“Romaine calm and Carrot on”

Do you remember the “good ol’ days” when everyone really believed you could get all the nutrients you needed from the food we ate? You can.

When I was teaching dietetics, I made my students prove that it was possible. The game was to use nutrient analysis software to assess one day’s intake. Game rules included they had to cap the energy intake at 2000 ± 200 Cal. No fortified foods were allowed. No tossing cups of kale in blender or special powered added to smoothies. They had to plan a menu that used common staple foods. Quantities of foods had to be reasonable for one person to consume in one day. Yes, they could keep tweaking their menu until they met the Recommended Daily Intake of 26+ nutrients.  Every dietetic student succeeded. We proved it. You can get everything we need from the food we eat. No, it was not simple, nor was it easy.

My vision, my hope, is that some day we, as a nation will get back to eating in a simple easy way that our daily food provides all we need. The dream is that pills, including vitamin pills, will not be necessary for us to stay healthy long into our elder years.

There is real concern that our natural foods – those veggies grandmother told you to eat – might not be as nutritious as they used to be. When our fruits and veggies are grown with extra fertilizers they get big. Do you remember the difference in the size of apples and oranges even in the last two decades? It has been suggested that the fruit or veggie gets larger quicker without the time to fully develop the nutrient content.  So many of our beautiful flavorful vegetables and fruit have been bred for easy harvesting and shipping… without consideration for flavor and good nutrition.

To find good nutrition in the food we eat we need the freshest of vegetables and fruits. Farmers markets are a wonderful resource yet not everyone has access. The secret to the game is to understand that frozen produce may be fresher than that which is on the grocer’s shelves. Eating canned produce is still better than none at all.

The bottom line is to “Romaine calm, and Carrot on”.

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