Thursday, November 29, 2012

FOOD CHARTS AND FOOD GUIDELINES


Miss Paez was my Grade 1 teacher at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Quezon City. She was a gentle, soft-spoken lady whom everyone respected and obeyed diligently in school. One day, she showed us a nice chart showing the “Basic Four Food Groups”. The food groups were separated by four squares and grouped namely as (a) fruits and vegetables, (b) meat and eggs, (c) milk and milk products, (d) bread and cereals...

 

Then Miss Paez explained that for us to grow healthy and strong, we must have plenty of protein. She said that meat and eggs were the sources of protein.
Little did Miss Paez realize that she, like all elementary classroom teachers all over the world, was being used directly to promote the sale of meat and eggs. Those charts say all that the meat and egg boards and councils wanted them to say. And Miss Paez was indeed very helpful in making us children understand them.


In ten years’ time, we, the children of that class had grown up thinking that meat and eggs truly are the only good and complete sources of protein. We had become adults who by then were large consumers of animal food items. We had become full-on meat eaters as planned and conceptualized by the meat and egg boards and councils.

I didn’t become a strict vegetarian until I was 22 years old. Before that I was a good student of Miss Paez. I always remembered to eat meat and eggs regularly, even though in reality these food items were not good for my health. The truth is, meat is NOT the only source of protein. In fact, meat and eggs are bad sources of protein because along with so much protein also comes so much amount of cholesterol and saturated fat.

Most plant foods contain at least a small amount of protein. Also dairy, milk, cheese and yogurt contain protein. Legumes, beans, lentils, peas, nuts and nut butters, seeds, soy and tofu products and whole grains all contain sufficient protein. So, as far as protein sources, people actually have a healthy choice in the foods that they can eat.

The reason we are being pushed to regularly eat so much meat and eggs is not because they are so healthy but because the people behind these - - the meat and egg companies - - wish us to - - for bigger profit. We should check, in particular the so-called ‘food guidelines’ or ‘food pyramids’ that come up every year or so. Are they really for the purpose of our health? Or for the purpose of selling somebody’s products?

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