Vegetable Week: Curse of the Health Nazis

One of the worst aspects of our modern society is that we constantly are hectored and beset by the well-meaning yet firm advice of so-called experts on all manners of personal choices that used to be left up to individuals to decide — such as what to eat. The news is filled with all kinds of “studies” that tell us what is good for us and what is not. “Nutritionists,” “healthy living” activists, vegans, and other zealots feel free to lecture us about why we are making “bad choices.”

When you’ve lived long enough, and pay any kind of attention to the news, you come to realize that many of the studies turn out to be wrong, and the “conventional wisdom” often is misguided. The first “health scares” I recall hearing about as a kid involved cyclamates and “red dye no. 2,” both of which were found to be harmless in later studies. We have heard that salt might be good, neutral, or bad; we’ve changed the “food pyramid”; we’ve countlessly revisited whether drinking milk is healthy or not; and we’ve made countless other modifications in “recommended” food choices as new “studies” have been published that contradicted the allegedly scientific “studies” that were published only a few years earlier. Junkfood science is an interesting website the debunks some of the prevailing views on food choices, including the recent “study” that was reported as indicating that diets with red meat are linked with decreased life expectancy.

So, don’t cite a bunch of studies in arguing that I should eat vegetables rather than meats, grains, and cheeses. My view is just that people should be free to make their own decisions, without having to endure the criticisms of sanctimonious advocates. If you actually want to eat slimy vegetables rather than a juicy cheeseburger for lunch, that’s fine by me. Just don’t tell me that I am making unwise health choices, or act like you are holier than thou because you picking something disgusting to eat rather than something delicious.