It’s time the food pyramid shaped up: here’s why.

The food pyramid.

You know, the pretty little diagram which tells you how much of what you should eat every day?

Every western country in the world has one, so unless you’re reading this from remotest Africa, I assume you know what I’m talking about.

But here’s a picture of the traditional one we all know and love, just to help you out:

Meat and two veg: the (flawed) order of the day
Meat and two veg: the (flawed) order of the day

I refer to it in the singular, as although countries like the UK, USA, Canada and Europe more widely will have slightly different ones, the same bad boys feature in each, with only a slight degree of variance.

But have you ever wondered why they REALLY exist in the first place?

It’s the same reason why certain corporations which I won’t mention today are getting away with a lot they shouldn’t. And the same reason why pharmaceutical companies dominate your ill-health routine in the form of pills and potions.

How so?

Where do you reckon your government – whichever one it may be – gets its ideas on how you should eat?

Doctors, surely? Nope. The majority have not been trained in nutrition, anyway. And if they have, you can bet the diagram to your left had a hand in the proceedings.

The masterminds are, in fact, primarily the food councils and food lobbyists. The bodies and individuals who exist for no other purpose other than to get as much meat, fish, poultry and dairy off the supermarket shelves and into your tummies as they possibly can.

This warped source of counsel also explains why, in schools which “feed” their students, the foods which feature most heavily are those which are subject to heavy governmental subsidies, which, again, is the same sorry list.

Apparently, if meat was not subsidised by the American Government, it would set you back around $50 a pound (or $110 for a kilo). And that is a conservative figure.

If only they would refrain from this practice with immediate effect. If they did, figures for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the like would take a serious nosedive.

Look, if you only take one thing from this post, let it be this:

This pyramid does NOT exist for the good of your health.

It’s about politics and power.

Does that sound vaguely familiar? You may recall a similar agenda in relation to my three recent posts about the-company-which-I-won’t-mention?

It is not my intention to focus on cancer today; I have already ear-marked a day in the near future for a likely multi-part post on this sensitive topic.

However, being as it’s one of our biggest killers (no. 2 in the US, no. 1 in Canada, not sure about the UK, but high nevertheless), it does need mentioning in relation to all this.

But today, I’ll be brief. –ish.

In 1972, President Nixon poured billions into the cancer-fighting pot. If only he’d spent it on education about diet change!

Figures for cancer deaths for that year were 220,000.

In 1997, the results of the project were published. $39bn had been spent on research.

In 1996, 560,000 died of cancer.

Ever wondered why these figures are on the up and up, no matter what we do?

It’s hopeless until that “someone” in a lab in a galaxy far, far away finds THE cure, right?

Absolutely, adamantly and unquestionably NOT.

Those in the know – me included – will tell you that this harmless-looking, triangular paradigm is primarily what is guiding everyone down the oh-so-avoidable path of chronic, serious disease.

And not forgetting all the junk food in between, of course. The day I see a Big Mac feature on one of these things is the day I close my WordPress account and take up residence in a corner of the globe where the Golden Arches have yet to appear. Come to think of it, is there one?!

For now, at least, there is hope. And plenty of it.

And it all rests with you and your ability to question what is put on a plate in front of you – both figuratively- and literally-speaking.

It’s not your fault. You’re not gullible. You’ve trusted people with qualifications to show you the way. Or at least that’s what you thought you were doing.

The reality, like I said, is that you’ve taken the word of governments who, in turn, were more than happy to accept the views of those who exist to make as much cash as possible for those they represent.

Believe me, you’re not alone.

On a more positive note, I’ll dare bet that many of you follow a diet which puts even this pyramid to shame: maybe not vegan (yet), but certainly no red meat, perhaps, no full fat milk or cheese, and plenty of chicken and fish.

Does this sound like you?

If it does, listen up.

I refer to the example of a lady called Ruth Heidlich, who features in another of my must-watch movies, Eating. (There’s no trace of it on youtube, so for once, you’re going to have to dig deep and invest).

(I’d also recommend you watch Hungry for Change, which is free, but only available on youtube to US and Canada residents. Don’t ask me why; I don’t make the rules. If I did, you’d all be getting a hard copy, gratis.)

Ruth was (and still is) a marathon runner, all-round fitness freak, and, as it goes, a doctor.

She ate a diet far healthier than the Standard American Diet: very little red meat, and primarily relied on skimmed milk, chicken and fish for her daily protein and calcium requirements.

So, understandably, you can imagine how shocked she was to discover she had breast cancer.

Post-surgery, she went to see renowned author and nutritionist Dr John McDougall (the same guy who says you can get all the protein you need each day from a plain jacket potato).

Ruth was more than a little lost for words by what he had to say about the cause of her cancer:

Her diet.

Yep, that presumed-healthy fish, chicken and skimmed milk had brought her body to its knees.

More of Ruth when we cover cancer in more depth, but you get the message, I hope.

No? Well, here it is, in black and white:

The conventional food pyramid is flawed.

So, here is a better one. And yes, I’m sorry, but it’s vegan. But that’s because of Ruth and the thousands of others just like her.

Presenting your new, cancer-free food pyramid
Presenting your new, cancer-free food pyramid


And before you complain/go back to your on-line shopping spree, remember Ruth Heidlich (who is now fully recovered, still runs marathons and eats a 100% plant-based diet, by the way).

Sure, she’s just one example, but I can assure you that right at this very moment, there are doubtlessly scores of people with a so-called “healthy” diet sitting in front of their doctors having just heard those dreaded words.

And yes, even this appealing work of art could do with a little work, particularly when it comes to the quantities recommended for sprouts – at Hippocrates they tell you to fill at least 50 per cent of your plate with them. Twice a day.

And, bizarrely, it seems somewhat apprehensive about the daily consumption of wheatgrass, recommending that it is consumed “sparingly” because of its medicinal properties.

Today is looking better by the minute…

Just kidding. I’m still on 6oz a day, begrudgingly as ever. Happy Friday, everyone.


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by George

I’m George Dryden - a slightly-off-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way journalist, blogger and almost-raw vegan. In April 2014, I graduated as a Certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute, in Florida, USA (more about George)

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