Diet – Is it about Health, or The Environment?

My education, training and independent study have led me to believe that the foods a person eats have a direct impact on their health. I have learned that food should be chosen with health promotion and maintenance as the primary considerations.  Of course, religious beliefs, allergies, individual likes and dislikes, are important considerations. However, with the exception of food allergies/sensitivities, those  are all secondary considerations that each person must balance. I am in no way suggesting that a person who has an egg allergy should consume eggs, no matter how nutritious they are. Then again, if eggs cause an allergic reaction or sensitivity issue for a person, then eggs are not health promoting for that person.

Each of us must discover the foods that nourish our bodies most effectively. As human beings, we all need the same macronutrients: Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates, and Water. The ideal source of these macronutrients may differ between humans. Some people do not do well on entirely plant-based proteins sources. They need to get most of their protein from animal sources. Other people need more of one type of fat over the others, and still other people do well to stay away from grains, and starchy vegetables. They get all of their carbohydrates from vegetables, and skip the grains.

In addition, the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) we need differ between humans. These differences are a result of many factors. Prenatal conditions, childhood nutrition, area of the world where we live, and individual body chemistry are just a few of the conditions that effect what vitamins and minerals a body needs.

Finding and maintaining ideal health means recognizing these different nutritional needs.

So, can someone please explain to me why the US Dietary Advisory Committee is basing their nutritional recommendations on environmental factors alone?

I understand the need to protect our environment. This year, I am working to grow about 50% of all the fruits & vegetables my family eats, (and with 3 kids at home with a family who spends most of our grocery dollars on fresh fruits and veggies, that is a substantial amount). We are also putting up a chicken coop and will begin raising chickens to supply all of our egg needs. So, I really and truly understand the importance of protecting the areas where food is grown. But, I also believe that any advising body, and that includes the US Dietary Advisory Committee has a responsibility to make recommendations that relate to nutrition, not environmental factors.

The truth is that we, as a country could easily grow enough food for every man, woman and child in our country, and maintain or improve our environment if we worked together, and took personal responsibility for the sources of our food. What do I mean? Grow vegetables instead of grass, in both your front and back yards. Remove restrictions in cities that disallow people from raising hens for eggs, remove restrictions against raising a cow, or a goat in places where yards are big enough to support them.  If home and business owners each dedicated a small part of their front yards to growing a small selection of vegetables, or put in fruit trees instead of elm, oak, dogwood, etc, and then agreed to allow people to use those fruits and vegetables, think of how far that could go toward feeding hungry people in the community. City parks could agree to donate a quarter of their park space to the cause.

But, I digress. My issue with the US Dietary Advisory Committee recommendations is that those recommendations are based on environmental issues, and not nutritional research.

 

What do you think? Should the Dietary Advisory Committee stick to nutrition recommendations and leave the environmental issues to someone else?

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Categories : All Things Food

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