“I found myself in a ditch along the side of the road.”
So Ken told me, describing his trip to southern France to ride his bike along the French rural backroads.
“I was wheezing so bad, I could barely breathe. Next thing you know, I’m in the ditch, lying on my back. The doctor said I had asthma, so he gave me prescriptions for two inhalers.
“So I come back to the States and I see a pulmonologist here. He asks whether I’ve been evaluated for acid reflux that could have triggered the asthma. I tell him ‘no,” so he writes me a prescription for Aciphex to block the acid.
“I’m feeling better now except for the pain in my right knee. I’m thinking I might have to get it replaced.”
This conversation transpires while Ken walks the treadmill during his stress test, being performed to further evaluate his coronary disease. Due to an inherited predisposition to having oodles of small LDL particles, Ken has a lot of coronary atherosclerosis in his arteries.
“Gee, Ken,” I tell him, “asthma, acid reflux, knee arthritis. This sounds an awful lot like you’ve got a problem with wheat.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You already gave me that song and dance. But, you know, I figure: It’s not wise to eliminate an entire food group. My Mom always said: ‘Everything in moderation.’ ”
Personally, I prefer Oscar Wilde’s attitude: “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”
“Everything in moderation” is one of those nonsensical, meaningless mantras meant to provide solace to the indulgent masses, similar to “Everything will all be alright” and “We all make mistakes.” Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but everything won’t always be alright and we all do indeed make mistakes, but this provides no justification for the specific mistake in question. The Huffington Post may be many things to many people, but they certainly have impeccable timing; here’s their post for The ‘Everything in Moderation’ Myth.
The “excess” I had in mind, of course, is the complete elimination of a “food group.” Who said wheat and other grains constituted a food group, anyway? What if I fail to recognize something that is tantamount to a human poison as a food group and regard it as a contaminant instead? Is hydrogenated cottonseed oil okay in moderation? How about agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup? How about teosinte, modified via centuries of hybridization to create modern corn, now carrying genes from other plants, such as Bt toxin or wheat germ agglutin, inserted by geneticists? Does corn occupy a special “food group,” too? Just because something has been consumed for centuries does not justify its continued consumption in light of new scientific insights. And what if the food group in question has undergone extensive and uncharted genetic changes at the hands of geneticists?
So Ken has acid reflux, asthma, coronary disease, all being “treated” with a panel of medications. Why not just treat it with the elimination of the food group that causes this specific collection of abnormal health conditions, namely wheat?
“Everything in moderation” makes as much sense as justifying a fatality caused while driving drunk as “just a mistake.” Everything in moderation is definitely not okay. It is a silly notion that, like other outdated notions, will fall by the wayside as yet another form of nutritional roadkill.