Friday, May 6, 2011

The Religion of Food

You know those people who twist the Bible to suit their own agendas?   The ones who pick and choose phrases from here and there and use them, frequently out of context, to "prove their points?"  Of course you do.  We've all seen and heard those people.

And perhaps you've known a soul or two who becomes so incredibly fixated on one rule or element of his faith that he doesn't see the big picture.  He focuses only on that one issue and, while it may be a noble or valid rule, it was never intended to be worshiped to the exclusion of other rules and elements.

I fear this is how some of us are looking at science now, particularly with regards to food.

Here's the thing:

Odds are very, very good I can find a study somewhere out there that defends almost anything I'm eager to prove.

There are examples of individuals who are healthy weights, have great blood pressure, good sugar levels, and all the rest who indulge in all manner of diets.  Are some better than others?  No doubt.  Are there excellent arguments for (and against) certain lifestyles?  Of course.

But no scientific study is gospel.  Generalizations don't always paint the whole picture.  And it's too easy to pick and choose which parts back up your own opinion.  There's so much more at play here...

Saying "skim milk will make you fat" sounds as foolish to me as saying "whole milk will make you fat."  There are far too many other variables in most diets to be able to point blame like that.  And, again, you could easily find many, many sound arguments for either side of that particular debate.  One needn't be "stupid" or "ignorant" to hold either of those views.

Also, on the topic of milk, I think we need to be very careful that we're not placing all our "amazing benefits of nutrition" expectations on the shoulders of milk.  Do I believe raw milk can be a part of a very healthy diet?  Indeed I do.  I think I made that pretty clear before.  Do I believe that drinking raw milk will somehow cure all ailments my family might have?  No.  I do not.  What milk we drink is just one element of a much larger picture... I get nervous when I see people who come perilously close to worshiping the stuff.  I have no issue with the consumption of raw milk or with singing its praises or sharing success stories.  But, truly, when it becomes an issue of placing raw milk above all else and insuinuating those who do not share the viewpoint are ignorant and uninformed... well, then I think it's gone too far.

Just as I'm unlikely to be persuaded to pursue someone's faith if they seem overbearing and insulting, I'm unlikely to be talked into someone's food philosophy when they seem fixated and closed-minded.

I think there's a lot to be said for endeavoring to consume a diet as close as possible to the way it is found in nature.  I do, really and truly, believe that we all need to be mindful of what we feed ourselves and our families.  We shouldn't try to rationalize what are clearly poor choices, nor should we be unwilling to consider other viewpoints.

But I'm really very bothered by some of what I'm seeing and hearing out there.  And I wondered if I was the only one...

No comments: