Tuesday, June 14, 2011

USDA's MyPlate

Well...the USDA has replaced the food pyramid with MyPlate. Is that a good thing? I'm not convinced, unfortunately. I feel like maybe the government is too far into big agribusiness for them to actually give any guidelines for what is actually a healthy diet. I recently saw an article that Garden Variety Mama posted a link to, "We Need Policy Not Plates" by Jillian Michaels. She really hit the nail on the head for what I believe about the state of our national diet.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is just depressing. I wonder how many of our weight related problems would disappear if we were eating a totally local diet. I'm not even saying organic. What I am saying is: Know your farmer's! I think that if we weren't as able to buy whatever we desired, perhaps it would be a little better for our health. Maybe that is just me. Maybe I am just lucky because 95% of what I would ever need in my current diet, I can get in my food shed (within 50 miles). The 5% I am of course referring to are bananas and avocados...two very important foods in my life :-)

I guess I feel that the government shouldn't be subsidizing anything. I think that it should be a completely free market. By subsidizing we are giving priority to one food over another. Currently, it is corn/soy/wheat, probably the worst things for us in the forms that they are delivered (huge amounts of processing). But, if it were tomatoes and lettuce would we be any better off? Clearly we will never have ALL fruits and veggies subsidized, so maybe the consumer should be able to make the decision on what the important foods to buy are. Maybe then we might actually buy the fresh fruits and veggies that are in season.

Am I giving too much credit to people? Would people actually choose what was local and in season? I think that it is possible. If farmer's weren't forced to produce huge crops of corn doused with chemicals, maybe they would choose to have a permaculture farm and produce the food that their customers wanted. Granted, that would be the complete opposite of what we know now. Go without for a time because it isn't in season. Certain foods you are no longer able to have because they aren't local to you. But, would it cure many of the nation's health problems...I think yes.

Unfortunately, I think that the government is doing more harm than good. They employ thousands of scientists, spend loads of money on "research" just to find that the wording isn't quite what the dairy industry, or the beef industry, or the corn industry (all with loads of lobbyists) want to hear. Who in their right mind would tell an a citizen of the United States of America that eating too much cheese, or beef, or (fill in the blank) is bad for them?! But is it really fair that only the people with the most money are able to come to the table and voice an opinion?

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