Saturday, November 22, 2008


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I like reading old magazine articles since the people writing them have no perspective. They don't know what's going to come, what will be learned, how their subject will be viewed. So, reading them, you get a better idea of what people originally thought, without the gloss.

I recently watched a DVD of old Dick Cavett shows and saw someone I hadn't heard of--Adelle Davis. She was a major food guru in the early 70s. Checking up on her via the internet, I was a bit surprised to learn she was still controversial. Anyway, it was fun to hear nutritional folk wisdom back then.

A lot of what she said made sense--for example, avoid processed and refined foods. Perhaps it's just common sense. Some of what she said is still questionable--she favored large doses of Vitamin C. (According to some websites, she also favored large doses of other supplements like Vitamins A and D, which is definitely bad.)

Sometimes she just seemed wrong. She was against chemical fertilizers, but they've made food cheap and plentiful for a world that Adelle's contemporaries were predicting would see shortages. And with what we know now, Adelle's enthusiasm for getting rid of DDT may have been deadly.

Worst of all, she claimed all those chemicals would soon destroy our topsoil. I remember hearing about this as a kid and worrying. I have to ask, what happened to all the disaster that was predicted--all the vast areas of farmland that would no longer produce?

Then there's things she said which are the reason I love to hear old stuff. You realize some things never change. The latest generation is always out of control. Popular entertainment is always too dirty and violent. Everything is always at crisis level.

According to Adelle, because of the evil "food industry," people are eating worse than ever. Perhaps it was true then--perhaps now--so I guess we're lucky that life expectancy keeps going up anyway. You'd think people would be dropping dead on the streets.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not finding that our food is making us healthier. We live longer for many reasons -- e.g. medicines that cures diseases that used to kill people young. But our food habits seem to be making us fatter and less healthy as a whole. I'm concerned that this may be particularly true among poorer people who can be both obese and malnourished. Our life expectancy has gone from 11th to 40th+ in the world -- which seems to indicate that many aspects of our lifestyle are less healthy than other places where they have the same medical advantages. I think there is a risk that the next generation will have a shorter lifespan than their parents for the first time in a very long time.

3:05 PM, November 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've dropped if you include the many illegal immigrants coming in. Also, we've improved our life expectancy, it's just gone up faster for other societies. The point here is this lady sounded just like anon above--we eat bad and we'll be less healthy--except she was saying it 30 years ago. It was a crisis then and it was a crisis now. Permanent crisis. That's not only not a crisis, but a success story.

4:52 PM, November 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going up slower than others indicates some part of our plan is not as good. I'm guessing it's our food.

2:10 PM, November 23, 2008  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Could be a lot of things. The point is we're not in a crisis and the horrible predictions of yesteryear were wrong, perhaps like the horrible predictions of today will be.

4:20 PM, November 23, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The vast increases in obesity, diabetes, and other obesity-related illnesses do not bode well. And, by the way, a lot of the kids who were just getting their start 30 years ago are still getting ready to die early today. Thirty years is not that long.

9:31 PM, November 23, 2008  

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