Whom Do You Believe?

Eat your carrots; they’re good for your eyes. Drink that milk so your bones and teeth will grow strong. Don’t cut off those bread crusts, they will make your hair curly.

If you are of the baby boomer generation, you grew up hearing those words of wisdom from your well-meaning parents. And for most of us, it was sage advice. Vegetables are good for us and bread has been broken around tables since Jesus sat with the Apostles.

But now some physician appearing on the Doctor Oz television show has declared milk to be a threat for cancer. I will not go into the clinical thinking behind his war on milk, but I won’t have any of it. I’m so done with Doctor Oz and all his so-called “experts” who claim to have the latest and greatest cure-all for everything from warts to obesity. Phooey!

I can imagine there were a lot of dairy farmers in this country wincing at the news of the doctor’s beliefs. I just don’t understand how one day we are all in need of more vitamin D to ward off the winter blues and the next day the same vitamin found in milk is a threat to our health.

You can pick out any food item on your dinner table and someone will find fault with it. Remember the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, I enjoy an apple nearly every day and I feel better for it. However, alarmists are screaming in my ear that apples are covered in pesticides and no amount of washing will get rid of them.

To date, none of my fingers have fallen off nor have I grown an extra arm.

Suddenly, there is a great divide among nutritionists about the consumption of wheat products. Most diets tout wheat bread as the better choice for bread consumption. But put on the brakes before you choose that sun-tanned loaf. Don’t you know wheat bread often contains the same or more sugar per slice than the white bread we ate growing up? So do we weigh the sugar content against the fiber? More decisions.

And who can forget the snafu in the cattle industry in 1996 when yet another TV “celeb” – Oprah Winfrey- declared she would no longer eat hamburgers for health reasons. That single comment sent the beef market into a downward spiral for a time. It ended in a courtroom.

None of it deterred McDonald’s, however, from offering a Double Quarter Pounder with 750 calories and 43 grams of fat or Wendy’s dishing up the Baconator Double at 970 calories and 63 grams of fat. Both are still on the menu today.

I know people who swear by their no-meat lifestyles and others who embrace full-on meat protein diets. Some are happier than others, some are thinner and some are probably healthier. Throw in the family genes and it’s anybody’s guess who or what is right for us.

What I do know is that today, I plan to enjoy a tall glass of cold milk, perhaps with a dash of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and a lovely red apple.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.