Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nutritionists owe the coconut an apology!

When I came to this country, I was very skinny and very healthy. I was shocked when I learned in college nutrition classes that coconut oil wasn't good for me. When I was growing up nearly everything I ate was cooked with coconut oil!

[W]hile it is still uncertain whether coconut oil is actively beneficial the way olive oil is, small amounts probably are not harmful. The new federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that no more than 10 percent of total dietary calories a day come from saturated fat. For a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s about 20 grams.
I could have told them that. As a public health nurse, I should probably defend nutritionists. I should, but I cannot. Since I started working out regularly, I've learned more about nutrition from fitness trainers than I ever did in a college classroom.

What have I learned? I've learned that in most countries, the traditional dietary practices are almost always healthy and good for you. I've learned that the less time food spends being processed, the better it is for you. And I've learned not to eat anything with a lot fine print on the label.

Good food is made fresh, from fresh ingredients. You may have tried to stock up on True Thai takeout. If so, you've learned that Thai food is not meant to be kept in a refrigerator. Once prepared, it should be eaten, not stored.

I do not wish to be rude, but in my humble opinion, people who invented lard should not criticize other people's cooking oils.

Of course, it is easy to talk about fresh food when you are from a country where it never snows. Preservatives made life in the frozen north (and south) possible. But if you have a choice, always eat fresh foods because given a choice, wouldn't you rather live longer and be healthier?