10 fabulous tips (+ 3 bonus tips) for improving health, courtesy of Brazil’s new good guide

Organic Cherry TomatoesSo we all know about Canada’s food guide: the four food group boxes and the suggested servings per day per gender per age and so on and so on. Quite frankly, it’s helpful for starting a health journey, perhaps, but is also a bit tired and not all that inspiring – especially once you really get thinking about foods and how it isn’t just food groups, it’s where the food comes from, how it has been prepared, how you feel about it, how it makes you feel, how you eat the food, how you feel during the meal, and so on. From that more holistic social, cultural, spiritual, and environmental perspective, Canada’s food guide falls a bit flat.

Brazil, apparently, has a health and obesity epidemic that rivals Canada’s (and perhaps even the U.S.’s). The Globe and Mail (and many other sources) recently published an article about Brazil’s new food guide, which the country hopes will be a force for the healthier good. I thought the ideas were so neat, and so different from the food guides we are all used to, they needed to be shared.

Brazil’s food guide is also 87 pages, which certainly seems longer than Canada’s, unless the one page version I’m familiar with is just a summary of some other lengthy tome, which is entirely possible. But anyways, Brazil’s food guide has THREE GOLDEN RULES (calling them golden rules just makes the whole thing sound fun, doesn’t it?):

  • Make fresh and minimally processed foods the basis of your diet;
  • Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation when preparing dishes and meals;
  • Limit consumption of ready-to eat food and drink products.

In addition to the three golden rules, there are TEN MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS (which I’ve kindly taken from the Globe and Mail article):

  1. Prepare meals using fresh and staple foods.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products.
  4. Eat at regular mealtimes and pay attention to your food instead of multitasking. Find a comfortable place to eat. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and noisy environments.
  5. Eat with others whenever possible.
  6. Buy food in shops and markets that offer a variety of fresh foods. Avoid those that sell mainly ready-to-eat products.
  7. Develop, practise, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
  8. Decide as a family to share cooking responsibilities and dedicate enough time for healthy meals.
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of food-industry advertising.

These are so simple and so beautiful and so straightforward. I love it. Thinking about these tips and recommendations will benefit anyone trying to improve their health. So, kudos Brazil! Think about these steps and see if any will fit into your health journey. I personally think I will work on number four (mindfulness during mealtimes) and number 7 (sharing my skills in food preparation). And I will always continue with number 10.

Until next time!

© 2014 Backyard Owl

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