Image courtesy of Qfamily under Creative Commons License.
Did you ever have someone say something to you that just annoyed the h-e-double-hockey-sticks outta you?
Friday was National Donut Day. It was all over the blogosphere, and to pass the word on to my friends, I posted it on my facebook page. One "friend," who shall remain nameless, left a snarky response that just ticked. me. off.
She basically blamed the donut for diabetes and obesity in America.
There are lots of foods out there that, if eaten in excess, will cause health problems down the road in some people.
We've all heard of somebody's grandpa that ate steak & eggs cooked in butter every morning for breakfast, smoked a pack of unfiltered camels a day and drank a healthy glug of whisky nightly who lived to the ripe old age of 96, dying peacefully in his sleep. Or my own Mr.W, who can drink Southern-Style Sweet Tea (2 cups of sugar per gallon of tea--yikes!) like it's going out of style, eat Sweet Tarts and Hot Tamales by the boxful and snarf Chick Fil-A daily when on out-of-town business trips (to locales that have them) and suffer no effect to his overall health. No diabetes. Cholesterol in check. All is well.
But for many of us, too much fatty meat = high cholesterol. Too much cake = you get fat. Too much salt = high blood pressure. For others, who for some reason or other end up with diabetes, nut allergies, gluten intolerances or what have you, food becomes trickier. Except for folks with life-threatening allergies, I still wouldn't classify food as the enemy.
Diabetic myself, as a result of having a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I have learned to cope with--no, enjoy--not eating a number of things. I find alternatives, avoid some things, learn to love varied other foods, and, on rare occasion, eat something that's usually on the no-no list.
Like a donut. With all the hype, I wanted one Friday. I went to the shop with my brother and had 3 donut holes* with a cuppa joe. No harm done; blood sugar still under control.
Even processed foods can be eaten with good results. Now, I know I'm sticking my neck out here--it's definitely not fashionable to enjoy boxed mac & cheese. But I like it, and most people I know do, too. I'm certainly not going to make a habit of eating the stuff on a regular basis--but in and of itself, is it evil?
How about an occasional hot dog? Chock full of nitrites and overly processed meats, the hot dog's health value is dubious at best. Does that mean it should never be consumed?
Wine and other boozy beverages cause alcoholism in millions of people.
Butter is saturated fat that causes heart disease. Margarine is trans fat.
Sugar-laden sodas cause cavities. Sugar-free sodas containing artificial sweeteners aren't all that good for you, either. Water, free from the tap, is loaded with chemicals to balance the toxins poisoning our lakes and rivers.
Peanuts contain mercury. So do many types of fish.
Don't even get me started on High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Geez, after all that, one might begin to believe that food is, indeed, the enemy. But it isn't. Food doesn't kill people. People kill people.
If you eat French pastries at every meal, you have no one to blame but yourself when your doctor says you've developed a risk of heart disease along with that spare tire. If you eat nothing but bologna and processed American "cheese" product sandwiches on white bread you'll probably have high blood pressure, at the very least. If you consume loads of canned nacho cheese and chips, with very little vegetable intake, you might just find yourself feeling sluggish, tired and not quite yourself. (Hello, nutritional deficiency!) If you drink nothing but caffeinated beverages, you will find yourself with an addiction that makes you jittery and prone to headaches if you don't get your fix.
But a varied diet and a healthy dose of exercise will outweigh the damage that those negative effects might have. Vegetables. Whole grains. Meat--meat is good, people! Fish. Nuts. Cheese. A smattering of fat and the occasional processed food won't kill you. A regular diet of it might.
A glass of wine is full of antioxidants. Nuts contain healthy fats and help diabetics balance their diets. Dairy brings calcium for strong teeth and bones. Fish helps you have a shiny coat--oops, I mean, fish brings heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to the party. Butter, well, it just tastes so doggone delicious. And corn syrup sure does make some darn tasty candies and ice cream.
A donut a day probably won't keep the doctor away, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy one once in a while.
Moderation in everything, you know.
Image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography under Creative Commons License.
At the end of this tirade, I must say that I'm still perturbed at my so-called friend's comment. It irks me when someone slaps a label on a particular food that says, "BAD." Let's rather focus on nutritional education--I'd love to see it in schools. Maybe it is already, I don't know. I've been out of school for, well,
many years decades now. Using food as a reward--well, that's not really a good idea. Focusing on food as a blessing, as a necessity for our bodies, and, for some things, perhaps even an occasional treat is a healthier way to ensure lasting health.
And I de-friended her. I definitely don't need snark from friends.
*I chose donut holes instead of a whole donut because (a) it was $.45 instead of $.95, (b) I would have been enticed to get a filled donut, with much greater sugar load, and (c) I got to have 3 different flavors instead of only one.