The food pyramid: is it a scheme or is it relevant? And how does it pertain to your health and your life?
Food, once known as merely the basic necessity to simply stay alive, has turned into a widely talked about subject as it has been overemphasized, obsessed over, detailed, enhanced, overly consumed, changed, picked and torn apart, tasted and appreciated, but also neglected, and the list goes on.
Where did it all start? How do I know what is best for my body as an individual? Every person has to have food, so am I considered a “foodie?” Are you? As the world views it, if you don’t cook pretty meals and photograph them well…. You aren’t really a foodie. But then, who are you and how does food affect you? Most Americans are familiar with the design of the food pyramid. But what does the pyramid say about you and food and your health?
The food pyramid is designed to be a guide for the general population. It encompasses everyone as if they are all the same with the same needs. But this general pyramid that has been around for countless years should not be the ultimate authority on the exact amount and types of food you eat every single day. This pyramid was designed to promote a healthy balance because balance is key and very important to any diet, lifestyle, or health change.
Many in the health and fitness industry know what to do as far as knowing the “right” and “wrong” things to do and eat, and that allows them to stray from the general pyramid and make their own way by taking control of their food and health. However, there are those who lack in the basic understanding of what a healthy diet is or what it should look like. We live in a generation filled with fast food restaurants or pre-prepared meals. The basic food pyramid gives a baseline understanding that is vital to human health. The food pyramid doesn’t necessarily define health, but it enables human efforts to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. The food pyramid allows health to be accompanied by further basic education rather than the fad diets and do’s and don’ts that saturate the media.
An easy way to understand the concept of the Food Pyramid is to view it as the staple items that should be on your grocery list. To remain in tip-top health, consume vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and oils, whole grains, beans, and nuts. For those who are not vegan, it explains the need for dairy in order to get calcium in the body. For those who are vegan, it still draws attention to the need for calcium.
When dietary restrictions or personal choices (veganism, pescatarian, etc.) are present, this pyramid can be adaptable, allowing for such things as a raw food diet where you can interchange food items. Nutritional guidelines will vary person to person and can (and should) shift to sync with personal goals or aspirations along with important health-related necessities. If you think you may have an allergy or intolerance of some sort, talk to your doctor right away to adjust your diet accordingly. A variety of factors can affect the demands your body requires so although your diet may be slightly different, it’s adjusted to you individually while keeping in tune with the balanced and basic food pyramid.
It still may be difficult to maintain a healthy diet and absorb all of the nutrients your body needs; therefore educating yourself and paying attention to what goes in your body is crucial. Nutrition researchers will undoubtedly turn up new information in the years ahead, and although fads may shift, the basic necessities remain the same. So maybe don’t throw out your copy of the basic food pyramid just yet.