Part II – You gotta Eat Right (Sneak Peek!)

USDA_Food_PyramidFor me this is one of the most difficult subjects to deal with because of the programming that I had been subjected to all of my life.  Everything was about food.  From the earliest guilt from my mom about starving kids in Africa and why we needed to clean our plates to the whole sports bar you gotta be chuggin’ a beer and eatin’ something fried in order to be one of the cool kids peer pressure. From a young age we are programmed unwittingly by our parents and nefariously by big food companies vying for our brand loyalty to closely associate our well-being with the copious and utterly unnecessary over-consumption of food, mainly carbohydrates.  Food is precious to us and occupies an elevated place of worship in our social constructs so be aware that the process of learning how to undo the damage and get on the right path will be difficult and filled with false starts.  Part of this nefarious/unwitting training starts with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) introduction of what would eventually become the food pyramid as we know it today. The pyramid was initially developed in 1941 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt prompted a National Nutrition Conference. The output of this conference was for the first time the USDA recommended daily allowances for American’s to follow. It also specified caloric intake and nutritional guidelines essential for healthy living. During the second year of our involvement in World War II (1943) the “Basic 7” was introduced which was a special modification of the nutritional guidelines to help people deal with the shortage of food. Due to the complexity of the “Basic 7” it was later revised to the “Basic 4” and was taught as gospel until the 1970’s when a 5th category was added. In order to deal with the rise in chronic diseases (i.e. strokes & heart disease) Fats, Sweets, and Alcoholic beverages were added as “unhealthy foods to be consumed in moderation,” and thus the food pyramid was complete.  A diet modified for a people at war suffering from a shortage of food who needed lots of breads and grains to feel full, mostly working in manufacturing and agrarian jobs is what we the office working, couch lounging, carb craving masses of today have been swearing by and dying from ever since.