommendations?

Don't presume that it would be "too extreme" to tell Canadians the truth about the damage we are doing to ourselves by eating animal products, when we'd be so much healthier if we didn't.

Help to make being vegan a mainstream concept, so that (to pick just one example) restaurants would start to be embarrassed if they didn't offer vegan options.

Vitamin information should be included: Anyone over 50 should take a B12 supplement; anyone in Canada should take a Vitamin D supplement; anyone over 50 should either eat plenty of goji berries or take a multi vitamin that includes lutein and xeaxanthan to help prevent macular degeneration; those who eat little or no citrus fruit know should know that vitamin C supplements are not a sufficient substitute; vegans should take Vitamin B12 supplements, etc., etc.

[Much as I was tempted, I did not suggest including beer as a separate, recommended food group. It's under the grains, I guess.]

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