From Seed to Table

New Canada Food Guide

Eleanor Deckert
New Canada Food Guide

Twenty-four. That's how many I counted. Twenty-four plant foods in the photo introducing the New Canada Food Guide.

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes. Less emphasis on protein from animals. More emphasis on protein from plants. Interesting. I was a vegetarian for six years. But, like many others, I did also use eggs, milk, and fish. Vegans reject all animal products. Interesting. Wait. Where do we get enough protein?

Since we are talking about seeds in this column, it is worth a pause to consider the amazing variety of foods we use that are actually seeds themselves.

Have you tried these grains? Is there something unfamiliar in this list that you might want to learn how to prepare? Corn, rice, wheat, barley, rye, millet, oats, buckwheat, freekeh, quinoa, couscous, spelt.

We could talk about fibre. We could talk about carbs. We could talk about gluten. But, you can get that information someplace else. I would like to talk about variety.

Bread: avoiding white bread, look for (yes it is more expensive) spelt, sprouted grain, whole grain, ancient grains. Explore. Experiment. To stimulate ideas, I borrowed a book from the library entitled “Toast.”

Legumes: Remember mixed frozen vegetables with lima beans? One of my brothers pushed them into a pile on the side of his plate to eat last. The other twin ate them first and enjoyed the green beans, corn, peas and carrots later as a reward. Chick peas (also called garbanzo beans), lentils, split peas (green and yellow), kidney, black-eyed, white, pinto, navy, black and soy beans are easy to find, boil and add to your meals.

What I learned back in the 1970s when I was a vegetarian was that although both legumes and grains provide protein, they are each stronger and weaker in the various amino acids. It is when they are combined that the full range of nutrients is available.

More recent research shows that this is unnecessary and that as long as a variety of these foods are part of the diet, the body will sort everything out.