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My View: Take dietary rules with a grain of salt

By Marge McMillen

As a child, I remember hearing my finger-wagging mother warning me, “Do you know what’s good for you?”

Obviously I didn’t, and even now, in my eighth decade, I’m afraid I still don’t.

Back then, eggs were deemed a healthy food. Everyone ate them for breakfast, preferably fried in the yummy grease of the accompanying bacon.

In fact, when I was 19 years old, I was in an automobile accident. I suffered a broken jaw that refused to heal. So the doctor ordered me to drink three eggnogs a day, with two raw eggs in each glass, as a means of ingesting large quantities of protein. That was six raw eggs a day for three months! (By the way, my jaw still wouldn’t heal, so scratch eggs as a viable medicine.)

Some years later, we were awakened to the harsh reality that eggs and bacon were bad for you. In addition, there was the added danger of salmonella poisoning from raw eggs. So don’t even think of licking that spoon coated with cake batter or cookie dough.

We all took note and diligently switched to eating cereal for breakfast, and tried our best to resist licking that dangerous spoon.

As the years rolled by, we were further educated to the fact that butter was now the enemy. Oh, my goodness, all that cholesterol. What were we thinking?

So, like lemmings, we followed our leaders’ advice and switched to margarine. Whew, close call.

And not only that, but whole milk was now the one out to get us. We were told we must revert to that weak, watery version of milk labeled “skim.” We did just that, even though it took many weeks to adjust to that much-diluted flavor.

What else could we be doing wrong? It turns out the answer to that is drinking water. Yes, that most necessary element of life. We were advised that tap water was to be avoided; only bottled water taken from fresh, clear springs would do.

Imagine my horror when I realized I’ve been drinking that dangerous tap water for over eight decades.

We were grateful that those in the know were graciously sharing their knowledge with us in an effort to grant us a long and healthy life. We silently thanked them for publishing these facts, blindly accepting all of this information as the truth.

Ah, but wait. Fast forward a few more years. Suddenly it seems that eggs are good for you. They are full of protein, and are listed on a healthy diet if you don’t overdo it.

Not only that, but skim milk has lost its star quality as well. It seems there is so little difference in the fat content of whole milk versus skim, that whole milk is now the favored drink.

And not to be outdone, butter is currently the preferred spread over margarine.

And to top it all off, tap water is now the favored health drink. Researchers have discovered that it contains more of the things that are good for you, including fluoride, than bottled water. And besides – don’t tell – but some of that expensive bottled water is really just tap water put in a bottle.

Well, as mentioned, I obviously don’t know what is good for me. Yet somehow, in spite of my lack of knowledge, I have miraculously managed to live into my mid-80s. I can only hope you all fare as well.

Bon appétit!

Marge McMillen, who lives in East Amherst, enjoys the arts – theater, music and dancing – as well as reading and writing.
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