Food Guidelines for Dummies: Eat Less, Eat Well

February 1, 2011

Locally grown chickens slowly roasted at the Monterey Farmers' Market


WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2011 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius today announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government’s evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Is it just me or do the new, federal dietary guidelines announced today by the USDA seem so obvious that you would have be seriously out of touch to not already know them? News flash: “Fruit and vegetables are good for you. You should exercise daily. Trans fats clog your arteries!” Anyone who has ever read more than three issues of a women’s magazine knows that you should reduce portions if you want to aspire to the cover girl’s looks. I’m pretty sure that Seventeen magazine had an article about eating half of what was on your plate when I subscribed in 1984.

What is it that Americans don’t get about not eating too many processed, salty foods? There are so many reasons not to eat bad food: it’s more expensive, it tastes bad, it stinks up your car, and it makes you obese. It is so much easier to saute fresh vegetables and boil some pasta to make a quick Primavera, I have never understood why people buy it in a frozen box and put it in the microwave, especially if you live in California!

Maybe I’m sounding elitist here, but there’s really nothing uppity about cooking real food and supporting your local farmers and ranchers. In fact, I think it’s more elitist to bypass the local Farmer’s Market in favor of an impersonal purchase at the grocery store. Who knows where Trader Joe’s frozen “Mandarin Orange Chicken” comes from? I picked up a bag of that today and opted to put it back in their freezer and walk across the street to the Monterey Farmers’ Market where Roli Roti organic chickens, http://www.roliroti.com/about-us raised in Sonoma, were roasting on a spit. Twelve bucks for a whole chicken, which we enjoyed around the family dinner table tonight. That’s another new federal guideline: Enjoy your food.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines is available at http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov.
For more information on dietary guidelines, see http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines and http://www.healthfinder.gov/prevention

Or just pick up a women’s’ magazine that will also give you some tips on what to wear this spring.

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