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I’m delighted to bring you another guest blog this week – this time it’s from Jenni Calihan, who blogs at Eat the Butter. Jenni is a mother of four and former management consultant who lives in Pennsylvania. She describes herself as a ‘renegade Mom’ and is on a mission to help people find their way back to real, whole food, including plenty of natural fat. I love her kick-ass blogs and hope you will too!
I bring exciting news from the other side of the pond about what Americans have been eating. Yes, the US government has just released a report on the food available to Americans, and how it has changed since 1970. This is a big deal, as this data is only issued every 10 years or so. You can get the CliffsNotes version in this short post from best-selling author Nina Teicholz. But, essentially, the numbers reveal that Americans are eating more fruit and vegetables, more grains, more lean meat (chicken), more fish/seafood, more low-fat dairy, and way more vegetable oil. What’s more, we are eating less red meat, fewer eggs, and less animal fat (butter and lard).
If this sounds familiar, it should. Because it is what Americans ARE ADVISED TO EAT by our modern and oh-so-cleverly-crafted dietary guidelines. Like most Western nations, we have achieved the plant heavy, grain heavy, low saturated-fat, MyPlate diet ideal of our federal food advisors, albeit with too much added sugar. So how is this going?
Well, also released this winter was the news, from the American Heart Association, that 41.5 per cent of American adults have heart disease. Trending up, by the way, it’s expected to reach 45 per cent by 2035. Yikes! Added to that there is the inconvenient fact that one third of American adults have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – once very rare, but now so commonplace, it has the convenient shorthand of NAFLD. Not to add to the doom and gloom, but while we are on the subject of chronic disease epidemics, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention diabetes. Roughly 9 per cent of American adults have diabetes, and 45 per cent have either diabetes or prediabetes. Trends suggest that by 2050, one third of adults could have full-blown diabetes. Double yikes!
At some point, scientists, doctors, public health officials, dieticians, and other interested parties (like Big Ag, Big Food, Big Pharma, to name a few) who created this mess will arrange a little sit down to argue about the science and try to figure out what went wrong. In the meantime (think decades), here’s a simple idea for the rest of us: let’s ignore them and go back to vintage eating.
What’s vintage eating? Simple. Let’s just eat like we did in the 1950s, when chronic disease rates were much lower (minus the Crisco and margarine, both cheap and bad tasting trans-fat delivery systems that had already worked their way into our mid-century meals – we know better now). Another way to say this is how we’d say it on Twitter – #JERF – Just Eat Real Food. Eat whole food that has been eaten by humans for centuries… including natural fats like butter!
But can vintage eating be that simple? Absolutely. How long does it take to fry a pork chop? Scramble a couple of eggs? Open a can of salmon? Throw sweet potatoes in the oven? Defrost some green beans? Vintage doesn’t have to be fancy. Simple vintage meals are the original fast food. Saturated fat is the original comfort food. If we give everyone permission to fry up some meat, fish, or eggs and melt butter on their frozen peas, the world would be a happier, more satisfied place. And healthier, too.
Going back to vintage eating can also be affordable. What is more inexpensive and vintage than a glass of water? Think of the groceries you will no longer need: almost all drinks – soda and and Gatorade and fruit juice (… alas, you might still ‘need’ your coffee and that glass of Chardonnay…); almost all packaged cereals and crackers and chips and snacks; almost all cookies and cereal bars and – God forbid – Pop Tarts. Instead, buy whole, unprocessed food, mostly found in the vegetable and fruit aisles and the meat and dairy departments. Whole foods offer more nutrition and more satisfaction for your food dollar.
It’s time to get back-to-basics – try vintage eating for vibrant health!