I read a great blog post by Brittany Bullen titled 21 Seemingly Harmless Things That Will Destroy You, Your Marriage and Your Children. It is hilarious, so I highly recommend reading it for a good laugh. It got me thinking about what we are told is safe, essential or dangerous, especially about nutrition and health care.
What you “know” about nutrition changes, sometime significantly, from one day to the next. New nutrition studies are published every day and they constantly conflict with one another. You should eat plenty of meat because we need the protein. Then you hear that you should not eat meat because humans have a vegetarian digestive tract. Then you learn that you must eat meat because a vegetarian diet cannot provide all of the nutrients that you need. Which is true if any of them?
With what we know about nutrition changing almost daily it can be very confusing to make informed decisions about our health. To further complicate the issue, you have to determine if there is a hidden agenda behind the information we get.
Agendas Add to the Confusion
Water is a great example. Unless you are on a well your water comes to you from a municipal system that probably has chlorine, fluoride and possibly other chemicals added to to the water and you are told that it is perfectly safe to drink. Is it safe, or is the government poisoning you with the chloride and sedating your with the fluoride like some people say? The bottled water manufacturers tell you that their water is better because it comes from some remote natural spring, or at least a municipal system then run through a reverse osmosis filtration system. Finally, there are the people who sell water filtration systems (like me) who tell you that both of those solutions are bad and that you should filter your own water so that you know it is clean, maybe alkaline, maybe ionized, and definitely better for you. Who is telling you the truth and who is selling you a story so that you will buy their product. Do they even know, or can they know since the truth changes so rapidly.
I think it is the same deal with people who try to sell you coffee and chocolate for their health benefits. Maybe it is healthy, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know.
When politicians and huge corporations get involved in these issues they can become very heated, sometimes to the point of absurdity, and even harder to determine what is truth and what is not. The biggest topic in this category is the whole GMO, non-GMO, “natural”, organic, Monsanto thing. In health care you have the vaccination issue – should you vaccinate your kids or not, and whether you should even have the right to choose. It is very difficult to sort out the truth in these kinds of issues for many reason. We already know that what we “know” about health and nutrition changes almost daily. With these particular issues you also have huge multinational chemical and drug companies with billion dollar budgets riding on them. You also the issue of the right to choose how you want to live your life, which you value as one of your most basic freedoms.
How Do You Decide What Is Right?
With science changing the story regularly it can be difficult to make a truly informed decision about your health and nutrition. The only thing that is really available to you is to do what you feel is right, your intuition if you prefer, which is the better choice anyway. If you feel that eating only organic, locally-grown produce then that is what you should do. On the other hand, if you believe that whatever you can get at your local grocery store, then that is right for you.
Really, when you get right down to it, everyone is different and has different needs. Studies can only seek to find an average result, or a result that will work for most. They can’t possibly take into account all of the variables that affect our health, because everything thing we eat, drink and breath affects it.
So, just do the best you can with what you believe is best for you.