Earlier this week Michelle Obama introduced a replacement for the 2005 replacement for the original Food Pyramid. The new logo has gotten much attention, but unfortunately the hefty price tag has taken the spotlight. Personally, I was rather disappointed by the graphic itself. It’s ugly isn’t it?
At least it is more legible than the previous attempt, the 2005 pyramid. And I think the plate idea is a good one. It is easier to relate to reality than the too abstract and vague pyramid logo. The suggestion to actually eat off a plate is good in and of itself. Too many of us eat too many things out of paper wrappers, cardboard boxes, and plastic containers. I like that it features vegetables and fruits for half the plate. And I appreciate the sentiment behind the choice of the word “Protein” over “Meat” although it is a bit of nonsense since vegetables, grains and dairy also contain protein.
However, I can smell the Dairy and Grain lobbyists behind those two categories. I find the Dairy glass/cup the most nonsensical. In my opinion, there are many ways to have a nutritionally complete diet and there is no single item that must be included. Some people are lactose intolerant. Some are vegetarian or vegan. Some have Celiacs and cannot consume grains.
My proposed design describes the way I have come to eat after 2 1/2 years of nutritional experimentation. Michael Pollan says it best: “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.”
The first and most important aspect of my suggestion is the plate size. The government logo does not address portion size, but I firmly believe that overeating anything leads to health problems. A plate like the government logo, if it’s a 12 or 15 inch plate, will be more food than an average person needs for one meal.
Next, I have filled the plate almost entirely with plants. In fact, “other” is optional. By using the word “Plants” I have been intentionally vague. Again, I do not think there is only one healthy way to eat. “Plants” means fruits and vegetables of course. But it also means grains, nuts, beans, and soy. It specifically does not mean High Fructose Corn Syrup or any other chemical additive.
“Other” can be anything you like. If you are a meat eater, here’s your meat. It should not be the main portion of the plate. Think of it as a side dish. In my own diet, “Other” is dairy and eggs. I enjoy yogurt, cheese, sour cream ad other dairy products in moderate quantities. But again, these rich foods do not need to be eaten in large quantities.
Wine and Chocolate are a there to remind you that it’s absolutely ok to have the indulgent foods you love, as long as you have them in moderation. It’s important to remember that eating is not only about fueling your body, but also about pleasure. If you don’t like wine and chocolate (what are you crazy?) then replace those with your personal favorites.
Since it is a logo, this symbol doesn’t encompass every detail of the way I eat, but it comes pretty close. It could mean different things to different people. It reminds me that there aren’t any hard and fast rules. I don’t have to have a glass of milk with every meal, or ever. I don’t always have to eat grains. But I can eat them sometimes. It reminds me that there are infinite possibilities for foods I can eat that are simply Plants in different forms.
I lost over 120 pounds eating this way and I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life.