Moderation

I heard it said again: “I am not one of those with celiac disease, but I quit eating gluten and now I feel so much better.”

This time the words came from one of my more sensible, logical friends, an attorney who often calls for her friends to notch it down, chill out or practice “this, too, shall pass.”

Tracy is the last person I suspected would surrender to the “no gluten” movement. She’s doing it as part of an 80/20 commitment toward better nutrition.

She said giving up grain in the morning was tough – as tough as getting rid of the coffee pot.

Does she drink coffee? Yes, but only one cup a day.

Does she eat bread? Yes, but only if there is absolutely no other food choice at a meal – maybe a couple times a month.

Out went the last of the processed foods from her family’s food pantry. With her exercise regimen are shakes made of things never meant to be blended, I told her.

That’s OK. She wasn’t going to get kale down her throat any other way, she admitted.

We stopped short of discussing the big buzz among foodies across the nation: Stanford’s organic vs. conventionally grown study, released several weeks ago. Bottom line? Organically grown is no more nutritional than conventionally grown, when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

I can’t recall how many newspaper accounts I’ve read of that study which noted that organics have lower pesticide levels, but little else. The same study noted that pesticide levels in conventionally grown were still significantly lower than the EPA standard for safe consumption. The most important predictor of high nutritional value has to do with the time it takes to get the food from the field to the table.

That makes sense to me.

It’s what you learn in Nutrition 101. Vitamin content diminishes the more time you fiddle with fresh – whether it’s because the spinach is immersed in boiling water or it’s sitting in a box under the grocery store’s produce shelf.

Tracy, a Wyoming farmer’s daughter who, in her youth, routinely tucked away money earned working a roadside corn stand each summer, always maintained that science would eventually expose the “eat only organic” movement as just another successful marketing coup.

I need to have that conversation with this political moderate who practices a modified Paleo diet and a commitment to good eating, daily exercise and as little drama as possible.