Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whatever crops up locally is good for your health

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I have a growing suspicion that it is impossible to eat "correctly". For example, it is right to eat fruit. But the issue is, should we eat fruit when hungry, or not? The common view goes that eating fruit after meal helps digestion, while doing so before a meal could cause stomachache.

But a so-called "Dr. Poison-Discharger", whose books are popular these days suggests otherwise. He says that fruits are absorbed in the small intestines and they don't play any role in digestion if eaten after a meal.

Do we need grains? This is another question. The "Dr." says we should eat grains and abstain from animal protein and fat, since the latter have complex hormones and introduce poisons and free radicals - something that leads to more rubbish in our bodies.

However, another popular "Dr.", who advocates that we should be our own doctors, wrote something else: Even when you are very hungry, don't eat staple foods, go for red jujube, nuts and longan, which he says helps the mysterious qi, a vital energy in traditional Chinese medicine.

To make matters more confusing, another book about yoga and diet says there is no relationship between cardio-vascular diseases and foods with a lot of sugar, fat and protein.

This author supports his theory by referring to an Italian family whose many members have lived beyond 100. Although dishes with a lot of fat and protein, such as Italian sausage, are served at every meal, no one in the family has suffered from cardio-vascular disease.

This author says there are categories - including wind, fire and Earth - for dietary balance, adding that everyone's category is settled at the moment of conception, determined by the parents' physical and spiritual conditions, as well as the area's geological features. Hence while most people don't benefit from greasy food, the Italian family seems to thrive on it.

The first "Dr." raised a theory that coincides with the yoga author's view. The "Dr." calls on readers to eat only fruits, vegetables and grains produced locally and in season. He says such food can be medicine to prevent diseases that occur during that season.

Fruits, vegetables and grains have memories, or so says the "Dr.". Since they keep records of the temperature, sunlight and humidity during their growth, humans who eat such foods will adapt to the local climate and other natural conditions.

I'm no doctor, but I'm a bold reader. So I tried using my new knowledge to explain why a man in his 100s is enjoying sound health despite a history of smoking for 80 years.

One: The old man lives on the Chengdu Plain of Southwest China, where tobacco has been planted for 350 years and most of the country's cigars are produced. Hence, according to these authors, people in that area actually need a smoke to remain healthy.

Two: The old man also loves drinking 200 grams of strong liquor every day. His daughter, who neither smoked nor drank, passed away eight years ago. Therefore, some families need smoking and drinking to maintain their vital energy.

Wow, what wonderful books I am reading. It seems it's safe to eat whatever I like.

(China Daily 11/18/2008 page20)

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