Before I say anything else, can we get a round of applause for the Olympic athletes?! Chant with me now…U-S-A! U-S-A!
The strength of every single Olympian is honestly inspiring. When I was having trouble getting through my usual 3 mile run, I just channeled my inner Simone Biles and knew if she could do The Biles, then I could finish my puny little run!
This year (as you probably should know), the Olympics are taking place in Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL. I feel so lucky to have been there a few years ago and feel even more connected to the games than ever before! I distinctly remember walking around the Ipanema beach area and marveling at the body confidence that was just exuded from Brazilians. They DEFINITELY have a healthy body image going on, and I can’t help but think that part of that has to do with the fact that their Dietary Guidelines are so darn grounded, USEFUL, and realistic. (((And even if it doesn’t, we can still learn something from that body confidence!)))
^in Rio in 2013!
In 2014, Brazil released their Dietary Guidelines. Unlike the American Guidelines, Brazil’s Dietary Guidelines don’t focus on macronutrients [protein, fat, carbs], but instead, focus on REAL food that’s native to the country, and encourages Brazilians to enjoy eating with others.
If you’re not familiar with the 10 Guidelines, here they are:
I love that these Guidelines emphasize tangible changes Brazilians (or all of us) can make to be a weeee bit healthier AND to develop a healthier relationship with food. Contrasted with our Guidelines that state, “Added sugar should contribute less than 10% of daily calories…” which most of us have NO idea what this actually means!
Since we can learn SO much from Brazil’s Dietary Guidelines, here are 5 of the more important lessons ((according to moi)) we should focus on…
Prepare meals from fresh foods
(and Limit ready-to-consume foods and beverages)
To channel my inner Pollan, “Eat food, mostly plants.” The closer our food is to how it’s found in nature, the better. I’m 100% an advocate of consuming more FRESH, REAL, and as some people call it “CLEAN” foods. I think there’s room for everything in your diet, but I’ll always encourage a homemade cake made with real ((grass fed, organic)) butter, eggs and flour over a store-bought artificial treat made with “diet” ingredients that you can barely pronounce. Althoughhhhh, homemade muffins sweetened with fruit will take the cake — literally — any day 😉 ...or a salad!
Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
In other words…BE MINDFUL of what you’re eating, where you’re eating it, what’s around you, how your food tastes and smells and looks. Put your fork down between bites. Eat at a table, not on the subway. And this goes along with…
Eat in company whenever possible.
AKA NO SOLO DESK DINING FOR LUNCH! Get up — even if it’s to the break room — and eat your lunch with your co-workers! And then come home for dinner and eat as a family, as much as possible. There’s so much to gain when we enjoy a meal with our loved ones, a new friend, or even business colleague.
Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
One of my deepest passions (and reasons for starting C it Nutritionally) was to show you that cooking and healthy food preparation doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to go to the health food store to buy kombu for the perfect soup or the strangest ancient grain out there (although, I always encourage variety!). You CAN become a great home cook if you put a liiiiiitle time and effort into it…and it ALWAYS gets easier!!!
Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products
I could let Marion Nestle take care of this one for me, but I think it’s 100% worth mentioning. Don’t believe everything you read or hear when it comes to food labeling!!! Like, did you know there’s no approved meaning of the term “natural?” It means BUPKIS! According to many FDA-approved claims, certain ggrrrrrreeaat sugary breakfast cereals are a heart-healthy breakfast choice…say whaaaaat?! So take it back to “rule” #1 and keep it as fresh as possible!
So now that you can channel your inner Brazilian when it comes to food choices, let’s dive head first into an acai smoothie bowl…
Tell me: Which Guideline do you think is most important?