About 18 years ago, my husband and I started to limit certain foods in our everyday diet. The first thing to go was soda. We just stopped buying it. We decided to stick to coffee, tea, filtered water, juice, and milk. If we did go out to dinner or had fast food, then we might decide to get sprite, ginger ale or root beer. Most of the time I ordered iced tea.
Next, I started to limit my fast food intake. My particular job at that time was stressful and time consuming, so I was eating fast food for lunch everyday. YIKES! I made a conscious effort to make and take lunch to work everyday for one month. I took salads, sandwiches, leftovers from dinner the night before. Sometimes it was just a bunch of snack like items: fruit, cut veggies, cheese & crackers and a yogurt. As a result of my lunchtime efforts for one month, I lost eight pounds. And I said to myself, "Everyone should do this."
My job was getting crazier and I needed a change. So, I decided to go back to school. I had my Associates in Liberal Arts and only needed a few more classes to transfer to the Cal State System. One of the classes I took was a Foods & Nutrition Class. This is where I learned about the partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and added sugars. So, as you can infer, we, my husband and I, started reading food labels and the ingredients list, and limited our purchases of processed foods with those items. Also, if you're thinking low fat is the way to go, then be careful. When companies say something is low in fat, that might mean that there is more salt and sugar in that product.
At this point, we hadn't cut out fast food all together. California is filled with great fast food hole-in-the-walls. But we had many friends who were (some still are) vegetarian. So, we had already been eating less meat in our everyday diet. This of course lead us to try a vegetarian diet for one month. Then my body started to revolt. I don't know how to put it nicely, but I had the worst PMS and started to CRAVE red, bloody meat. I had never ever ever had a craving like this, ever! I recall in my Biology class and my Foods & Nutrition class, that the feeling of thirst was the body's way of telling you that you need to ingest water. When you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. I applied this biological trigger to my craving. My body must be telling me that it needs some nutrient(s) in red meat that I'm not currently getting from my vegetarian diet or vitamin supplements. So that night, we decided to go to Red Robin and I had a steak sandwich, rare.
Upon reflection, I can say that everyone should try to eat from good food sources (fresh, organic, free of chemicals, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides). Quality matters. Everyone should try to eat in moderation. Don't over indulge in certain foods and don't avoid foods unnecessarily. Our bodies like well balanced meals (a little from each food group to satisfy our nutrient needs, and with the right amount of herbs & spices to satisfy our taste buds). Sugars, fats, and oils, eat sparingly. These are like treats, especially the sugars (candy, desserts, soda, added sugars in your food source). Every individual has different metabolic needs, therefore, I don't advocate for or against any one particular kind of diet. Those choices are up to the individual and their personal convictions. Do beware of false prophets. That is to say that the Diet Industry is huge ($60 billion and counting) and many people make false claims, so that they can sell you their product(s). There is no magic food or diet. Just eat whole, natural, organic and fresh foods everyday.
These are the Recommended Daily Intakes. The emphasis is on the word Recommended. Remember, everyone is a unique individual, and sometimes you might eat more of one food group one day and less the next. Think of it as an Average Daily Intake.
Nevertheless, it still shows approximately the same portions as recommended in the pyramid. Remember, these are simply guidelines to help with good eating habits and a healthy, nutritious diet.