A Few Myths About Food

food myths

People believe all kinds of stupid crap, stuff that doesn’t really make any sense but somehow gets passed around as absolute truth.  Mostly these things are harmless, like poinsettias are poison or bananas grow on trees, but sometimes they get a lot more traction than that and start causing trouble.  For example, here are a few “facts” that don’t have a lick of evidence to support them, but people believe they are the key to a healthy life.

You should drink 8 glasses of water every day.  There is absolutely no evidence to support this myth.  Think about it!  Why eight?  How big are the glasses?  Can you drink them all in the morning and take the rest of the day off?  What happens if you drink nine?  Do you OD and start swimming upstream?

Smoothies are healthy.  Not necessarily.  If you make your own, you’ve got a fighting chance (depending on how much chocolate sauce you use) but if you buy them commercially, you’re getting sugar – lots of sugar.  That’s why they taste so good.

Salt is bad for you.  Wrong!  Banishing salt from your diet can hurt you just as much as eating too much.  Here’s the deal: use your head!  There’s no need to be a sodium evangelist, but you shouldn’t flash the salt shaker around like maracas, either.

Low-Fat is a healthy alternative.  If you eat like Henry VIII, maybe, but regular people need a certain amount of fat in their diet.  The other thing to remember is stuff that’s labelled Low-Fat is only low-fat by comparison.  Compared to what, you ask?  Good question!

You need to walk 10,000 steps a day.  Once again, there is no evidence to support this.  However, unlike most modern myths, this one actually has an origin.  One of the slogans to promote fitness before the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo was Manpo-kei which, literally translated, means 10,000 steps.  Somehow, it got morphed into a fitness fact.

Energy drinks are healthy.  Not even close.  Read the label/do the math. They’re loaded with enough sugar to qualify them as junk food.  Plus, there have to be some serious chemicals in there to turn the liquid you’re drinking bright blue, or neon green.

And finally:

Organic food is chemical free.  No it isn’t.  First of all, on our planet, the wind blows, and very few organic farms are hermetically sealed.  Secondly, there are all kinds of chemicals that are allowed in “certified organic” food; it’s just that nobody mentions them.  And finally, “organic” is a term that has a slippery definition, so slapping it on a label doesn’t mean much.


pneumoniaFor those of you who noticed that WD was missing from the Internet last Tuesday, December 5, I have one word for you — pneumonia.  For the first time in my life, Flu Season means a lot more to me than, “What a pain in the ass!  I have to get jabbed in the arm again this year.”  Apparently, this year’s flu is particularly vigorous, and in my case, it was downright rambunctious.  In fact, it invited pneumonia over to play, and when the two of them got through with me, I ended up in the hospital.  Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of health care, but this is the first time in a long time that I was the guy on the stretcher.  My, my, my! How the medical profession has changed!

First of all, everybody is really, really young — so young “tummy” and “bum” are now acceptable medical terminology.  It was all very much like High School Musical without the music.  However, I know there were drugs involved because, at one point, I thought I was Gulliver lying there, watching a bunch of little people scampering around, acting liked they’d just captured a being from the land of the Old Buggers.

Second, everybody dresses the same.  I remember when doctors wore white coats and looked like serious storks, nurses wore green scrubs, were two ax handles across the shoulders and could flip a 100 kilo man over on his stomach (tummy?) as easily as a fry cook flips bacon.  These days, the guy in purple could be anything from a cashier to a cardiologist, and I have the feeling I gave most of my medical history to a very polite young person who was on her way to get her swollen wrist x-rayed.  C’est la vie!

Finally, and this is a biggie, the wards have gone co-ed — and, even though I believe in a lot more gender equality than most people (for example, I’m a big fan of women in combat) I do not approve.  Why?  Because men and women don’t get sick the same way.  When men get sick, they revert to their childhood and have one thing on their mind: IT’S ABOUT ME!  However, when women get sick, they go a lot further back than that.  They return to a time when plague, and famine and pestilence roamed the Earth, and women were the dominant gender.  This was long before the trauma and drama of shaming and blaming and feminine hygiene, at a time when serious girls didn’t get pushed around by sleazy Red Carpet Romeos who thought they had an Oscar in their pants.  (Kate Hepburn dealt with guys like Sam Goldwyn, she would have laughed Weinstein off the planet, and Ava Gardner probably would have introduced him to her size 5 patent leather slingbacks — but I digress.)

The reality is, sick women are the busiest beings on the planet because, for millennia, they had to be — or our species would have died out.  Think about it!  Give a man a cold and you get a useless mass of whining, crying and complaining — unable to defend himself.  Give a woman a cold, and you will get a clean house, the laundry done, the car washed, a gourmet meal, two kids bathed and in bed and a pot of chicken soup for the guy on the sofa, with the sniffles — and that’s all after she’s come home from work.  So, putting men and women in the same hospital room is just throwing fuel on both fires.

Let me demonstrate.  I was in the hospital, battling the worst strain of influenza this planet has seen in 50 years, with a whack of pneumonia on the side, and when I got out, I discovered I’d gained weight.  Impossible?  No!  You see, every night the girls from beds 1 and 2 would sneak down to the nurses’ station to use the microwave.  They’d come back with batches of homemade cookies, and we’d all watch Riverdale.  I was so sick I could barely eat seven per episode..

The War On Dirt

dirtWe are literally cleaning ourselves to death.  Go to any household in the 1st World and you will find a cornucopia of chemical weapons worthy of Saddam Hussein in his heyday.  We’ve got antibacterial sprays, wipes, soaps, foams and a multitude of cleansers — all there to keep us safe from an evil array of nameless germs we’re convinced are waiting to ambush us.  And these aren’t even the dangerous ones like typhus, smallpox or cholera.  No — we’ve gone to all this trouble to try and fight off a runny nose.  (Good luck on that one, BTW)  But the question is does it do any good?  Nope!  In fact, ask any epidemiologist and she’ll tell you all we’re doing is helping Mother Nature cull the herd.  Plus, if we keep this stupidity up, we’re going to get ourselves in some serious trouble.  It isn’t a very complicated process, so here’s the Twitter version.

Antibacterial anything might be effective in the short term and, as the advertisement says, “kills 97% of all germs on contact.”  Yeah, that’s pretty cool!  But what about the other 3% who survived the attack?  Those tough little bastards are still hanging out, waiting for the all-clear signal to mutate and breed.  And guess what?  You just gave them a vaccination.  Suddenly, the next generation of wiggly little uglies aren’t all that worried about the active ingredient in Lysol™ (or anything else, for that matter.)  Now — clean your kitchen counter once a day for a year.  You’ve certainly killed off billions and billions of germs, no doubt — the weakest ones.  Unfortunately, what you have left is a strain of bacteria that’s had 365 cracks at the Immunity Challenge, and they’ve won every one of them.  Basically, you’ve bred a race of ass-kicking bacteria that’s sittin’ there, drinkin’ bleach as if it were red wine.  It simple genetics, folks.

I’m not saying we should go medieval on the world and revert to the dirt of past eras.  That’s just icky.  However, if we don’t lighten up on the chemical warfare, one of these days Mr. and Mrs. Bacteria are going to bring the kids over to play, and they’re not going to knock on the front door; they’re going to kick it in.