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CCFB News» October 2019

Ag Lit Bit"The List Keeps Changing"

10/01/2019 @ 11:25 am | By Diane Merrion

It’s hard to keep up with the changing landscape of food choices and make the right decision on what is best for our bodies.  Back in the 80s and 90s, the media and marketers gave us many recommendations on just what to eat to stay healthy.


The 80s brought Lean Cuisine, frozen yogurt and new artificial sweeteners as healthy options. I vividly recall no longer being able to find saccharine, a staple on my grandparents table which was a big deal when they’d allow us to have a cup of coffee with the adults. We’d add whole milk (cow’s milk, not a non-dairy milk such as almond, coconut, soy, oat, rice, hemp, or flax) and one tablet of saccharine. Then we’d take a loaf of fresh Italian bread, break off pieces and dip it in that hot sweet creamy coffee and gobble it up. Yes, an odd Italian family tradition to aid digestion of the huge pasta lunch we ate on Sundays when I was young. I’m guessing we didn’t follow the healthy options.


 The 90s was the low fat, fat free food era with little regard for the other nutritional aspects. If it was low fat, it had to be good for you. Did bottomless packages of fat free anything really help us? I also remember the healthy switch from butter to margarine. Somewhere in there was the eat no eggs/ eat lots of eggs debate and the start of the superfoods which included blueberries!


By the 2000s, superfoods were all the rage including consuming mass amounts of kale, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, salmon and avocados, to name a few. Here we are at the end of 2019, just thinking we finally know what we should be eating and along comes some new “must” foods as the suggestion changes from just what’s good for us but also the environment.


The new Beyond Burger and Impossible Burgers are taking stores and restaurants by storm. They don’t contain beef, but are plant-based and better for us and the environment, aren’t they?  As we teach children about USDA MyPlate we encourage them to eat half fruits and vegetables and half grains and proteins (and some dairy) which is a challenge for most of us before taking into account sodium, fats, sugars and the multitude of information we should base our choices on.


We sure do have a lot of options and decisions to make for our bodies and our environment. I’m guessing my grandpa wouldn’t have chosen a plant-based meat in lieu of pickled pig’s feet or Italian sausage, but he sure did eat a lot of plants which are returning in popularity today. Maybe he’d try Raised and Rooted, yet another of the many options we have available today.    

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