I tried following healthy eating guidelines in New Zealand and failed miserably

I tried following healthy eating guidelines in New Zealand and failed miserably

Lyric Waiwiri-Smith is a lifestyle reporter who drinks 3 liters of water but gets no more than 5 a day.

Opinion: After spending a number of days trying to figure out if plant-based food alternatives count toward 5+ per day, I was met with a deeply troubling realization: I’m not eating enough veggies.

We’ve all been taught the 5+ golden rule daily – eat three vegetables and fruits a day, and you’ll be on the right track to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

As it turns out, recommendations for eating and living well are a little more complicated than pushing greens into your body.

Ministry of Health Eating and Activity Guidelines It contains recommendations for daily servings of grains, proteins and dairy products as well as fruits and vegetables, and the suggested number of servings varies between gender and age groups.

Read more:
* Energy needs decrease with age, so what you eat is more important
* Do we eat food too far?
Get a healthy gut by eating these 3 things

Being a 22-year-old woman, I’m supposed to work out five servings of veggies, two servings of fruit, six servings of grains, two and a half servings of protein, and another two and a half servings of dairy – every day.

Proteins in the Department of Health guidelines include “some legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry, and/or red meat, with fat removed.”

I also mean limit the amount of salt, saturated fat and sugar, focus on whole foods and get 2.1 liters of water per day.

I tasked myself with aiming to follow these guidelines for a week, hoping to transform my life into a government approved way of living.

Chicken Salad from Kebab Shop - One serving of protein, one serving of grains, and three servings of vegetables in one serving.

Lyric Waiwiri-Smith / Stuff

Chicken Salad from Kebab Shop – One serving of protein, one serving of grains, and three servings of vegetables in one serving.

A typical day of eating would see me get half of my recommended vegetables and grains. My protein services are satisfied but my dairy rations often go overboard.

I’ve made it my mission to target vegetables and whole grains in my meals.

I have a tendency to lose my appetite in the middle of the day if I’m stressed out or dealing with a busy work day, which means I often skip lunch (although I always eat breakfast and dinner). Missing a meal made it nearly impossible to get the full list of recommendations.

At one point I was so worried about not meeting my daily vegetable intake, I ate corn with porridge for breakfast (it actually tastes good).

Another day, I counted avocados as part of my vegetable serving and didn’t realize until after that they were actually a fruit.

Cottage pies and curries became regular menu items as they contained up to three servings of vegetables and two servings of grains, while smoothies helped cater to milk, cereal and fruit.

Cereals with yogurt and fruit - 1 serving of cereal, 1 serving of dairy, and 1 serving of fruit.

Lyric Waiwiri-Smith / Stuff

Cereals with yogurt and fruit – 1 serving of cereal, 1 serving of dairy, and 1 serving of fruit.

While my fruits and vegetables were growing successfully, the grains were still lacking.

The idea of ​​needing to double my usual intake was easily the most difficult aspect of this healthy eating, and I never managed to eat the day I ate all six servings.

Grains aren’t exactly a food group that’s abundant in my home. My friend has celiac disease (can’t eat gluten), so our pantry consists only of gluten-free pastas and white rice (do the gluten-free alternatives have different serving sizes?).

It wasn’t just putting cereal in the meal that was causing the problems. I deal with frequent painful bloating, and after every meal I felt my stomach was distended to the size of a balloon.

Unfortunately, the discomfort and bloating did not subside throughout the week.

Omelette with bread (not pictured) - 1 serving of protein, 2 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of cereal.

Lyric Waiwiri-Smith / Stuff

Omelette with bread (not pictured) – 1 serving of protein, 2 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of cereal.

Since I’ve been so focused on veggies and grains, I’ve often ignored working dairy in my diet unless it’s the yogurt I’m pairing with my morning breakfast cereal.

On average, on each day of the test week, I was eating four servings of vegetables, one serving of fruit, three servings of grains, two servings of protein, and one and a half servings of dairy.

There hasn’t been a single day that I was able to manage every recommended meal from every food group.

Nutrition expert Lillian Morton says the Department of Health bases its guidance on a broad body of research to see how our portion sizes in food groups can improve our health.

“It’s based on a whole truckload of research that they put together and they said, ‘If you do this, it will keep you healthy.'”

Chicken Curry with Rice and Vegetables - 1 serving of protein, 2 servings of veggies, and ½ serving of grains.

Lyric Waiwiri-Smith / Stuff

Chicken Curry with Rice and Vegetables – 1 serving of protein, 2 servings of veggies, and ½ serving of grains.

Morton suggests that my way of suddenly increasing meals may have stressed my gut.

“The gut is a very complex organism, so when you eat a lot of something, all of these receptors are in the stomach and intestine that your body regulates,” Morton says.

“When you don’t eat a lot of grains, and you suddenly introduce new foods into your diet, your stomach actually takes a while to reset.

“Whole grains have a lot of fiber, and the fiber is amazing for the gut, but it makes you feel bloated because it’s fermenting in the large intestine. I’ve also added more fiber with the fruits and veggies, so you have more fiber and that requires a lot of digestion.”

“It comes right, it’s the way your body works…You show some symptoms and think ‘pills don’t agree with me’ instead of just insisting.

“Going from nothing to a hundred is too much for the gut to handle. Maybe go for 3 servings of grains and 2 veggies if you’re starting from nothing, then slowly increase it.”

And her simple hack to sneak more whole foods into our diets, she says, is to make every meal colorful.

“My catchphrase is ‘touch the rainbow, be the rainbow,'” Morton says, “so include color in every meal.

“Many kiwis have what I call the ‘beige diet’—pasta, ground beef, cigarettes, puree—it’s just about adding some berries to breakfast, eating some salad ingredients in sandwiches and wraps, and adding mixed greens if you’re eating tuna and rice. Just try to have Color in every meal.

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