As adults, my daughters have adopted many practices, namely in the way they eat and the way they treat their bodies, very different from the ones with which they grew up. I must confess that on many occasions I have questioned their decisions with some skepticism, which they have often taken as criticism rather than as an effort to understand their thinking.
It is likely that many of you who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s hearing the snap, crackle and pop of Rice Krispies, thrilling over Kraft macaroni and cheese, loving Wonder bread, being immunized against polio and smallpox will understand my dilemma. After all, none of those things seem to have hurt us, right? Then, as adults we tried to feed our family good foods and follow recommended procedures to keep our babies healthy.
So, where did it all change? Why have processed foods, food coloring, gluten become taboo? Why are people with health issues seeking alternative measures? I’m not sure I have any of the answers, but here is what I think. Simply stated, many of the foods we eat have changed more rapidly than our bodies. They have been genetically manipulated, injected with pesticides and other chemicals to the extent that our DNA has not evolved to accept them. This appears to be particularly true of wheat and other grains which have been traditional staples in our diets. The consequence is that grocery aisles are increasingly filled with gluten free products, and it is possible that other grain based foods will also be displaced.
While my diet is not totally free of all the things said to be of questionable value, much has changed in the way we eat due to dietary restrictions among other family members. The easiest change is to eat all natural foods, the hardest is to eliminate gluten. I have been amazed at all the foodstuffs from cereal to soy sauce that contain gluten, and when it comes to baking without wheat flour I have been a total failure. Maybe it’s an acquired taste, but I haven’t found too many gluten free recipes that I’m crazy about. Incidentally,if you want to read more about gluten and its impact, go here to read an interesting article sent by my daughter.
As for medicine, that’s an area where I have no expertise as I am one of those lucky people who is seldom sick and rarely sees a doctor. That being said, it does appear that what we think of as modern medicine often treats the symptoms rather than the cause of illness, leading people to other sources for relief. Whether or not alternative medicine is more effective than traditional treatment is not for me to say. It may well cure allergies, fatigue or infertility, but does it cure cancer? Quite honestly, I hope I don’t have to find out.
In my lifetime, advances in medicine have been significant and certainly the market is flooded with drugs, the warnings for which sound worse than the symptom they treat. While many people in this country take those drugs, I heard on a morning TV show discussing health issues that 80% of the world’s population relies on alternative medicine, including homeopathy and acupuncture, for their primary health care. That must give some cause for thought because more than half of the medical schools in this country are said to offer courses in alternative medicine as part of the curriculum. My chiropractor son-in-law refers to it as being one of the tools, along with traditional medicine, in a tool belt meant to keep people feeling their best.
Who knows where all the new information we are receiving will lead? Some of us will stay with practices that are familiar and comfortable while others will explore different avenues. As for me, I will do my best to prepare foods that nurture my family’s bodies and hope with many of the rest of you that I don’t have to go looking for answers related to my health.
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