We’ve come a long way from the 1997 edition of Canada’s Food Guide which featured muffins and orange juice as examples of healthy eating. #facepalm
The new Canada Food Guide is out and tongues are wagging!
Wondering what the the new guide means for your health and your wallet?
I’m breaking down the top 4 things I love about the new guide and how it can guide you to being in the best shape of your life!
If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, recently on CBC News I shared my thoughts on the new Canada Food Guide and what it means to your wallet and your health. You can check it out here:
1.Eat More Plants
Let’s just start with my fav – the emphasis on eating MORE plant-based foods.
The new guide urges Canadians to ‘Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often.’ Can I put this on a T-shirt?!
Now I know what you’re thinking and yes! You absolutely CAN get protein from plant-based foods!!! This is probably the major concern and the BIGGEST myth that people face when wanting to add more plant-based foods to their diets.
Plant based protein sources such as beans and legumes are high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, and are also an excellent source of protein.
Bonus – they’re cheap!
One of the areas of controversy with the new guide was that eating plant-based is more expensive. Not so. Fruits, veggies, lentils, and beans, and grains are some of the cheapest foods you can buy. They are also foods that can be cooked in larger batches and saved for lunches or dinners the following day. That means less trips to the food court and more money in your bank account.
In my book Unbreakable I shared 4 reasons to follow a plant centric lifestyle. One of those reasons is that adding more plants to your diets helps to minimize your risk of heart disease. Why should you care? Well heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, claiming more than 48,000 lives per year. More than 2.4 million Canadians have heart disease. A disease that can be entirely prevented by watching what you put on your plate.
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, who has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968, has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from heart disease with a plant-based approach. His nutrition-based therapy has been scientifically proven to REVERSE heart disease. Yes – really. Seriously – you should look him up.
Why? Well, plant foods have an abundance of potassium and Vitamin B6, which are known to lower blood pressure. Nuts, seed, legumes, veggies, fruit and whole grains, all recommended in Canada’s latest food guide contain crazy amounts of potassium and Vitamin B6. Animal foods and dairy products, in comparison, contain only a wee amount to nada potassium and in fact, can actually RAISE blood pressure and cholesterol due to saturated fats.
Which leads me to..
2. Eating More Healthy Fats
Another solid recommendation from the latest Canada Food Guide. The guide states ‘Choosing foods that contain mostly healthy fats instead of foods that contain mostly saturated fat can help lower your risk of heart disease’. People need to get over their fear of fat. With popular diets like the keto diet people have started to warm up to the idea of adding more fats, however the source of your fats is very important.
Low-fat products like low-fat sour cream, yogurt, and salad dressings tend to be heavily processed, which means that they are stripped of vital nutrients AND PACKED with sugar.
You should avoid them like a telemarketer on the other end of the line!
Instead reach for healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil and fatty fish.
There are many benefits to adding the right kinds of healthy fats to your diet.
Other benefits of eating more healthy fats include strong shiny hair, glowing skin, and a better brain.
Our brains are rich in fat, so it should be no surprise that not getting sufficient dietary fat can negatively impact this organ. Additionally the areas of the world that report the lowest rates of depression and mood disorders [ie postpartum, bipolar] eat the most fish which is high in brain boosting Omega 3s. In this guide I share other key nutrients that are important for cognitive function so you stay sharp and energized!
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating fat kicks your body into fat burning mode. When you eat foods that encourage your metabolism you will have less cravings, will feel more satisfied and have increased energy.
Besides It’s not fat that makes you fat, it’s sugar. Which leads me to….
3. Drinking More Water
The guide recommends making water your drink of choice and states that ‘replacing sugary drinks with water will help reduce the amount of sugars you drink.’ Sugary drinks are one of the leading contributors to the obesity epidemic. Beverages are one of the sneakiest sources of sugar that most people don’t think about from sodas [yes – even diet soda], to fruit juice to even your ‘healthy’ kombucha beverages are one of the top sources of added sugars. If you have any doubt just check the food label to see just how much sugar you’re drinking.
Drinking water can be boring but it doesn’t have to be. Check out this post for some of my tips and recipes for water that burns fat AND has a ton of flavour!
4. Build Healthy Habits
I had to save the best for last. I mean really?! I had to sit down when I heard this one. How long have I been shouting from the mountain tops that habits are the way! Remember the book? I wrote my book Unbreakable because habits helped me to lose 30lbs AND keep it off for five years. You can grab your copy here.
Establishing healthy habits makes healthy living so much easier because habits help you to coast on autopilot, eliminating the need to think about each and every little step. Yup, I’m feeling a lot of validation on this one now that I have my country behind me 🙂
Some of the habits recommended in the guide include:
- Being mindful of your eating habits
- Cooking more often, including planning what you eat and involving others in planning and preparing meals. This post will give you some ideas on how you can make meal prep faster and easier
- Enjoying your food
- Eating a meal with others
- Eating with Your Family More Often
I applaud each of these and the updates to the food guide which is moving us in the right direction in terms of foods that can make all the difference in preventing disease and increasing your lifespan.
I especially love that there is an emphasis on a healthy lifestyle and not just about food itself because after all, a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about what’s on your plate.
What are your thoughts on the new Canada Food Guide?