Healthy Eating

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    • #2082
      Robert Dixon

      Healthy eating begins with your daily servings of vegetables and fruits. These foods are rich in the fibre that feeds our Gut-Microbes. What do gut microbes have to do with healthy eating?

      Everything! You may be surprised to know that 60% of your immune system lives in your gut-microbes. These microbes also produce melatonin (along with the pineal gland in your brain), a powerful brain chemical that helps regulate our sleep cycle.

      Since microbes affect our immune system and our sleep cycles, what are you eating to support your gut microbes? Are you getting your basic ration of needed vegetables?

      Healthy eating is complicated and daily servings is just the start. We provide accurate technical summaries of research findings. We are not offering advice but rather sharing stories and providing research summaries for educational purposes.

      Servings and food groups and calories. Each of these topics is confusing enough on their own. How do they fit together to make healthy meals? Where do you start building healthy eating patterns for your family?

      Let us know what has worked for you. Share your healthy eating experiences with us. Are healthy eating and carbon capture farming linked together?

    • #2382
      Robert Dixon

      Why is vegetable consumption falling, even though everyone knows 5-a-day is key to healthy eating? What will it take to get enough daily servings into people to start receiving a health benefit?

      The 2006 BC Food Self Reliance report (see copy in Consumer Reading Room section of this web site) notes that people in BC were eating 2.9 vegetable servings and 1.9 fruit for a combined 4.8 daily servings of this vital food group.

      At that time, 3.75 vegetable and 3.75 fruit daily servings for all adult Canadians was recommended for a combined total of 7.5. The latest word from the experts is eat between 7 – 1o combined servings daily. I was shocked to read a study saying consumption had fallen to 4.3 combined daily servings of vegetables and fruits.

      Who cares what people eat?! A 2017 study by the Vanier Institute of the Family quoted a report that calculated the cost to the Canadian economy of not eating enough vegetables and fruits. It was $ 4.39 BILLION a year. That is a lot of economic activity to lose.

      Global public health research shows a real health benefit starts at 5-a-day combined vegetable and fruit servings. Few in BC were getting this benefit in 2006 and across the country things have just gotten worse. Is there a link between soaring provincial health care spending and the collapse in the amount and type of vegetables that people eat each day?

      Could there be a connection between how food tastes and how much of it people will eat? Does availability have an impact? What if the supply of good tasting vegetables grown using carbon-capture practice increased? Would people eat more of it if more was available?

      These are the billion dollar questions the Kamloops to Calgary region of farmers and consumers need to answer.

      • #2383

        Some of the questions that you put forward in considering declining produce consumption (i.e. about taste, availability, carbon-capture values) made me wonder if another aspect of this questions could be rooted in past experiences, or experiences of poverty.

        My grama, who I spent most of my life living with, was notorious for overbuying on sales. She was open about that being because her experience in the Great Depression left her unsure of where supplies of any kind (especially food) would come from if not “now” — so she had a pantry and freezer full of food, but rarely ate fresh fruits or vegetables. Her economic decision of what to purchase was ingrained in historical, psychological experience of planning for disaster.

        To use another example of how she would think: if I’m worried about my food budget, I might be more inclined to keep on hand an accessible supply of items purchased on case lot sale (i.e. canned goods) or items that would keep in a pantry, rather than fresh items that would spoil faster.

        Which makes me wonder, is there a better way to link up fresh food to people who need it in a better form of short-term supply management than a food bank? How can we keep more food from being thrown away by retailers? Can this “unsellable surplus” get redistributed more efficiently?

        I’d love to hear what others think!

    • #2387
      Robert Dixon

      Good points jane. What we choose to eat is conditioned by our experience around food. Going through the Great Depression certainly imprinted everyone. Your grandma’s instincts served her well! I really like your idea of a way to get needed fresh vegetables to people who lack good food storage. Students and others have a hard time cooking and storing food. What if you could get some fresh sprouts or salad greens at the same place you get your morning coffee? True, not as yummy as coffee and doughnuts – coffee and pea sprouts … I think the supermarkets are afraid of liability issues giving older food to people. What do others think?

    • #2388

      Hello, I’m happy to join this forum and get into the discussion about healthy eating.

      For me I keep it simple and aim to eat at least 5 fruits/vegetables a day and that method has worked well for me for the last several years. I think a lot of people can face different barriers to eating healthy and I agree with some of those reasons that Jane mentioned. I think another reason is that a lot of people make healthy eating seem way more complicated than it needs to be and because of that it can be more difficult to have the motivation to get started than it needs to be. I’ve read different sources of info on healthy eating over the years and I think a lot of that information can easily go over people’s heads and seem confusing and even contradictory. There’s always a new diet touted as the healthiest diet to use, and one year a certain food product is touted as really good, then later on it is said to be bad for you. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of the ever changing landscape of nutritional science.

      I like to stick with the tried and true Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on 5 frutis/veggies each day (or more if possible) and that seems to work for me.

    • #2390
      Robert Dixon

      Jennifer makes a really good point – we have so much information that knowing where to start healthy eating is confusing. The idea of vegetables and fruit as a base then add the other food groups on top of that is really helpfull for me, as well. The idea of 4 vegetable and 2 fruit everyday is very simple, very effective and not very expensive. The next challenge is how is the food produced? There are endless points but it is good to keep things kitchen-friendly and close to what actually helps people in their daily lives.

    • #2976
      Robert Dixon

      We take eating for granted – unless we cannot afford food. Life experience and food literacy influence healthy eating. Much of my understanding of food and how it supports human growth, came from working with ranchers. Livestock have daily rations geared to the life stage of the animal. A key part of this is the nutrient density of the feed. This is missing when people think about what to eat.
      Nutrient density is part of food literacy. What else does healthy eating require? Can we eat to support carbon capture farming and ranching?

    • #3088
      Robert Dixon

      It took years of study to understand this simple truth healthy eating = healthy food = healthy soil.
      Healthy Soil = Carbon Capture
      I did not realize for ages how capturing carbon in the soil leads to nutrient dense food.
      Healthy eating, as pointed out in an article by Frank Stronach in the financial post, is a key to lowering skyrocketing healthcare spending.

      Ranchers all know the importance of high quality feed for livestock health. Why is this fact missed for human growth and development? This web site has gone to great lengths to outline the links between healthy eating and healthy food and healthy soil. Very few people seem to be acting on these simple truths. We want to help people with their efforts under the overall theme of capturing carbon to help mitigate the climate crisis.

      Does this make sense to you?

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