By now, you’ve probably seen the new MyPlate logo that is replacing the food pyramid. It’s colorful and easy to understand. My favorite part about all this isn’t the new logo as much as the history of all the logos that came before.
Using a plate instead of a pyramid to educate people about healthy eating is a no brainer for many dietitians, including Patsy Catsos, President of Maine Dietetic Association. She says while the original food pyramid was helpful when it came out 20 years ago, the most recent updated version was “… way too abstract. People are craving concrete advice about how to eat and the food pyramid was too confusing.”
Here is a picture of the most recent food pyramid, which just got thrown out with the table scraps. I have no idea what I’m supposed to be eating when I look at this!
Since the new MyPlate logo makes it clear that we should fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables, I thought it might be helpful if you had a map of all the farmer’s markets in Maine so you can buy fresh produce. You want to buy local, you know — it’s good for you and good for the farmers.
Unfortunately, while the plate tells us to eat more fruits and vegetables, the Department of Agriculture needs to do a better job of supporting fruit and vegetable producers. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, less than one percent of agricultural subsidies in recent history have gone to fruits and vegetables.
I was at Portland’s Farmer’s Market in Monument Square this week and spoke to Daniel Price from Freedom Farm. He told me that, “Fresh produce is more nutrient dense, undoubtedly. But people aren’t just out for healthy food,” he says. “They buy fresh because it tastes so much better.”
Michael Roylos, who owns the Spartan Grill across from where Daniel was set up, loves having the Farmer’s Market right outside his door “We serve real food,” says Daniel, “and always buy all local when it’s available.” (By the way, his falafels were delicious!)
To find out when you can buy what, the Maine Department of Agriculture has a handy chart that shows seasonal availability of Maine fruits and vegetables.
Right now it’s the season for asparagus, which we grow in our garden. I could never, ever get tired of fresh asparagus!
Asparagus from the Atwood's garden
You can read lots more about MyPlate at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Right now I need to go cut some asparagus.