Everything in moderation - damn hard to achieve where food is concerned.
Fri, 15 September, 2017
Someone from my locality was looking for Facebook recommendations of a café that served dairy and gluten free cakes. I responded asking whether such things would still be cakes and - wouldn't you know - all hell broke loose. I was thumped with lactose intolerance and stabbed repeatedly with gluten allergy. I was asked rhetorically if I could even imagine what misery it was to be lumbered with one – or both – of those afflictions and might have been threatened with bodily harm or worse except at that point I switched off notifications.
I really thought this nonsense has kicked the bucket by now, as authentic intolerance (which I respect) affects about 1% of the world population. I thought the latest curio fads, FODMAP (really. REALLY?) and ketogenic something or other were thankfully so complicated even very keen millennials wouldn’t get the gist readily. The Guardian article that the above image comes from reports on the research finding correlations between gluten free diet (shall we call it gluten-deprived?) and weight gain. But no – take a look at Instagram or the food porn sites and you’ll find they’re still choc-full of quinoa, chia and avocado. Even sensible people like Nigella or Jamie Oliver occasionally feature coconut oil or kale. Why? Indeed – because we’re all hypocrites who succumb to demand. I have posted a smoothie with chia seeds myself – guilty as charged.
I just constantly wonder why there aren’t more sensible, moderate people (like me! like me!) who will cook at home and bake their own bread but are not averse to or horrified at an odd supermarket loaf if time and willingness are precious. Extremists rule – from the sourdough fascists who won’t even look at a bread recipe if it contains the word ‘yeast’ (let alone the sub-sect of gluten free ultras) to the opposite end of the spectrum where mums happily chuck multipacks of Walkers and trays of microwaveable pasta into trolleys. And talking about mums – there are those who claim their 22-month-old (whatever happened to years as a unit of counting age?) is ‘dairy and gluten-free’, those who proudly and too loudly announce to the whole world that little Archie ‘loves kimchi’ and the ones who will ask their offspring whether they’d prefer sausages and chips or chicken nuggets off the restaurant menu, while having a balanced meal of steak and salad themselves.
The key really lies in moderation – pan metron ariston, everything in moderation as the ancient Greeks used to wisely say. The key to healthy weight, the key to wellness and above all to the joy of living. Moderation is the most difficult aim to achieve, not only, but especially when eating is concerned. I gasp when I see the #tasty videos featuring meatball pizzas, onion-soup-stuffed cheeseburger sliders, meatloaf stuffed with mac n cheese, donuts filled with cookie dough and burger cheesecake pasta casseroles (I made the last one up but you just wait…). But I also gasp when I see perfectly healthy people consciously depriving themselves of whole groups of food without any medical or otherwise scientific justification. Everything to do with food is in a constant seesaw: gluttony and excess at holiday time followed by so called ‘detox’ and diets; of which the stupid 5:2 plays havoc with your poor body never knowing if it will or won’t get sufficient sustenance. There is either food snobbery or food mindlessness; food as a lifestyle or food as fuel. There is obesity and eating disorders; there are hundreds of cookery shows and record-breaking sales of ready meals; there are incredibly talented chefs and new Maccy Ds springing up. There is appalling waste and malnutrition.
The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being's difficulty in coming to virtuous balance with himself. Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love