In the world of Architects, whose egos make Chefs look like cherubs, Le Corbusier is among the immortals. And yet, when the tenants of one of his buildings objected to certain details—ceiling heights, wall textures—he agreed to some changes, remarking: “Life is never wrong.”
This is a big step towards balanced nutrition. Life is never wrong means that whatever it is that you like, is not wrong.
The Clara Davis , “Wisdom of the Body” experiments shined some light on the matter. Babies are never wrong, but also are not always right.
Gustibus non est disputandum: Taste Is Not Arguable.
But, that doesn’t mean that taste isn’t accountable. Not being wrong is different from being right. There are reasons for everything, and every taste choice we make was initiated buy some minute event in our past, however obscure. That’s one of the mysteries of taste: it’s always accountable, but never arguable.
The Yin and the Yang Of Taste
We may ask : Do we like our food, (the Yin), but we also have to ask: Does our food like us? (The Yang.) If it doesn’t, then it’s fools gold.
Taste starts out as a tool of survival. Only later, both evolutionarily and personally, does it become a tool of pleasure. So, to respect both, we have to use a scale of survival, as well as of pleasure, to judge our own tastes. This means that we should try to “like” those things which “like” us. It’s that easy.
The food we eat shouldn’t kill us, and we shouldn’t like things that do. Luckily, tastes are naturally constructive, they only harm us when we abuse them.
Can Tastes Be Changed? Should They?
Our most basic tastes, those which are received genetically, probably can’t be effectively changed, and that’s OK. Those culturally acquired, like the accent of your hometown, we can change, if we choose to. Tastes created by marketing almost always need a closer look.
But to change your tastes requires motivation, and that motivation must be reinforced by reason. It may be no easier to give up soft drinks than to give up heroin, but people do it all the time, and it may be as worthwhile. The difference is that a drug habit is seen as sinful and criminal, while soft drinks are…FUN!.
The simple tonic which we know of as Coke began as a minor curative and refresher. It was of no significance as a drug until marketers got in the way and the dosage became abusive. Many cultures have used sugar for centuries with almost no harmful effects. But if we ignore the rules of dosage, we have an epidemic.
Now read that last paragraph again and replace marketers with traffickers, and sugar with cocaine, then reverse them again.
Even the means of ingestion are key. Natives of Peru have chewed Coca leaves for centuries. But when it’s refined and concentrated, then injected into the vein, things get weird. Same with sugar. Naturally sourced sugar will rarely be a problem for humans because the accompanying nutrients and fiber of a fruit will key the body to a reasonable dosage. That’s one of the sublime details of a natural diet: The ‘keys’—those ingredients which cause our natural limiters to kick in—are refined away. That’s why we overdose on Coke, but not on oranges. Refined and concentrated in a ‘soft’ drink, the body is clueless and confused, so overdose becomes far more likely, and so does diabetes and weight gain, and playing Dungeons and Dragons into the night.
In other words, to really know what you like, you have to respect your body, know what it likes and needs, and how much.