Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tell me what to do, I'll do anything you say

Way to pander, Health Canada: HALIFAX - Canada's food guide is being overhauled to reflect new scientific knowledge and the country's changing multicultural makeup. The guide – used by nutritionists, hospitals, schools and other institutions to define healthy eating – was first introduced six decades ago and hasn't been updated since 1992. More ethnic cuisine is to be a part of revamped Canada Food Guide. Many critics say the guide is dated, confusing, boring – and doesn't reflect the country's population, which now includes more than 200 ethnic groups. [...] "Part of the challenge is to make the food guide relevant for Canadians," Bush said. "It's most relevant when it speaks your language, when it has foods that you consume." Different guides for different cultures? In Ontario, immigrant women are offered nutrition counselling based on the Canada Food Guide, but it's adapted and translated into as many as 30 different languages. Bush said that type of approach could be seen in the new guide. It will likely include more pictures or examples of ethnic foods, such as fresh chickpeas and okra, or even different guides for different cultural groups, she said. Look, everyone eats. The cuisines of different cultures aren't so radical or alien from one another that it's necessary to act as if they're exotic imports from another planet. Grain is grain is grain, whether white bread or oddball varieties of rice; ditto legumes = legumes, vegetable matter = vegetable matter, poultry = poultry, ungulates = beef, fish = fish, and pork = pretty much everything else. There doesn't need to be official endorsement of chickpeas over navy beans, or vice versa. This is pandering to multiculturalist dogma, needlessly using self-sustaining means of dividing the country into self-interested cultural blocs, all vying for equal space in the public eye by means of such government publications. There's an opportunity with the Canada Food Guide to highlight one of the few real universalities shared by all cultures, by objectively describing dietary theory in scientific terms: recognizing that, for instance, beans are a source of protein no matter where you (or the beans themselves) are from. It's a shame that federal policy instead now seeks to be patronizingly "relevant," rather than assuming that everyone's capable (no matter their heritage) of understanding that. (Via NealeNews.)

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