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Well-fed and Malnourished….Oxymoron?

We can’t be malnourished if we’re well-fed, can we?  That doesn’t make sense.  If we’re getting enough food to meet our caloric needs, we certainly are getting enough nutrients, right?  Well, as long as we’re not eating oreo cookies and chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner….right?

Many parents might be surprised to learn that, even though they believe they are feeding their children a well-rounded healthy diet, they are missing the mark.  Don’t feel bad…it’s easy to miss the mark. If you are trying to follow the USDA guidelines, which many conscientious parents do believing that our government agencies know what they’re talking about and have our best interests in mind, you are missing the mark by a long shot.

What is so “off” with the USDA food recommendations?

 

First, in case you haven’t heard, the “Food Pyramid” of the last 2 decades has undergone a transformation and is now USDA’s “My Plate”. In an effort to simplify healthy eating for Americans, the My Plate concept provides a visual for us to follow.

 

At a glance, it looks reasonable.  It is high in fruits and veggies, proteins take a good seat, grains and dairy seem to be in decent proportion.  The literature promotes plenty of vegetables and fruits, but it includes juice and canned veggies and fruits as perfectly acceptable alternatives to fresh.  It also states that it’s okay if up to half of our grain intake is refined white flour, if it is “enriched” with the nutrients that were stripped out of it during processing.  It promotes lean meats and low-fat or fat-free dairy.  Butter is a no-no and margarine is acceptable.

 

Now go here to compare the USDA’s recommendation to this view of optimal dietary intake put out by Nourishing Our Children, a campaign of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

 

 

Wow!  Markedly different, wouldn’t you say?  Especially when you compare it to the old USDA Food Pyramid.  On the bottom of this “real food pyramid,” the foundation foods are things that we are told by the USDA to limit or avoid.  Eggs, real butter, full fat (raw) milk, meats, organ meats, seafood. Next in order of importance are vegetables, next whole grains, and lastly fruit.  Check out a full explanation here.

 

Here we go…more confusing and conflicting information.

 

It’s frustrating, isn’t it.  Everywhere you turn somebody is saying, “eat this, not that” and someone else is saying, “eat that, not this.”  It is so confusing!  No wonder so many people just give up trying to figure it all out and just eat whatever they feel like eating and pray for the best.

 

But there is a growing voice in the world of nutrition that actually makes sense.  

 

Based on the centuries old wisdom of our ancestors, the traditional food movement is eschewing modern inventions when it comes to food and going back to food as it was made to be eaten, free from processing that changes the very nature and nutritional value of the food and, even worse, adds things in that are foreign and toxic to our bodies.

 

Why are our generations progressively deteriorating?

 

Why are chronic diseases rampant?  Why is our society in the USA, which is wealthier and more educated than ever before, sicker than ever before?

 

Malnutrition!

I believe malnutrition plays a huge role in our failing health, (in addition to the toxic environment we have created for ourselves, but that’s a whole other topic).  I’m not talking about malnutrition due to lack of food. I’m talking about malnutrition despite an abundance of food.

 

If we eat according to the USDA guidelines, we are missing out on key, essential nutrients.  For a full rundown on what’s missing see here. Despite what we’ve been sold by the media and big industry, animal fats are not the cause for our failing health.  It seems crazy to me that we as a society have fallen for this notion that the very things that grew and sustained civilization since the beginning of time are suddenly killing us.

 

Yet, we are blinded to the fact that as more and more denatured, processed, additive-laden food has been added to our diets, the more our physical and mental health as a nation has declined.  It’s not a coincidence.  We have replaced nourishing, nutrient-dense food with stuff so striped of it God-given goodness and filled so full of non-food additives, we can’t really call it food.  And then we wonder why our bodies are breaking down and our brains are disordered.

 

Simplicity.

 

It seems so simple to me now, although I grappled with it for so many years.  Why do we think we can disrupt the natural order of things and not have consequences to suffer for it?  We certainly are suffering the consequences with our failing health, as a society and as individuals.  So, what’s a health-conscious person to do?  How are we to know what is good and what is bad?

 

I’m all about keeping is simple.  And simple to me is sticking with food the way it was made to be eaten.  Whole, unprocessed, unrefined, real food.  If you can’t grow it or raise it or make it yourself, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

 

For further reading on the The Principles of a Healthy Diet, click here. Beware… if you’re anything like me, this information might make you angry if you’ve never encountered it before.  I was so upset and offended when I first encountered the Weston A Price Foundation that I put it out of my mind and didn’t revisit it for over a year.  I had been a vegan for several years at that point and was totally sold on the low-fat craze.  It took me a couple of years to shed the beliefs that had been ingrained into me about healthy eating.  But when I and my nursing daughter started suffering the effects of my malnourished state, my mind was changed.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Are you even more confused about nutrition that you were before?  Or does the simplicity of returning to traditional foods make sense?  

 

 

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