The Ontario Diet; Well what do we eat now…
***Warning, longer read then normal***
In honour of the recent release of Canada’s updated food guide and diet trends claiming to be the ‘fix all solutions’, we’ve decided to share how we personally approach healthy eating in hopes to provide a start for those who are tired of all of the exaggerated info on the internet want a simple view on healthy eating. The meaning of food for Canadians has changed drastically over the last 100 years. Food use to be only thought of as a means to survive, you need to eat to live. Now food is arguably one of, if not, the biggest luxury known to most parts of the world (or the complete opposite in some countries but that's whole other can of worms that we will not open!)
<-- Canada's History of Food Guides
Today we have access to an endless pit of opinions and solutions to maintaining a healthy diet or lifestyle, some are excellent and of course, some are not. As athletes and farmers, we have had our share of reading articles and books on how we should be eating, the most recent being a book called ‘The Obesity Code’ by Dr. Jason Fung, a Canadian nephrologist. The book covers the benefits of fasting, considers our primal evolution of hunter-gatherer and how the body use to digest food. Just another perspective on healthy eating to add to our bank of knowledge.
Now, we have no PHD’s in nutrition, none of us went to University for food science, but we do have several agricultural college graduates & years of practicing eating, resulting in a lot of knowledge on how a body could react to certain food intakes, so take our advice however you choose.
With all of the knowledge we have gained, and perspectives we’ve looked at, we have come up with this…
YOUR BODY IS A COMPLICATED YET AMAZING MACHIENE THAT NO HUMAN FULLY UNDERSTANDS, BUT, WE SHOULD TRY OUR BEST TO FUEL IT PROPERLY.
What works for one family, will almost never work for another, as we all have different life schedules. For example, as farmers we have a very short window for eating due to working around the weather and livestock schedules, so fasting started to become almost necessary and we have currently been learning how to use this effectively. A family living in town may have many extra curriculars after work and school, resulting in them needing to learn how to properly fuel not only themselves but their children too.
SO, with the new food guide telling us that there are no longer food groups, just food type suggestions and diets like keto, Atkins, vegan, vegetarian, etc telling us that they have all of your answers.... WELL WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO EAT NOW.
We here at Coopers simply do these things when it comes to eating;
1. We control quantity & Timing: It takes 20 minutes for your body to register as full, so we try to eat slow and keep our quantities around 1-2 plates each. CHEW not shovel-The more time you take to properly chew your food, you help your body out, making digestion more successful.
“Ya, ya chew and don’t eat so much…what food do you actually eat?!”
2. LOWISH CARBS: Sadly, we have come to agreement with most professional studies that carbs are ultimately what pack on the extra pounds. We know, every amazing food is full of carbs but that's how it is. :/ We stick to whole grains and avoid white process breads and pastas. Carbs today are mostly sugars, sugars spike human hormone production of insulin, spikes of inulin produces energy for the body, and too many spikes of insulin are turned into and stored as ‘the bad kind of fat’. The subject of insulin and the human body is for one to read about and gain a better understanding of from medical professionals, our farm blog will not do it justice. USE THIS LINK for a very scientific explanation, it’s intense, but it explains how it works if you really want to know (very recent publication & from credited source). We used to eat almost 300g of carbs a day, after learning about carbs AND how they work; we now aim to eat 50-75g of carbs. Yeah, it’s not fun, but again, that’s how it works.
3. Fruits & Veg:Fruits are good in medium quantities, they can contain high amounts of sugar. Green and/or leafy are ,in general, always good for the body; they should be in every meal. Everything else is good is smaller quantities.
4. Meat/Protein Source: The amount of meat one can consume is a very argued topic, some say it doesn’t matter, the new Canadian food guide suggests only a little each day. We love all meat, and we could eat a lot of it, so we pair it with fibre filled sides to aid in digestion. Eggs (not a dairy product as sometimes portrayed) are a favourite at the farm, we could eat 4-8 eggs per week. We do use no-animal protein sources such as beans, lentils, wild rice and quinoa.
5. Dairy:Milk is limited as it is higher in sugar, we enjoy homogenized milk for the benefits of the fat content & its filling effect. CHEESE, we love cheese, but we try to keep this to a couple of slices a day. Yogurt is great, but we try to avoid flavoured as again, high sugar in the flavouring syrup. Canada produces some of the highest quality dairy products in the world, due to our very high standards in the supply management industry. (Look for the blue cow label to know it’s Ontario milk!)
6. BALANCE:We really do love eating, we are very good cooks and we grow really good food. During the week we try the keep it lean and green and we save our bad eating for holidays & special events. We also all have that one thing that we give into, for example Farmer Steve will never give up beer, and he is more than ok with that.
7. We don’t snack often:We like fill up at meals and then let our bodies have time to digest it, especially if that meal had a lot of carbs. We drink water in between meals to keep fueled.
Now the most important tip we have...
8. Cook from scratch: Very rarely do we cook packaged food from a grocery store. There are too many artificial preservatives in food these days and we just don’t like it. We cook from scratch whenever possible. We know, we live in a day where convivence is everything, but it makes a difference when you know what’s in your food.
- These tips may not be as helpful to those with food allergies, food sensitivity, and/or heath restrictions as you have a lot more to consider. But again, our point is for one to figure out what works for you.
- No, we don’t discriminate against diets or lifestyle eating choices, whatever works for you and your body is up to you.
- “Have you tried any diets?” No, we are personally not fans of ‘diets’, we prefer life style choices. We just love to eat food while trying to maintain a healthy body weight and heart rate.
Eating in no longer a diet, it has become a lifestyle choice for most of the population in Canada, as we now no longer eat to live. With an abundance of locally grown produce and meat products all across Ontario, it is very easy to access high quality products and to eat healthy if you really want to. When it comes to buying fresh & local food, prices can be very high, so again the word lifestyle choice pops up.
“What are people willing to spend on their food, do they really care what they are eating?”
We hope we have helped provide some perspective on your next steps to figuring out how you will be eating healthier this year!