BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon doesn’t have a huge beef with the new Canada Food Guide released this week.
“It still recognizes meat as a valuable source of protein,” Boon told the Tribune.
In its explanation of the new food guide, the Government of Canada suggests a plate should be half filled with vegetables and fruit, while the other half is shared with protein foods such as lean meat, chicken, varieties of nuts and seeds, lentils, eggs, tofu, fish and beans and whole grains.
“We have been working with the government on it and we knew they were going to make some recommendations we don’t agree with,” Boon said. “It is a guide, and just that, it’s not law,” Boon said.
Iron is readily available in meat and many people rely on it, Boon added.
“Cutting out meat is a choice, and the BC Cattlemen’s will focus on people who want to eat meat to ensure they are provided the best quality.”
As for the growing push to eat more plant-based food, Boon said most of the land used to graze cattle in B.C. could not grow anything else.
“You cannot grow canola on the sides of these mountains,” he said.
Boon said the new guide warns against eating too many saturated fats and sugars, noting that is a good thing, but he finds it “amazing” sugar in milk is now being identified as a problem.
”They are making a healthy food like milk the bad guy,” Boon said. “It’s like they said, ‘we had noting else to pick on so
Boon said the balanced approach the new guide promotes is a good thing.
“Everybody is different and has different needs and people need to know their own body.”
Horsefly area rancher Ricky Seelhof said Canadians need to remember the Canadian beef industry is a global leader of safe, nutritious and sustainably raised beef.
“Canadian beef is a rich source of amino acids, iron, zinc and many other beneficial nutrients that have an important role to play in the balanced plate model,” Seelhof said. “Beef is readily absorbable complete protein that provides a multitude of health benefits to Canadians.”
Seelhof said Canada’s beef ranchers and farmers support a healthy balanced diet consisting of lean red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, whole grains, fruits, veggies and other plant based foods.
“Canadian beef should be part of healthy eating strategies and we are encouraged to see it continue to be incorporated in Health Canada’s recommendations.”
Hannah Chorney, a childcare resource and referral worker with the Women’s Contact Society (WCS) in Williams Lake who co-ordinates a monthly good food box program welcomed the new food guide.
“Years ago a nutritionist told me half my plate should be vegetables,” Chorney said. “I’m glad they are pushing for this.”
The Good Food Box program is open to anyone keen on getting a good deal on produce, Chorney said.
“There’s this misconception that it is only for families in need, but it’s for anyone wanting to buy in bulk. We end up selling $30 worth of food for about $30.”
The boxes are delivered to the Elks Hall the third Monday of the month.
They can be preordered with cash or cheque by contacting the WCS at 41 Fourth Ave. South.