In early January of this year Health Canada launched a new Canada Food Guide, including the suggestion to choose proteins from plant-based foods more often. In the Healthy Food Choices section of the guide it states that eating plant-based foods regularly, such as whole grain foods and plants-based protein foods, can mean eating more fibre and less saturated fat in your overall diet. The guide also states that eating plant-based food regularly can help to lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Of course this isn’t surprising to those that have been eating a plant-based lifestyle since the last Canada Food Guide was released (12 years ago) but it is great to see theses suggestions highlighted through the document. The updated Canada Food Guide has vegan recipes and even tips on how to incorporate more plant-based protein foods.
There is a section on how healthy eating impacts the environment, including the types of food we buy and how we get rid of them afterwards. The guide briefly talks about how plant-based foods use fewer resources, such as land and water, and it states that an eating pattern “higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods can decrease the negative impact of food on the environment.”
It has many great behavioural suggestions for better eating and even warns readers that they are being affected by marketing in their decision making, which we loved! The guide suggests eating with others, taking your time to eat and actually enjoying your food during a meal. They also touch on creating a positive eating space and being mindful of your eating habits, like pace, quantity, frequency and surrounding environment.
This is a great big step forward for Canada and for the growth of plant-based babes everywhere. In the 2007 Canada Food Guide it didn’t have the same suggestions to eat plant-based proteins, but it did recommend to have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often. It was also in 2007 that they changed the name of the Milk Products group to Milk and Alternatives and acknowledged other food sources of calcium such as fortified soy beverage for non-milk drinkers.
Both the 1992 and 2007 food guide suggested that we eat 2-3 servings per day of meat and alternatives for adults, compared to the 2019 guide that only states “you don’t need to eat large amounts of protein foods to meet your nutritional needs.”
Considering all the changes we’ve seen lately, with this guide and the trends in fast food and grocery store products, the vegan lifestyle is becoming more and more popular for the long term, and not just trending by. Whether you’re a new vegan, a seasoned vegan, or somewhere on your way over, thanks for choosing compassion. xo