Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's good for you?

I'm not in any way being cynical when i say that what's thought to be good or not good for you is another aspect of cultural lifestyle, like hairdos or fashion. For example, once upon a time it was thought that vigorous exercise was bad for women. I remember the booklet we received in fifth grade when we were taught about menstruation. Some of the tips in that booklet were quite hilarious, such as the advice not to take warm showers while bleeding. What ill effect could warm water have on a menstruating person? In fact it's one of the few things that helps ease cramps, other than meds of course. Who wrote that booklet, I wonder. Surely not a woman!

Do you remember how margarine was supposed to be a great substitute for butter until they figured out how bad trans-fat is for the heart and circulatory system? Oops. Butter was bad, but now it's good. During the 80s, the official food pyramid had at its base all kinds of carbs: pastas, rice, breads. Then it was discovered that refined grains metabolize within the body exactly like sugar. Now all those carbs are being blamed as the cause of the diabetes epidemic. Gluten, in particular, is the enemy of humankind at the moment.

Makes me wonder what is being touted now that, in a few years, will be revealed as being terrible for us. Can you imagine the headlines in 2021? "Quinoa is damaging to the kidneys," or "Coconut water is carcinogenic," or "Green tea causes birth defects."

Of course it's natural to hope that some food, a particular exercise routine or avoiding something or another, will keep us happy and healthy. We are still, in so many ways, seeking the Fountain of Youth. It's OK to hope, to keep trying. But I'm not holding my breath for a miraculous cure to anything and everything. We are complicated beings living in a complicated environment. I think it's kind of a miracle that anything ever works!

The clip below is from Woody Allen's film Sleeper. It was one of his terrible early attempts at moviemaking in which he wakes up 200 years in the future. There are some funny scenes, such as when he finds his old volkswagon and it starts right away. I also like this scene, when his doctors are discussing what he should eat now that he has awakened from his long sleep.

What's funny is that we're turning around again about chocolate, meat and dairy products. So - what's good for you? A little of everything you really enjoy eating and doing, but not too much, and not very much of everything you really do not enjoy eating or doing. Yes? I say yes.

Be well! Shalom.

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