Eating healthy should be simple, but the simple truth about simple truths is that they get complicated as soon as they are spoken. Or written, in the case of Aaron Carroll’s Simple Rules for Healthy Eating piece published in The New York Times yesterday.
Carroll, a pediatrics professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote about favoring unprocessed or “lightly processed” foods over “heavily processed” options and advocated for home-cooked meals and patronizing restaurants that cook from scratch. He warned of calories in beverages and suggested dining with family and friends.
Simple stuff. Not threatening. Not controversial. Until you get to the comment section, where we are, as anybody who has clicked a “see comments” button knows, a nation of 2-year-olds. A country where Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthier school lunches became a partisan controversy is not about to take “eat your veggies” advice without flinging a plate of peas off the tray on their high chair.
In truth, most of the comments were supportive, but a few showed us just how antagonistic the nutritional non-debate has become. A few of the more notable notes:
- More food do-gooder-ism from the NY Times, which loves to be our nanny-state, liberal source for hypocritical food health guidelines.
- Ironic, the tomatoes. Nightshades. Alkaloids - a toxin. Many nutritionalists would say to avoid them.
- So while the wisdom of these healthy eating rules can not be overstated, it's likely out of reach for many people. Hard to drop $20 on lovely, heirloom tomatoes that eats up nearly 3 hours of (pre-tax) work at the minimum wage, less yet on public assistance.
- I think including cereal on your list of foods to avoid is ridiculous. In a family with multiple children, no one could possibly keep up with making ones own cereal … no growing child ever died from eating Cheerios multiple times a day.
- One other thing more: Whatever you eat, just shut up and eat it
- Is there any validity to any of this? Hating the food industry doesn't help much, and e coli (as much an organic menace as anything) is as much a threat as these sugar beasties.
- I cure and smoke my own bacon from fresh pork belly. I also make sausage (both fresh and cured) Is that processed food or unprocessed? Is it alright if I process my own foods or does that still count as eat processed foods? At what point is cooking different than processing?
- At this point in my life, I'm going to eat what I want, within reason. We're having sausages tonight, "homemade" by an English bakery in our neighborhood.
- Just not as satisfying - and dayglow orange fingers are a must.
- I'm 65 and not overly impressed with this planet or its overpopulation by humans, the human propensity to war, violence, and the destruction of the environment they depend upon (which, I guess translates into "I'm underwhelmed by their stupidity"). So why prolong my stay here, especially if it requires my avoiding some very tasty vegetarian fare?
- I still allow myself the occasional bag of Cheetos (my FAVE) but I eat them only once or twice a year. I eat the real ones - not the 'low fat' ones.