ANDREW HOLOTA: A healthy suspicion of health products

In this space, I recently offered some male-oriented observations about the complex world of cosmetics, and how there has been a growing abundance of them in our house.

This phenomenon is directly related, of course, to my teen daughter and wife – who are also responsible for another, different collection of bottles and containers, accumulating in the kitchen cupboard.

These fall into the general category of “health products.” My ladies have an abiding attraction to anything advertised as “healthy.” Slap an “organic” label on some rocks, and the girls will buy a bag of them.

Not me. I have always harboured a deep suspicion of anything to do with the whole natural remedy/health food kick.

Now, I accept that 2,000 years ago, ancient man may have chewed dandelions for a sore tummy, or drank skunkweed tea to deal with warts. But really, what choice did they have? Pharmacies wouldn’t be invented for another millenium.

And sure, the first white visitors to this continent supposedly learned natural medicine from the aboriginals they met. But what’s to say most of it wasn’t just a shaman with a sense of humour who fed them something to give them the runs, and then laughed his loincloth off!

But back to my kitchen cupboard.

There’s a range of vitamins in there that run the gamut of the alphabet. Every element under the sun, too. Iron and calcium, and probably even powdered uranium, if one looked long enough.

There’s multi-this and complex that. Eye of newt, ear of bat and all things aloe vera – which by the way, sounds like a Frenchman saying hello to his neighbour … “Allo Vera! Ow ar yew?”

I’m not putting any of that stuff into my mouth.

My mother always taught me that everything my body needed would be found in recognizable, traditional items, like milk, and broccoli and carrots. Ever see a wild rabbit nibbling on an organic fortified rice cracker?

In fact, I’ve yet to find anything labelled as “health food” that actually tastes good. I want happy, not healthy, taste buds. If I want to eat a bland substance, I’ll boil up some fresh newsprint. Gosh knows I have access to an unlimited supply of that.

Some years ago, friends turned my wife onto soy milk. The vile stuff is like quaffing liquid tofu. It even has a weird off-white pallor. The undead milk.

Just think about it. Milk comes from cows. Soy is a bean. A bean is not a cow. Ipso facto, this is not milk.

And while I’m on that, back on the farm, we had real milk. Industrial-strength milk. You could stand a cooking spoon up in a bowl of it. Now that was milk, not this watery white fluid that comes in 2% or 1% concentrations, or heaven forbid, “skim.” Glacial run-off contains more nutrients.

And another thing. Anything that requires soaking in water for several days before consumption is probably not human fare.

That includes seven-grain ancient stone-ground wheat bread, which doesn’t come with instructions for soaking, but ought to, since it’s like trying to chew on sand-encrusted cedar bark.

Hence, I have taken to doing most of the grocery shopping. If I let the girls run amok in the organic aisles, they come home all stocked up with all-natural items that have unnatural price tags.

Hmmm… a tenderloin steak, or a handful of protein pills?

Spark up the barbie, mate, and pass me a can of that barley brew.

Andrew Holota is the editor of The Abbotsford News.


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