Archives for January 2007

The Famous Pyramids of Food

Diets do vary in different parts of the world, but the pyramids of food are universal. Right?

The pyramids of food are only slightly less famous than the Great Pyramids of Egypt. These modern pyramids are not built from rocks and sand, but rather from scientific knowledge about what is good for the human body. Still, science, it seems, varies from location to location.

Below are a number of food pyramids from various locations, although many of them no longer use the pyramid structure.

Canadian food pyramid

Canadian Food Pyramid
Get more information on Canada’s Food Guide.

UK food pyramid (the “Eat Well Plate”)

UK Food Pyramid

Irish food pyramid

Irish Food Pyramid

Indian food pyramid

Indian Food Pyramid
Image credit

Okinawa (Japan) food pyramid

Japanese Food Pyramid
Okinawa is the area of Japan famous for living long, healthy lives. (image credit

Estonian food pyramid

Estonian Food Pyramid

Czech food pyramid

Czech Food Pyramid

Hungarian food pyramid (the Hungarian House)

Hungarian Food Pyramid

Austrian food pyramid

Austrian Food Pyramid

Latvian food pyramid

Latvian Food Pyramid

Spanish food pyramid

Spanish Food Pyramid

Belgian food pyramid

Belgian Food Pyramid

Swiss food pyramid

Swiss Food Pyramid

The basics are universal.

You will notice some commonalities across all these diagrams (aside from the “pyramid” analogy still used ion a couple of them). Grains are always at the base. Not ideal for a low-carb diet, but whole grains are the foundation of each of these regimes.

READ ALSO: What are the world’s healthiest foods?

In some cases, water is placed before grains, and in some cases physical activity is, too. As important as hydration and fitness are to your health (so are sleep and sanitation, by the way), there are not directly part of the nutrition.

And in each case, vegetables and fruits come in close behind the grains. between these two categories, however each system divides them up, you have the majority of the food you should be eating.

At the top of the pyramid, there are some differences. The Canadian and western European pyramids place a great deal of value on dairy products, a nod to a very strong dairy industry lobby. In fact, there really is no logical reason for these to be a separate food group.

Don’t get me wrong – I am a big fan of getting protein from milk. But that is already covered in the protein food group.

READ ALSO: The cheapest ways of getting your protein

And in the dark Canadian winters, the vitamin D added to milk is pretty important. But we don’t give vitamin A foods their own group.

And the calcium in milk is also important. But we don’t give foods high in iron their own food group.

The Indian food pyramid includes milk with proteins – but then it divides proteins in three. Go figure!

If you roughly follow any one of these plans, you will be doing fairly well. Don’t sweat the details. Get the proportions right, eat lots of variety and serve food as close to its natural state as possible…and you’ll be way ahead of most people I know.

(Photo credit for most of the European diagrams:


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There’s More to Orlando than Disney

As with so many tourist destinations, Orlando boasts a number of hidden gems often overlooked by visitors. Here are a few of them.

Don’t forget to take in some of the secret treasures of central Florida. Orlando is one of the top tourism destinations in the world. It features Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. People come from every continent to take in these famous theme parks, and especially to meet Big Mickey. These theme parks have many nearby high end hotels and lower scale motels for the mass amounts of visitors who want to stay next to all the attractions without the hassle of driving.

But there is another Orlando, a city full of unexpected smaller attractions, that you might want to take in when you want something a little different or just a break from the crowds at Disney World.

Kissimmee Rodeo. No, that’s not a misprint. The rodeos of the west have come to the south-east – and they are just as much fun. Try this for something different.

ManateeInland manatees. People often forget that Florida is more than just one big theme park and the host to spring brake excess. It is also home to many natural wonders. Blue Spring State Park is tucked in between Orlando and Daytona Beach. Although it is an inland park, they have 153 manatees this season, more than ever before.

Private Villa Rentals. You don’t have to crowd the family into a cheap motel room in the Orlando region. Nowhere in North America are there so many private villas for rent (vacation home rentals). Look also for rental villas in Orlando.

Mystery Dinner. Half way between Orlando and Disney World, it’s no mystery why this show packs a full house. This is your chance to participate in a real murder mystery

Farm animal adventure. Every child loves to pet animals. No, it does not replace Walt Disney World, but it might make a nice little break in the middle of the Disney excitement, and it is just a short distance south of the Disney park.

Ahoy there, Captain. Not just the manatees have found their way inland. There are pirates in Orlando, and they offer an interactive family dinner spectacle.

Riverboat Cruise. It’s not the Mississippi, but the “Rivership Romance” cruises along the St. Johns River, providing a first-hand connection with Florida’s rich, natural heritage. Dining and dancing accompany the natural beauty.

A taste of Chicago. Don’t be surprised if you wind up eating with a gangster or two. Or if the police burst in on your dinner to make a bust. This is a living tribute to the legendary Gangland Chicago, and you are invited to participate in the action.

It’s a pity that these gems hide in the shadow of Planet Earth’s biggest theme park . You won’t want to miss Walt Disney World, but take some time out to see what others have missed. Your friends back home will be impressed.

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