One of yesterday's health headlines caught my attention: "Heart Strategy Could Save Canada Billions". The article goes on to explain that the Conference Board of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have released a Heart Health strategy that demonstrates how to reduce the incidence of stroke and heart disease between now and the year 2020.
What are their recommendations? They seem ridiculously obvious:
- reduce smoking
- Increase the number of Canadian children and adults eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables
- Increase the number of Canadian children and adults who are physically active each day
- decrease obesity rates
If March's federal budget approves money for this strategy which was proposed last year, I hope we will see a lot of healthy changes, such as new food labelling laws which show what's actually inside processed foods so that people ca nmake informed decisions. But real change starts at home, doesn't it? When we go to the grocery store, we have to read what's on the labels of any processed food (i.e. anything besides meat, fruit or fruits and vegetables). We also have to get better at eating 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This is tough! I thought I did a good job, and consider myself to have a pretty good appetite. But I took inventory of what I ate yesterday which was only:
2 servings of whole grains
2 servings of fruit
3 servings of vegetables
2 servings of dairy
2 servings of protein
This is actually not very much food for someone my height, age and level of activity, which explains why I am often snacking before bed. Most importantly, this is not enough fruits and veggies; it falls just on the edge of the recommended 5-10 servings. I can do better; I just need to put my mind to it. We all can!
I challenge you to take stock of what you're eating for a couple of days to see what you're taking in. Check out the Canada Food Guide for more information on what constitutes a serving of each type of food. I'm not a huge fan of the Food Guide, which considers apple juice (boiled, processed, sugary syrup separated from its natural fibres) to be a serving of fruit. I also don't like that they still recommend a diet that's mostly starches and complex carbohydrates. However, it's a good place to go to get a clear picture of what "eating 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day" really means.