Needed: A Health Wizard
There needs to be a Health Wizard to, once and for all, resolve some questions for us. Here is an example: Recently I saw someone eating from a bag of fried pork rinds. Now I don’t mind an occasional rind myself, about two a year, but that has always been classified in my mind as a guilty pleasure – with emphasis on the word “guilty.” This person, however, was exonerated from guilt because the pork rinds are OK’d by the Atkins Diet.
Potatoes, however, a source that provided sustenance for generations of Irish before the famine, as well as much of Europe, are forbidden.
There is more: By some accounts the banana is the healthiest food there is – a rich, dietary source of vitamins and potassium. Yet it was on the hit list of the Sugar Busters! diet – too much sugar. A few years ago, in two different parts of Uptown New Orleans, the Sugar Busters! docs were advising against the banana, while some Tulane research doctors were advocating the banana as a source of solving the world’s nutrition problems.
(Then there are sweet potatoes – really yams – which, despite their sugary name, are regarded as a top-notch nutritious food.)
Orange juice: According to the writing on the carton, the juice is rich in potassium and Vitamin C and “could” (they’re cautious about their wording here) contribute to a healthy heart. Great. I will take my chances. But then there are the choices between heavy pulp, moderate pulp or none. I asked a doctor friend which of the three is the best option. He thought a moment, smiled and answered, “probably get the heavy pulp, strain it, eat the pulp and throw away all that sugary juice.” Should I be having pork rinds for breakfast instead?
In this issue we continue our Top Doctors series. Among the specialty categories I propose that there be a “Wizards” group from which an all-knowing Super Wizard would emerge.
All of the confusion is enough to frazzle the nerves, for which my cure is that popular medicine of the 1990s: Merlot. The red grape properties, we were told, are good for the blood and hence the heart. Did someone say something about nitrates in the wine? I didn’t hear it – at least not until the Health Wizard tells me differently.