This was originally published in Fredericksburg's Front Porch
I was hanging out last night with a bunch who I hesitate to call food fanatics, but people who take what they eat seriously. Who are trying to bring good value, healthy food to Fredericksburg – and who introduced me to food alchemy.
I was at ‘Legume Kitchen and Bar’ on Caroline street, with it’s delicious but healthy, vegetarian and vegan cuisine. The event was happy hour, sponsored by the Fredericksburg Food Co-op*
There were even some enlightened healthcare providers – ones believing in the aphorism “let food be they medicine” as Hippocrates put it.
I have been swept up by the enthusiasm of the members of this co-op.
I was conscripted to talk to them about treating high cholesterol with diet, instead of those wicked statins – which was awkward as many of the members of the audience were far better informed than me.
I was also persuaded to go to vegetarian/vegan cooking classes, where the alchemy came in. Liquidized cashew nuts or boiled carrots and potatoes made in to cheese - that really tasted like cheese.
I was also told to read The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, professor of nutritional biochemistry. His line is that animal protein is poison. It causes a vascular disease, cancers, auto-immune disorders, bone, kidney, eye and brain diseases. So no meat, no dairy, no eggs is his take.
He also chastises the food manufacturers, and the dairy industry especially, for recruiting corrupt academicians to deny his message.
There seems some opposition saying he’s FOS, and has manipulated his data. But he, and his followers, are a good example of how people can be fixated on this or that diet and follow their food guru with an intensity worthy of religious fanaticism.
And there is no shortage of diets and “gurus” willing to capitalize on this. But the conflicting advice and the U-turns can be confusing.
It used to be fats we shunned, and carbs were the foundation of the food pyramid. But that’s old hat - when my elder sister and family came to stay last Christmas, we were essentially forbidden from eating carb’s.
We Need Education
Campbell’s take is carbs are good, but they have to be plant based, unrefined and not have added fructose (from high fructose corn syrup) – which is a message that much of the public doesn’t know or has not taken on board.
At the grocery check out I am dismayed when I see, parents in particular, with a cart full of Wonder Bread, Mountain Dew, TV dinners, Captain Crunch etc. But never quite have the nerve to tap them on the shoulder and say “excuse me, but . . .”
Most of the public could do with a little more food fanaticism.
Not to mention our kids are being fed highly processed, calorie dense, low fiber crap, by fast food franchises that have set up shop in our schools.
The Middle Way
I would find a full vegan diet hard to follow, but am inclined to the Buddhists “middle way.” Be a “flexivore.” Eat just a little meat/animal protein but keep the diet primarily plant based.
I like to think my fanatical friends won’t disown me.
* The Fredericksburg Food Co-op is a local group anxious to recruit like minded people who want to be member-owners of an organization offering the best selection of locally grown, environmentally sensitive, organic, health foods at reasonable prices. For more information go to https://fredericksburgfoodcoop.com.