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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Simplification is a hell of a thing. If you simplify too much, people feel you are a jerk. If you don’t simplify, grow a beard, wear sandals and granny glasses and bathe every other day, you are considered wise and mature, even though the average person never reads you because few understand a word you say. T&T is rife with such characters. Dr Morgan Job, gone now, was considered simple because he spoke his mind and everybody understood where he was coming from and disliked it. Better to be a Panday, a consummate actor, who now wants to lead us out of the very wilderness that he helped put us into, with a proxy of course, a la Windsor, a la Bush and why not, a la Trump? Hip hip!

Dietary advice is a fine example of confusion. Personally, after six years of medical school, five years of specialty training, with a special interest in two aspects of nutrition, lactose intolerance and breastfeeding (breastfed babies are seldom intolerant to the form of lactose found in breastmilk which is why “gas” and “gripe” and “colic” are much less common in breastfed babies), I still could not tell you what the food groups, which we are supposed to follow, are. Do you? How many food groups are there?

This is one of those SEA-type questions that you learn by heart for the exam and forget within a week. Is it four? I think it used to be four? Or is it now five or six? It’s like the planets in our solar system. Used to be nine for years, and one day “they” decided that Pluto was not a planet but then the next year they decided it was indeed a planet but only a dwarf planet, whatever that is, and the only dignitary they haven’t asked for an opinion is the Pope, who would probably advise them to concentrate on divorcees who want to take Communion in the church but can’t because they not named Kennedy.

You see, you can also have “weight” or talk with an accent to impress people. The Pope, lovely, practical fellow that he appears to be, has both. Kissinger also has “weight” and an accent but a quite different reputation.

Take processed food. More confusion. The T&T Guardian last week deleted my definition of ultra-processed food apparently under the belief that all processed food, is food that has had something added to it. That’s the second part.

They left out the first part where everything nutritious is removed from the food in its natural state. So it will store longer. Then they add chemicals. Then it’s becomes true that “The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be and the worse it is for you”.

There are only three things then that you have to remember about food. First the Spanish saying: “Lo que se cria, se come” or “eat only what you raise or grow”. A bit difficult to do but think of it as “eat only what you know”.

The second is “Eat the rainbow, avoid white foods”. Rainbow refers to foods with colour. Your plate of food should have plenty different colours and yes, a bit of white food is fine, especially in your fancy tea, where brown sugar might spoil the taste. My dear friend, Hazel Brown, a tea connoisseur will not find favour with this, no sugar she says! Fair enough.

And thirdly, if you must eat processed food, choose the one with the shortest ingredient list.

Simple advice, distilled from all the confusion and false advice about “food group” and “shark oil” and “tonic” and “vitamin” and “colon cleansing” and Toco bush and so on.

But who is taking this on? See you all at Price Mart.


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