Canada's 2019 Food Guide: A New Lens
Since the ringing in of a new year, perhaps you have come across this image:
And you’re probably familiar with this now dated one too:
Many people are loving the new “food guide,” so perhaps my opinion will be unpopular one. But I have been itching to write about it, if only to provide a new lens about this whole “guide” thing any way.
First of all, I prefer the second image to the first… but not by much.
I prefer the second image, the old food guide, because of words such as “recommended” and “variety.” The general impression from this food guide is a lot more open. The servings it lists seem to be suggestive, not imperative.
The new food guide, however, includes much more imperative wording, which, for some people, can be triggering, or dangerous. Allow me to elaborate.
Having been diagnosed with four different eating disorders from the time I was 12-16, I have a firsthand understanding of the way this mental illness manipulates information about food to destruct. If my old “orthorexia brain” saw that first food guide and decided the guide was going to be its bible, as is what literally happened to me with other guides, it would have read the following:
Choose whole grain foods? This clearly means that every grain that passes your lips has to be WHOLE grain. No additives or preservatives. Only grains that contain the germ. Only organic.
Make water your drink of choice? You can most certainly only drink water, then. No other beverages under any circumstances!
Eat protein foods. Ooh, this clearly only refers to complete proteins, like 100% lean chicken breast with no skin and egg whites.
Have plenty of fruits of vegetables? Perfect, so I’ll eat ONLY organic fruits and vegetables, with maybe one whole grain and one lean protein a day and tons of water. It’s a good thing I’m allergic to dairy, because apparently that’s no longer allowed for Canadians!
If the mental illness I struggled with would have deemed that guide the be all/end all, it would have been quite strictly just so.
Now, I completely understand that the majority of people see food guides like this and completely take them with a grain of salt. Utilize them as information to guide their understanding of some proper nutrition, and forget about it.
But I felt this needed to be written, because I know that, knowing the nature of eating disorders, someone out there at this very moment is actively engaged in a legalistic eating disorder that somehow involves this new food guide.
This is one of the reasons I have a passion for effective and clear communication. If this guide’s intended purpose is to provide general information for nutritional considerations, it should clearly say so, rather than trying to achieve a trendy, plain-language aesthetic. I’m just sayin’.
And I’m not hating at all on attempts to provide nutritional information, but rather providing a new lens on the way this is put out there (Is this suggesting that people should never eat chips, candy, their friend’s homemade cookies, drink hot chocolate, etc.? If it is not, it should say so).
I am passionate about LIFE outside of FOOD RULES. I know what it’s like for life TO BE food rules.
What was your reaction to the new food guide? Let me know in the comments!