Thursday, March 24, 2011

Broken Parts of the Whole

Let's consider a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the staple diet of some childhood food phases. The thing that makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich so good is the complete experience. A bit of soft white bread, crusts included. A thin and perfectly even layer of crunchy peanut butter. A huge glob of strawberry preserves (so much so that it drips out when you take a bite). Cut in half. That was my perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich - and yours was probably slighty different.

Now, let's consider the parts on their own. Soft white bread? Not bad, though pretty boring all alone. Crunchy peanut butter? It tastes good but it makes your mouth all sticky and then you need to drink lots of milk. And strawberry preserves? Yes, yummy but go ahead and eat a big giant spoonful on its own. Blech!

The sandwich is so good because all of the parts work so well together. Same goes with much of our food. Milk is a great example. Whole, pure (and raw) milk is delicious and healthy because it has all of its parts intact. Oranges as well. A whole orange is a much better choice than many beverages contained in packages and labeled "orange juice."

Our food is grown as a whole and complete system. That whole and complete system is part mystery and part beauty. Even with our scientific acumen, we still do not understand the nature of the parts (nutrients, fiber, natural sugar, vitamins) contained in foods. It is not so much that we cannot separate and catalogue the parts; it is because we can't really tell how, or why, the parts work so well together when they are together.

Just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is at its best when it is all together, so is the rest of your food. Eat things as they grow in nature. Doing so simply removes a whole bunch of guess work, by you and your body.

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