“You are what you eat” said for the first time Anthelme Brillat-Savarin back in 1826 and since then this phrase is being used a lot by nutritionists. If this is really true, then a lot of Americans would appear to be unhealthy, treated with chemicals and, commercially raised animal flesh. While this does not sound very nice, it is nonetheless a description of the typical Americans who survive on the consumption of big macs and greasy French fries. “Unfortunately, studies show that over eighty five percent of Americans no longer eat even one meal at home together every day” (Bond, 4).
It is true, and what should the average Americans do about this problem? They should better choose what they eat. Eating the right food is like getting an A at school. If you eat right food you will most likely be healthy. If you are getting A’s at school, you will most likely be successful. Eating the right food will contribute to your healthy living. By making the right choices, you will help yourself avoid some very serious problems. Making poor choices like eating too much wrong food, increases your chances of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders and aging related loss of vision.
An example for that is the obesity, which is a major health concern in the United States. “Obesity can be linked to some 300,000 deaths and $117 billion in health care costs a year” (Espejo, 11). This statistics is very scary and it shows us how serious can be the wrong choice of our food. If we want to live healthy, we have to eat right. Eating the right food is not a hard thing to do. We just have to know some basic rules. One way to choose the right food is to follow the Food Guide Pyramid, developed by The Ivanova 2 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
More than one hundred years ago in 1894, the USDA published its first food guide, where the author, a nutritionist, introduced the idea of food groups. The five food groups defined in the food guide were milk and meat, cereals, fruits and vegetables, fats and fatty foods, and sugars and sugary foods. The guide made recommendations about eating food from each food group to remain healthy. MyPyramid is the most recent food guide, designed to provide Americans with a wide variety of food recommendations that will promote their health.
MyPyramid was a major revision of the Food Guide Pyramid. It was designed to illustrate recommendations found in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 released by the USDA in January 2005. MyPyramid is intended to help Americans choose the right food to eat. It is designed to help people learn how to eat a healthy diet and live an active lifestyle. The latest food pyramid makes recommendations in seven categories: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, oils, discretionary calories, and Ivanova 3 physical activity.
Each food category is a different color in the pyramid with different recommendations. The highest recommendation according to the pyramid is for grains, milk and vegetables. The lowest recommendation is for oils and meat. MyPyramid assumes that people will eat from all food categories. I have found that following MyPyramid is the simplest way of balancing my meals. It separates foods into groups and graphs the amount of each group needed in an average person’s diet. The second way to choose the right food is to eat local and seasonal food. Eating local food has a lot of advantages.
The shorter the distance that food travels from farm to table, the better. The long-distance transport of food requires more preservatives, packaging, refrigeration and fuel. By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your money spent on food goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Eating locally does not mean to give up products like coffee and tea, which are grown only in certain regions.
But it does mean to make choices when possible in favor of those foods that are produces near you. “Get out of the supermarket whenever you can” (Pollan, 33) is one of the Michael Pollan’s food rules. This rule implies the importance of going to the local farmer’s market. In the farmer’s market you will find fresh whole foods picked at the peak of nutritional quality. You will find food that “your great-great-grandmother would have recognized as food” (Pollan, 7). There are a lot of programs that try to promote growing fresh produce. South Central Los Angeles’ “Food from the Hood” program has brought ttention to the potential of its embattled Crenshaw district, while providing with Ivanova 4 college funds for the high school students who maintain organic gardens. San Francisco’s Fresh Start Farms employs homeless families to grow produce forthe city’s many restaurants. And U. S. prisons have taken to gardening projects in a big way, like San Francisco County Jail’s Garden Project, which has prisoners growing food for local soup kitchens” (Motavalli, 17). These programs are great examples of promoting growing fresh and organic food.
But that should embrace a larger number of people engaged with growing fresh produce. Not only homeless people, prisoners and students. Different programs should be developed in larger areas, where people can join and help grow fresh and organic food. Try to eat most foods only when they are in season, or can seasonal food in order to eat and enjoy it all year round. Buying seasonal produce also provides an opportunity to try new foods and to experiment with seasonal recipes. And it simply tastes better! Every region of the world has its harvest seasons.
In order to eat locally, we have to be familiar with what is local and seasonal in the area we live. For example, in my country Bulgaria in winter time there is not a big variety of local foods that you can buy, because of the severe weather conditions. So we usually buy bananas and oranges, that are imported. But in spring, where everything comes to life, we start buying strawberries and cherries. I was not used to eat strawberries all over the year before, because in my country we grow strawberries only in spring and this is the only time of the year that you can buy and eat strawberries.
Here you can buy strawberries any time of the year, but I do not do that, because they do not taste good. In summer time in Bulgaria we buy peaches, apricots, tomatoes, corn and a lot more. In California on the other hand, in winter we can enjoy grapefruits, lemons, oranges, lettuce, mushrooms, and potatoes. An important part of buying local is making an effort to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season in your area. Although today’s global marketplace allows us to buy foods grown virtually anywhere in the world all year round, these options are not the most sustainable.
Even if you do not want to change any of your eating habits, you can at least make sure to buy local produce when it’s available, rather than purchase the same type of food from three thousand miles away! The third way to choose the right food is to eat fresh food and a lot of fruits and vegetables. Fresh food comes out of the ground and comes to your plate with as little interference as possible. The freshest produce is what you grow yourself and pick just before you eat it. Eating fresh food is as simple as it sounds.
It does not mean avoiding frozen or canned food, but it rather means to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Frozen foods and vegetables are nearly as good as fresh ones and they may even be more nutritious than fresh fruits and vegetables that have been stored for weeks or months under conditions that prevent ripening. Canned fruits and vegetables are usually fine, though many come loaded with salt and added sugar. (Willet, 126). “Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables” (Willet, 114). As child you hated to hear it. As a teenager, you promised yourself you would never say it to your children.
This wisdom however is passed from generation to generation. This is a timeless advice, simple and easy to remember. The National Cancer Institute recommends that each of us eats at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, since they play a very beneficial role in protecting against cancer, heart disease and other health problems. But what exactly are fruits and vegetables? “To a botanist, a fruit is any plant part that contains seeds, any by process of elimination, a vegetable is everything else: leaves, stems, flowers, roots and bulbs” (Willet, 115).
The reason experts recommend so many servings of fruits and vegetables is that they offer the best way to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. We should simply “Eat food” (Pollan, 5). It is easy to say, but hard to do, especially with all the new food products that are introduced annually to the market. Most of these items do not even deserve to be call food. They consist mostly of ingredients derived from corn and soy that no normal person keeps in their pantry. Lastly, the right food to eat will be anything, but fast food.
Most people choose fast food because it is convenient, fast, and cheap. Fast restaurants are everywhere, on every corner. They always have the best deals for food. Everything seems so delicious and in most of the times it is really delicious. But the problem is that is not healthy and this is absolutely the worse choice of food that we can make. “It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car” (Pollan, 43). Fast food cannot be called food. We should avoid fast food restaurants if we care at least a little bit about ourselves. There is almost always a healthier choice.
It may not be the cheapest or the fastest route, but I think that overall nutrition is more important than the thickness of our wallet. Cost, convenience, and lack of time all contribute to the bad eating habits most people have. Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is shameful, but most of us can. “Americans spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their income on food, down from 24 percent in 1947, and less than the citizens of any other nation”(The New York Times, January, 28, 2007). And those of us who can afford to eat well should.
Paying more for the right food will contribute not only to your health also to the health of others who might not themselves be able to afford that sort of food: the people who grow it in the farms. Planning what to eat can eliminate impulse and over eating. In conclusion, choosing the right food to eat is not always easy. These are different ways to choose better our food. Choosing the right food to eat is choosing a better life. When we choose better our food we contribute actively to our health and to our life. MyPyramide is one way to choose the right food to eat.
It gives us an idea how to balance the food we eat and what food to eat more and what to eat less. Another way to make a better food choice is eating a local and seasonal food. This is also not a very hard thing to do. We just have to make a little research on the local farmer’s markets and what kind of produce is grown seasonally in the area we live. The third way is to eat fresh produce and as many fruits and vegetables as possible. The last and maybe the most important thing to eat right is to avoid fast food. These are easy steps to living a happy, healthy and right life.
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