There is an emerging devotion to the idea that we can control our dietary outcomes if we can just understand the building blocks of our foods. Ages ago we categorized our foods very simply, we only could fathom the most basic of the components of it. As we have discovered new bits, we assigned them special significance in the overall scheme of what we should eat. Discovering cholesterol and discovering the cholesterol deposits in the veins of heart disease victims created an emphasis on food sciences, and a new need for food scientists. We isolated minerals in foods, called them vitamins and overnight created a new area for food scientists to work, and a new industry for delivering to us those minerals that we would not be getting in our processed foods.
I recall a scene in the B-movie “Barbarella” where in the future you would get all of your nutritional needs from a single vitamin pill. We know now, (and probably knew then, but what does Hollywood care about the facts), that we won’t be getting all of our nutrition from a single pill, or even from all processed foods. However, to the lay-person it seemed like someday the high priests of food science would determine what all of the essential bits were in our foods, and that we would be able to get them without the messiness of getting it from living things.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as it turns out. Our moves away from the natural state of foods to the ultra-industrialized and vitamin fortified foods has created a medical nightmare of allergies, auto-immune diseases, liver diseases, diabetes, and bowel problems. None of the things that food science has created to counteract the devastation of our devotion to nutritionism have worked to that effect. Artificial sweeteners have proven to cause the same disorders as natural sugars. Added ‘vitamins’ have less of the beneficial effects than the minerals delivered in their natural forms. Artificial fats and butters are much more deadly than their natural counterparts like lard and butter.
It seems that the answers to the problems caused by nutritionism are being found by another group of scientists, biologists. Apparently, we don’t live so well in isolation from our environment. Eating one hundred percent processed, one hundred percent dead foods doesn’t give us any of the things we really need from our foods. Eating all of the known beneficial vitamins, artificial sugars and processed starches and shelf-stabilizers is not enough to promote our health. We need to eat living things in our foods. Eating sauerkraut that has the bacteria in it is good for us. Eating pickles that have the bacteria in them is good for us. Eating yogurts and cheese that are as alive as we are is good for us. Eating actual fruit, not foods that ‘contain fruit’ is the way nature intends for us to tend the garden of bacteria that live within us. If we eat artificial sweetener, it promotes a bacteria that CAUSES weight gain and diabetes.
However, even as they discover how important our gut bacterias are, that is creating a new market. That market would have you believe that you can keep eating the poisons and destructive things you are now, and you just need to take a ‘probiotic’ capsule to keep you healthy. Does that really work? Do I want to try it out? How devoted am I to continuing to eat the junk and artificial foods? The food industry wants you to keep buying more and more. Buy low-fat foods, then buy zero calorie drinks, then buy vitamins and supplements, then buy gluten-free, then buy organic, then buy probiotic capsules. Keep getting fatter and sicker while the market sorts out what you should eat.
It would be nice to have the time to wait for this war of food science and nutritionist to play out. It would be nice if they could get together and agree on what is best for the health of the nation. It would be really nice if the corporations cranking out this or that poisonous food would stop doing it, so that we can’t make choices that are bad for the health of ourselves and our families. It would be nice, but I don’t intend to wait. Right now you can turn yourself and your family around and just stop buying manufactured foods. Start buying real food, the single ingredient kind. Lettuce. Butter. Apples. If you have to eat sweets, make your own. Order a desert at your favorite real restaurant and enjoy that moment, don’t spread that moment out all over your food week, by eating a little bit of sugar in every bite of food you take, every sip of soda pop you drink. Drink water for a month.
Make One Small Change at a time. Set back and enjoy the show that the food science debates will set off in the future.