Monday, December 24, 2012

Best of 2012: More Anecdotal Evidence Concerning How We Eat

More war stories from the front lines of food and nutrition in this country:


Last winter I gave a husband and wife a handful of cooking lessons. The wife's goal was to learn some new recipes and techniques, while the husband—a self-described "non-adventurous" eater—wanted to lose weight while trying to expand his palate.

I told them that we would be supremely concerned with the quality and genesis of the food we were cooking; there would be no concern about fat, calories and cholesterol. While the avoidance of this holy triptych is the mantra of most American nutritionists, this ill-advised theory has, I believe, wreaked havoc on our health over the past four decades. 

The couple was on board and we cooked several dozen different dishes, ranging from beef-barley-mushroom soup to chicken parmigiana to sausage and peppers to quinoa salad. We used only grass-fed and/or organic meats and dairy products, and all the fruits and vegetables were organic. We replaced the husband's go-to snack—white bread—with organic whole grain bread.

The food we made was basic but full of flavor. Quite often, after the completion and tasting of a dish, one (or both) would say, "That's all you do?"
Last week, six months after our last lesson, I received an email from the husband. It provides more anecdotal evidence that we are spending way too much time counting fat and calorie totals and not enough time worrying about the quantity of antibiotics added to the genetically-engineered and pesticide-laden corn and soy that is the staple of our livestock's (cattle, chicken, pigs) diet. But heaven forbid if there's any skin on that toxic chicken breast or any fat in that toxic hamburger! And don't even think about using nutrient-dense coconut oil to cook that chicken breast or hamburger; use toxic canola oil instead!

Here's what the husband wrote:

"We are using your recipes and eating well. I have lost 24 pounds . . . and am eating all the bread and meat that I want, as you predicted. While I refuse to give up my Hershey bar, I am only eating organic pasta which I have concluded tastes better."
As for the Hershey bar, I tried to get him to eat nutrient-dense dark chocolate, but it didn't fly. Had he gone for it, he may have been down 34 pounds, not 24.

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