About a year and a half ago, I listed the United State’s Department of Agriculture’s Basic Seven Food Guide that was in place from 1943 until 1955 when the proverbial Four Food Groups took its place. Many readers never learned about the Four Food Groups and were stuck with that awful food pyramid scheme that many health care experts believe led to our obesity and diabetes epidemic that was introduced in 1992 and has been revised a couple of times.
This past June, the USDA threw out the pyramid scheme and replaced it with “My Plate.”
The thing I like the best about The Basic Seven is its emphasis on “Victory Garden” types of foods. It encouraged us to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables–many that women were already growing in their kitchen gardens–and to eat whole grains. Fat wasn’t considered “The ‘F’ word” like it is today (read Good Calories, Bad Calories for an interesting, if dense reading, discussion of the politics of the low-fat and low-cholesterol diet). The Basic Seven makes meal planning easy because I just plug in a food from each category into the day’s meals (not every meal has to have all seven categories) and fill in the gaps.
My Plate seems to be returning to the mid-century food guides. I love that there is a greater emphasis on foods I can grow in my back yard–fruits and vegetables and that grains/starches (with an emphasis on whole grains) takes on a reduced role. I am heartened by the fact that it seems to split the difference between The Four Food Groups and The Basic Seven Food Guide and offers five food groups. My primary complaint is that it is hard to find the lists of foods that make up each group on the website–ChooseMyPlate.gov.
My favorite is still The Basic Seven Food Guide because it emphasizes all of the fruits and vegetables doctors tell us we need to eat for optimum health but I also give My Plate a “thumbs up” because it is taking us in the right direction.
What are your thoughts?
To your fabulous Technicolor eating!