How Did We Get Here From There?

Look at this gem that Will showed me the other day…

How is it that the US Food Administration of 1917 was more on point with their nutrition recommendations than the USDA is today?

Besides the “less meat”, I would recommend these guidelines to people before I would ever choose to recommend the vague and unhelpful “My Plate” (above) that the government is using these days. This makes sense. This is logical and sustainable.

True, it doesn’t tell us “what” to eat, but if we’re sticking to real, whole foods, than we don’t need someone to tell us what we should be eating. Veggies, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and fruits. That’s what we should be eating. Sprinkle in some nuts and seeds, and you have yourself what I would call a pretty well balanced diet.

Grains? If you want, but they certainly don’t need to make up a quarter of your “plate”, as the USDA would like us to think. And dairy? If you want, and if you can tolerate it. It does not have to be a dietary staple for all, although the Milk lobbyists would have you believe that if you don’t drink milk, you’re going to shrivel up and die a horrible death.

Following simple and logical recommendations such as those shown above require that people do one thing: be mindful about your food. Choose carefully, choose foods that will truly nourish you, and make these local foods whenever possible.

Just a little food for thought on this lovely Wednesday — what do you think are more accurate recommendations, these from 1917 or the USDA official recommendations of today? Why do you think that food “rules” have become so complicated in modern day? Can you think of anything you’d want to add on to that list from 1917 to make it more applicable to today?

6 thoughts on “How Did We Get Here From There?

  1. I read an article recently (which I of course can’t find the link to so that I can share it with you) that talks about how much the lobbyists affected the drafting of the original USDA “Food Pyramid”, and its subsequent releases (including the graphic you posted above). It was honestly, sickening. It seems that very little is actually based on scientifically proven facts and much more about who is willing to pay or make the most noise for not being included in the way that they would like.

  2. This is a great point and it certainly is true! I especially love the “don’t waste it” All of my leftover fruits/veggie peels get thrown in my compost bin to reuse and recycle. I hardly have any trash because we are really good in my house about reducing and reusing!

  3. This is interesting but I’m hardly suprised – I’m sure this was exactly the mentality of our grandparents and greatgrandparents, they cooked their own food and didn’t worry about arbitrary sell-by dates.

  4. That is so awesome- To think that in 1917 they knew what was going on and contrast that to today- where every food manufacturer sees dollar signs and misinformation and nothing else. I find the guidelines could be helpful for some families- especially those in lower socio economic groups where they may lack basic nutrition knowledge, but as long as there is a focus on fresh produce- thats the main thing. Don’t even get me started on the amount of food wastage…

    Great piece again!

  5. Seems to be a theme in nutrition history; we *used* to know what we were doing, until we let food turn into a lobbying issue. Many of the nutrition historiographies I’ve read have said the same — and recommended a return to an “old school” food culture, including how we grow food.

    I also think the more we complicate “food rules,” as the MyPlate does (and as MyPyramid did), the less likely we are to be able to follow along. Less is more.

  6. Well the first point of instruction in 1917 was “Buy it with thought” and we only have to look around to see how difficult that thinking process has become for many people today. So, the government contributes to the problem by dumbing everything down with more pictures and less words.

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