2018: The best gift

By Nigel Richards
Interim Executive Vice President for Heart to Home Meals

Within the next few months many Canadians will receive, and be poring over, what some health experts say will be the most important document of 2018.

The item, is the latest version of Canada’s Food Guide, first published in 1942 and last updated in 2007.

Just to give some context, this is the second most requested Government publication behind Income Tax Forms. Therefore, it is safe to assume a lot of Canadians will look at the new guide; but how many will follow the recommendations?

Dietitians and nutritionists say the update is long overdue, and they hope it addresses head-on the health problems caused by obesity and diet-related illnesses. These experts want the government to ignore the calls for a cautious approach coming from certain sectors of the agriculture and food industry.

Solving the Salt Problem
There’s speculation the new guide will not only set out preferred foods but also, for the first time, tell us what to avoid. This could include processed food products because of their high levels of sodium. The average Canadian consumes about 3400 mg of sodium each day – roughly double the amount we need. Most of our daily sodium intake comes from processed food products.

The big problem for manufacturers is trying to maintain the taste (that we like) and quality levels (that are crucial for food manufacturers).
Earlier this year, Heart to Home Meals carried out research on its menu to reduce the amount of sodium, without compromising on taste or quality levels. The team carried out extensive research using herbs and seasoning to find ways to enhance the flavours.

Getting the Balance Right
Most seniors are careful about their diet but few take it as seriously as 71-year-old Joan Saunders from Ontario. 14 years ago she mysteriously contracted Mycobacterium Avium Complex and saw her life turned upside down.

With the illness her weight dropped dramatically, and when she was not in the hospital, she was confined to a wheelchair. The most serious attack took place in the summer of 2017 when she was admitted to hospital weighing only 94 pounds and diagnosed as malnourished.
Thankfully, this time doctors were able to find drugs that encouraged her to eat but did not cause any of the negative reactions like previous medications. Joan also discovered many of the items on the Heart to Home Meals menu were ideally suited to her needs.

Not all our customers have to take eating this seriously, but with the general population having so many dietary issues, isn’t it time to think about what we eat?

According to a report published by the Global Panel of Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (Glopan) poor diet posses a greater risk to your health than alcohol, tobacco and unsafe sex combined.

Eat Smarter in 2018
And as we know, health issues come at a cost. Every person with a health problem caused by dietary issues makes financial demands on the health care system.

We know the new Food Guide will be devoured by many, let’s hope it is adopted by enough Canadians to make a healthy difference in 2018.