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Friday, November 2, 2007

Weil, Taubes, Oz: The Diet Discussion and The Princess' Philosophy on Food

I probably agree most with Dr. Weil on this one. Gary Taubes ideas about fat, though, are intriguing. It's interesting that even Dr. Oz admits he eats mostly low-carb in this clip.

My mom and dad had no heart disease, had very different body types, different food preferences, and both lived to their 80's. My mother was not much of a meat-eater. She ate small servings of meat, and larger servings of starchy veggies (plantains, cassava, boniato, malanga, potato.) She loved her dairy: especially milk (whole fat) and ice cream. She loved fruits and fruit juices. And soups (usually some sort of legume.) My father loved his rice and meat and eggs and whole milk. Every day, we had whole milk with breakfast, and often with a snack late in the afternoon or at night. Butter and olive oil were our main fats, although mom used lard when I was a kid to fry stuff. Lard was later exchanged for corn oil. Our only salad dressing was olive oil and vinegar. White cheese was often consumed (Cuban thing).

But mom and dad were cod liver oil afficionados. All of us got it. It was mom's cure-all. Cod liver oil. My dad consumed huge quantities of the stuff.

With all the hoopla about fish oils now, well, makes one wonder if that was mighty helpful in keeping their hearts normal.

I wish I could still take fish oils, but my allergy to seafood makes me leery. I'm really afraid I'll end up in the E.R.

As far as my food philosophy, here it is, and I hope I do not offend any of you. This is just how I see it, and I respect your right to disagree and hold a totally different philosophy:

I believe we are meant to eat the wide spectrum. I believe this for religious reasons, first and foremost--ie, I'm a Christian, and I believe humans are created, not genetic accidents--but also because of my reading on the subject. And because I tend to shy away from food extremism. Whether it's the raw food recruiters or the no-carbs proselytizers or the no fat fanatics or the vegan venerators.

I believe we were created to consume fruits/veggies/herbs/nuts in abundance, yes, as depicted in Genesis.

I have given you every plant with seeds on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds. This will
be your food. Genesis 1:29

But whatever and wherever Eden was, it's not here and now. Our foreparents were driven forth, barred from the ease and healthfulness and abundance of Paradise, and our diet was altered by God to suit a changed world and our changed beings:

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field Genesis 3:18

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. Genesis 9:3

And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Genesis 45:18

And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. Genesis 18:8

There's even a warning that, well, may apply to our age:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ... commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. -- 1 Timothy 4:1-3

I'll let the theologians wrangle that out. But it's worth keeping in mind when extremist diets are touted.

Still, back to my general philosophy: What is good and wholesome out there, given to us from the earth and its creatures, by sanction of God, is okay to eat AS LONG AS IT AGREES WITH OUR BODIES. Some of us have special chronic conditions that disallow an all-inclusive diet (say, diabetics or people with celiac disease or allergies).

Wholesome being the key word.

Yet, the way we tend to purchase it in the grocery store or restaurants can be mighty different from how it comes from nature, nutritionally sound. Whole foods, I believe, give us what our bodies need. Over-processed foods with additives can give us things we really don't want. We weren't created to consume mass quantities of salt, sugar, corn syrup, preservatives, etc. (I consume processed products for convenience's sake, but I do try to make sure what I eat includes MOSTLY wholesome, whole grain, organic, minimally processed foods. I do have special, chronic conditions, and I have to adapt, but I try to make sure I eat something raw with every meal and I've mostly--though not altogether--eliminated sugar and white flour and trans fats and minimized the consumption of foods with a gazillion chemicals with freaky names. Although, sorry, I do use sucralose in place of sugar. It's fakey, but we insulin resistant folks have to make concessions.)

Healthy animal flesh is also given to us to eat by the Creator, and by healthy or wholesome I mean creatures allowed to grow and move in a mostly normal animal manner (not penned up and unable to move more than mere inches), and who eat in a natural way (as opposed to being fed a lot of garbage), breathe fresh air, drink clean water, breed, nurture young, etc. I believe this is also wholesome to the human body. Animals stressed by overcrowding, abusive conditions, poor feed, excessive hormones and chemicals and such, I do not believe are wholesome to the human body.

(BTW, I'm not a vegetarian, but often eat vegetarian days. I just don't believe it's a moral issue, certainly not for me. If God says I can eat meat, hey, sorry, but you won't convince me otherwise. But if I choose not to eat meat--for whatever reason, health or political or conscience--then God's cool with that, too. We don't have to eat just one way any more than we have to pray just one way or sing the same song in worship or wear the same outfits everyone else does in church. I prefer beans and cheese to, say, steak and ribs. And I wish I could eat seafood, but, hey, allergic. )

In any case, the discussions provoked by Taubes in the past few years have been beneficial, I believe, to the whole diet world. And I have started to read his book,which is dense reading, I can tell you.

I hope the discussion continues, with input from scientists and dietitians and other persons, because folks like me and you really want good information, not bad science or bad anecdotal evidence or crazy theories. We just eant to eat well.

And sometimes, it's about experimenting. Seeing what works for each of us, since we're not all the same.


Heather said...

very interesting clip!

I agree with everything you are saying but with other reasons. I just think that it is never healthy and productive to a lifestyle chnage to cut out food groups. There are no "Bad" food groups (well maybe junk food, lol). There are foods that should be eaten in moderation, but all food groups provide essential nutrients to the body and it is with that balance that a healthy weight is achieved. Im proof that it works, in 13 weeks Ive lost 18 pounds and just from eating a balance of all food groups.

iportion said...

I am more into healthy oils now

iportion said...

I love oatmeal

Lora said...

What you've said makes a lot of sense. I'm curious...what do you think about shellfish and pork? I know that's an old testament law...but I've read (in a book called "The Maker's Diet) that being scavenger animals we should avoid them. It's got me wondering...

Princess Dieter said...

I take my cue from the revelation of the whole Scriptures, including the gospels and ACTS, which ended the dietary laws for believers. In other words, anything that's edible, you can eat as long as you can eat it (ie, not allergic, it doesn't aggravate your illnesses). Part of wisdom is knowing what is not right for YOU, individually.

So, I think eating pork, shellfish, etc, is fine, as long as it's fine for you and your conscience can accept it. If someone's faith compels them to limit what they eat, then I say follow where your "faith" level is. But the New Testament is clear that all foods are now clean.

If, however, there there is some environmental reason to avoid pork/shellfish, etc (such as water contamination, mercury levels), then we just gotta use our noggins. :)

But the vision of Peter in Acts and the documentation in Mark about Jesus opening that door is clear: Eat, the era of dietary restrictions are over. Let the people come together as one.

The Princess

Princess Dieter said...

IPortion, I adore oatmeal. I ate some McCann's twice yesterday. It's one of my comfort foods. :)

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markus said...

bible verses.. good point though