Happy National Nutrition Month!
Ah the beloved food pyramid! This certainly has changed over the years, and now as many of you may know it has become MyPlate. I can remember learning about the food pyramid multiple times in my 21 years of life, and I remember being slightly confused about all of it (well almost all of it and we will get to that!). As a little kindergartener I remember thinking:
O.K. so all food has a category- my wheaties in the morning are at the bottom along with my sandwich bread and mac n cheese.
I am not really sure I like the next two categories very much…
I get milk in my cereal and my dog does too when he finishes it!
Dad makes me chicken and I like eggs sometimes for breakfast on the weekends. But it might be cool to be a vegetarian though.
O and that last category! That is the special one where it says I can have my doughnut in the morning and the birthday cake at the party right? But not too much or…
Back then I wasn’t really sure. You see I new what all of the other layers of the pyramid represented, but the top point was sweets. Not fats and oils. and as I grew older the top of the pyramid started to disappear. and the sweets certainly disappeared.
Until my very wise dietitian that was the tipping point of my recovery brought out the food pyramid again and taught me what it was really about. And that the top of the pyramid was the one of the most important parts! My health relied of the top where the fats and oils were located. So bring on the nut butters, avocados, nuts, olive oil… but I forgot about the cake.
You see I may have had a lot wrong (like skipping the fruits and veggies…) when I first learned about the pyramid and then the second time I forgot that it wasn’t just healthy and natural foods on there either. The awesome thing about the old food pyramid is it shows us that all foods are needed to help us as individuals achieve the best overall physical and mental health. We need it all. Those whole grains and complex carbohydrates provide us with our body’s fuel of choice and quick energy, fruits and veggies are packed full of some awesome vitamins and minerals and fiber, protein… well protein (or the amino acids protein is made up of) is in everything… like our cell membranes or the collagen of our skin!, milk, cheese, yogurt- healthy bones baby!, and fats? We need them for our hormones, our mental health, and as a source of energy! We also need our favorite foods and things we just enjoy to make us happy and content in life.
You see, everything fits. The old pyramid doesn’t discriminate. Foods are not good and bad. They all build off of each other, and you need every category.
I encourage everyone to celebrate National Nutrition Month with a well-rounded diet approach. Use the old pyramid and create a new plate full of all of the nutrients your body loves!