Have you ever sat down to eat your dinner, glanced at your plate, and thought, “Oh, no! I don’t have a large enough serving of grains according to the FDA food pyramid!” Yeah, me neither. Perhaps that’s why the FDA changed from a pyramid to a “plate.” They thought we weren’t smart enough to do the math or percentages on the pyramid and that if we had a visual of a plate, it’d make it easier for us.
The wrong pyramid
However, whether or not we get our plates right according to the FDA is not the point. The point is, both the plate and the pyramid are wrong, and have been for years. One does not have to be a rocket scientist (or certified nutritionist for that matter) to figure this out. All you need to do is look around you at the results of not only their recommendations, but what is actually being consumed: vast quantities of highly processed, cheap, chemical-laden, grain-heavy “food.” What’s especially scary is that many times it doesn’t actually qualify as real food.
Perhaps you’ve noticed (how could you not??) the recent “gluten-free” fad that’s taken the country by storm over the past few years. Nearly everyone you know is either “gluten-free” or thinks maybe they should be. Well, they’re probably right. But they likely don’t even know why. The somewhat hilarious, albeit sad, part of the story is that “gluten free” has become a cash cow for marketers. Many items that have the GF label slapped on them have ALWAYS been gluten-free! (Folks, corn flakes have always been gluten free, sorry to break it to you!)
It’s become a literal gold mine for food manufacturers. You can find a plethora of gluten free junk food, and guess what’s making that stuff semi-palatable? Sugar. Or it’s evil twin, High Fructose Corn Syrup. Or some other high-glycemic carbs like rice flour, tapioca starch, etc. that have essentially the same metabolic effect as sugar. Having been mostly GF for a number of years, I can tell you from personal experience – there’s just no such thing as a gluten free loaf of bread that’s comparably delicious to a wheat flour loaf.
So rather than spending endless, fruitless hours and oodles of money on trying to duplicate things (without boatloads of sugar), I did the next best thing – went mostly GRAIN free. (Gasp!! You mean you ignored the entire bottom tier of the food pyramid???) Yup. And guess what? I feel better, I’ve lost weight, and I’m healthier. Do I ever indulge in grains or gluten? Yes, for a very, very special occasion. And it had better be the best thing I’ve eaten since sliced bread, pun intended!
But that’s a bit off topic. The real point of this article is that the pyramid we should be following is this one:
The right pyramid
Yes, good nutrition is key – without it, you can take the highest quality supplements in the world, exercise perfectly, get enough rest, and so on, but none of that will make up for eating a junk food diet. What is Eating Right? I’m glad you asked that! We’ll cover that in a future article and the answer will surprise you. Suffice it to say right now that Eating Right does NOT include junk or processed food. That’s the place to start – eliminate those and eat food you recognize with as few ingredients as possible, ones you can pronounce.
Unfortunately, exercise is next in the right pyramid. Maybe you can guess what my feelings on this topic are…. However, since HIIT (high intensity interval training) has come on the scene, it’s been a literal lifesaver for me. I can do one or two sessions a week, supplemented with walks with my husband, and know that I’m benefiting my body. Okay, maybe I don’t have a six-pack, but I’ve decided that being fit and feeling well are more important.
Rest & Manage Stress
This is a tough one, particularly the stress management. Here in Silicon Valley where I live, it seems the entire valley is so stressed on a regular basis that we consider it a normal part of life. Sad. You have to work at reducing stress. But it’s possible. More on that in future articles as well!
Reducing Your Toxic Load
This is a favorite topic of mine, and I teach a class on Detoxification. In fact, as I write, I’m nearing the end of a 26 day detox and am about to do the liver/gallbladder flush tonight. I’ll keep you posted on the results. Don’t worry, I won’t include photos!
Informed Self Care and Proactive Medical Care
These might seem like the same thing, and they are two sides of the same coin, but a bit different from each other. Informed Self Care is you taking responsibility for what goes into your body, or how you care for it in general, not just watching what you eat. Proactive Medical Care is you taking responsibility for treating yourself for what ails you and not relying on conventional medicine for all the answers. I’m not advocating that you never see a regular MD, but there are many, many quality alternatives these days including chiropractic, holistic doctors, osteopaths, nutritionists, and others, and most of them focus on the WHOLE person, not just your symptoms.
We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” each unique, and as such, there’s always a deeper reason behind most of the external symptoms we may experience.
You owe it to yourself and your family to follow the right pyramid! There are so many resources these days to help you do just that. This blog is just one excellent example! It may seem overwhelming at first, but choose just one thing to work on and take baby steps; don’t try to change your entire lifestyle or pattern of eating overnight. You CAN do it, and you’ll be ever so glad you did!