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Missive #156


Nasruddin sat in the coffeehouse, praising his remarkable donkey.

“Your donkey is indeed remarkable,” said one of Nasruddin’s friends. “I’ve always thought your donkey had a very saintly disposition. He is much more saintly than you are.”

This took Nasruddin by surprise. “What do you mean my donkey is ‘more saintly’ than I am?”

“I mean that if we gave your donkey a choice between a bucket of water and a bucket of wine, he would drink the water, not the wine.”

“There’s nothing saintly about that!” exclaimed Nasruddin. “That just shows the donkey is less intelligent than I am.”

This Tale is from “Tiny Tales of Nasruddin” by Laura Gibbs. The book is licensed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. © 2019-2022 Laura Gibbs.

Vegan, low fat, low carb, slow; every diet seems to promise a one-size-fits-all solution to health. But they ignore the diversity of human genes and how they interact with what we eat. In Food, Genes, and Culture , renowned ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan shows why the perfect diet for one person could be disastrous for another. If your ancestors were herders in Northern Europe, milk might well provide you with important nutrients, whereas if you’re Native American, you have a higher likelihood of lactose intolerance. If your roots lie in the Greek islands, the acclaimed Mediterranean diet might save your heart; if not, all that olive oil could just give you stomach cramps.I was disappointed. I was expecting to find something about inflammatory diseases, psoriasis in particular, but there was nothing about inflammation in the book. It is a short book and has some good information that makes you think about what you are eating. You will find out what is good for you through trial and error. Nabhan traces food traditions around the world, from Bali to Mexico, uncovering the links between ancestry and individual responses to food. The implications go well beyond personal taste. Today’s widespread mismatch between diet and genes is leading to serious health conditions, including a dramatic growth over the last 50 years in auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. Readers will not only learn why diabetes is running rampant among indigenous peoples and heart disease has risen among those of northern European descent, but may find the path to their own perfect diet.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable. — H.L. Mencken

1 thought on “Missive #156”

  1. One diet does not fit all, I agree with that. I have had better results in food after reading an old book on the shelf, The Blood Type Diet. I put what I should and shouldn’t eat on a spreadsheet from that book, alphabetized them and grayed out the foods that were giving me digestion issues. It’s accurate in my case.

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