My daughter was listing off the things she needed to eat that day and included dairy on her list. At that point I said "wait a minute" and proceeded to explain that we don't "need" dairy and began my rant on how dairy is an great protein sometimes but it is not a category that we "need" and that, for some people, it is not actually healthy. Because of mainstream media, we are led to believe that dairy is required for adequate calcium or protein. I would rather have my children learn that it is one of many choices for those categories but not for everyone. Dairy, for example, can slowly degrade the islet cells in the pancreas and lead to type II diabetes. It also builds up uric acid and exacerbate gout conditions, not to mention its contributions to obesity.
So, in response to this my two youngest daughters and I sat down and created our own version of the popular food pyramids or food wheels. After much thought, we decided to call them the "Kingsbury Health Building Blocks" The idea is that you need something from each category routinely to build a healthy body. We then listed out examples of things that would fall into those categories so that we could chose from them when we were thinking about what to eat each day. Here are the categories:
Protein - organic meats, nuts and nut butters, beans and legumes, dairy (cow, goat, sheep milk based foods), some alternative milks if greater than 7g protein per serving (coconut and hemp milk) and some grains if greater than 10g protein per serving (quinoa). Proteins should be eaten 2-4 times day as a main building block, the frequency depending on the individual's needs in terms of exercise and energy demands.
Greens - peas, kale, chard, green beans, spinach, lettuce, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, asparagus, arugula, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and other green vegetables (zucchini, okra, (These should be eaten freely and should make up about 1/2 of your plate at the main day's meals)
Antioxidants - apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, mangos, raspberries, melons, red peppers, tomatoes, carrots (especially purple carrots), sweet potatoes, blue potatoes, eggplant, beets, oranges, grapefruit, squash, blackberries, orange peppers, bananas, elderberries, mulberries - pretty much all dark red, blue or purple edible fruits (and dark chocolate - hey, you have to have some fun!)
Grains - Quinoa, amaranth, millet, corn, rice, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, oats (preferably all organic and non-GMO) (These should be eaten in smaller amounts - we say 1/4 of your main meals or 5-10 bites a day depending on your daily energy requirements)
Fermented Foods - sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, tempeh, miso (a little daily will keep the digestion working properly and help the immune system stay strong)
Fats - olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, lightly salted butter (these are only in small amounts)
These were some of our favorites and the list could be expanded, of course, and tailored to your family's favorites but you get the idea.