Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Diet Debacle

Ok, now this is something I have been mulling on for weeks, possibly even months. This may be somewhat long winded so bear with me.

I am fascinated by us humans. Utterly. We, as a species, amuse me.

This whole 'diet' subject was recently sparked by something I read in a magazine recently whilst queuing in Woolies. In the latest TASTE mag, there is an article that showcases the latest food trend – and in case you haven't read it, I'll tell you. It's to forage for one's own food – be it mushrooms, or truffles, or sea food etc. You can, apparently, pay a fortune to join famous chefs, traipsing through fields or along the coasts to find your own food. Now, is any one else as bemused by this as me? Isn't that what we did as a race in the beginning? (And no, I don't believe in evolution!)

Another article I read recently discussed the global trend towards slow food/green food/organic food. Does anyone else see the correlations? Man is desperately craving a simpler life. Craving to go backward, to escape the confines of this modern, ordered, processed rat race of a world he himself has created.

And within this there is another root issue I have cause to gripe about.

Specific diets. Now, if y'all are honest, every single one of you as tried a diet. True? And what form did it take? Was it the no carbs and protein diet? Was it the finely chopped up one? The eat-accoridng-to-your-blood-type one? The Atkins one? The grape one? The raw food one? The wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, enjoyment-free one (sorry I just couldn't resist!)?

I've read all the books (ok well not all, just a lot of them!). And my gripe is that, really, is there a 'RIGHT' one? My point is that with every diet, you have endless research done by specialists that supports that way of eating. It seems these days that every single aspect of life has research that supports it, and research that is against it. So if I choose to be a vegan, there's research supporting my decision. And if I choose to eat red meat, there's research telling me all the benefits.

Now whilst I know first hand and believe that sometimes diet can save lives and transform disease ridden bodies, I take issue with people who FANATICALLY believe that their diet is the only one. And I think more specifically, I take issue with Christians who think raw food is the only 'REAL' diet Christians should be following.

I know about the raw food in the beginning....the fruit and vegetables and seed bearing plants. But...what about Christ using bread and wine at the Last Supper? What about the fact that he twice multiplied bread and fish? What about the fact that Peter (or was it Paul) saw a sheet coming down from heaven that released him from unclean vs clean food because of Christ's freeing grace? What about the manna and quail the children of Israel were given to sustain them in the desert?

And how is it possible that an entire nation (Italy) can become renowned for their pasta and pizza – both made with wheat, and for wheat to be something we should now become intolerant of?

Now look here. If the issue is processed things, if it's the way our food is manufactured in a population pressured world, then count me in. I'm all for eradicating the processed things – I, when I can afford to, will buy stone ground flour as opposed to commercial made flour. And I do my damnedest to buy preservative free products. But the nature of our society is that those things are the most expensive. And last year, when we were really struggling financially, it was a matter of finding the cheapest food and keeping our tummies full! And for my friends who are still struggling, I get stirred up and defensive for them, because of the judgment and condemnation that comes with this.

Just a rant....a vent.

Lastly ( I promise!) as an aside, let me tell you something else that amuses me. In South Africa, the most well known sports drink is Powerade. Powerade are such a HUGE sponsor of rugby (ever notice how many times a Powerade bottle is swung in front of the cameras during interviews?), that it's their money that allows them to clout their brand around. What that does, through the power of advertising prescence, is persuade young boys (my nephew's one of them) to drink the stuff. But here's the rub. Tim Noakes, of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, doesn't even advocate sports drinks for sportsmen necessarily (only in extreme Iron Man situations!). Another leading raw food author, Mary Ann Shearer, cites
 a chemical breakdown of grape juice and a sports drink in her book
 The Natural Way, that show cases how much better grape juice is than Powerade. Interesting huh? The power of the sports drink industry (who have an entire research personnel behind them)....whose research is right?

*ps if you feel judged for being a raw foodie, please read Read Me First!

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