For decades we have been taught about the beloved “Food Pyramid” and how to eat a balanced meal everyday. Here at Earth Rebel we would like to discuss with you a few reasons why the old food pyramid is not always suitable, and introduce to you a new and exciting concept of balancing healthy eats.
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Diets are not a “one size fits all” kind of regimen
A balanced diet should consist of nutrient-rich vegetable, fruits and naturally occurring fats and vitamins. (And by diet, we refer to the overall consumption of your meals each day — not a lose weight fast kind of thing.) This is a pretty basic concept within our realm of food talk.
Here is an example of the original food pyramid most of us grew up knowing:
We’ll start at the bottom of the pyramid, where the largest portion of meals “should” be dedicated to bread, grains, cereal and pasta. Moving up through the pyramid we know that in smaller portions than the previous food group we “should” consume a few servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Above the greens it is stated that we “should” have limited portions of dairy and meat products such as yogurt, cheese, red meats and fish. At the very top, in the smallest amount are fats, processed sugars, cooking oils and such.
This concept was pioneered by agricultural chemist Wilbur Olin Atwater, Ph.D.. Mr. Atwater was the founder and director of the Office of Experiment Stations (OES) for the USDA, and in 1902 wrote the first dietary guideline. Atwater conducted studies over the human metabolism through funds received by the government. His published USDA’s farmer bulletin was the initial mark of the governments influence on societies food choices.
In 1917 the USDA released their very first eating guideline titled How To Select Foods written by nutritionist Caroline Hunt. In the beginning foods were separated into seven different food groups, but as time passed this concept became confusing and challenging to many people. The diversity of Mrs. Hunt’s food recommendations was then simplified to the Basic Four to help people better grasp the idea of a “balanced diet”. As time went by, these guidelines were altered to fit the current state of the country, and at some point suggested ways to ration food during the war. In 1968 the Senate appointed a group of individuals to the “Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs” to combat malnutrition and hunger that had been affecting lower income areas of the country. Within just one year their efforts had succeeded in ending the starving and malnourished populations. From there the Committee wanted to do more, leading them to push for more funding to expand scientific studies.
Fastforward to more recent times.. In 1992 the Food Pyramid (see above photo) was introduced to the United States, a concept obtained from Swedish scientists.
The problem with the Food Pyramid today is that it no longer suits the needs of our current society. Most of the US population is not suffering from lack of food, yet millions are still sick from malnourishment. Most grocery stores are corporate entities that make money off of the publics food consumption. The sweeter and unhealthier the foods stocked in these stores are, the more addicted and malnourished our bodies become. It is not as easy to stay straight on a “clean eating” regimen, unless perhaps we suffer from food allergies, were raised strictly to eat non-processed foods or if there is a life threatening health circumstance. We KNOW to avoid unhealthy foods, yet they are so easily accessible and addicting.
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Switching directions, we’d like to share with you the Earth Rebel Team’s version of the Food Pyramid.
Proper hydration is key to maintaining good health, so it is the first guideline on our list. Next up we have dedicated a large portion of the pyramid to vegetables. The consumption of a broad variety of veggies can not be stressed enough! Moving up through the pyramid are smaller portions of both fruits and proteins. Different fruits offer our bodies a vast array of vitamins and minerals. Grass-fed meats and wild caught fish offer healthy proteins and natural fats (i.e. omega fatty acids) for all around nourishment. At the top of our pyramid are healthy oils such as Coconut and Olive.
We believe the most important aspect of your daily intake be a decent supply of hydration to the body. Water is often chemically altered with things like fluoride and chlorine, so it is suggested to purchase a water filtration system best suited for your household. We recommend consuming water with a high pH level, otherwise known as alkaline water, UV purified water, natural spring water or reverse osmosis. The human body consists of 55%+ water, so it is crucial that we keep ourselves hydrated for optimal health!