The Canadian government polled the masses. We spoke up and change is coming.
Last week the Canadian government released some very exciting news. The country is on the verge of taking a major step towards changing the way we Canadians eat! After public consultation, which indicated the desire for change, a new draft of the Canada Food Guide has been issued. These proposed alterations to the guide have the potential to deeply impact Canadian’s health and well being as well as to provide sustained relief for the environment.
All Canadians are familiar with the colourful pyramid, which encouraged 2-3 servings of meat or “alternatives” a day and emphasized the importance of dairy as a necessary food group. We practically had to memorise it in elementary school. However, it will be no longer! The draft proposes removing dairy from the list and placing a stronger weight on plant-based sources of protein. No longer will the guide read “Meat or Alternatives”; rather it will emphasize plant-based products as a legitimate source of protein. Not only that, the first recommendation is for Canadians to consume whole foods when possible as opposed to packaged and processed items.
While for years we were under the impression that dairy was an integral part of our diet, providing calcium and essential nutrients for the body, we now know that it is not the nutritional dynamo we once believed it to be and that we can get the same health benefits from plant based foods.
We also know that the dairy industry along with factory farming in general are causing massive environmental problems which can be mitigated if we simply reduce our meat and dairy consumption in favour of plant based alternatives. According to statistics generated by The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) livestock farming and production creates 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gasses. Not to mention the amount of land it takes to maintain livestock, including the vast amount of water required in sustaining large animals such as cows.
So while it is encouraging that the proposed Food Guide will direct people towards healthful nutrition, the changes may also have a profound impact on the environment. By lessening our reliance on dairy and meat, it means that we can lower our environmental food print. Amazing news all around!
Ultimately the choice is up to us, the Canadian consumers. We are users of meat and dairy and we can choose where to spend our money. Perhaps it is time that we make some changes to our health while also nurturing the environment and finding alternatives to familiar dietary staples.
It is possible to make a difference in the environment simply with a change in meal choices. If you’re interested in being more conscious about your consumer habits it is possible to reduce your environmental footprint while also providing your body with nourishing alternatives to meat and dairy. Some simple steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle are to limit your consumption of meats such as beef or pork, substitute animal based products such as dairy with plant-based alternatives like almond milk and add more whole, plant-based foods into your diet.
The draft proposal for the new guide indicates significant pending changes for Canadians and for the environment as a whole. This is an opportunity for Canada to be at the forefront of a movement in environmental sustainability and for that we should be proud.
For more information on the proposal or if you would like to have your voice heard click here to participate in the consultation.
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