Isn’t it confusing? What is good for you and what’s bad for you? It seems to change on the daily. Thankfully I’ve got a simple rule you can use that will work in every case to help you know for sure what is good and what is bad.
It’s really easy.
There are no good foods and there are no bad foods.
Isn’t it nice to have that settled? OK let’s unpack that a bit.
Paracelsus said something along the lines of: “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing, not a poison.”
Did you know that water can be fatal when you drink too much? It’s a sad fraternity hazing practice that has hopefully gone by the wayside. Young kids, almost always boys would push each other to drink 6+ quarts of water as a stunt. Apparently, if you survive you feel dizzy and out of it, somewhat inebriated. The danger is that your blood electrolytes can get so diluted that they’re unable to allow for basic functions like control of heart rate.
A flipside, did you know that some of the healthiest foods are good for us because they’re poisonous? It’s true. A classic example would be the indole compounds in broccoli. Believe it or not, indoles are pesticides that the plant makes by itself.
If we got a big dose of them right into our bloodstream they would kill us just like DDT would.
But the tiny amounts we find in foods seem to ramp up our own defenses in ways that are useful for cancer prevention and detoxification.
Are food allergies and intolerances different? Of course, you can’t ignore reactions to foods that cause you symptoms. However, research has shown that even in the cases of life-threatening nut allergies, tiny amounts may be helpful.
Studies have shown that desensitizing with oral sublingual immunotherapy can work. We expect to have versions of this treatment available for clinical use soon. They have also shown that children who are exposed to peanuts later in life are more prone to be allergic than those who eat even tiny amounts at earlier ages.
Let’s move out of the trap of thinking about foods as either good or bad. The very things we think are good can be harmful if we get too much and the things we think of as bad may be good for us if we get just a little.
I also think it is healthier psychologically to approach food with thoughts like ‘how much is best’, rather than ‘is this bad?’
To your health,