Monday, April 9, 2012
Fickle Fashions in Food
The first rule of pharmacology is that everything is medicine and poison. Whether any particular food or medicine's effect is toxic or healing depends on a great many factors including dosage, the condition of the person taking the substance, the personality of the person prescribing the substance - and a lot of other things as well.
Though this idea is widely accepted in the fields of nutrition as well as medicine, we nevertheless continue trying to name the foods and medicines that are "good for everyone," or "bad for everyone." For awhile, gluten has been seen as something Very Very Bad. There are whole sections in supermarkets dedicated to gluten free foods. It's true that some people are virulently allergic to gluten. Those people have to avoid it, but most of us tolerate it very well. Sugar is trending upwards now as the evil toxin everyone should avoid.
The trendiness in food and medicine would be no more than mildly amusing except I remember the last time sugar was fingered as the Very Very Bad substance. Straightaway we began using artificial sweeteners which, as it turns out, are carcinogenic. The last time we thought high fat foods like butter and whole milk were bad for us, we invented margarine which is truly toxic! During that same era, "cheesefood" was invented - and consumed. How about Miracle Whip? Holy cow.
The moral of the story is: a little bit of real sugar is better for you than a diet coke any day of the week no matter the number of calories. For awhile carbs were Good while fat was Bad, then we found out that low-fat food is not nutritious; it's just empty calories, while carbs metabolize like sugar which is really not great since we already eat so much sugar.
Everything including carbs, red meat, gluten and sugar are good for us in moderate doses, not great for us in large quantities. Unprocessed food is far more nutritious than processed food. It's common sense, yes?
May you eat well today, may you enjoy actual food, prepared mindfully. May you be well fed! Shalom.