At the end of Part Four of this series, I commented about finding a solution to the myriad of eating disorders that are plaguing our society. I also suggested that moderation is a farce…and I maintain that it is. In a previous article from a few years back I looked at how most people today view moderation when it comes to their diet. In short, the moderation lecture is usually given just before someone is about to stuff their face with an anti-Food item that does little more than temporarily satisfy a sugar, alcohol or caffeine craving.
To my mind, the only way that we can really tackle this issue of eating disorders is to surround ourselves with more Food, not less and to revere and respect it for the many virtues it has and all that it enables us to do. Think about it. Until a little over 100 years ago, for all of humankind’s existence the only food were those things that came out of the ground or otherwise were raised in nature. These foods have kept our species thriving on the planet — and healthfully so — for millenia.
However today, we are wooed by fancy packaging and guys and gals in lab coats telling us that many of those things were responsible for early death. Meanwhile, they urge us to trust some other packaged good that has only been on the scene for a few decades and, in more cases than not, have not been tested for it’s impact on health. While my vegetarian friends have bought this falsified information hook, line and sinker, my paleo friends take the opposite extreme unwilling to acknowledge the role that grains and dairy have served man over the past 10,000 years thus throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
To my mind, the best models we can follow are those of successful societies. When we do so, it is important do it with an open mind and be careful not to impose our own desires and expectations upon the information they still hold.
For example, the tiny island nation of Cuba boasts one of the largest numbers of centenarians on the planet despite having a diet high in pork (especially the fat), grains and alcohol — they smoke a lot more than most people too. However, when this info is shared by government dietitians, the recommendation is always to reduce the fat and meat intake in favor of beans which are “healthier” even though Cubans have proven that eating a lot of pork with its fat can be quite healthful! Same goes, coincidentally for the traditional diets of the French, Italians, Cretans and even the Japanese! Where the diet differs from the official government recommendations, the diet is altered to be more politically correct.
I, too, was guilty of this at one time. Having lived in France and working in a French newspaper, I have long had a relationship with French culture. Over the years, my female French friends have shared with me their diet tips. Twenty plus years ago when they were telling me how they stay slim, I thought they were nuts. After all, my government sources told me that fat wasn’t good, drinking unlimited amounts of water was good and exercise would cure all. But what I found in these women is that they all did the exact opposite and easily weighed about 20-30 lbs less than I did on average. How could I have been so blind??
The sad part is that with the speed of information and different pacts being made between governments, people around the world are slowly but surely adopting the American disdain for food. And with it comes disease and dysfunction. My hope is that these people will wake up sooner to recognize their heritage and embrace the wisdom of their forebears.
Thank you so much for coming along with me on this ride. I apologize for taking so long to get it out there. If you have any reflections on this series, I’d love to hear your input on it. Please leave your comments below