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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Year of Plenty

USDA New Dietary Guidelines - Eat More Plants, Can’t Bring Themselves to Say Eat Less Meat

The USDA has issued new dietary guidelines. According to the executive summary there are four goals that shape the report that are based on their scientific review. 

Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity of the US population by reducing overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity. 

Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.

Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and lower intake of refined grains, especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium.

Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  

In summary: Eat Less, Eat More Plants, Exercise More.

I was glad to see that the summary included a reference to increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables through "greater access to farmers' markets." 

Marion Nestle, for the most part, applauds the new guidelines but offer this interesting observation:

They say, for example: "limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium." This requires translation: eat less meat, cake, cookies, sodas, juice drinks, and salty snacks. That's politics, for you. 

This reluctance to just come out and marginalize "bad" foods can also be seen in the new food labeling system proposed by the Grocery Manufacturers' Association.

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That looks pretty transparent until you compare it to the labeling system in the UK where they put red warning signs on the particular nutrition content of food items that are unhealthy. 

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Year of Plenty

The Year of Plenty blog was created by Craig Goodwin in the winter of 2008 to chronicle the experiences of his family as they sought to consume everything local, used, homegrown or homemade. That journey was a wonderful introduction to people and movements in the Spokane area who are seeking the welfare of the community through local foods, farmers markets, community gardens, sustainable transportation, and more fulfilling and just patterns of consumption. In 2009 and beyond the blog will continue to report on these relationships and practices, all through the eyes of a family with young children. Craig manages the Millwood Farmers' Market, is a Master Food Preserver and Pastor at Millwood Presbyterian Church. Craig can be reached at