Post 1.14 - The Way to Eat

I mentioned in my last foodie post that I was going to avoid recipes that included dairy, so I thought I would go ahead and explain my reasoning.

The agricultural industry, particularly in the United States, is broken. Thanks to political intervention, nutritionally questionable foods are significantly cheaper than foods that are just as easy or difficult to grow. There have been numerous articles published in recent years comparing the population to the walking dead and the diminishing quality of our food supply. While medical science has improved to extend our lives, we are seeing higher rates of preventable conditions because our priorities are so out of whack.

Now, as for dairy, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with milk or cheese, however, despite the USDA pronouncements, dairy is NOT a necessary food group. Humans are the only species that drink milk from another animal, and the cow is not even a close relative. Dairy was included because dairy producers participated in the "food group" determinations and wanted to make sure their product was seen as important to overall health. Does milk give you calcium and vitamin D? Sure - but humanity survived for millennia before the cow was domesticated and such "nutrients" were available to us. Cheese is certainly one of my favorite foods and adds flavor to any dish, but it also adds fat, salt, and cholesterol. I buy reduced fat and reduced sodium (or sodium-free) products, but these are more expensive despite being healthier, and in the end, dairy is not a necessary component of our nutrition.

And don't even get me started on corn or potatoes -- but I will say, if you haven't heard already, avoid high fructose corn syrup. It is NOT a suitable substitute for sugar, it's just cheaper and has been shown to short circuit how we feel hungry and/or full, as well as been shown to be addictive. Don't believe the hype of the recent corn industry advertising campaign.

I am not a big fan of red meat, but it isn't inherently bad for you if eaten in the right quantities. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium recently pointed out that if humans were intended to be vegetarian, the makeup of our enzymatic system would be different, making vegetables easier and more efficient to digest. We are omnivores, and my own cardiologist discouraged me from pursuing a vegetarian lifestyle because of the vitamins and minerals available in meats. This is also particularly important for women during their child-bearing years, given their need for additional iron and other nutrients.

Every living animal on the planet, including humans, must eat, and further, must eat something that results from the death of another lifeform. This is unavoidable. I do choose not to eat veal or mutton or any other product that comes from the death of a baby animal, because that seems pointless and is about taste, not nutrition. And animals that are free-range tend to be higher in nutrients naturally without the use of added chemicals and hormones. But only in America can something cost more for adding less to it.

So, going forward, my recipes are going to be dairy-free whenever possible. I have already advocated the use of a lot of vegetables and spices in my concoctions, and with any luck, you won't miss the things I leave out. I encourage you to examine your own menus and diet and see where things can be adjusted. I also recommend visiting the website of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, one of the foremost authorities in the US on food and nutrition.

He's an elderly, knowledgeable gentleman who doesn't need Viagra.

Have a question or a suggestion for a future topic? E-mail me at facetsblog@gmail.com.

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