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Food Guide Comparison

November 29, 2011
by Erin B

I’m reading Cooking Forward by Sandi Richard.  I love her cook books.  In her introduction she has the addresses for both the Canada food guide and the American food plate.  So I went to check them out:

I really like the USA one better!  Sorry Health Canada, but you don’t ask any lifestyle questions before making suggestions.  Plus (big win for me) the USA one has links to articles about eating healthy on a budget.  Yes, that is my issue, but it isn’t JUST my issues.  The interactive part on the Canadian sight doesn’t actually change anything except the pictures on your guide.

OK, so it really doesn’t make any actual difference in my life either way.  What ever they said I know that my issues will always be trying to get enough fruit and veg in my diet when I have to think hard about how to do that.  I find carbs easy, protien not to challenging, veg harder and dairy almost impossible.  I have had problems with dairy since I was nursing Little Girl three years ago.  Something happened shortly after I was pregnant and I just can’t handle milk.  I do ok with other dairy, but that isn’t as “grab and go” as a glass of milk.  And there is only so much hard cheese a person can comfortably eat.

Just for fun, here is what Health Canada recommends for me:

And here is what the USA Choose my Plate recommends:

1 oz of grains = 1 serving, so that is the same. 1/2 cup of fruit or veg = 1 serving, so American me needs 9 servings compared to the 7 Canadian me needs.  Dairy: 1 cup = 1 serving, so again American me gets one more serving that Canadian me.  Some quick math shows that (if it is straight up meat, not an alternative) Canadian me gets about 2.5 ounces more meat than American me.

Here is the interesting thing, I have had my own custom meal plan done up by a registered dietitian so that I would know how to adapt C’s meal plan to suit me.  My height, my weight, my activity levels, completely customized, not trying to diet, or loose or gain weight, just how to eat as if I were diabetic.  My own personal meal plan is:

4 – 5 dairy (REALLY hard for me, but my calcium is still depleted from pregnancy and nursing)

2 – 3 starch (this was NOT a weird Atkins thing, just based on the fact that most of my veg, in my real life will actually be fruit.  That’s just the way I am.)

4 – 5 fruit and veg (mostly fruit, veg usually tastes bitter to me)

2 – 3 protein.

4 servings of fats

And that last one is where I get nervous.  I know (just as the people who made those guides know) that you need fats to live, but not as much as most of us eat.  None the less, it bothers me that on the one size doesn’t really fit anyone guides, fats, especially the healthy ones, don’t come up at all.

I also know, as anyone who has fed a diabetic knows that some veg (even if they are chock full of vitamins) don’t really have much caloric value.  Those aren’t factored into my personal meal plan at all.  If I want to eat a 2 cup mixed green salad, the only thing that would count would be the dressing.

So what does all this mean?  Not a blessed thing.  You can’t eat according to my plan, your plan would be different because you are not me and therefore you are different.  I just found the whole messy thing interesting enough to spend a few minutes blogging about it.

If I think about it (or if any of you 702 daily lurkers ask), at some point I might post how my meals actually look.  I’ve been feeding the whole family from the diabetic guide for a few years now…. I think I am pretty good at it.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. LAT permalink
    November 30, 2011 9:50 am

    I would be interested to see how your meals look, that’s the one thing that I’m still wondering about. Just how much do other people eat? I mean, there’s how much they eat during a really nummy meal, and how much they eat just from day to day. 🙂

    • Erin B permalink*
      December 1, 2011 10:54 pm

      Last night it was two slices of a medium ham and pineapple pizza with a fresh orange as my fruit or veg. I really depends on how hungry I am, what I did in a day and how extra special is the meal. Tonight for supper I had a little less that a cup of pasta (I don’t measure, but I know how much my ladle holds) and a chicken thigh in mushroom and white wine sauce, served with a side of green beans and mixed green salad. Usually, I would have had two pieces of chicken, but I was saving room for cinnamon buns at stitch and bitch later. The women who host my Thursday night crafting meet up are amazing bakers.

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