Forbidden fruits

These days, deciding what goes into making a healthy meal requires serious study…and a certain flexibility about “the latest” research.

A recent issue of “Time” magazine listed twelve foods we should eat (taken from their list in “Time 100 Healthiest Foods”) and gives reasons why they’re good for you. The foods are whole eggs, edamame, grass-fed steak, quinoa pasta, romaine lettuce, whole-grain bread, blackberries, figs, potatoes, acorn squash, almonds and corn.

I have no arguments with the list, except that it’s so 2017 and surely by 2018 one of these food items will be pronounced “unwelcome on any list” and replaced by something currently on the don’t-even-let-it touch-your-lips list.

I looked up Weight Watchers original diet plan and found these “forbidden fruits”: bananas, cherries, watermelon and grapes. Vegetables considered “restricted,” included Brussels sprouts, carrots, eggplant, green beans, yellow squash and tomatoes. Do you know anyone who got fat because they ate too many tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, grapes or watermelons?

Many websites name the villains of the past that have now been absolved of the sins formerly attributed to them.  Anything with fat — think avocados, salmon, butter and nuts — was a no-no. And cholesterol?  Eggs would kill us. And potatoes?  Everyone knew they loaded on the pounds.  Same with whole milk. Yet some research credits whole milk with keeping people lean. I have changed from watery non-fat to two percent, but drinking whole milk still seems sinful.

In the past, one of the biggest health offenders was chocolate. It’s not completely redeemed itself, but I’ve read that we can eat dark chocolate with at least 74% cocoa solids without being chastised for crimes against good nutrition.

Last year, I read that mustard greens had risen to the peak of the best vegetables list. What a blow to kale, which had been number one for years. It’s so hard to stay on top in any field these days.

In the current era, to quote my family doctor, “Gluten is the new Satan.” Not to say that some people don’t suffer if they eat it, but that many who studiously avoid it probably don’t need to.

So what’s a cook to do? I think we can assume that fruits and vegetables aren’t going to kill us or add too many extra pounds. As far as the other food groups, we have to go with what we know now, realizing that in a few years we’ll see headlines naming our favorite food as the latest miscreant. For now we have to take all this nutrition information with a grain of….no…wait…not salt!

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the study that lands chips and salsa on the healthy food list.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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8 Responses to Forbidden fruits

  1. dkzody says:

    Salsa is good for you–tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic. Just don’t eat the chips!

  2. Moderation in all things….and you know the rest of the quote. I try not to pay too much attention to all of this, but do have good portions of vegetables and fruit each day. And oh, yes, I don’t eat much red meat. Thanks, great post!

  3. Susan says:

    Wish I was lucky enough to eat many of those twelve foods! Not everyone can.

  4. Darlene says:

    As I am currently in Puerto Vallarta, chips and salsa AND guacamole are definitely on the healthy food list, at least until I come home. Hasta pronto, Ann–loved your blog–all so crazy, isn’t it? We never know what we’re supposed to eat–it drives me “nuts.”

    • ann oxrieder says:

      Eating chips in Mexico while on vacation is one thing but we have taken this habit to a new level. Last year we met a cute couple at our farmers’ market who make their own chips and salsas. When the market closed in the fall they started offering free delivery service. They now bring these to our house.

  5. Shirley Shimada says:

    Thanks Ann!

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