When I was growing up, my usual school lunch was a sandwich consisting of Wonder Bread spread thick with butter, a huge slice of bologna and a square of processed yellow cheese. I topped that with a sugar-filled soda-pop and on special days, two chocolate Reese’s cups which were twice the size back then as they are today (or so it seemed).
At the time, my single mom had two jobs, along with four children to raise. She had other things on her mind than nutrition. As for me, I had my issues to deal with, like girls and football.
Now that I’m an adult, with nothing better to do than bathe in the light of computer screens six hours a day, I have plenty of time to scroll through health articles that are eager to convince me that the food I ate back then and what I eat now is killing me.
In this high-tech internet world, you just can’t help yourself; the minute you get an unusual ache or twinge, you Google the problem rather than go to the doctor to pee in a jar and have blood sucked out of your arm. You Google until you come across one of the latest fear-inducing studies, conducted by the University of “So-and-So” which leads to a link advising you that this meat or that vegetable is hastening your demise. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, but for many foodaholics, it’s all gone too far.
If you attempt to live with the outcome of every study, survey and medical review, why even live?
I switched from regular white bread to wheat bread years ago and now, here comes Dr. William Davis who says, “Modern wheat is nothing like the grain your mother consumed. Today, wheat barely resembles its original form, thanks to extensive genetic manipulations that increase the grain’s yields.” In other words: don’t eat it.
I’ve been adding coffee creamer to my morning cup for over 40 years and suddenly there’s more bad news: Creamers are full of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, including liver-damaging high-fructose corn syrup, inflammatory hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. Again, in other words: don’t use it.
How about a little grape jelly with the wheat toast that you’re not supposed to eat? The medical professors are claiming that many of the high-fructose-laden grape jellies are basically a jelly-textured candy loaded with various forms of sugar, artificial colors and flavors. And it gets worse; non-organic grapes are one of the most pesticide-laden fruits.
If the grape-jelly epidemic isn’t enough to deflate your appetite, this will: let’s talk about chicken wings. I’ve consumed enough of those to make Colonel Saunders turn green with envy, so what’s the problem here?
A typical single chicken wing contains 81 calories and 5 grams of fat and, let’s face it, who eats just one? A feast of delicious chicken wings could easily lead to 1,000 extra calories and more than 50 grams of fat, which is two or three days’ worth of artery-clogging fat! Damn, I love chicken wings.
Poison in disguise
OK, I’m going to go green; green stuff is supposed to be good for you. Well, this study will turn you color blind. Green beans (some of my favorite greens) are consistently rated as one of the riskiest picks in your produce aisle.
In a recent consumer report, researchers found that green beans tainted with the chemical insecticide acephate (and its breakdown product, methamidophos) ranked No. 1 as a risk driver for chemical contamination. In other words: cancer.
Want more? Oh, there’s plenty to choose from on the sickly “don’t eat” list, such as shrimp, smoothies, white chocolate, a second glass of wine … and the list goes on. Now, the winner of the “fooled you” masquerade when it comes to healthy fare is seafood, something which I consume at least four days a week, not because of its “good-for-you” reputation, but because I just love anything from Neptune’s garden.
Recently, people have been jumping on the “fish-are-poison” bandwagon, which is alarmist and inaccurate. Fish aren’t poison, they’re merely filled with poisons and we humans have ourselves to blame for that.
Did I forget to mention Vitamin C? You know, the vitamin that supposedly fights colds, flu and scurvy? Although natural intake of Vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, large doses of Vitamin C supplements may cause: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal bloating and cramps, headache, insomnia, and kidney stones.
To further bamboozle your brain, for every “don’t eat this” article, there are two additional commentaries suggesting you ignore the medical research studies.
What to do, what to do? I don’t think it’s legal to give medical advice if you’re not a doctor, however, may I suggest that we consider the cases of comedian George Burns and Boston construction worker Michael Del? Burns started smoking at age 12; he smoked between 10-15 cigars every day and lived to be 100. Del, on the other hand, had a smoking habit of 20 years before he died at the young age of 36.
In an effort to stop smoking cigarettes, Del had decided to go healthy and started smoking e-cigarettes so he could live a long life like Burns. Reports from his doctor indicated that he had been puffing his e-cigarette while it was plugged into his truck. Just like a mobile phone, e-cigarettes have batteries that need to be charged and most come with a USB charger similar to that of a phone. The e-cigarette he was smoking sent a jolt of electricity through his body, knocking him unconscious. Del passed away later that same night. Burns outlived his doctor.
I guess the moral of the story is, you could die by just trying to take the healthy route, so perhaps it’s fate you’ve got to worry about rather than a spoonful of grape jelly.