Let’s begin with an interactive game. With a show of hands, tell me, is it “in” or is it “out”? First, allow me to clarify what I mean. Have you ever noticed that the latest health advice so often contradicts what we had previously accepted as fact? Why is it that piles of research can reach one conclusion today, only to be reversed by a different pile tomorrow? So again, let’s play, is it “in” or is it “out”? Butter? Eggs? Salt (see the latest findings
)? Coffee? Fen Phen
? DDT? As you can see, conventional wisdom changes as often as a dirty diaper.
The recent wonder-food-of-the-day phenomenon raises a similar question. Wonder foods are often held up as cure-alls, but if indeed these were all cure-alls, then you probably wouldn’t be reading, and I wouldn’t be writing, this blog. A door to door salesman hawking Jack LaLanne juicers to Eskimos or seal blubber to Pygmies, might not find a receptive audience. Not confused by the latest findings, the locals would instead listen to their bodies and eat as Nature intended.
Similarly, I, as a Minnesotan trying to survive the 150˚F extremes of weather we enjoy here, do not eat the same during the winter as I do during the summer. This too is true when I travel to tropical Thailand or more temperate climes. For that matter, I no longer can
eat like I did when I was a teenager, and I don’t eat cooked creamed vegetables as I did when I was a baby. Many factors determine an individual’s optimal diet, including but not limited to the following: climate, age, health, activity level, genetics, time of day, food combining, freshness, cooking method, quantity of food eaten, digestive strength, etc….
There are nearly seven billion people on the planet, and we are all individuals. This however, seems to be overlooked every time the latest findings are reported. “Today’s big story…has been found to increase energy, brighten eyes and make for a shiny healthy coat.” Implicit, or sometimes explicit in the message, is that this newly discovered wonder food is good for everybody, and everybody should eat it. A lot of it. Often! Well, here’s the problem. We are all different. Some of us are allergic to certain foods, other foods can aggravate hot flashes, cause acne outbreaks, or digest poorly in your
stomach, causing gas, bloating, digestive weakness, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue or any number of problems. Yet, if you only listen to the research, your head, your taste buds and not your body, you might not correlate a negative effect to whatever food you just ate. But hey, it’s a wonder food, it must be perfect for everyone.
While food reactions rarely show in the extreme, bizarre pharmaceutical warnings drive home the message that we must participate in our health decisions. “If you experience paralysis, bleeding from the eyes or sudden death, please contact your physician.” Food is frequently referred to as a natural medicine, but with so many individual differences and food sensitivities, shouldn’t there be a similar message to watch for subtle symptoms of disagreement, when your body says, “This isn’t good,” but your overly developed sense of the all-knowing intellect ignores the problem? When it comes to health, your body always knows best. Don’t ignore it, lest you accept a progressive health problem as a symptom of aging, and not a side effect of the wrong diet.