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The Day I Followed Canada’s Food Guide (What I Ate Wednesday)

Disclaimer: 1) This is a long post – go grab your coffee. 2) If you are easily lured in to following any sort of dietary “plan” this post may be triggering. There is also mention of calories. Please either skip this post or read with caution if you feel this may affect you. 

 

In Canada, we have what is called “The Canada’s Food Guide.” In the states, there is something very similar called, My Plate.”  Nearly every country has their own image – be it a pyamid, spinning top, house or stairs  – that acts as a nutritional guideline which, if followed, is meant to ensure people acquire their daily required vitamins and minerals to stay, well, healthy.  I’m personally partial to Hungary’s artistic simplicity…anyone else? 

 

 

I’ve never been one to really follow Canada’s Food Guide. This past summer, my dietician was the first professional to actually refer to, and take out, the chart. I did find it somewhat helpful, at least in the notion of ensuring I had each, or at least 3 out of 4, of the food groups in every meal. Eating with this goal in mind automatically ensures a more well rounded, balanced day of eats with – hopefully – the right balance of nutrients that your body needs. And with no food groups – or “fear” groups – being left out! 

So last week, I decided to take one day where I would try to follow Canada’s Food Guide to the ’t.’  I was curious to see how it felt to get in the exact number of servings of each food group that the guide recommends (for my age and sex). I wanted to see which recommendations felt hard to reach and which maybe felt like too little. 

 

For a woman aged 19-50, Canada’s Food Guide recommends:

 

6-7 servings of Grains (G)

1 serving = 1 piece of bread, half a bagel, 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal, 30g cold cereal (of any sort),  or 1/2 cup cooked rice/quinoa/pasta/whole grains etc.

7-8 servings of fruit or vegetables (F/V)

1 serving = 1 piece of fruit, 1/2 cup berries or veggies of any sort, 1/2 cup cooked leavy greens or 1 cup raw leafy greens etc

2 servings of milk or dairy (D)

1 serving = 1 cup milk or fortified milk alternative, 50g (1 1/2 oz) cheese, 3/4 cup yogurt\

2 servings of meat and meat alternatives (proteins – PRO)

1 serving = 75g cooked meat or fish, 3/4 cup beans or legumes, 3/4 cup tofu, 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp nut butter or 1/4 cup nuts

Note: the gram measurements are not the amount of protein, rather the weight of the entire meat source

 

Making a Plan:

 

To ensure I was having the “correct” amount of servings, I had to keep my day of eats simple. Rudimentary. It’s far too hard to know the serving sizes when you eat a casserole or piece of baking. I planned my day out in advance, and actually had to try more than once to get it “right”…. it was much harder than I thought it would be!

** Important note

Obviously trying to strictly adhere to this guide is NOT a reasonable, or even healthy thing to do on any sort of long term basis. It is a guide, and should only be seen as such. Not only would it drive you crazy and limit you from more complex meals and treats, but it would keep you in a place of food micromanagement, which is the opposite of true health, in my opinion. ALSO – as you will see in my concluding thoughts – I actually had to RESTRICT some things that I would have normally had to get to these serving suggestions. Therefore, please do NOT see this day as something you should strive to achieve and do not think that I am going to try and change my eating from now on because of what I found from doing this experiment.

Thank you to the usual crew for hosting this week’s WIAW. 

 

What I Ate:

 

Breakfast:

60 grams cold cereal (30g Enviro Kids Peanut Butter Pops + 30g Organics brand Raisin Bran): (2 G)

3/4 cup 1% milk: (>1 D)

1 banana: (1 F/V)

1/2 cup berries: (1 F/V)

Canada's Food Guide

Organics Raisin Bran / Peanut Butter Pops / Banana / Almond Milk / Cinnamon / Strawberries / Blueberries  

Thoughts: There. was. no. protein

This breakfast felt fine at the time, but by 11/11:30 I was starving. Usually I’m not eyeing my lunch until 12:30 or 1:00. I tend to have peanut butter (or eggs) at my breakfast, but it didn’t fit in to the plan I had made. This was proof that I need that protein and/or fat in the morning. 

Also, I had planned and expected to use a whole cup of milk on my cereal (I do not measure but assumed it would naturally be at least a cup). I was shocked when measuring out 3/4 more than covered my cereal and thus I did not want to use the whole cup. This was a good lesson that I’m not getting the serving of calcium/vitamin D/dairy that I thought I was when I have cereal. 

Lunch:

2 slices bread: (2 G)

60 g canned tuna: (>1 PRO)

1/2 cup raw carrots: (1 F/V)

~ 2 Tbsp mashed avocao + 1/2 Tbsp mayo (N/A)

Canada's Food Guide

Canada's Food Guide

Tuna salad sandwich (made with mashed avocado, mayo, salt + pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, mustard, lemon juice) + carrots

Thoughts:

This felt good. Half a can of tuna was 60 grams which was just under a recommended serving. It was actually really nice thinking, “oh I need to have these carrots because I want to make sure I have a good amount of fruits and vegetables in my day,” rather than having them only because I was hungry. 

Snack:

Medium (16oz) 2% latte (1 1/2 cups milk): (1 1/2 D)

Canada's Food Guide

2% latte

Thoughts:

I may have only had a small latte (~1 cup) but since I learned the amount of milk I have at breakfast is not as much as I thought, and since I did not have cheese on my sandwich like I normally do, I went for the medium to get in more dairy. 

That being said, I do hear things about the nutrients (calcium and Vitamin D) in milk becoming denatured when a) heated and b) mixed with caffeine, so I’m actually not sure if a latte is or should be considered a milk and dairy source??? Boo 🙁

Dinner:

100 g salmon: (<1 PRO)

1/2 cup brown/wild rice blend: (1 G)

1 cup roasted broccoli: (2 F/V)

1/2 cup sauteed red pepper and mushrooms: (1 F/V) 

Canada's Food Guide

Salmon baked in Lindsay’s Honey BBQ glaze / roasted broccoli, mushrooms, peppers / wild+brown rice blend 

Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure 1/2 a cup of grains was going to feel like enough, but it satisfied me. I always feel like I get most of my vegetable intake at dinner, so this amount felt normal and preferable to me. In fact, without measuring I probably would have had more than this. The salmon I had came in 100g fillets (as I think most packaged portions are) and cutting it down to 75g would have felt far too small for me. 

Snack:

4 cups homemade popcorn: (2 G)

Necessary chocolate because no day can end without chocolate: (N/A)

Canada's Food Guide

Popcorn / Lindt chocolate

 

Concluding Calculations:

 

Protein: just over 2 servings (+)

I am shocked at the amount of recommended protein. 2 servings!? Only 2 servings!? If vegetarian, I could see how this would make a bit more sense as 75 grams of meat protein is a lot more condensed than 3/4 cup of beans or tofu. In fact, in my first attempt at this day, I made a ham sandwich for lunch and was surprised at how little ham equaled 75 grams. On that day I also had peanut butter with my breakfast, which is usual for me, but then I ended up far over the recommended servings. Having my usual peanut butter or eggs would have held me over a lot longer than this day’s breakfast did.  

I have always thought it was common knowledge to try and have protein with every meal – for energy and satiety – but there’s no way this could be done by following the guide’s recommendation. I think this needs to be adjusted?

Grains: 7

This is the one I was most nervous for. 

For anyone who read this post, you know that grains/wheat have been my greatest struggle in my recovery to normal eating. I know on a daily basis I never take in 6-7 servings of grains. I would guess maybe more like 4-5. When planning this day, I guessed that I would feel like I was eating a lot of “carbs.” Now that I look back, I do see that it was more than I usually have. But in the moment, at the time during each meal, it felt okay. Canada’s Food Guide reminds us that carbs/grains are a very large, essential part of our nutrition for proper health and that having more than we may think we need is actually for our benefit. However, I still question whether 6-7 servings is asking a bit much. 

*Note the difference between “grain” and “carb” here. The foodguide does not speak about “carbs.” Many of us – me included – equate potatoes andsweet potatoes as “carbs,”…. but they are not a grain. To the guide they are a vegetable. Therefore, since I will admit I very often have a sweet potato as my “carb,” my average day of eats are definitely short of grains. Something maybe we should be more aware of. 

Fruit/Veggies: 6 (-)

I was actually so surpirsed at how hard this was! 7 servings of fruit/veg is a lot!! I always thought I ate a lot of F/V in a day – definitely more than most – and so I thought that if anything, I would be over the recommended servings. But I was under! I actually had an apple planned to go with my latte in the afternoon but I failed to give myself it.  I suppose if I had had one of my big salads for lunch the number would have risen a lot quicker, but then I wouldn’t have gotten in my grains!  

Dairy:  ~ 2.25 cups of cups of milk =  just over 2 servings (+)

I feel like 2 servings of milk/dairy is too small. I am aware that cheese in my sandwiches, the odd yogurt, and my lattes are really the only forms of calcium I get in regularly, and so I’ve always thought that I should be trying to get in more. BUT… the food guide, once again, only recommends 2 servings a day!? Isn’t this low? Especially for women? Even I – who does not feel like I eat that much dairy – doesn’t have much trouble getting in this amount. Yet I feel like I should be having more

Fats:

Canada’s Food Guide also recommends 2-3 Tbsp of unsaturated fats per day. I am confident I met this between the mayo and avocado on my sandwich (~ 2 Tbsp), the oil used to roast my salmon and veggies (~ 1 Tbsp) and the butter on my popcorn (1 Tbsp). Oh hey look at that, I had more than they recommended. And yet again, I actually think I could have added more avocado to my day for more skin glowing nutrients. 

 

How Does This Match Up Calorically?

 

I had to be honest, I was curious to know how Canada’s Food Guide recommendations matched up calorically. The general guide – in more than just Canada – seems to say that 2000kcal is the average amount one should eat for proper nutrition.  I wondered if this meant that these serving guides would equal this?

So. NOT counting the addition of chocolate at the end of the day (only counting the food guide servings they recommended), rough calculations tell me that I was actually below 2000kcal. More like 1800kcal. Wow…..I am amazed. 

Of course. This does not account for treats, desserts or any “extras” that – hopefully – someone would be consuming in addition to these food group servings. But still. I’m surprised that 6-7 servings of grains with 6-7 servings of fruit/vegetables doesn’t equate to a more substantial, reliable energy source. Calories are not the measurement of health, but I do think this is too low for the average diet. Which leads me to…

 

Problems I have with Canada’s Food Guide:

 

I’ve already mentioned my concern about the amount of protein and dairy that is recommended. I feel that each of these food groups are too low, for any age and sex bracket. 

The Canada’s Food Guide states – right on their pretty colorful image –  that we should “use vegetable oils such as canola, olive and soybean,” and that we should “limit butter, lard and shortening.” Isn’t the more modern nutritional research proving that whole food fats – like real butter – are far better for us than plant based oils such as canola? And what about avocado and coconut oil? There is no mention that fats of these types should be a large part of our diet. And 2-3 Tbsp is surely not enough for me I don’t think. 

It also promotes choosing low fat dairy – milks and yogurts – options over fuller fat options. They seem to have a fear of fat…. and isn’t that taking us back like, 15 years? I’d rather have a full fat yogurt with 3 ingredients than a low fat brand full of preservatives and sugar. It also says to limit ice cream. So… that’s to be ignored. 

The Day I Followed Canada's Food Guide. My problems with its serving recommendations. #nutrition… Click To Tweet

In conclusion, I do think following Canada’s Food Guide can be helpful, as I mentioned before, it can help us look at what we can ADD to our diet to ensure we giving our bodies extra, beautiful nutrients. It can help keep us knowledgable and accountable in knowing the general amount and balance of different nutrients our bodies need. Doing this fills me with a sense of compassion and real ownership of my health, which is a great feeling. However, all our bodies are different and we all have different needs, so by no means is a guide such as this what each person should be looking to follow. 

Tell me,

Do you ever try to follow your own country’s nutritional guideline? Is it much different?

Do you think 2 servings of protein is too small? 2 servings of dairy??

Where do you think you would be lacking? Where would you be over? 

 

 

 

 

 

41 COMMENTS

  1. GiGi Eats | 28th Feb 17

    Oh gosh. I would never ever ever follow the “ideal” diet that is promoted in the US – oh heck no. It’s utter crap. Garbage. And plus, I actually really cannot for health reasons!! All of my food allergies and intolerances do not allow me to eat what is “healthy” is the USDA’s eyes. And honestly, THANK GOODNESS!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Addressing the LARGE Elephants In The RoomMy Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      Haha. Well it definitely takes it right out of the pictures when allergies and sensitivities are involved. Then you truly have to ride your OWN ride.

  2. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 1st Mar 17

    This was such an interesting post, Cora. I loved how you walked us through step by step what you chose and how it relates. 6-7 servings of grains does sound like alot! I teach clients through My Plate, but I don’t get much into the number of servings per day (except FV – we recommend 5 here)! As far as dairy, 2 does sound low but I guess it depends your lifestyle. For example, if someone uses a cup of milk/almond milk at breakfast, has a string cheese for a snack, yogurt for lunch, and a cheeseburger for dinner, they get 4 servings. But maybe will get 2 servings the next day – so it possibly evens out? By the way, whatever bread you used for your sandwich looks so soft and amazing!
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…What to do in Austin: Food, Drink and Travel GuideMy Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      I think 5 servings of F/V is much more attainable. How many servings of grains does My Plate recommend? It definitely needs to be understood – by anyone who maybe wants to try and follow these guides – that it does not have to be attained EACH and every day. Going “over” one day is inevitable, as is being “under” another day… and it is these days that just balance everything out.

  3. Kate | 1st Mar 17

    Ooooo this is a fun post! I have so many thoughts. Canada’s guidelines are very similar to the US, but we recommend 3 servings of milk/dairy and since we don’t use grams we measure our protein differently.
    I like how the US has moved away from the pyramid scheme and is now using MyPlate. It encourages high intake of fruit/veggies but it’s also much easier to follow as it is more of a guide for fixing a plate. While it isn’t perfect and doesn’t fit every situation, I like the simplicity of it when counseling patients. As with all eating plans, it needs some personalization for each eater.
    It is surprising how little protein our bodies actually need when we are getting enough calories. The recommendation is 0.8g/kg body weight unless you are under a certain amount of physiological stress, trying to heal a wound, or intentionally trying to build muscle. Most of us get way more than that, which is totally fine, unless it’s extreme. Protein helps with satiety so I always try to have some.
    And I’d definitely still count the latte as dairy! Calcium and vitamin D aren’t as heat sensitive like a lot of nutrients. 😀
    Kate recently posted…Pictures + a few wordsMy Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      What I like about MyPlate (from an outsider) is that it is not so number based and is more “general” in terms of what your plate should look like. It may get a little difficult for clients to follow though when they aren’t eating a sit down “plate” meal.
      “It is surprising how little protein our bodies actually need when we are getting enough calories.” Huh. Thank you for this reminder! We are always told “protein protein protein” that even I have to be reminded that our bodies actually don’t need as much as we may think, AND that there is protein in so many other sources as well. I think the servings of dairy also cross over with servings of protein. So on this day I know I had much more protein (also from the grains) than those “2 servings.”
      Oh and Kate you just made my day. Hearing that calcium and Vit. D maybe aren’t as heat sensible as I think makes me feel so much better!!! I really hope I’m getting some benefits from my glorious lattes.

  4. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 1st Mar 17

    I have to echo Katie–most of the Western world has too great a focus on protein, and even athletes often get too much. But if you are worried about it, remember that eating/drinking non-plant based milks/yogurts also gives you protein–so that latte helped you out there–and can help count. I would be interested to see this for a vegetarian or vegan.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Homemade Energy Gel + EnduraPouch Giveaway (Coaches Corner)My Profile

    • Cora | 1st Mar 17

      Funny you say that – as I was doing this day I made the plan to do it again fully vegetarian – it sparked definite curiosity in me. So stay tuned!
      But yes – you both have reminded me that maybe our idea of how much protein we need IS a bit off – including mine. And there is definitely protein in other food groups – like cheese and milk – so that makes sense to why only 2 servings of meat/protein recommended. I actually didn’t think about this as I was reflecting on the guide.

  5. Dee | 1st Mar 17

    I love that you tried this Cora! Several months ago, I read online that it’s helpful when attempting to “eat normally” again to follow My Plate (here in the U.S). I printed off the recommendations for my age range and being a woman and used it as a guide. I did not follow it precisely as you did so I found this fascinating (as Canada seems to have similar recommendations). I found a lot of the same things very helpful. I have such strong orthorexic tendencies that I had eliminated food groups and all of my “healthy” eating was making me malnourished. My Plate really helped me to realize the gaps in my diet and to start the process of incorporating fear foods back in. In my opinion, it was great for that and showing the importance of all foods but I think from that point, that’s where intuitive eating kicks in. I know I do much better with more protein too and others on less. I couldn’t get myself to follow the grain recommendations either for previously shared anxieties (hell I thought I was doing fabulous just adding in 1-2 servings lol). But like I shared, all foods really do make a difference. My moods and digestion have been improving greatly and couldn’t agree more that it’s a great guide to use-especially for those that have been so afraid of different foods w/o true health reasons (allergies etc). Loooove your blogs! So helpful!

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      I agree completely!! Having the dietitian first pull out this guide last summer was really good for me to see, as you say, the “gaps” in my diet and to remind myself that all food groups are healthy and necessary. I think these guides can be really great for that, as somewhere to begin, but THEN we need to learn what our bodies need personally. So happy to hear you agree that these guides are healthy as starting points and that you have felt improvements with your mood and digestion! That’s HUGE!! Keep going girl.

  6. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 1st Mar 17

    I feel like so many people are obsessed with protein protein protein all of the time. I definitely make sure to have some with every meal but I feel like its pushed on people so hard. Especially if I tell someone I don’t really eat meat anymore–WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN is always the question that follows.
    This post was super interesting though–I’d love to look more in to My Plate and see how it differs as I don’t really follow that either.
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Monthly Must-Haves: February 2017My Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      You are so right!! Even I when writing this post was sucked into it… I ASSUMED we needed more protein. But, as I’ve been reminded, we don’t need as much as we are often told, AND, there is protein in so many other food sources (like in the grain servings and dairy servings as well). And oh gosh…. that question that vegetarians get is so silly. THERE IS PROTEIN IN PLANTS. Sure you have to make sure you get enough and pair them appropriately, but there is by no means a deficiency.

  7. Kat | 1st Mar 17

    Girl I totally love this little experiment of yours! And you did a really good job of sticking with it. Half way through the day I probably would’ve said “screw it!” and eaten two spoonfuls of nut butter. Cause, fat 🙂 I think that this would be an interesting experiment to run with the US food guide lines – of which I have some issues with as well. I know that protein would be my issue as I don’t eat much dairy and eat meat MAYBE once a day, but I try to eat lots of eggs, lentils and beans, so I think I’m ok there! At least I hope 😉
    Kat recently posted…Thai Vegetable Noodle Soup [Dairy-Free / Meatless]My Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      Hahaha…. it came close! I really missed my PB. It would be interesting to see where your protein intake lines up, especially with your activity. Though we can be surprised how much protein is found in other food sources as well – even grains and plants! – as long as we are getting enough calories in total (thank you Kate for this reminder). So I’m sure you are just fine.

  8. Emily Swanson | 1st Mar 17

    Wow, this is a really fun experiment; I am totally way OVER what they recommend for fat, because my body just needs more fat. And I think I eat quite a bit more dairy, because I love yogurt. I’m actually not a HUGE meat eater, so I wouldn’t have a hard time getting protein from other sources; but for me pyramid schemes/food guides (strangely) are still a bit too much for me, so I kind of just go with what my body is craving. O_O I’m not sure if that leaves me deficient of some nutrients or not.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…#NEDAwareness – Is Total Recovery Entirely Possible?My Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      I’m GLAD you know all this about yourself, Em. I too need more fat and protein than this guide recommends, so I think it needs to be common knowledge that we all need different things. There is a lot of protein in yogurt so the fact you don’t eat a lot of meat should not be a problem. Heck there’s a lot of protein in all sorts of food sources that we don’t always realize. If you are giving your body what it wants and are feeling good as an outcome, then I’m sure you are not deficient. Our bodies are smart like that!

  9. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 1st Mar 17

    What an interesting experiment, Cora. On the one hand, these sound like reasonable guidelines in the sense that they ask you to eat, for instance, a wide variety of foods. But you’re absolutely correct in that, if you followed them, you’d totally tune out your body’s actual needs. Many people need well of 1800 a day. Some people might need more protein and fat. Some days it might be hard to get in those servings of veggies. Sometimes you might eat a great big salad for lunch and not get all your grains. Some days you might eat more grains.
    I’m not good about getting protein early in the day. I saw a dietitian on Monday and she got after me about that. Oops.
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Caterpillar Crawl: February 2017My Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      Absolutely right. I definitely think they are reasonable “guidelines,” but yes – I don’t think anyone should really follow a paper to tell them what to eat at least for any long period of time… that is completely not letting your body have its own say. AND.. now that I think about it… could elicit feelings of guilt, or that something is “wrong” with us, if we want more than what this guideline says we should have.
      Protein in the morning is harder – outside of eggs, peanut butter and the occasional yogurt for me – I don’t see many more options. I never feel like meat in the morning, and things like hummus or beans or tofu are rarities. I hope you enjoy working with this dietician!

  10. Stephanie @ Wholesome Paradise | 1st Mar 17

    I would have ‘failed’ this experiment had I attempted to follow the US food guide. I don’t even get 6-7 servings of grains in per month. I personally don’t follow any government created food guides because I think they’re mostly based on crap ‘science’. And I can’t eat according to most food guides because of food intolerances that would make me feel miserable. I do what works for my body, and if the government doesn’t agree, too bad.

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      When you have food intolerances or sensitivities this definitely throws following a good guide out the window! You, more than most people, have to really really be intune with what YOU need. The government’s say does not matter…

  11. Patricia @Sweet and Strong | 1st Mar 17

    The first thing I thought of when reading this was 2 servings of protein seems way too small! Even for someone who isn’t active. And I agree the grains seems like a bit much. The US My Pyramid is kind of similar, I always thought it wasn’t enough protein and too much grains. I just don’t think I could eat like this everyday, but props to you for giving it a try!
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…Chocolate ‘Caramel’ Protein FudgeMy Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      My thoughts as well. However, I have now reminded myself that protein is in the other food groups as well – like dairy and even grains – so their “protein” servings aren’t actually the entire days worth of protein. Phew. I definitely can’t do this every day. But the base mentality of keeping a good balance is a good one to keep.

  12. Haley | 1st Mar 17

    This was interesting! I’m always surprised too how many servings of grains are recommended in the food pyramid (US version). Not that I have any issue eating that many, but it seems like grains are so demonized these days, I’m almost surprised they recommend any at all at this point.

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      Ha – good point! But I guess those who make these guides are trying to REMIND the rest of us that, no, grains are not the demon. In fact, we really need them.

  13. Ellie Pell | 1st Mar 17

    This was an interesting experiment. I don’t know what our food guide looks like now (maybe I should because I am a health coach…) but I hope it also includes water. People don’t understand how important that is!
    I’m curious, how did you feel at the end of the day? Hungry? Full? Just right?
    Ellie Pell recently posted…It’s called BREAD.My Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      Ours does include water! Thank goodness! I mean, its in a little corner bubble so who knows how many people would see it, but yes, water is something that is very often forgotten.
      After dinner I was surprised that I felt absolutely fine. Totally satisfied, but not uncomfortably full. I knew I wanted something sweet afterwards – as I always do – but knew I “needed” to have the popcorn too. So after the snack I did feel a little too full. Popcorn tends to fill me up quickly, but then leaves me starting a couple hours later. All in all I was surprised I felt pretty fine and not as full as I thought I would.

  14. Evangeline | 1st Mar 17

    This is interesting…the guide does seem a little outdated, but I find most of the government issued dietary guidelines are a bit shaky on their nutritional advice. It’s impossible to come up with a “one size fits all” chart, so they do the best they can. However, in the U.S., the meat and dairy industry have a huge influence on what gets endorsed and recommended, so I think there is some financially driven bias in the recommended servings of those items especially. Ooh that sounded a little paranoid. I didn’t mean to be, just pointing out an observation. I have never tried to follow My Plate, but it seems like a good guide. ‘Guide’ being the key word.

    I don’t know where I would be lacking, but I would be over in the fat category. I inhale nut butter…and avos…and coconut butter…and ALL those eggy yolks like nobody’s business.
    Evangeline recently posted…NEDA Week: Rediscovering the Genuine “You” After an EDMy Profile

    • Cora | 3rd Mar 17

      Whooooaaaa really!? I definitely didn’t even consider that…
      That’s a little, worrisome. All the more reason to use it as a GUIDE to remember healthy balance, but then listen to your body for the tweaks that it needs.
      Me too on the fat. And it feels really good. So there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. We are going to be the ones with glowing beautiful skin!

  15. Casey the College Celiac | 1st Mar 17

    What an interesting project! I definitely know I don’t eat the US approved diet because I don’t tolerate dairy (bye bye to that column). I’d think I’d eat more than the necessary fruits and veggies, but it definitely would be interesting to check! And I know I’d also be over on the fats….cause avocado and sunflower butter are life!
    Casey the College Celiac recently posted…Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan)My Profile

    • Cora | 4th Mar 17

      It would be interesting to see where you lay in the different food-type servings based on your limitations. Do you feel like it is hard to get in enough protein because you can’t have dairy? Do you ever feel like it is hard, in general, to get in enough calories based on your sensitivities?? Luckily in our world, there are a multitude of substitutions are options out there, and our knowledge is growing to know that these other high quality options exist. Some people are just forced to learn them in more detail than others…..

  16. Victoria | 1st Mar 17

    Awesome post! I’m a fellow Canadian RD… though I practice in clinical paediatrics so really don’t need to use EWCFG (and don’t really want to as I too just feel weird about making people follow a guide that I don’t…). So great they’re looking at revisions soon so definitely you should submit your thoughts. We are the people to help with change. 🙂

    • Cora | 4th Mar 17

      Oh cool!! I was wondering when they would be next looking at it for changes…. thanks, Victoria!!

  17. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 2nd Mar 17

    I feel like the food guides are almost as off base as the wheat belly books. I just took a health survey for our insurance program and they asked how often I eat saturated fat, like butter and cheese? The answer is nearly every day, especially if I have some good bread in the house, which you know I almost always do. The survey clearly viewed it as a negative, although I don’t. I also don’t intend to change my ways anytime soon either.

    • Cora | 4th Mar 17

      Yeeeppp My brother just took a similar survey for health insurance purposes and it told him he had “high cholesterol.” He loves his eggs and cheese, but he’s also one of the most healthy guys I know (in all areas). So I told him to screw it.

  18. Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday | 2nd Mar 17

    This is interesting! I know I’ve been on a meal plan based on the US guidelines before, but I totally don’t eat that way now. Heck, it was hard to eat that way then a lot of the time. Sometimes, I just want carbs. Other times I want meat. That was the first experience I’ve had with not just eating whatever I felt like, and I swear it’s scarred me a little (oooh… that’s a post idea).
    Anyway, I’ve found that while I can tolerate some grains, it’s not nearly that many servings. Unless I get my hands on a box of cereal… because then I can go to town, though I don’t feel fabulous afterward. I’m probably close to average on dairy, just because of Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. And I get way more protein, fat, and fruits & veggies than recommended. Overall, I eat way more than recommended. I’m obviously not a dietary specialist, but I always wonder if the recommended amount of food in general is enough for the average person, because who *really* follows MyPlate?

    • Cora | 4th Mar 17

      Wow that’s interesting Ellen – and definitely a post idea I would be interested in…. would love to hear more about this experience of yours. Being on a plan can be both helpful and not helpful. If someone is really needing to go back to the basics, then it can be a good place to start. BUT it is so easy to then get, in a sense, addicted to having to “stick to the plan” and feel guilty or worried when you stray from it, or you just take zero thought into actually listening to what YOUR body wants. I felt this way after my time in the hospital. To this day I have the numbers/sizes/”rules” of the meal plan I was on in my head for every single meal I eat.
      Honestly? Based on the people I know… I don’t think these guides are a true testimony to how much people eat and need to eat.

  19. Kristy from Southern In Law | 3rd Mar 17

    I always feel like guidelines like these are too vague and misleading as everyone has different needs! For me, I can’t eat too much protein (or my liver protests!) so two serves of protein would probably be enough for me (well actually no… if they count peanut butter as protein im screwed ?) but for others that might leave them starving! I’m also ALL about the fat, too – and those guidelines wouldn’t give me enough food!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: Stickers, Fascinations and When Bodies Go BadMy Profile

    • Cora | 4th Mar 17

      Yep, for sure. I quickly learned I can’t follow this guide due to what it says about fat. Also, its all just so basic, because each macronutrient slides between the food groups – peanut butter is a protein AND a fat, milk is dairy AND protein. I still think they can be a good baseline for anyone needing to start at the beginning of their nutrition journey, but then we need to learn to know what OUR bodies need.

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