After years of hearing how great grains are for health and how awful red meat is, I see that the diet mythologists are busy discovering and deciphering a new Dead Sea Scrolls of holy food. Grain is a culprit now, sending us to early graves. Two popular recent books proclaim the gluten-free road to immortality: Wheat Belly and Grain Brain. Both suggest that we are eating too many carbohydrates— too much bread, pasta, and potatoes. What flabbergasted me was the advice in Grain Brain: eat more high fat foods like meat and less grain. The brain needs more cholesterol and fewer carbohydrates.
If so, why am I not a genius? I have been eating a diet high in fats for 80 years now. Evidently the only reason my brilliance doesn’t rise to the surface for all to appreciate is because I cancelled out the good effects of butter and meat with tons of high-carbohydrate potatoes, pasta and bread. The only thing that saved me from sinking into total insanity was that I drenched the carbohydrates in gallons of greasy fat meat gravy.
But I should not make fun of these anti-grain books. I know of a guy who overdosed on bread and it wasn’t funny. In our boarding school cafeteria, we could always get second, third, and fourth helpings of white bread after we gulped down the main meal. We always thought we were close to starvation and so we filled up on Wonder bread. If a teacher pointed out the possible dangers of hogging down all that dough, our answer was “better bread than dead.” One of the guys began stowing away half a loaf or more for dessert after every meal, smearing the slices with jelly or when that ran out, with mustard or ketchup which were also always available for some reason known only to the gods of boarding schools. Finally the dough balled up in his stomach so badly that he ended up in the hospital. Wonders of Wonder, he lived to be 80.
The things I should not eat, or eat only a little of, have been accumulating since the 1950s. If you are as old as I am, you remember it all started with cranberries. Why cranberries were thought to cause cancer I can’t remember. Then came the big outburst against eggs: they’d kill us with high cholesterol. Along about that same time, cream and butter became food porn. Then the guns of food mythology trained their sights on meat. From eating fat red meat, we would all die of plugged arteries long before we could retire and die of trying to live on Social Security and zero interest on our savings. Switching to fish might not help because it could be soaked in mercury. With grains and potatoes now added to the list of poisons, not to mention refined sugar and corn syrup, only fruits and green vegetables remain sacrosanct, if you can find some not infected with salmonella. But my doctor once advised me not to eat grocery greens because they might be sprayed with something that makes them glisten on the shelf as if dewy fresh. That fake dew might be why I was suffering from irritated bowel syndrome, he said. Actually I think my bowel problems were coming from worrying about eating meat, sea food, cream, candy, bread, butter, and pasta, or becoming an alcoholic because red wine was the only healthful liquid left. Even water was dangerous.
Now it appears that our heavenly homemade bread is verboten because it comes from modern wheat varieties that we get from our neighbors. I say phooey. Better dead than giving up Carol’s bread.