I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the messages we get about food from our culture. When I am at the gym, there is a magazine rack. When living in the states, I subscribed to Oprah (loved Martha Beck’s column) and Health, in addition to some others. I used to subscribe to Cooking Light as well. Almost every magazine I see these days has an article about the functional aspects of this or that ingredient. This food is a superfood because it has this special chemical and if you ingest it regularly, you will gain superhuman powers. The articles promise enhanced energy, metabolism, digestion, libidos, problem solving.
When is blueberry just a blueberry?
Don’t get me wrong, education is powerful. I want women to know that yogurt is good because of its protein and probiotics, but when I eat it because of those things only, I risk losing a sense of soulishness with it. I strip it down into a categorical function and equation, and can become to rule bound.
So, I am asking one of my favorite bloggers who has always supported me, Ms. Gina, to chipper up and share a few thoughts with me:
Health food is a big business. I just read this: http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/the_function_of_food/C564/L564/ Money talks, that’s for sure.
What is your take?
First; when it comes to functional foods, I have mixed opinions about them. I think the food companies are taking this idea way too far. Why are they? Because people will buy anything that they believe will make them “healthier”, in an easy to obtain way. The article you gave me provided the example of pumpkin probiotics into ketchup. Some people may not want to eat yogurt for probiotics, so if they can now have an excuse to eat a bunch of ketchup, which is now a bit “healthier” they will buy it! It’s still not healthy in my opinion. Some functional foods, such as the margarine’s with plant stanols and sterols, which can help block the absoprtion of cholesterol, are better in my opinion because they usually have other benefits to them as well. Such as the Smart Balance margarine products. They are lower in fat and calories than regular margarines and butters.
K’s response: Lower anc calories DOES NOT always mean Healtheir, though. The real deal often has less ingredients and satisfying taste.
Quick: You’ve got $10. What three things would you buy at the store?
I would hit the produce section and by sweet potatoes, bananas, spinach, and avocado!
What do you think people who read your blog are hungry for?
Something new and refreshing. I am an RD who doesn’t really always play by the “rules”. I’m not against artificial sweeteners, or canned foods, or real cheese, I’m all about it! I just like to stress moderation. ANYTHING in moderation. I practice what I preach, most of the time, and I admit when I don’t. No one is perfect, and I know I’m not. Sometimes I like to go out and well, get drunk! It’s not something I do every week, and when I do I never drive, but hey, you only live once, right? I also eat dessert every night, without fail, but it’s a smaller portion and it usually contains other healthy ingredients, like berries. Overall I like to think of myself as a nutrition guru who tells it like it is. I don’t give my readers information that I don’t find interesting myself, and I also correct myself when I’m wrong (and trust me, I am sometimes!).
Is there a sense of constant “you are not okay” in the health business? Meaning, we are always finding something to treat?
Companies want to make money. If they see a problem, and an avenue to fix it, they will find that avenue and they will try their hardest to sell it. Our society is focused so much on “treatment” and not enough on “prevention”. Currently with my new business, we are finding out that it’s hard to provide dietary consulting to those who are HEALTHY. Why? Their insurance doesn’t cover the visit unless they are SICK. That’s crazy! Something needs to change. I’m counting on Obama to make this switch from “treatment” to “prevention”. If he doesn’t do it, who will? Something needs to be done NOW, not next year, but NOW!
What is one nutrition behavior I can do today to foster soulishness?
Start living by your own rules, and not the rules of other people. This is not to say go out and eat whatever you want, it’s more about being an individual and coming up with your own way to be healthy and well. Don’t follow other people other trends that you may not necessarily like, simply because it’s popular. Be your own person, learn what is healthy and what is now, and find your own “healthy living lifestyle”. What’s good for you may not be good for the next person. Live by the motto that you are your own person and you do what is right for you. Others will follow, in their own unique way.
K’s response: I actually believe that if people went out and ate what they wanted, what their body TRULY wanted, it would come to a natural size. Maybe that’s bigger for some, smaller than others. Did you know that Americans say “guilt” after hearing Chocolate Cake, and the French “celebration?” We’ve taken “eat what you want” to mean “lack of willpower” or “laziness”. I admire people who satisfy their hungers. Maybe the “health” business needs to educate us (me first, please) on honoring our hunger rather than numbing it.
THANKS GINA! Seriously, I admire your soulishness in your blog!
PS: This is inspired by Michael Pollan’s work! He argues about a National Eating Disorder, and I can’t agree more. Although I am mostly surrounded byAmericans, on my travels, Europeans don’t “buy” into dieting so much. There’s no sugar free section in the markets …what do you think?