Back in 1977, Woody Allen said in his movie Annie Hall “Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat, …college.” Now, over a half-century later, the pendulum is starting to swing back the other way. (Except for the college part that is.) Starting in the 50’s the war began on saturated fat, targeting the natural products like red meat, cheese and butter in the American diet. Americans turned to test tubes for “better nutrition” and butter substitutes, polyunsaturated oils etc and low fat products which often contained extremely high amounts of sugar, and various other types of carbohydrates became the go-to “health” foods. Ingredients on our store shelves listed unpronounceable preservatives, substitutes and fillers. And as long as there was a star burst proclaiming the product was low fat, we ate it up. Unfortunately the consequences of this new nutritional direction was that American health began to deteriorate with an alarming increase in heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer and the American waistline began to increase as well.
Recent publications have shined the light on some of the faulty studies that helped launch this nutritional shift many years ago and their big-business corporate supporters including “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” published by Simon & Schuster. Also Time Magazine recently picked up on the story, supporting the article with a sexy cover tribute to oft-maligned butter.
What’s amazing to me is how reasonable it all seems. It is truly an “Emperor has no clothes” situation. Products that are found in nature and made simply are better for you. The body can process and use these natural products more easily for better overall health. Products that use chemicals and other manipulated fillers and sugars can cause problems with your health, your weight and how you feel every day. And Americans are starting to make the leap back to common sense. Water is better than soda. Fresh is better than canned or processed. There is a push to know where your food comes from. The term “all natural” is under fire and scrutiny to make sure that indeed products are living up to this label. Folks are supporting the local foods movement, choosing restaurants that choose local products. And farmer’s markets are alive and well.
Working at Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company helps me to appreciate the simplicity of turning our delicious, fresh milk into delicious cheese simply and without fancy additives or chemicals, through the natural cheese making process, which has its roots in the countryside, not the lab. And if you poke around a little on this site, you can see videos of how exactly each of our cheeses are made.
With these new realizations, hopefully the disease and obesity rates in the US might begin to respond as well. With the next generation never having to compromise their health in search of the perfect ‘nutritional’ lab food. Turns out our grandparents were the ones who were right all along.