No, Animal Products are not being removed from the Canadian Food Guide
Vegans shouldn’t be quick to share excitement for a new and improved Health Canada food guide.
The Globe and Mail shared this week’s announcement of updates coming to the national nutrition outline in early 2018, by way of a “guiding principles” mission statement that–like the mystery of what constitutes a serving–is being blown out of proportion. Having stayed stagnant in it’s recommendations since 2007 (and arguably since 1985), they’ve decided to shift away from outdated themes of malnutrition and wartime rationing in favour of modern problems like preventing obesity and chronic illness. It’ll take a lot more meetings than just redesigning the angles of the food pyramid or finding a new way to divide those dinner plate diagrams into trendier, colour coded sections. No, the powers that be are going to attempt to give us new eating “rules” that take the environment, cultural diversity, and alternative diets into account. How buzzworthy!
But lest we forget that the guide has spent 75 years promoting the animal agriculture industries to cultivate profit, Hasan Hutchinson, director general of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion at Health Canada confirms my suspicions. He says “Some of what’s out there is taking it as saying: ‘No animal products whatsoever. What we’re talking about is going more plant-based, without necessarily eliminating animal products.”
Indeed, many have taken too quickly to Facebook to share their Canadian pride without realizing that the simple mention of wanting to add plant-based proteins to the list of recommended foods doesn’t mean a) that it’ll be part of the final guide and b) that it’ll eliminate animal products from the thumbs-up list. No matter what, animals will still be thrown under the bus.
I mean, tofu and beans were already listed as “meat alternatives,” will renaming those “plant-proteins” help? And do we really foresee all of the Canadian meat and dairy farmers welcoming finger wagging at their livelihoods graciously because they’ve watched What The Health, too? It all reads like a bit of a fairytale–something our Government doesn’t deal in unless it’s the fabrication of stories on calcium, protein, and how bad boys and girls who don’t comply to their “rules” aren’t truly Canadian.
Environmental sustainability and animal welfare are also rumoured to make an appearance in the booklet, but rooting for that is like rooting for reducetarianism; morally confusing. I for one will never promote what’s “better” for the environment when we know what’s best, or more “kind” to animals when we know what’s fair, or any perceived baby steps towards the health of my country when it still includes meat and dairy as healthful options. Veganism is the real solution that is still being avoided for profit.
Taking nutrition advice from the governing bodies that controls the creation and promotion of the very products that use animals, hurt ourselves, and damage the environment is laughable. With all the major health organizations in agreement that humans of all ages can be healthy on a vegan diet, any adaption to the food guide that doesn’t promote veganism is frivolous.