Although Canada’s new food guide calls for safe drinking water and more fresh fruits and vegetables – two things some northern and Indigenous communities have long fought for – a doctor in Makkovik endorses the guide.
“From the point of view of the North, it is about thinking about equity, about income from food security. He makes recommendations on traditional foods that resonate with us on the North Coast. I am really satisfied with it ”, declared Andrew Bresnahan, who is currently working at Nunavut.
The new guide removes food groups and portion sizes, focusing instead on proportions and behaviors, recommending that half of every meal come from fresh fruits and vegetables, that water be the beverage of choice, and that Canadians prepare more meals at home.
“They even have Labrador tea”
There is a sizable section on country food like moose, caribou, arctic char, ptarmigan and even partridge.
“They even have Labrador tea,” he said. “There are a lot of things in there that will be very familiar to Labradorians.”
And that means doctors in remote northern communities who use the food guide as a benchmark will be able to give patients advice that reflects their reality, he said.
Country food helps alleviate some food access issues faced by northern and indigenous communities, he said, and encouraging people to eat more not only recognizes its importance, but helps people cope better. these problems themselves.
In Inuit Nunangat, for example, the median annual pre-tax income of non-Indigenous families is just over $ 90,000, almost four times that of Indigenous families, according to Inuit Tapiriit’s 2018 Inuit Statistical Profile. Kanatami.
With the high cost of food in the North, he said, “this inequity makes it more difficult for some families than others to access healthy food. And that’s one of the reasons why traditional foods are so important in these communities ”.
Access to drinking water, fresh products still difficult
The guide encourages Canadians to choose water as a drink, a challenge for the many indigenous communities that lack clean water, he said.
But the guide recognizes that this is a problem for these communities, which is at least proof that the people behind are carefully thinking about the different experiences that Canadians have, he said.
He also notes that it is difficult for many northern communities to meet half-on-the-plate vegetable recommendations, as access to quality produce is often limited, especially in winter, when vegetables can freeze for a long time. transport on the tarmac or appear after their expiration date. when the weather delays planes and ships.
This is one of the reasons the focus on country foods is so encouraging, he said.
It is also a good lever to demand access to better food.
“This is one of the reasons improving Nutrition North and improving access to healthy foods are really important. If we believe that eating vegetables is important to all Canadians, then we need to take action to help make it a reality. “
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