Jul 13, 2016

What We Eat

In a health column in a frum publication, written by a "certified Health Coach," Rivka Segal, the author says when she was studying to become a health coach, the school curriculum intentionally taught them conflicting dietary theories.  One week they learned about a carb-free, high protein diet and the next week they'd learn about a high carb diet.  Each course was taught by an expert in the field, often the founder of that diet.

Each time, the presentation was so convincing, that is, until the next class.  She says, "The purpose .. was to teach us that with diet and nutrition, there are no absolutes, and there is no one right way to eat."

It's "eating relativity" in which everyone can be right, and it's whatever works for you.

I find this troubling and I'm not sure it's true.  Granted, there can be differences between people in what they can and should eat and avoid, but aren't there general principles that apply to the majority of people? The Rambam thought so.  He even included his dietary guidelines in his Mishna Torah!

I found this anecdote she related quite interesting.  She spoke with someone whose daughter has Crohn's disease.  The mother said that a top doctor told her daughter not to discuss her condition with anyone.  Why? Not because of secrecy but because every patient's experience with Crohn's is different and what is helpful to one is not to another.  He felt that talking to others about their approach would be confusing and overwhelming and he encouraged her to figure out what works for her body.

She concludes by saying there are some general guidelines like we should avoid sugar, caffeine and processed food, and that we can all benefit from regular exercise, reducing stress, and drinking more water, but what about salt, coffee, eggs, butter, margarine, meat, whole milk and on and on? We read conflicting information on these items.  Are there no definitive answers?

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