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What can we learn from Brazil?

Did you know new dietary guidelines are issued every 5 years in the U.S.?  I know you may be thinking, how can the government come up with rules to tell us how to eat?!  And, do we really need guidelines…is eating well really that difficult?  With a lot of science and research, these guidelines are developed and modified to help prevent chronic disease and maintain good nutrition.  Not surprisingly, these guidelines are also influenced by the various constituents in the food industry.  Do we pay close attention to these guidelines?  Probably not.

However, Brazil recently issued new dietary guidelines and it made us stop in our tracks!  These guidelines (or nutritional advice) are simple and amazingly aligned with what Eat REAL America is all about -- it's our philosophy, Brazil style!  One of our goals is to help evolve the “food culture” in Wichita and other communities.  If we could simply live in a way that is aligned with these guidelines, our food culture could be so much different -- and so much better!


The guidelines are summarized in three “golden rules:”

  1. Make fresh and minimally processed foods the basis of your diet.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation when preparing dishes and meals.
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products and avoid those that are ultra-processed.

The ten guidelines include:

  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.  {REAL food!}
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.  {The key word here is "moderation"…not elimination!}
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products.  {Frozen pizza, cereal, soda, etc.}
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.  {Be mindful of what you are eating and how you are eating – not mindlessly eating in front of the TV!}
  5. Eat in company whenever possible.
  6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.  {Plan so when hunger strikes you aren't stuck with only convenience stores and fast food chains as your only options!}
  7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.  {The most important thing we can do for our kids’ long-term health is teach them to prepare and enjoy REAL meals.}
  8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.  {Make planning a priority!  Plan ahead your lunches and snacks and take advantage of the slow cooker - again, don't get stuck with only poor food options!}
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.  {This is why we are thankful for our fantastic Get REAL Wichita partners!}
  10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.  {As we mentioned in last week's blog on breakfast cereal...avoid foods advertised on TV!}

So, what exactly is a "food culture"?  It's our attitude toward food including our experience of buying, cooking and eating.  And, it's crucial to our well-being.  Can a culture be healthy if it's food is not?  No way!  Unfortunately, many countries with strong food cultures are seeing them eroded by processed foods and fast foods.  Even in Italy, the traditional authentic Italian meals using fresh ingredients are gradually being replaced by fast and processed foods.  Picture this:  the mouthwatering garlic and oregano aroma of an authentic Italian sauce simmering for hours...replaced by the one and only McItaly burger?  Seriously?  What is happening to the food culture?!

We hope this blog provides some simple advice and something to consider about our food culture -- because your health, and the health of others you care about is THAT important!  What can you do to have a positive influence on our food culture?

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." -Winston Churchill

The Brazil dietary guidelines were issued by the federal Ministry of Health of Brazil.

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