To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Since there is not nearly enough dietary advice being dispensed these days, I thought I’d offer some of my own:
1. Humans evolved over hundreds of thousands of generations under conditions of natural light, unadulterated whole foods and pure, clean water. Environmental influences that range over such a vast span of time work the body like the hands of a sculptor and we can safely assume that the very essence of who we are has been defined by that relationship. Any deviation at all from this natural (or God-ordained) order invites a measure of stress and, eventually, disease.
2. We should recognize that all animals in their natural habitats evolved with foods perfectly suited for their needs to maintain health and natural resistance. Bees have their nectar, deer have their browse, birds have their seeds and berriesŠ and each food an animal eats in the wild is perfectly suited for its needs, benefiting it in countless ways, and harming it in none. Humans, too, have been included in this beautiful and intricate scheme. The next question to ask, then, is: what are those foods best suited for us?
3. We make the common mistake of justifying food choices based on whether they contain one or two ingredients considered essential for health (e.g., dairy for its calcium; meat for its protein). But we can then justify eating most anything based upon this premise because we will always find something in a food item -- any food item -- essential for health. Instead, each food we eat should benefit us in countless ways and, more importantly, harm us in none.
That is to say, if there are side effects related to a food (e.g., dairy fat, saturated fat, added chemicals that effect fetal development, behavior, the nervous system, have been linked to degenerative diseases and cancer, and influence gene expression), this indicates that those foods should be minimized, or eliminated altogether. "Side effects" don’t exist in the natural world. What makes us believe they should exist in ours? (Did evolution, or God, forget to provide for us alone?)
Just as we will never find research concluding that nectar is harmful for bees, nuts too rich for squirrels, meat detrimental to carnivores, and cow’s milk unsuitable for calves, we will likewise never see studies discouraging the consumption of grains, beans, and land and sea vegetables for people. The other foods are tasty, colorful, convenient and, when eaten regularly, harmful to our health. Besides, with the natural and whole foods industry maturing so quickly, we can now have our cake and eat it too. Just be certain that the cake is made with care and purpose.
Many people today have set for themselves the admirable goal of reestablishing their health. Although reclaiming health is indeed a worthwhile goal, health is actually our birthright and we are supposed to use our health to achieve our goals. Maybe that’s a legacy we can leave for our children.