When I first began my weight loss journey many years ago, I decided then and there that I was not going to give up ice cream, my momma’s fried chicken, and chocolate chip cookie dough. No way! I wanted to achieve dietary euphoria. I wanted it all. Is that even possible? Well, maybe. I kept thinking about the bulky hard cover text-book from my sixth grade health class; the one that weighs a million pounds and has enough weight to rip a hole in a brand new JanSport backpack. I thought about the Health & Fitness section of that book and the Food Pyramid Guide diagram. It consisted of all of the basic food groups including a little junk at the very top. Hmmmm, can I really have it all? Many years later I met a nutritionist who put me on my a low-calorie diet and provided me with a food diagram/journal with a picture of…..you guessed it……the Food Pyramid Guide. Euphoria. Well, not quite. Although the 1992 version of the pyramid provides a variety of food options, the proportions were way off in my opinion. I can do without the 6-11 servings of grains/bread. I settled for 3-4 servings instead.
I went on to lose quite a bit of weight by sticking to the basics and I think that anyone who is having a hard time trying to figure out how to start a weight loss journey or just want to avoid fad diets, should not rule out this old school goody. However, I would recommend using a new and updated model such as the one developed by the Harvard School of Public Health. This model uses more updated scientific data based on our eating, physical activity, and weight control patterns. Is it a one-size-fit-all solution? Of course not, but it’s a decent and simple start. Hey, we’re like snowflakes and none of us are the same, not even when it comes to dietary needs. For further guidance, check out Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, a revised version of the MyPlate model, developed by the USDA.
(Check out the link below to see how they compare)
I like the Healthy Eating Pyramid because it takes into consideration physical activity. In fact, it’s included in the actual model. I’m also a fan of how it emphasizes good and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils. However, at this point my main criticism is that there is little or no focus on dairy-free or gluten-free options. There are many revisions of the Food Guide Pyramid and many debates about whether or not they’re really healthy options or just simply marketing ploys, but you know, I think that even the most basic model and recommendations have to be considerably better than the junk many of us consume on a daily basis. Eat six slices of how whole grain bread or six bags of BBQ potato chips? Hmmmm! I choose moderation!
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