I love broccoli buttered, roasted, cheese-smothered or raw. Its one of my favorite vegetables.
Some people (President George H.W. Bush is a famous example) hate it, and I never understood why until I read a scientific explanation.
Broccoli contains a substance that binds to taste buds of a certain type, triggering a bitter taste. People born with lots of those taste buds hate broccoli and cant understand why some people like it.
People born with few or none dont experience the bitterness, love broccoli and cant understand why some people hate it.
Broccoli loathing doesnt indicate a disdain for a healthy diet. Its not a moral issue (Dont waste food. Think of the starving children in Africa, mothers say). Its not a result of bad parenting. My daughter, who was impeccably raised, eats broccoli grudgingly and only when smothered in cheese sauce and topped with crunchy, buttery crumbs (my mouth is watering).
I wonder if the liking or disdain for alcoholic beverages has a similar, as-yet-undiscovered basis.
I hate booze. It all tastes bad, and I detest the effects. I feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. Who the heck likes feeling dizzy and sick to their stomach?
I drank occasionally, early on when I was in college. I was young, stupid, invulnerable and eager to fit in and make friends. I got drunk once, went to sleep and ran my car into a power pole. Lucky I (or somebody else) wasnt killed. I never again drank more than a glass, and its been many years since Ive touched a drop.
My choice to abstain has nothing to do with health concerns, morality or parenting, though I was raised by teetotalers. It doesnt have much to do with all the alcohol-related deaths Ive seen (I still drive as fast as I can get away with because Im an impatient, Type A personality). Its mostly that I just dont like the stuff. Im blessed with a brain neurochemistry that doesnt interact with alcohol molecules in a way I perceive as pleasurable.
A lot of people think alcohol or at least the stuff that flavors alcoholic beverages tastes great. They perceive the effects as pleasant, uplifting, even euphoric, and worth the aftereffects of headachy, nauseated hangovers. Many we call alcoholics behave as if overindulgence is worth the lost jobs, broken relationships, devastated families, wrecked health and jail terms.
How crazy is that?
On average, one-third of the deaths I investigate are a direct or indirect consequence of substance abuse. A majority of those who die violently by accident, suicide or homicide are under the influence. Families often tell me they cant understand why their drunken loved one did such a stupid or risky or illegal thing.
I understand why. Like illegal, mind-altering drugs, alcohol is a brain-frying poison.
One of the saddest things about alcoholism is that the people who most need to understand that are the very ones whose chemically altered brains are least able to see it.
email@example.com. Dr. Carol J. Huser, a forensic pathologist, has served as La Plata County coroner since January 2003.