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Are you eating a good diet?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

When I was growing up a typical meal always had some meat, potatoes or occasionally rice and gravy, two vegetables, salad, bread, butter, jelly, milk to drink except in the summer and then it was iced tea for some meals, and a dessert. This would be varied about once a weak with a meal of beans and cornbread with slaw as a salad, but there would still be a dessert. In the winter another variety would be potato soup and cornbread and a dessert. The dessert was often just canned fruit and cookies, but many times it would be pie or cake. Ice cream was too hard to get home or keep frozen so that wasn't a dessert until I was in my teens and we had the use of electric refrigerators.

Although nutritionists today might be horrified at this diet, my parents lived to a good old age, and all of my siblings, except one who died from environmental causes due to his work, have lived into their 90s and one brother was 101 before he died. I plan to continue that practice also.

I raised our children with similar meal plans in mind, but often transgressed into fish sticks, pot pies and in later years, even some fast food meals now and then. Since I was employed outside the home much of the time when we had all four children still at home, I felt justified in using short cuts.

Recently I have spent some time in doctors' waiting rooms and have had the opportunity to read some magazines that I don't usually read. I have discovered, according to the writers in those publications, that I have all the wrong ideas about what I should be eating or serving others.

I discovered that instead of my standby beverage, that more than two glasses of milk a day was too much. OK. In my 80s I have good strong teeth and no osteoporosis. Were those extra glasses of milk so bad?

I have read that fiber is more important than vitamins. That is if I read the descriptions on advertisements, fiber is the most important part of your diet. I don't think that was a worry in my childhood diets.

Of the more recent magazines I found, those for July 2012, were strong on the dangers of sun exposure and preached using lotions to protect your skin from the sun's rays. But the magazines from last winter warned against the lack of vitamin D unless you were in the sun for a few minutes each day.

What should I believe? I grew up playing outside in the sun or shade in the summer, and spent many winter days outside playing in the snow or sledding. I don't remember having problems with any of the items my mother served at home. (Oh, unless it was the commercially canned peas. I hated them!) If I didn't have a good diet then I probably wouldn't still be alive. But I am, and so far my children all seem to be relatively healthy.

I think I will just believe that being active and eating wholesome foods is the best answer and not to worry about what new studies seem to have shown. But one thing I will cut out. I will quit reading those magazines. I'll take my own reading material into waiting rooms from now on.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus