Category Archives: diet

Food sensitivity as a mark of sensitivity in general

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 12.34.44Dalrymple comes across a couple of papers in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that food avoidance very early in life promotes food sensitivity rather than prevents it.

He comments:

You are right to be worried if you are worried. On the other hand, you are right not to be worried if you are not worried.

The elusive nutritional ideal

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 08.36.41Mankind, writes Dalrymple,

has long been in search of the perfect diet, believing it to be the key to immortality. Food is health-giving but also dangerous, and for those inclined to worry about their health, what to eat is a constant source of anxiety. Should I eat this, should I avoid that? Is this food the elixir of life or a deadly poison? (It is usually something in between the two.)

The lonely bag of muesli

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 08.13.01It is, Dalrymple notes,

of the organic variety.

It has remained untouched since sometime last year, when it was

left behind by some guests who were more concerned for the state of their bowels than the aesthetics of their breakfast.

These guests feared that Dalrymple and his wife

did not have a rigorous attitude to the healthiness of our diet.

Wellbeing in elderly people

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Hill was regarded as a bit of a quack, Dalrymple informs us

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But his advice seems sensible enough

Vaunted Mediterranean gastronomy

There are reasons, says Dalrymple, for liking the Mediterranean diet

other than health ones, namely aesthetic ones, and this is important because if it were discovered that a diet of raw cabbage and boiled fish without salt produced the same result, would anyone other than a masochist contemplate adhering to it?

He points out that

the idea that diet is the sovereign way to health is a very old one.

The pusillanimity of the New England Journal of Medicine

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 09.09.57Dalrymple writes:

The NEJM does not want to court unpopularity, or notoriety, by suggesting that millions of parents are failing their children. It is safer, from the point of view of gaining the esteem of the intelligentsia and of avoiding censure, to blame those in authority or large corporations.


to absolve ordinary people of blame for the obesity of their children is to deny them agency as full human beings. Far from being respectful of ordinary people, it is condescending. They are but putty in the hands of television companies and the food industry. If the only mentionable locus of responsibility for the diet of children is the government, we have accepted the premise of totalitarianism.

British culinary barbarism

Food desertification and the supposed cheapness of industrially prepared foods is a consequence, not a cause, of [poor] food habits.

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