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My MyPlate Experiment, Day Two: The Dairy Problem

02/06/2013 08:46 am ET | Updated Apr 08, 2013

Before I started eating in accordance with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans -- but after I decided to do so -- I was sure that my biggest problem area would be fruits & vegetables. I think of myself as a major carnivore (I describe myself as a "pork belly addict" on Twitter) so I figured increasing my produce load would be tough.

Actually, the red, green, yellow and orange -- as in plant foods, not the Sri Lankan flag -- are no big deal. The serving sizes for vegetables in the USDA guidelines are pretty small; it turns out two cups of steamed broccoli is less than half a $1.49 bunch sold at my local bodega. And fruit is so easy to snack on that it's a cinch to incorporate two cups (really, two pieces) into my day.

What's proven more of a challenge, though, is dairy. It turns out that, on a normal day, my stomach could answer "Got Milk?" with an emphatic "No." I eat yogurt for breakfast maybe three times a week, I eat ice cream or frozen yogurt for dessert maybe once a week or once every other week, I sometimes add milk to my coffee and I occasionally grate Parmagiano into my scrambled eggs or atop my sauteed spinach. But this doesn't nearly add up to the three cups a day that the USDA calls for in its Dietary Plan for my build and activity level.

So I've found myself needing to incorporate extra milk and yogurt whenever possible. On Monday, I drank a glass of milk with breakfast and dinner. I literally can't remember the last time I did that. And on Tuesday, I realized at the end of the day that I was still short a cup of dairy, so I had some Greek yogurt, topped with a drizzle of maple syrup, for dessert.

Dairy is also the area that the most readers of this series so far have seemed concerned about. I've gotten several emails from people worried by my intake of lactose and bovine growth hormones. (Many of them have encouraged me to try the Paleo diet instead of this MyPlate Experiment. A hint, guys: I'm not really trying hard to lose weight. I just want to find out what happens when I follow Uncle Sam's advice.) Friends and coworkers have noted the unusually high levels of milk as well, and have speculated that the well-funded dairy lobby had something to do with the relatively large quantity of dairy in the Guidelines. I'll stay agnostic on that one for now. But I'm going to reserve the right to agree later on if I start to gag at the sight of yogurt sometime this weekend.

Click through the slideshow below to see what I ate on Tuesday, and how that coincided with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

A Week Of MyPlate