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2007-10-31 / Loose Ends

Loose Ends

Will eating brussels sprouts make me a better person?
Susan Nienow

The latest book that promises to change my life is all about eating - what to eat, what combinations to eat, what supplements to take. In the end, I should look younger, happier, slimmer and have red hair. Well, it doesn't specifically promise all of that.

I am really trying to eat a balanced, healthy diet - if I only knew what that was. Yesterday I read another article about eating by color - the brighter, the better - red peppers, orange squash and pumpkins, dark green leafy stuff and colorful fruits. I went out to lunch last week and almost left without ordering. Brown was the color of the day - burgers any way you want them - and if I wanted meatless, they would substitute a giant mushroom for the meat. So far I haven't read anything that praised the nutritional benefits of mushrooms. The red was spaghetti/marinara sauce. Forget orange. Yellow was the funny looking sauce on the rice.

I keep reading. Nutritionally speaking, raw beats cooked, but if I am buying from a grocery store, then generally canned beats raw. Apparently, canning factories are located next to the bean field so they can shoot the beans from the field into the cans within 20 minutes of picking.

Another chapter addresses the cooked/raw issue. When some things are cooked, the vitamins escape into the air where they end up in my ductwork and other times, they languish in the water the veggies are cooked in. So, my question is: can the vitamins escaping in the steam be captured, or are they gone forever?

On to the tricky issue of caffeine. I like it myself. It gets my brain in gear in the morning, but I cut off the supply by 3 p.m. so I can sleep at night. The book is a bit ambiguous on the subject. Apparently, the editors also drink coffee and are reluctant to commit on this controversial subject. So I read into the message what I want - I can still have my morning coffee.

A touchy subject is the organic/non-organic issue. According to a recent news story, some fruits and vegetables retain more of the chemicals added such as fertilizer and pest control than others. It included a list of the worst "offenders," which I clipped out and shoved in the drawer with the list of vegetables with important micronutrients, the list of fruits with the least amount of fructose (sugar) and the list of micronutrients that are now declared necessary for a rat to live a healthy, prosperous life.

I remember the apple trees we had when I was growing up. No artificial anything on them so the apples were small, sometimes occupied by a worm or two, and all of the ones on the ground had one bite taken out of them. The dog took on the job of royal taster.

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