Crazy about food

Paleo. Primal. Vegan. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Low-carb. Low-fat. Raw. Pescatarian. Fruitatarian. Standard American Diet.

It's enough to make you want to pull up to Outback, move in and enjoy a short, happy life snarfing Bloomin' Onions, baby backs and cheesecake. The food coma alone would be worth it.

In an attempt to address a life-long issue with high-cholesterol, I've gotten myself in a complete twist about food. Sunday, while I dithered over whether I could eat anything at the Costco snack bar, Mr. Nake-id observed, "This is getting old."

Yep. It is. But we went to Chipotle anyway.

Between the deleterious results of a vegan diet (same cholesterol, higher triglycerides), the confounding instructions of an Ayurvedic vata-balancing/low-glycemic regime and a friend's endorsement of The Primal Blueprint, I'm completely confused and wary of what goes into my mouth.

For someone who loves food like I do...this is whacked.

It's also a consequence of being more mindful. Having ingested a lot of weird food over the last year (seitan bacon, anyone?) and vegan propaganda, I have a greater understanding of how animal products get to our plates and in many (most?) cases, it isn't pretty. Even the goat cheese gracing our arugula salads means a sweet nanny goat had her kid whipped out from under her. The bucks? They fare much worse.

It really is the omnivore's dilemma, as Michael Pollan so famously put it. We survived as a species because we're dietary opportunists, evolving with the ability to digest almost anything. But does that mean that we should?

In this country, our diseases are those of affluence and access. Even with a major drought plaguing the Midwest, do any of us worry about the food shed? We're so accustomed to full grain silos and meat freezers, we don't question the security of our hot lunches--unless we're watching our corn shrivel while the cicadas sing.

Our conundrum is one of quality. We are a nation of plenty, but plenty of what? Lean Cuisines? Fried Oreos? The FDA's lobby-built Food Plate?

Some of us are privileged to have the time and money to pause over which sweetener offers the most nutrients for the  lowest glycemic hit. Some of us don't. Some of us can seek the advice of doctors and alternative care practitioners, while others get their diabetes treated in the ER. And none of us know how to eat.

After all this, I remain convinced that optimal nutrition is individual. Mark Sisson might thrive on pasture-raised meats and chard, but I suspect others won't in the same way I didn't flourish as mostly vegan.

There's more to say on this topic. But for now, I plan to give myself a good slap and enjoy dinner again.

It's no wonder we want to mainline Snickers bars and onion dip.


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