Take the Omnivore’s Delight Diet Challenge!

Join members of the New England Resilience & Transition (NERT) Network in piloting the “Omnivore’s Delight” Diet Challenge!

From September 15 – 21,* members of NERT will be following the Omnivore’s Delight as laid out by Food Solutions New England. If widely adopted, this diet would allow New England to produce 50% of its own food here in the region. Read more about what it looks like below.

Pledge to Try the Diet! Here’s what that means:

  1. Eat the dietary guidelines outlined below
  2. Reflect on how it goes! Keep a journal or post your thoughts on Slack. Your reflections are vital — even more so than whether or not you conform 100% to the diet. Reflect on everything that seems relevant — how hard or easy it is, how much it costs, what you miss, what you like, etc.
  3. Give us your feedback! Fill out the online survey by September 23 (link forthcoming) and/or join us for a wrap-up conversation on Monday, September 26 at noon. You will receive more details and links once you fill out the form below.

* These dates are flexible based on personal needs. Your pledge means you will eat the diet for 7 days between Sep 8 and 23.

Read more here (PDF).

The Omnivore’s Delight Diet

Read more about the diet below and in the Food Solutions New England Food Vision (PDF).

Quoted from the Food Solutions New England Vision (PDF), pages 12 – 14

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For a 2,300-calorie diet, the USDA’s MyPlate recommends approximate daily intake of vegetables (3 cups); fruit (2 cups); grain (7.5 ounces); and dairy (3 cups) —with room left over for a small addition of oils, fat, alcohol, and sugar to fill out the calories. The Omnivore’s Delight diet generally follows MyPlate guidelines, with three notable exceptions (discussed below): dairy, fish, and alcohol. For protein, the calculated average intake of 2.1 ounces was applied.

Vegetables. Vegetables are nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The USDA recommends 3 cups of a colorful mix of leafy green, red and orange, and starchy vegetables—almost double current consumption

Fruit. Fruits are sources of essential nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber. MyPlate recommends more than doubling current daily fruit consumption to 2 cups.

Legumes and Nuts. Dry beans and peas are healthy, versatile foods that function as both vegetables and lowfat, fiber-rich protein sources. The Omnivore’s Delight diet suggests more than twice the bean consumption that is typical today. Nuts are also healthy sources of protein and fats (Rebello et al. 2014).

Grain. The quantity of grain in the average American diet in bread, snacks, pizza, pasta, breakfast cereals is close to MyPlate recommendations. Unfortunately, most of these carbohydrates are highly refined and processed. In the Omnivore’s Delight diet, whole grains such as whole wheat flour, oats, and brown rice are half of the grains eaten—triple the current intake (USDA 2013b).

Dairy. Milk provides protein, calcium, vitamins, and fats. The USDA recommends daily consumption of 3 cups per day, a level many nutritionists consider too high (Harvard School of Public Health 2011, Nestle 2006, Peters et al. 2003). Harvard Healthy Plate recommends 1 to 2 cups daily. Omnivore’s Delight keeps consumption at the current 1.5 cups equivalent. Individuals may need to consume more dairy products fortified with vitamin D or take calcium supplements.

Meat and Eggs. Meat and eggs are good protein sources. Overall, Americans eat more red meat than considered healthy or necessary. MyPlate stresses choosing lean cuts of meat, while Harvard Healthy Plate recommends limiting red meat to 6 ounces per week. Omnivore’s Delight reduces average beef intake by two thirds and pork consumption by half from today. More lamb and kid are eaten than currently, but they remain a small portion of the diet. Beef and lamb in the Omnivore’s Delight are raised on pasture, making them higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed meats. Chickens and other fowl, which convert grain more efficiently than beef and provide relatively healthy meat, dominate the animal protein portion of the Omnivore’s Delight diet. Poultry and egg consumption in the Omnivore’s Delight is unchanged from today.

Seafood. The USDA recommends average consumption of 9.5 ounces of fish a week for a 2,300-calorie diet, triple the current levels. Many fish provide healthy elements, including rich omega-3 fatty acids, but some also contain heavy metals and toxins, so moderation is key (Mozaffarian and Rimm 2006). Even with all depleted stocks recovered, it would be difficult for New England waters to produce enough fish for the region’s residents at the level the USDA recommends. The Omnivore’s Delight diet includes 4 ounces a week, still higher than the current 3-ounce intakes.

Animal Fats and Vegetable Oil. MyPlate and Harvard Healthy Plate recommend only low-fat milk and cheese and place limitations on butter. In the Omnivore’s Delight, New England cows feed mostly on pasture and hay. Grassfed dairy fat may contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids or a better fatty-acid profile, making such fat a more appropriate part of a healthy diet (Clancy 2006, Croissant et al. 2007, Ellis et al. 2007, Slots et al. 2009, Benbrook et al. 2013). This diet retains all the butter and cheese that New England’s cows produce as important regional sources of fat and makes up the rest with vegetable oils. Given a reduction in other sources, the Omnivore’s Delight meets the suggested daily limit of less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol and less than 10% of calories from saturated fats. Some Americans get enough oils in the foods they eat, thus the need for added oil varies. Using MyPlate guidelines, the daily allowance equals 5–6 teaspoons of oil per day. In the Omnivore’s Delight, New England butter reduces this by about 15%. Canola and olive oils make up the rest.

Sugar. Sugar and other sweeteners in the Omnivore’s Delight are reduced by two-thirds but certainly not eliminated. A daily teaspoon of honey is included and New England’s signature sweetener, maple syrup, is left at current levels.

Alcohol. For those who drink alcohol, the USDA suggests limiting consumption to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men. For nondrinkers, the calories can be replaced by fats, sugars, or healthier foods.

Sodium. Given minimal reliance on highly processed and savory snack foods in the Omnivore’s Delight, anticipated intakes of sodium could be one-third to half current levels.

Quoted from the Food Solutions New England Vision (PDF), pages 12 – 14

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