by Nate Rafn
The USDA recently unveiled their replacement for the outdated Food Pyramid. On Thursday, June 2nd, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, first lady Michelle Obama, and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin announced the new plate icon at a press conference. The USDA has also created a new website, www.choosemyplate.gov, designed to help Americans make better food choices.
While the plate's simplicity is a slight improvement on the pyramid, it fails to give adequate information about the overall quality of our food. Although the website makes an attempt.
1. The USDA recommends whole grains over refined grains, offers useful information about labeling, and gives tips on replacing refined products with whole grain products.
2. They encourage an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
3. They now recommend seafood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, herring, Pacific oysters, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel.
1. The USDA's new website, www.choosemyplate.gov, mentions nothing with regard to organic foods.
2. They fail to recognize the importance of sprouted and fermented grains, cultured dairy products, or raw pickled vegetables.
3. There is no emphasis on sustainable local food sources. The USDA seems to think we can live healthfully on pesticide-drenched meat and produce from huge industrial farms located hundreds of miles away.
4. The government continues to recommend non-fat, low-fat, pasteurized and homogenized dairy products. These foods have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and several other ailments and deficiencies. In addition, industrial milk production is incredibly harmful to animals and the environment. On the other hand, cultured dairy products and raw milk products from pasture-raised animals are wholesome, healthful, and much safer. But the USDA will never admit that!
5. The USDA assumes that a "one size fits all" approach to America's health crisis will be effective. It won't be.
If the government really wants Americans to make better food choices, it needs to be honest about the root causes of obesity and disease. Instead of using our tax dollars to subsidize the giants of industrial agriculture, the Federal Government needs to create incentives for organic farmers, invest in local food economies, properly fund the education system, and root-out corruption and collusion between government officials, regulators, and the ag industry.
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