Sunday, January 10, 2016

What I eat: Personal freedom vs. Evangelism

“Evangelism is the preaching of the gospel or the practice of giving information about a particular doctrine or set of beliefs to others with the intention of converting others to the Christian faith.”

I am a passionate supporter of individual’s freedom. Freedom of speech, religion, lifestyle, sexual orientation etc. I put freedom very high on my list of important things in life. This includes freedom of what people eat.I don’t really care if you eat gluten free. You want to skip the dairy products? Fine with me.

This week I have been to a Birthday party. I met this lady who was to my judgement morbidly obese. While drinking her mixed cocktail obviously containing cola she told me she now eats gluten and dairy free. She was telling me she doesn’t feel too well at the moment and she was diagnosed with osteoporosis.”And if I lose a couple of kilos on the way it would be great, too”. Note: She didn’t say “I am overweight, I need to lose some kilos.” She then went on telling me how bad gluten and dairy is. Not that I heard it for the first time. As a baker I have – or to be more precise – tried to avoid many of these discussions.

Same party, skinny lady with a short skirt. More a long jumper, or something. She was there with a teenage girl and while hacking with a manicured nail enforced finger into her smart phone she informed everyone that this is her “daughter’'”. “Well not really my daughter. I adopted her when she was three. Well not really adopted her, but she is like a daughter. She comes from Germany”. That German “daughter” then went on – as Germans in New Zealand do – to complain about food and things. She especially mentioned the bad bread. “I so miss the good German bread”. Never missing an opportunity to get into a chat with a pretty girl I told her I am a baker. “Oh do you bake gluten free”"?” “No I am sorry.” She immediately turned away from me and ignored me for the remainder of the evening. How the heck someone can crave for good German bread but wants it gluten free is beyond me.

Believe System

What people believe defines their world. And we usually believe that our world and our view on life is the only true way. This often makes us to Evangelists. We can’t understand how others can not see that we are on the only true and right way. This includes our food. What we eat and what we see as healthy is our food world view. The issue is if this view is manipulated and coined by outside sources of information who most of the time follow their own interests – read: Profits.

Fructose Malabsorption

During some research I came across information related to fructose malabsorption. It is causing almost identical symptoms as coeliac disease and probably Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). I say “probably” because as opposed to fructose malabsorption, NCGS is still not confirmed that it exists. About 0.1 – 0.2% of the population suffer from Coeliac, an estimated 2% of the population suffer from NCGS. 33% of the population suffer from fructose malabsorption and half of them show symptoms. Hereditary Fructose Malabsorption can be deadly. About 1 in 10,000 people suffer from this disease. Oh by the way, 1 in 10,000 is 0.1%. Yes the same percentage as there are coeliac sufferers.
Fructose is everywhere. Fruit, Honey, Sugar, And especially High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Now the question suggests itself why do we have a huge gluten free but no fructose free food industry? Is it possible that the sugar loaded food industry has no interest in initiating a fructose free believe system in consumers? Doesn’t this reveal the gluten free movement as purely driven by profit?

Isn’t it amazing how we as a consumer support this believe system and spread our world view – or is it the food industry’s world view? - onto everyone who is willing to listen – or not listen?

Public Health

Vegans believe eating meat is bad for our society. I believe soft drinks and fast food is bad for our world. Others believe alcohol is the demise of society as we know it. The health of the public is directly linked to our prosperity – financially and mentally. Do we need to put public health above freedom of choosing our food? How can we find out what is good for the public’s health and what isn’t? Is vegan the way? A sober lifestyle? No dairy? Fat free? Skip the eggs?

The big challenge is to define what makes the public healthy. The next step would be to promote this world view. If we can change people’s food believe system and then give them the freedom to chose eating based on this believe system we should achieve both: a healthy public and people who are free to chose what they want to eat. 
I don’t hold my breath because I suspect that these two goals are in opposition to the food industry’s goals. We would need leaders who would be willing to stand up for us and publicly state that the health of everybody on earth is more important than the profit of some companies.


Captain Nutritious
Fighting for our food.