I totally grew up on the food pyramid that touted 3 servings of meat, 3 dairy, 4 each of fruits and veggies, and 10 bread/cereal/rice/pasta, so I know that this is something we were TAUGHT. You're not a fool.
As others have said, nutritional science is relatively new and still changing. How many times have we had the "is coffee/red wine/egg yolks/low carb good or bad for us this week?" discussion? I also know that everyone has a personal experience with food and you learn what makes your body feel the most fueled and happiest. Our bodies are pretty good at saying "more protein please" or "nuts don't fill me up" or "we need a glass of milk, STAT!"
Don't feel like a fool, there's so much conflicting information out there it's crazy!
The problem is, on a science-level, food and human bodies are very complicated things individually and even more complicated in conjunction with each other. So science is constantly finding out new things, changing old theories, determining new healthy things, or deciding others that were thought healthy might actually be bad. (See: margarine. Once touted as healthier than butter, only to be discovered that the high trans fats were potentially way worse.)
So what I try to do is common sense, and listening to my body. It takes awhile (and some experimenting!) to really get used to paying attention what works for your body, but if you do it's a lot smoother than trying to follow the shifting nutritional wisdom.
For me, I try to eat lots of fruit and veggies (if I have snacks during the day, it'll be carrots and hummus, or celery stalks with a little cream cheese, etc. to get another serving of veggies in instead of snacking on chips or something a bit 'emptier) drink lots of water and tea, and limit highly processed foods as much as possible. I've been doing more cooking and more baking, etc. and just trying to keep things in moderation. Nothing is off-limits, but there is "frequent" food and "ocassional" food or "big servings" and "small servings." Frequent veggies, ocassional cookie. Or big serving of broccoli, small serving of cheese.
You'll just want to make food choices that you can stick with and that work for you. Good luck!
One of those new things we're just understanding about nutrition is that vitamins and minerals in pills don't work the same way as those same vitamins and minerals in foods. You don't necessarily have to get 3 servings of dairy, but you *should* hit your calcium targets with food, not supplements.
Is the issue with not being able to buy milk a question of money, or location? In most places, buying a generic store brand of milk would cost less per unit of nutrition than you're paying for the vitamin pills-- don't forget that in addition to the calcium, you're getting a significant amount of protein, which isn't available in the pills and is more expensive in other forms. If you're just too far from the store to buy fresh milk all the time, look into mixing it half-and-half with nonfat dry, or see if you can find an inexpensive source of shelf-stable boxes of milk. At one point, Big Lots was carrying the boxes for $1 per liter, which is less than refrigerated milk costs where I live.
In general, if you're on a tight food budget, it's FAR more effective to look for less expensive food than to waste money on vitamins that might not even contain what the label says they have. Supplements are an extremely, outrageously expensive way of getting nutrients and are almost always lower quality.
I do probably get 3 servings of dairy a day because it works for me. I even mostly follow the plate method, but I'm higher on fruits and veggies (7-10 servings) and lower on the grains (1-2 servings) because that's just what works for me, although I do struggle a bit more to replace the vitamins/minerals found in the grains.
If you like dairy and want to consume 3 servings a day - have at 'er. If you don't, don't force yourself and try to replace the nutrients in other ways.
Also, I don't think we've been intentionally lied to. Nutrition is a constantly evolving (and relatively new) science.
I would say most should watch and meet the minimum vegetable/fruit intake and probably get more, but there are diets with no grains and I personally don't count those. As for dairy, no you do not need more. It is a convenient way to get a fair amount of nutrients including calcium, but certainly not the only way. Vegans are not the only dairy free ones out there- roughly 2/3 of the world population is lactose intolerant so they are not eating it either. (that figure came from a quick search with between 60 and 75 percent coming up based on the site. Some were fairly reputable, others had some obvious bias against dairy).
Well, I feel like a fool. And like I've been lied to.
So, you guys don't make sure you have 5 ounces of protein, 6 servings of grain, 5/6 servings of veggies and fruits per day, either?
Everyday it seems more and more like "healthy eating" is a religion than a science. People believe that *their* way is the right one. There are so many different ways of doing it, even when they're using the same process, like calorie counting (i.e: Some people say to eat back exercise calories; others don't.).
It's frustrating because I never know if I'm actually giving my body what it needs or not.
I was asking because I usually try to have three servings of dairy, but I'm kind of running really low on it and trying to make a half gallon of skim milk (8 servings of milk) last for two people for a week.
P.S. Sorry, I forgot that vegans don't consume dairy. Or, I guess I just assumed that they might be going to great lengths to get their necessary values.
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The three a day dairy campaign was actually created by the Dairy Farmers Association, and has no medical necessity. Dairy can give you some nutrients you need, but plenty of people do just find getting them from other sources!
You don't absolutely need to eat any one particular thing! If your nutrients are in check, you're meeting your calorie ranges, and are getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals, you don't HAVE to eat X amount of servings of dairy/meat/grains. People make many different balances work for them, and some people don't eat any dairy at all. Do what works for you. :)
Well you don't NEED to do anything. You can meet your nutritional needs in many ways - such as also getting calcium from vegetables, like spinach. Is there a reason you don't want to eat dairy? You get good fats, protein, and calcium and other vitamins.
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