Nutrition from the Ground Up Means “Food from the Ground”

The theme of this year’s  National Nutrition Month is Nutrition from the Ground Up! Last week, I posted 2 responses from registered dietitians who suggested going back to basics on nutrition in light of this theme. Here are a few more opinions on the question of What does Nutrition from the Ground Up mean to you?:

Dina Rose, PhD Sociologist and author of It’s Not About Nutrition wrote:

First and foremost, it means eating foods that come from the ground, not a factory.  Then it means paying to foods not nutrients.  We should give less attention to the nutrient by nutrient science that encourages us to decompose our meals into the nutrients they provide more attention to the whole foods that we actually eat.

Registered dietitian Cindy Williams found herself thinking about the following two points:

Most of our food originally comes from the ground. A great guide to healthy eating is to choose foods which we can still recognise as coming from the ground – fruit, vegetables, beans and wholegrains. They provide a whole host of health giving properties.

Good nutrition starts young. From the moment we are conceived our health is being determined by what our mother eats. The food we feed our children, and our attitude to food, greatly determines our child’s future health.

Registered dietitian Nour El-Zibdeh suggested that we treat food as more than as a sum of nutrients and make small changes to develop a deeper connection to its origin:

When I think of Nutrition from the Ground Up, many thoughts come to mind. It means that there’s more to food than a sum of nutrients, that no supplement pill when nourish my body the way real food would.  It means that it matters where my food comes from and who’s been caring for it. It means that I will teach my kids to enjoy, love, respect, and be thankful for the food they have, and it’s not just a product they pick from grocery store shelves. But it also means that any steps that I make to eat more wholesome and real foods need to be realistic, practical, affordable, and not drastic, so that I can maintain it on the long term.

For someone looking to eat more wholesome foods, the steps they need to take depend on where they start from. If they’re used to packaged frozen dinners, then putting a meal together from fresh ingredients is change. For someone who always makes a fresh meal, buying local, season, from a CSA or farmers market might be the type of change to make. It’s an individual decision, and I can only encourage and inspire my clients, provide them with the right tools, and trust them to do what they feel is best for themselves, their families, and their community.

And registered dietitian Amber Pankonin wrote a few points to summarize her discussion with fellow dietitians:

We agreed the message was simple- eat more fruits & veggies. (That is visually displayed in the logo by the cornucopia in the “eat right”) However, did ADA tailor this message in light of recent events? For example, we all know the first lady paid professionals to plant a garden at the White House. Were they making a political move here?

As an RD, I encourage my patients & clients to eat a variety of foods including fruits, veggies, whole grains, milk & lean protein. Does this slogan imply that good nutrition only involves eating fruits & veggies? What if I eat beef, fish, or turkey? (Thus the question from my tweet- what if I eat something that walks, swims, or flies?) What if we eat food that does not come from the ground? One RD discussed that it revolves around the food chain- the animals have to eat the grains & veggies but will the general public make that connection?

And to sum it all up, @psmom tweeted:

growing or knowing where much of our food comes from!

I think a common theme here is paying more attention to the real source of our food. It’s not just about what we grow from the ground, such as fruits and veggies, but also animal products if they are obtained in a natural way. If we raise animals out of their natural environment, load them up with drugs to increase yield, then those products are not really from the ground. What we eat is part of an ecosystem, but somewhere along the way in our quest to increase the output of our food factories, we seem to have forgotten it!

What do you think? What does this notion of Nutrition from the Ground Up mean to you? What small changes have you made to your family’s diet recently?

Please share in your comments below. I would love to hear from you!

©2010 Littlestomaks.com

2 comments

  1. We have a garden, and for the first time this year our daughter was able to help plant the seeds and watch them grow! (She just turned 3)
    I think maintaining a connection with and awareness about the sources of out food (fruit, veggie and meat) makes us more likely to take care of ourselves and our environment.

    Thanks for the great information!

  2. We have a garden, and for the first time this year our daughter was able to help plant the seeds and watch them grow! (She just turned 3)
    I think maintaining a connection with and awareness about the sources of out food (fruit, veggie and meat) makes us more likely to take care of ourselves and our environment.

    Thanks for the great information!

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