Monday, May 19, 2008

Decluttering the advice

I've really been enjoying reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories". I've got a passion for health reading. I like medical memoirs, books on the science behind weight gain/loss and general health. This book is especially interesting because the author agenda is the truth--he went into the research curious, open-minded, but not particularly biased toward either the "fat is bad" or the "carbs are bad" theories. Hence, his survey of the research is especially worthwhile. It's a real eye-opener to read how easily a charismatic, passionate medical researcher convinced the U.S. government to adopt dietary standards, even while the existing research was actually inconclusive.

So what does this mean for one in practical "what should I eat today" terms? Well, Taubes' book is not a diet book. He has no lengthy recipe section at the back as do so many books on diet and health. His book is purely about the science and to a lesser degree, the politics of the study of diet on human health. One would need to read his survey and then extrapolate from that what one should consider eating.

Learning that the fat hypothothis was essentially full of bunk stunned me. For so many years, we've been told to cut down on fat, especially saturated fat. A whole industry arose to provide low-fat and fat-free snacks (and again, recently, to provide ones artificially low in "carbs"). I think the real answer is to look back to our ancestors, to the rise of agriculture and to evolution.

But back to the kitchen. We're still slowly restocking it, and I have not yet tackled the cook books. I purged them a while ago, selling the ones that I never even looked through for ideas. I'm sure I can let go of more. I want just enough for one shelf in one cupboard. I want to keep them behind a cupboard door; I hate that they get grease residue on them from cooking. I do have a few "diety" cookbooks that I can let go of. Really, all one needs is the Joy of Cooking, any edition, and a few specialty books for the cuisines not fully represented there (Chinese, Thai, Indian, Greek).

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