I hate it when this happens

We go happily along, secure in the knowledge that the thing we know is the thing we know and then -- boom! -- someone comes along and tells us that what we thought we knew isn't a thing to know at all. It's enough to make your head spin.

Honestly, it's easy for me to jump on this particular bandwagon. I've never been one of those people who have a reaction to MSG in the first place. Those that do will have quite a different two cents to add to this conversation. But, c'mon already. Enough is enough. I can't even keep all the things that are bad and good for me straight anymore. Red meat is bad, except when it's good. Don't eat butter, but now butter is OK, too. And remember everyone blathering on about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and how they were essential and necessary and your head would explode (or something) if you didn't get enough of them? Well now maybe even those aren't that good for you. Unless they are. It all depends.

All of this is enough to put you off food altogether. I have this vision of myself, poised over my dinner plate as though to strike, but holding back at the critical moment in my indecision over what of the material waiting for me there is actually fit for human consumption.

Carrots. Beta-carotene. That's good for me, right? It was last week, anyway. But is it now?

Mashed potatoes? (I do a version with cream, butter and a lavender infusion that are to die for. Another topic. Different day.) Well, apparently potatoes -- all by themselves -- have everything required for healthy human life right there under the jacket. But they're also major carb factories and that's a bad thing -- or is that a good thing again?

Chicken. Benign enough. Or it was until a few years ago. Now, however, news about the friendliest of fowls just keeps getting worse and worse. Bird flu, just for starters (which apparently won't hurt you if the meat is cooked... but it doesn't sound yummy). But also handling chicken is pesky and -- newsflash -- in order to get it into the supermarket in skillet-sized chunks, chicken gets handled a lot, potentially picking up all kinds of potentially inedible cooties. And, even if it's perfectly cootie-free, it's probably laced with arsenic before it gets anywhere near your table. According to the Star-Gazette:
In 2005, 16 percent of chickens tested by the USDA tested positive for salmonella, an almost 80 percent increase since 2000. USDA is stepping up oversight of the poultry industry to try to reverse this trend, but without legislation from Congress, restoring USDA's authority to enforce microbial limits in the meat supply, CSPI says "the agency will simply flap its wings at salmonella problems."
I'm not flapping my wings but I have gotten a little tired of it all: this constant see-sawing of what's good, what's bad, what'll kill you and what will make you thrive. I've gotten to a place in my life where I'm just eating whatever the hell I want in moderation, experts be damned. Chicken, just not football-sized portions. Red meat, whenever I'm so inclined. Luckily I have a major affection for all types of greens -- collards, mustard, spinach, chard -- so I'm good to go, as long as you keep your hands off my butter and garlic. A glass of red wine (which either reduces cholesterol or knocks you dead if taken regularly: I'm not sure which it is this week) whenever I want. Black tea (some say good, some say bad) in the morning, espresso (I don't think I've ever heard anyone say coffee might be good for you. Whatever: it's good for me. So there.) a couple of times a day.

Bottom line: I really hope I will not die, but I know that I will. I also know that if I don't eat, I will die sooner. And if I only eat stuff that doesn't make me happy, I'll die sad. Viewed in this light, my world seems much more simple. Will you slather that steak with butter before passing it over here?


Sandra Ruttan said…
All the health alerts are enough to make one paranoid, and it's very unfortunate. I'm in the 'everything in moderation' camp.

Except acid. Kinda putting that off squarely as bad.

But here's a twist for you - my niece and nephew were ordered by a doctor to eat peanut butter. I won't bore you with why completely, but my nephew and I have similar digestive disorders and he had trouble holding his weight, but he can't eat dairy or wheat.

However, in the present anti-peanut environment, in order for him to eat some of the foods the doctor wanted in his daily diet, he had to go to the principal's office.

It's insane.

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