By MARY BETH MAASSEN
It has been a few months since I have written about healthy eating choices, so I thought I would revisit the topic. It’s a tricky subject. What is touted as healthy one month turns out to be bad for you the next month. Eating choices that work well and result in better health for one person don’t necessarily work well or lead to better health for someone else.
There are a few recommendations that are undisputed and so those are things I almost always stick to: drink more water and consume less sugar. I have a few other suggestions to share that have worked well for me. I would encourage you to do you own research and consult your primary care provider before making any significant changes to your personal nutrition.
My husband and I quit eating wheat last September because of some digestive issues we were experiencing and after some research we thought it might have something to do with genetically modified wheat. Since we made that dietary change my husband has dropped 30 pounds. I lost three pounds. At this point I could launch into a long tirade about gender differences, but he also exercises a lot more than I do, so I will leave it at that.
However, I was having all sorts of digestive problems that have resolved since I quit eating wheat. On the rare occasion when I do eat some wheat, either unintentionally or I decide to risk it because what is in front of me looks remarkably yummy, my indigestion returns with a vengeance. So, I am better off avoiding wheat. I could go through a bunch of testing to figure out exactly what the issue is, but right now I am content to know that eating wheat causes a problem for me, therefore I will not eat wheat.
When making nutrition decisions—or any health decision—it is important to consider the source of your information, and to understand how your source may benefit from the recommendations they are providing. That is how people end up spending tons of money on vitamins or supplements they don’t really need, or making extreme dietary changes that can’t be maintained. It is important to know and have confidence in your source. An eight-year-old boy is a good example of a dubious source.
There is another recommendation I can share—“eat the rainbow”—this means to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits in a rainbow of colors.
Disclaimer- after this paragraph much of this particular column is filled with misinformation as it is told from the point of view of an eight-year-old boy. Although this conversation happened just as it is shared below, the statements of “fact” are not quite factual.
When he was eight years old my son, Michael, thought “eating the rainbow” was great justification for consuming bowl after bowl of Fruit Loops. After all they are a rainbow of colors, right? He was amazingly gifted at taking just a bit of solid information and manufacturing his own research.
One day we were having lunch with my sister and her two young sons at a salad bar. One of her boys, Joe, was only five years old. He loved black olives and had taken all of the olives on the salad bar and filled a bowl. He had a black olive stuck to each finger-tip and was plucking them off with his teeth and enjoying them immensely.
“You shouldn’t eat too many of those,” Michael warned him, “they are full of oil and they are really bad for you.” I knew Michael wanted some of his olives.
“There is no oil in them.” Joe proclaimed, “they are a vegetable and they are good for you.”
Michael countered, “Nope, they are full of oil and oil is bad for you.”
“They don’t taste oily,” Joe said, closely examining his thumb-olive.
“To get the oil out they grind them into a pulp and then boil the pulp with water and then mash them and mash them,” Michael informed him.
“Is that right Mom?” Joe asked.
“Uh, yeah, I think so,” my sister answered. This was long before Google and smartphones so we couldn’t double-check his information. “But I think they are a fruit, not a vegetable.” We didn’t know.
“That’s how they get corn oil from corn too,” Michael stated matter-of-factly. “Grind it and grind it, boil it and boil it, and then mash it and mash it… to get the oil out.”
“There is no oil in corn,” Joe states emphatically, leaning in toward Michael, his eyes narrowed.
“There is oil in all sorts of things.” Michael leans in to Joe, even closer. “So,” Michael replies, “do you wanna know how they make baby oil?”
And while Joe was stuck in wide-eyed shock, Michael took the last of Joe’s precious olives and popped them in his mouth.