Most of us, or at least a good portion of us, grow up with traditional thoughts about what we eat. Often we start out early learning about food from our caregivers, and then by and large from school, both formally through health class and the food pyramid, and informally in the lunchroom.
You may be in the lunch room, and Mom packed your lunch for you. So you open up the lunch box, bag, or what have you, and begin to explore the options. Let’s see a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a Ziploc smorgasbord of various goods; Ritz crackers, carrot sticks, Oreo’s and something you can’t quite identify although you think it’s leftover from the visit with Grandma the other day. Immediately you begin if not with actual physical placement on the table in front of you, then in your mind, the prioritization of consumption, (I believe every one does this either consciously or subconsciously). First obviously goes the Oreo’s, no explanation needed, next will vary by individual preferences, and finally, either the carrot sticks or the unknown from Grandma’s being placed last on the list. On occasion you will meet a kid who puts carrot sticks at the top of the list, personally I think if you looked back at his or her day of birth you would find that their “billy rubin” counts were way out of whack!
The next stage in the lunch process is the neighborhood scan. Come on you remember, the eyes dancing around to all those sitting next to you to determine what may be on the table for entrance into the trading wars. Hey, you with the brownie, I’ll give you half a PB and J sandwich, a Ziploc surprise(notice the intentional slant on surprise as if to intimate it may be something good) and all my carrot sticks for half your brownie, (nowadays with internet savvy we have all the kids billy rubin counts before we enter the trading room floor). By the end of lunch the total nutritional intake is probably equivalent to the spare tire on a Studebaker. ( I know some of you are saying, “What’s a Studebaker?).
All this to say that some of our ideas and beliefs about nutrition may be more than a little misconceived. I am not saying we are clueless, although I was, and I am not saying we need to go back to school on what we should eat, but I sure needed some lessons. Frankly, for most of us, until or unless we run in to some problem physically, our nutritional intake isn’t high on the priority list.
What bothers me deeply are a couple of things, one, why did it have to take a crisis for me to wake up and care about getting some answers, and two, how can I help others avert a crisis with some answers in advance? Or can I? Would I have listened to someone before my crisis, probably not. Why not, is it just the human condition that we have to learn the hard way? My quest is to un-learn what I learned in the lunch room and to find any one else willing to learn with me.