In a perfect world, my favorite foods would have magical properties. Croissants would make my hair smooth and silky, potato chips would make me sing on key, and bacon would kill germs that cause bad breath.
Lo and behold, dear readers, that world has arrived!
Every time I log-on, I see a new announcement splashed across the Internet that a formerly forbidden food is now considered healthy.
It started with chocolate…dark chocolate. Somewhere, somehow, someone discovered that dark chocolate is jam-packed with antioxidants, which of course are the superheroes of our generation, and furthermore, that dark chocolate releases endorphins, which are good for the soul. Chocolate with ice cream is even better for the soul, and if there is coconut oil somewhere in the mix, it will kill your belly fat as you eat it.
The happy news continues. Coffee is good for the muscles, red wine is good for the heart, hamburger and avocados are good for the brain, and beer is a probiotic. And to round things out, I will add that olive oil and garlic are good for the joints.
It’s as if we’ve fallen into the Land of Oz. Pretty soon we’ll learn that apple strudel whitens teeth and pasta quattroformaggi improves your chances of winning the lottery.
Why, just today, a headline appeared in the “healthy living” section of my newsfeed, entitled, “The Top Ten Best Foods You Can Eat.” I took the bait and clicked on the link. All the usual suspects were there—blueberries, kefir, beans, spinach—but buried in the middle were mushrooms, which gave me pause, and then, making a grand finale appearance on the list, was pork! Pork, people, pork! Well, now we’re talking.
It appeared to me that all food is trending “good for you,” so I decided to try a little experiment. I googled random foods and attached the question, “Is it good for you?” And I have discovered that (with the exception of strawberries, which we’ve been eating all wrong, but that’s another column) it’s all good!
Guided by my original wish list, I went crazy and started with, “Are croissants good for you?” I found a site which explained that, sure enough, they are! Croissants contain iron and selenium, and even though I have never in my life heard of selenium, it happens to be an essential mineral, and that is good enough for me.
And take our old friend bacon, for example. I googled, “Is bacon good for you?” and up popped a post that is entirely devoted to the virtues of bacon. It’s on a website called Bacon Today, posted by Boss Hog (who else) and liked by, at last count, 24,735 humans. It is titled “Top Ten Reasons Bacon is Actually HEALTHY for You!” and it informs us that bacon is good for the brain, the heart, blood pressure, general well-being, and that it can fuel your car and major industry, too.
I have spent several days researching the health benefits of foods-formerly-known-as-unhealthy. I have concluded that a hamburger cooked medium well, covered with mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese, served with a side of (gluten-free) chips, guacamole and a beer, and finished with a dark-chocolate brownie a la mode, is the ultimate brain-powering, endorphin-boosting, healthy meal.
Plus, after you eat it, you will make all the green lights.
Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.