Why aren’t brownies, potato salad superfoods?
Burt's Eye View
Why isn’t potato salad a superfood?
Or barbecued chicken wings? Or hot fudge brownie sundaes?
They all sound super to me. My professional health care provider disagrees.
Superfoods turn out to be weird substances like chia seeds, quinoa and kale that technically might not be food at all.
The renewed frenzy for superfoods that actually are super — and actually food — began with my latest medical checkup. Physicals entail bloodwork, which result in “numbers,” which always “show” that I need more rutabagas and fewer Snickers bars. My medical professionals recommend so-called “superfoods” for as determined by questionable groups such as the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Do the numbers show a risk of diabetes? Eat spinach. Heart disease? Avocados. High cholesterol? Okra. High blood pressure? Beets.
Numbers may not lie, but they make lousy menu planners.
You can’t sustain yourself on a diet of numbers. Not unless we’re talking about driving through Wendy’s or McDonald’s: “I’ll have the No. 4 meal deal, please.” Those numbers I understand.
But the report from my physical is peppered with numbers like 6.3 and 44 and 12.2 and 101 and 2.7 that might be excellent in one case but critically dire in another category. And they all will improve with superfoods.
My wife is one of those nuts (walnuts are superfoods, by the way — but not, apparently, on top of brownies) who’s always researching what foods correct what errant numbers. She’s always on the lookout for the latest superfood, which never includes hot dogs, fried chicken — or potato salad.
She firmly believes that what a person eats directly affects one’s health. If you are what you eat, what’s wrong with being sweet and doughy? (Boston cream doughnuts certainly are on my list of superfoods.)
Just once, I’d like to have a doctor’s visit go this way:
Doctor (shaking her head while squinting at her laptop screen): “My, my, my, these numbers aren’t good, not good at all.”
Me (wringing my hands): “What is it? Give it to me straight, Doc. I can take it. Unless it means I have to wear a mask again.”
Doctor: “I’m afraid you’re suffering from a critical lack of chocolate. Also, your carbohydrates numbers are dangerously low.”
Me: “It was my wife, Doc. She told me I had to eat the raw carrots and the Brussels sprouts. And all that bland lettuce with only vinegar for dressing. ”
Doctor: “She meant well.” (Scribbles furiously on a prescription pad.) “Take this to the Burger King drive-thru and have this filled immediately.”
Me (reading Rx): “Let’s see… ‘Triple Whopper with cheese, large fries bathed in ketchup, a chocolate milkshake and a Hershey’s sundae pie’ … Will I make it there in time, Doc?”
Doctor (reaching into cabinet): “Let’s hope so. To be safe, take these Reese’s Cups samples to eat on the way. Your condition is nothing to fool around with. And no more broccoli or spinach, or you’ll find yourself in the emergency room, understand?”
Me: “Yes, ma’am. I always follow doctor’s orders.”
That would be super.
Until then, please pass the potato salad. Now that’s a superfood.
• Seek more medical and nutritional advice from Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.burtonwcole.com.