Posted by: Ron
You ask 10 people what it means to eat a balanced diet, you'll get 10 different answers, maybe even 11 different answers.
Eat a balanced diet
The "balanced diet" advice has been given as a fix-all for many different ailments. What usually fails to follow that line is some solid guidelines of what a balanced diet is. That leaves the big question:
Your doctor will refer you to the USDA. The USDA has a pyramid with nice, color pictures of the foods they recommend you eat for a "balanced diet".
6 - 11 servings of grains: breads, cereals, rice, pasta
3 - 5 servings of vegetables
2 - 4 servings of fruit
2 - 3 servings of dairy: milk, yogurt, cheeses
2 - 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts
with the smallest area dedicated to sugar (added) and fat (naturally occurring and added) lumped together as "use sparingly".
If you've read any of my previous posts, you know I've touched on all of those groups at one point.
What saddens me the most is they teach this in schools. I recently heard from a friend whose niece is taking a nutrition course in college that on one of her tests, there was a question about fats. It asked which fat was healthier for you, butter or margarine. It turns out that the right answer on that test was margarine. It really makes me wonder who paid for that curriculum.
The truth of the matter is, historically the above food pyramid, as a balanced diet, is so far out to left field that it's hard to see it. We have historical evidence going back to hundreds of thousands of years. We've only been farming for the last ten thousand or so. That means before that, grains were out of the question all together yet the most balanced diet is supposed to be mostly grains. Hardly.
Vince Gironda had his own definition of a balanced diet. He wrote:
"DEFINITION OF A BALANCED DIET: Never eat the same meal twice! "
That is a loaded statement for how short and simple it seems at first glance. If you can keep that one rule, to eat a different meal each time, you'll have enough variety where you'll cover the foods from all food groups. Vince would often leave a few things out because he thought them to be obvious. In this case, it's obvious that you would run out of meals after a certain period if you never had the same meal twice. If you've been eating the same foods over and over, it's likely time you switch it up. Change a few things in the recipe, switch up the protein sources and the fat sources. Eat different vegetables and fruits. The variety will help the nutrients in your body balance themselves out.
What's your staple food? Are you willing to switch it up a little if the reward could be greater size?