Clean your plate!

Just makes sure it’s not a HUGE plate, and that you fill it appropriately. I thought about titling this post “It’s heeeeeeerrrrrr!” because that’s how I feel about the new MyPlate, which replaces the old MyPyramid.
I really hated MyPyramid, not just because it could be awfully confusing, but also because I blame it for leading us down a road paved not just with many, many servings of bread, pasta and other starchy carbs, but refined white flour starchy carbs, at that. It took a few incarnations of the pyramid before any real attempt was made to say, “Ahem, you really should be eating some whole grains.”
I think part of the problem was that the whole “6 to 11 servings” thing was confusing. A “serving” was like, an ounce. And I swear to you, when I was in college, and actually looking to the Food Pyramid for dietary advice, I thought a serving meant what a normal person would sit down and eat. There’s a big difference between eating six ounces of, say pasta, in a day and eating six bowls of pasta. When I occasionally eat pasta, I eat 2-3 ounces in a serving. In college, I probably doubled that. I actually despaired that it was hard to eat that many servings of bread-pasta-rice! And those foods were at the base of the pyramid, so, you know, they were important!
Gah!
I appreciate that MyPlate is more about proportions, in an easy-to-understand format (a plate). It’s not perfect, and goodness knows people are going to quibble about the protein-grain-dairy parts (I doubt anyone will say we should eat less vegetables and fruits). The meat people are going to hate the term “protein,” as well as the fact that the protein section is smaller than the grain section. Some people are already saying the protein section is too big, and so on, and so on.
It’s a guide. And it sure as heck has a better shot at guiding Everyday Joe and Jane and their kids Jack and Jill to making reasonably healthy food choices. Considering that we are in the midst of an epidemic of obesity and  other chronic diseases and live in a sea of fast food restaurants, a little easy-to-understand guidance is a good place to start. As Michelle Obama put it: “When it comes to eating, what’s more useful than a plate? What’s more simple than a plate?”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak called MyPlate “a simple, visual, research-based icon that sends a very clear and unmistakable message about portion sizes and what should be on the American plate.”
During the Q&A session following the unveiling, Secretary Vilsak pointed out that if this country is serious about reducing health care costs, we need to do more about preventive health so that people stop developing chronic diseases. “The best preventive health I know is a healthy diet and enough exercise.”
Amen to that, brother. Now, maybe he needs to go have a chat with House Republicans, who apparently don’t think our country’s little children need healthy school lunches.

Speaking of school lunches, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is back on the air tonight at 9 p.m. You know where I’ll be! Speaking of school, I’m starting my “Slow and Simple” summer school self-study on Saturday. I’ll be reading each weekly chapter on the weekend then doing the exercises during the week. I’m planning to dedicate one post a week to the project, with possibly some bonus posts.