|Out on the scaffolding the other day. |
(Building is being painted and
I've read a few books about nutrition and cancer, and books more generally about nutrition and what are called "diseases of affluence," which among other things are linked to cultures consuming a lot of animal protein and fat including cheese and other dairy products. (These diseases a la Wikipedia include: heart disease, obesity, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, asthma, some types of allergies, depression and other mental health conditions.) Most vegetarians don't realize that cheese has more cholesterol than meat, and that cholesterol is linked with many diseases, including cancer. All or most of the books recommend an organic, vegan, vegetable intensive, low glycemic index, low fat, whole grain (no white flour/rice), no added sugar (I'm sure I'm forgetting something) diet. Legumes.
It's appalling how misleading food labels are in this country. For example, "honey bread" or "whole wheat bread" that have no honey or whole wheat in them. Savory foods - soups, ketchup, peanut butter, certainly bread - essentially any prepared food in an ordinary supermarket - have sugar added to them (and many other, stranger things.) The first ingredient in a Trader Joe's chocolate bar with "no added sugar" is maltitol, which is a sugar alcohol (and a laxative) that contains three out of four of the calories of sugar. Ingredients lists are full of surprises.
What happens with processed or prepared foods is they essentially remove most of what I would call actual food from it, and then sometimes 'fortify' it by adding back a couple of vitamins. Another reason labels are unreliable. Anything that has to be 'fortified' has had all the health has removed from it beforehand. And the reason unhealthy food is so cheap is that the vast majority of produce subsidized by the USDA ends up in junk food. (But that's a different topic!) Even much organic processed food contains weird additives and sugar.
Even if you read ingredient lists, they don't show how they were prepared. Like any fruit or veg. juice you buy is pasteurized, which essentially means it is cooked and some if not all of the phytochemicals that might have made it good for you have been eliminated. Pasteurized juice is mostly just a sugar drink, and tastes like it to me, especially apple juice. It seems that raw and cooked ingredients can have a very different chemistry, and that raw foods tend to contain more nutrients and have a lower glycemic index. I have trouble digesting too much raw veg, but I try to get other foods raw, especially nuts, dark chocolate occasionally, or stevia. Chinese medicine tends to be against eating much in the way of raw food, and suggests light cooking for a warming effect and easier digestion.
And don't get me started about the Mediterranean Diet! The overriding message that we get from it always seems to be about the fat. What about the folks it was based on who had physically strenuous lives, and ate very fresh food every day including lots of vegetables and garlic, fruits and fish? No, the message is, olive oil is good for you. I don't know. Maybe this is helpful to people who use unhealthier oils. But then again if you batter and fry up your lunch in olive oil, does it then become "health food"? More the better?
Anyway. Whatever I know in my head does not necessarily translate into what I feel like eating, or what I am willing to prepare for myself. I'm hoping Junger's program will get me on track. I want to 'reset' so that I start craving things that are actually good for me again. This to me is the motivation to do a 'cleanse' or a special diet for a while.
Most of what I am writing here about nutrition is from memory. I probably got some of it wrong. You can get the straight stuff from the books I recommend on the Books page. (As I mentioned a few days ago, someone gave me The China Study recently, but those results are included in other books.)
I had a lot to say about all this. I am interested in your thoughts about food, too.
I'm back home now. I still want to wash curtains, remove a layer of carpet, and dust more but so far the crazy coughing in my somewhat less dusty and moldy bedroom seems to be OK. I can still feel something when I am in this apartment...maybe congestion but not to the point of coughing...