I just read this article and now I can’t feed my kids crackers without experiencing crippling guilt. Apparently, “everything we know about obesity and heart disease is wrong.” It feels like we hear that every four months. Medicine has more controversial paradigm shifts than Facebook. It’s frustrating at first, then everyone adjusts, only to have it change again. Eventually, we give up and eat Geno’s Pizza Rolls while staring at our timeline and wondering what day it is.
Because being a hypochondriac comes with an honorary medical degree, I’ll summarize the argument for you. Heart disease is caused predominantly by inflammation of the arteries, not saturated fat and cholesterol as previously preached by everyone ever. What causes inflammation? Oh, basically everything my kids eat.
Apparently, humans aren’t supposed to ingest anything processed. I kind of knew that, but chose to feign ignorance. When we eat foods that didn’t exist in the era of dinosaurs, our bodies become confused, and release squid ink or start cannibalizing themselves or something (I’m paraphrasing).
Here’s an impression of my brain while reading the article. “Insulin, diabetes, cells, blood, sugar, death, blah, confused, insecure, hungry, cookies, jellybeans.”
Lindsay and I discussed it last night, and realized that switching our kids to a “paleolithic diet”, one that’s devoid of processed sugars, grains, and complex carbohydrates, would cause them to die of starvation far before they developed any inflammation.
I think this is what we’re expected to do. Here’s the scene: Our kids are outside running around, and to make sure they don’t pass out, Lindsay and I supply coconut water and fish. “Guys, it’s snack time! Come on over here and nibble off this giant slab of trout.” That might work if my children were bear cubs, but since they’re human, and fully adjusted to inhaling round puffy things that come in crinkly bags, throwing a fish at them like we’re rewarding a show penguin, isn’t going to fly.
We’re already decently health conscious. We buy all whole-grain snacks, and avoid high fructose corn syrup. Our mac and cheese comes from Whole Foods or Trader Joes. We aren’t feeding them “grape drink” and Cheetos, but we also aren’t encouraging them to forage the local brush for nutrient rich berries. When one of them comes in and says they’re hungry, am I really supposed to hand them a cucumber and expect not to get hit with it? “Oh you’re super hungry? Well, can you hang on while I sharpen a knife and slice off a chunk of raw veal? Sorry buddy, it’s either that or beet skins. You know the rules.” I think instead, I’ll just open a box of something decently healthy, give them a handful, and smile as they go back outside all fueled-up and happy.
You also can’t seriously try to take away sugar. That magical dust that dries up tears? How are we supposed to pass down our legacy of emotional eating if we can’t train our children by giving them lollipops when they’re unhappy? I’m kidding, even though we really do that.
Baby steps, right? For lunch we’ll all have penne with butter, but for dinner we’ll bust out the grilled otter and cauliflower leaves. Actually, I think we’ll just stop buying cookies (I eat most of them anyway.)