I’m okay with the new Canada Food Guide that was launched this past January. Anything to get Canadians to eat better is a must because Canadians have terrible eating habits. I’ve said it before in this column that Canadian farmers grow the best wheat in the world but they eat the worst kind of bread when compared to what the Europeans eat.
What I like best about the new food guide is that it recommends making water the drink of choice. Yes, water. Water is cheap (unless you buy it in a plastic bottle) and it’s the perfect drink. They could have gone a step further and said “water from a tap” for environmental reasons but not everyone can get their hands on drinking water when they want to quench their thirst.
I was happy when the food guide omitted all juices because juices are just a sugary liquid made with concentrated juice and water. I stopped buying orange and apple juice years ago and eat only fruit. During the winter months I eat two or three mandarins a day along with a teaspoon of cod liver oil.
Remember when your mom in the 1950s made you take a spoonful of cod liver oil and how you hated it? I went back to taking cod liver oil about 20 years ago. Not the capsules. I buy the 500 ml of Norwegian cod liver oil. Does it help? I seldom get a cold. But then I never go out in the cold without warm headgear — a tuque — on my head.
The new food guide also focuses on the ways that healthy eating is more than the foods Canadians consume. It encourages us to cook more often, enjoy food, be mindful of eating habits, and eat meals with others. It seems they are hinting that instead of going out to eat so often, Canadian should stay home and cook a healthy supper, and eat it together as a family. Excellent advice!
It’s fine to order a pizza once in a while but they are terribly salty. The chip truck stands are busy places when they open and consumers love their salty fries. And when your drink of choice is a sugary pop with your meal, it’s no wonder we have had a huge increase in people with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Next time you’re in a restaurant for breakfast, watch and see if people shake salt onto their eggs before they take their first bite. I even see men putting salt on their fries. If ever there was a food that didn’t require additional salt, fries and pizza are it.
I enjoy a good hamburger now and then. There’s a fast food restaurant in town that for a limited time makes simple burgers like they did in 1956. You get a good size meat patty on a bun, a slice of tomato, a nice amount of lettuce, and a slice of Canadian cheddar cheese all for $2.99. There’s no gucky mayonnaise all over the burger.
It seems that many folks like me enjoy this simple, cheap burger because when I go in for an afternoon meal, I see mostly older folks. What baffles me is that many of the seniors order a large mug of ice-cold root beer with their meal. I will order two of the ’56 Buddy Burgers and nothing to drink as I never drink pop and certainly not root beer made with cane sugar.
The Canadian food guide could have cautioned the organizations which promote cookbooks for their fundraising efforts to upgrade the recipes. Refine them!
Most recipes call for an unbelievable amount of sugar. For this article I leafed through a large fancy cookbook put out by an Ottawa valley hospital in 1993 and recommended by the hospital’s dietitian. Many of the recipes came from the hospital’s kitchen.
Here are a few that had me shaking my head in disbelief.
Healthy Bran Muffins: It called for 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 cups of raisins and one cup of molasses, one cup of margarine, 5 cups of flour and 5 cups of bran.
Carrot bread: 3 cups of sugar, ½ cup of honey, 4 cups of flour, 4 eggs and so on.
Fudge: 4 cups of brown sugar, one of cream . . .
Cracker Jack cookies: 1 cup of brown sugar, one cup of white sugar. 2 cups flour . . .
Butter tarts: 4 cups of brown sugar . . . yikes!
Maynard van der Galien bakes his own bread. The bread is soft and fluffy and very good. He uses just a few teaspoons of sugar per batch of four loaves. But cookbook recipes calls for 1/3 cup of sugar.