Friday, July 31, 2009


Organic food has no health benefits, study finds

there's the scene in woody allen's sleeper when he discovers after being reanimated in the future that everything that was supposed to be bad for him nutritionally was in fact good for him. chocolate, red meat, tobacco were all consumed w/great gusto in the future w/science's blessings.

then, there was a perfectly intelligent law professor on retreat at the nyingma institute who insisted that tofu gave him an energy rush akin to crystal meth. no amount of proof could convince him that protein didn't bring massive energy jolts to his slowed down system. protein makes sure the system stays together & runs efficiently; carbs will give you the energy jolt. "not for me," this guy insisted.

unfortunately for me, this guy wasn't alone w/his food nuttiness at the institute. for nearly 10 years as cook, i dealt w/some of the weirdest &, in most cases, flat-out wrong food obsessions you could imagine. normally intelligent people were reduced to cave-dwelling neanderthals when you'd try to explain their weight loss or gain(radically altered metabolisms due to the retreat)or the non-magic properties of tofu or the absence of evil in nightshade vegetables or the lack of insidious intent in gluten. talk about anthropomorphizing & the pathetic fallacy!

w/all this craziness flying around, it was pretty easy to be convinced of ideas that seemed to make sense. take, for example, the superiority of organic foods. i had no problem w/this idea at all except when it came to paying for it. i was on a pretty strict budget for the first couple of years at the institute & organic vegetables could sometimes be double the price of non-organic veggies. early on, i did what i could but later, when i had more to spend, i did the organic thing almost exclusively. i don't regret it & don't feel particularly duped. i imagine folks who avoided wheat products for years, denying themselves one of the great simple eating pleasures we humans have, feel pretty silly as they butter up their toast nowadays(which is NOT to say that, maybe, one of the obsessed didn't end up being a legit celiac).

there's a scene early on in todd haynes' movie, safe, where a young woman who's been having undiagnosable physical symptoms goes to a "safe retreat" for folks suffering from the same problems she has. it appears that something in her environment is causing her problems. her initial encounter at the retreat is w/a creature(no other way of describing it)in a hazmat suit, screaming at her for polluting its space. until coming to the retreat, her symptoms had been nose bleeds & fainting. haynes doesn't make any overt judgments in the film but in the end, the young woman has become a hazmat wearing crazy too. it appears, in the end, that the world itself is causing her problems. i thought of this movie many many times dealing w/the crazier folks at the institute.

this bit of news really shouldn't surprise anyone. close reading softens the initial claim, though. for example, the researchers didn't test for pesticides(which canNOT be good for humans, period). furthermore, they didn't take taste into consideration. there would also be a larger consideration of ecological impact which isn't considered either. still, science seems to have lurched minimally closer to allen's sleeper position.

forget the sprouts, you gotta marlboro?


Blue Train said...


I never put much stock in the nutritional claims for organics; it seems to me that the selling point has always been the lack of chemical nasties from pesticides.

Blogger said...

Are you paying more than $5 per pack of cigs? I'm buying high quality cigarettes over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 70% on cigarettes.