Is any food actually good for us?

In the second decade of the 21st century, when science and technology have advanced to levels only barely imaginable a few centuries earlier, the issue of what we eat and drink is very puzzling indeed.

I have been researching a little bit about what is on my normal food consumption:

As a way of example, my plate has been emptied very gleefully at my lunch, and the contents of it were a nice spaghetti pasta salad, cold as befits summer; there was some chicken, nicely chopped in little bits, plus carrots, coriander and some sweet and sour sauce. Not too much, just enough to make it tasty.

I eat as healthy as my wife can manage it or I can find when travelling, with a view to being as strong as possible, since I like to 'make the most of life'. I tend to limit the amount of sugar added to my stuff, don't put too much salt or sauces on things and do not eat red meat. As well, I am the proverbial 'moderate drinker' and I sleep reasonably normal hours.

Apart from that, I take my vitamins and exercise, at least 3 times a week, and for a total of about 5 hours. That tends to come in the form of going to the gym and attending spinning classes or doing my own thing with weights and treadmills, plus my newest favourite, the wall, which I try to climb whenever it is available.

One significant change in this past year has been the limiting of my fruit consumption, as well as how much fruit juices I drink. I don't eat too many fruits – in fact I only have up to two pieces of it a day, as recommended by my nutritionist.

All in all, I am trying to run my body with the same care as I would run a Lamborghini or Ferrari or a fine piece of jewellery such as a fine Cartier watch. Better still, I should run my body even more carefully, because it, together with my brain, can help me to get as many top toys and earthly goodies as I care to have, but no amount of earthly goodies could help me to get a new body and certainly not another mind. Not legally or ethically, anyhow.

But, I digress.

What food is good for us was the initial question. To me, most things in nature should be good for us. The best way to go about it should be getting things into us that are fit for the fittest of the fit, the most royal of all royals, given that each and every one of us is equally deserving of good health and total well-being. Not being facetious, we need to love our bodies to the healthiest it can be.

In order to achieve that, people should eat foods which are as close to their natural state as possible, by that I mean that we should try and eat more raw vegetables, green leaved stuff and unprocessed cereals and even when we things like consume meat or fish, that should not be overcooked to a point that most nutrients are taken out of it.

By the way, I am not a nutritionist or health care professional, so no claims in that regard in this post. But what I am is an athlete at heart, have been practising my running and a little cycling since I was a kid and have enjoyed outstanding health and vitality. In my 'career' I have participated in full-distance marathons in Europe, Australia, and South America. In addition, I have run and cycled in all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. I've run over mountains and deserts, with thousands of people or with only my thoughts for company. Throw into the mix a few triathlons and a few hundred football matches and my sporting history is complete.

Eating well is, therefore, a subject very close to my heart, because I do use my body a lot, and never leave my mind idle. It stands to reason that both should be carefully fed and hydrated. The trigger for writing this blog was the fact that I was 'looking for breakfast cereals with four letters' to complete my password puzzle. From that it made me consider what was in the food I eat in the morning.

A look into my cereal box and the make up of the goodies therein brought me to write the consumption of sugar. The first question that turned up in my mind was: What is sugar good for. I started by refining that question into 'what does sugar do the body' and the answers found so far will make sure that the little white substance stays as far away from me as I can keep it.

My readings showed me that refined sugar has a very bad effect on the body, leading to anything from gum diseases to overweight to diabetes, and that it is unnatural, as we were never meant to take it the way it is presented to us in its refined form, rather sugar should be taken as it occurs naturally in the food we eat.

One thing I certainly did not know was that sugar cane is refined the same way that they refine opium, and that the end products of both are additive and harmful to us, only one is illegal and the other is not, but perhaps both should be.

To balance this, though, it is necessary to find out what is sugar good for, when we consume it. Being totally un-scientific, here is what I think it does:

  1. For one thing, it makes things taste good, or so we think. We have been conditioned since our earliest age to crave the sweetness on things.
  2. It gives energy. Sure it doesn't last, but it gives that burst that can be the difference between finishing a long run and petering out till the end, dreading each step taken.

  1. Even the derivatives of the word sugar are associated with things dear to us and great to have in our lives:

    1. When someone likes another person, they tend to call them sweetie, sugar, honey… all bringing feelings of love, niceness and comfort.
    2. We tend to call kids sweetie-pie (well, probably not as much as in these days, mostly the old sixties' songs we find now and then) if they are nice, or when we want to be nice to them; also, we give them candy aplenty if they're behaving well. Then we get cross if they go hyper on us.

Perhaps that needs to be reassessed in the future, given that sugar has such damaging effects in the human body, and mind. Calling someone sugar may not be a nice thing after all.

This is where I am forced to leave this for the moment. To be complete, I should research what sugar is actually good for and come back to write a post about it. It will come soon enough. In the meantime, easy on the stuff, it is addictive and the evidence is that it is not good for you, even though it does taste that way.