The Wine Guy: The miseducation of a malnourished culture

Best of The Wine Guy by Anthony Scarano

   Among the keys to maintaining good health are being properly nourished and effectively eliminating waste from the body. The best way to accomplish both of these is to eat simple, natural foods; in other words, the ones our creator put here to provide us sustenance.

Fruits and vegetables should make up the vast majority of the human diet. This misleading idea that we need meat for protein and iron is a myth propagated by people who know little about nutrition or have a vested interest in selling meat. A person can get all the necessary protein from beans, lentils and legumes without ever consuming a scrap of meat.

But back to my point, fruits and vegetables — the more raw the better, as long as your digestive system can handle the rawness — provide a plethora of vitamins and minerals as well as the fiber one needs to move waste through and out of the bowels. Chew your food slowly to properly mash it and prepare it for digestion. The better it is chewed the easier it will be for the sponge-like stomach and intestines to digest, the better the nutrients will be able to be absorbed, and the better your bowels will be cleansed as it works its way through.

When one swallows clumps of food, especially meat, which can’t be chewed to a puree like fruits and vegetables — and is difficult to digest in the first place because our stomachs don’t contain a carnivore’s acids and enzymes — the stomach must overwork to digest it and push it on to the intestines. It may take a day or more to move through the bowels, all the while forming toxic acids, gas and foul odors. Meat has little value as food and sits in the gut fermenting and putrefying, and constipating and poisoning the body.

Another misconception is that missing meals will adversely affect your health, when actually it is eating too much that is bad for you. Yes, we must eat to survive, but overeating is far worse than missing a meal and is an epidemic in this country. Man is the only animal that eats when he is not hungry, for the simple pleasure of eating. Eating is supposed to be pleasurable because it is engrained in our DNA to ensure we will continue to seek food and continue to proliferate as a species — the same reason sex is pleasurable — but when you are eating just because it tastes and feels good, you have a real problem. Millions of people have died from overeating or the harmful affects of chronic overeating. When you eat too much the body can’t process it all, so it is passed into the bowels pretty much as it came in and sits there rotting, stinking you up on the inside and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and disease.

Everyone is guilty of this. We fail to see destructive foods and destructive eating habits for what they are because we live in a culture that embraces and encourages these behaviors. Consuming hot dogs, pizza, soda pop and candy are seen as normal and “fun” in our society, and we pass this miseducation on to our children and poison them as well, polluting their bloodstreams with sugar, fat and additives and preservatives never meant for human consumption. And we are appalled at the rates of diabetes, cancer and heart disease in our country. We need only to look at our self-destructive nature for why these diseases are so prevalent.

Poor eating habits should not be a way of life. What we rationalize as part of our culture is really nothing more than an excuse to not care about our health and continue eating for the sheer pleasure it provides us. If you truly want to live a happy, healthy life, change the way you eat and, even more importantly, change the way your children eat.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.