21 Dragons

In Search of Wisdom

My Food & I Part II

"Why are you here?" she asked. I told her I'd been sick for a long time. The first week I had a fever, followed by a cough in the second and third week that just wouldn't go away. I didn't know it that morning I visited the doctor, but later that night I'd have another fever.

After she checked me out, I asked her if there was anything I could take that could make me better. Some kind of supplement perhaps?

"Well, the most important thing you can do is watch what you eat."

And that was all she said on the matter. Wise doctor.

Food is the best medicine. There really isn't anything more important than the food we give our bodies. There is no magical supplement to make up for what we eat everyday; if we eat well, there wouldn't be a need for any supplementation. The question then was; how was I eating?

After done quite a bit of reading on diet through the ways, one way to answer that question seemed to be: It depends on who you ask. Browse through the diet and nutrition section of a bookstore and you're likely to go nuts on the width and breadth of conflicting information. One camp swears by the vegetarian diet, others on a meat-rich diet, some say fat is good for you, some say fat will kill you. Eating raw is the best way. Or not. Milk builds your bones. Unless you're lactose intolerant. Cholesterol is bad for you. Bad cholesterol is a myth. Eat like the Okinawans. But not white rice, as refined grain is bad for you.

It goes on and on.

Like I said, it can drive you nuts (food pun unintended).

Of all the authors' I've read, Michael Pollan probably has the sanest take on diet. In his book In Defense of Food, he puts it simply: Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. Eat real foods, not processed foods. Mostly plants, with meat as a dressing rather than a main course. Not too much, until 80% full like the Okinawans is a good rule of thumb.

Late last year I had a one-week fever. This year I was sick for nearly a month, and yet the people closest to me were either okay or got sick too and recovered rapidly. There's a lesson to be learned here; a message I need to get.

Like it or not, it seems that health and vitality will be a major – if not the main – focus of my life this year. And food, learning about it, learning what to eat, what not to eat, learning how to prepare it, will be my launching point.