The food conundrum

'What's for dinner?'
 Providing the answer to this simple question is getting increasingly complicated.  Even a quick glance at the daily news turns every meal into an experience fraught with uncertainty and guilt. Because almost everything turns out to be bad for the health, or the environment, or both.

Meat is high in fats and cholesterol and stuffed with antibiotics and hormones.
– Fish is full of metal deposits and also guilt-inducing due to overfishing. Sushi is particularly to blame for the depletion of the oceans. Another minus is that, according to a recent article, fish are eating minute particles of plastic – it seems that plastic smells good when mixed with seawater – and this ends up in their tissues.
Vegetables and fruit are riddled with pesticides, unless they are organic.
Dairy products are to be totally avoided, being indigestible and artery-clogging. Cheese, in particular, is maligned as being tantamount to poison.
– Sadly, almond milk, which is a good substitute for dairy, is terrible for the environment, since its production uses up huge amounts of water.
– Anything ‘white’ and ‘refined’, such as flour, pasta and rice, should be avoided like the plague. Only the wholemeal varieties will do, if that.



There is very little one can be sure about:
Wine, in small quantities, appears to be good for you – until you read the next study, which has now discovered it is bad (or is it good again?) The same goes for chocolate (black, of course) and coffee.
Eggs are terrible for cholesterol levels – BUT I just read an article that it is now considered advisable to eat up to ten a week.                                                                                              – Seafood is also high in cholesterol, with the added environmentally-unfriendly aura connected with fish (see depletion of oceans, above).
– We can’t even count on spirits to raise our spirits (pardon the awful pun). A lovely mojito, a vodka tonic, a drop of whisky – out of the question. Not should any morsel of dessert (brownies, ice cream, cake) pass our lips. I did, however, read an article that gin is good for the health.
– And salt? Is salt good or bad? Opinion differs here too.



There are also practical matters to be considered:
– Should you eat breakfast, or can you skip it? I recently read that it’s okay, even beneficial, to do the latter, although up to now we were taught to ‘breakfast like a king…’ etc. etc.
Juicing helps with getting your five-a-day, but breaks down the fibers in the fruit and veggies. So better not.

And moral ones:
I admit I’m a terrible hypocrite, since I enjoy a lamb chop as much as the next person, but would probably be a total vegetarian if I had to kill the said lamb myself. However, I feel like screaming when I hear vegetarians self-righteously proclaim they still eat butter and cheese, ‘because no animals get killed in the process.’ When I try to explain the basic facts of agriculture, they just don’t seem to get it. I have good friends who keep repeating the same argument every time food is discussed.

So, what the devil are we supposed to eat?

As far as I can see, that leaves seeds (chia, sesame) pulses (chickpeas…) and insects (which are full of protein and totally devoid of fat). The Swiss are about to stack supermarket shelves with food made from mealworms, which are the larval form of the mealworm beetle. We’re talking ‘burgers’, made by a startup called Essento, in which the mealworms are combined with vegetables, herbs and spices. Sound yummy? Their byword is ‘delicious insects.’

Apparently, fried crickets and grasshoppers are also tasty and crunchy, I suppose as a substitute for potato chips, which are notoriously bad for the health. According to the experts, insects have a high culinary potential, their production saves resources and their nutritional profile is high-quality. They are the perfect complement to a modern diet.


On the strength of the above, I have compiled a menu for a dinner party:

Drinks: Gin and tonic (gin is good for you, right? Unless a new survey comes out before the evening in question, saying the contrary). Crispy fried locusts and organic carrot sticks.

Starter: Organic quinoa with kale chips and sliced raw radishes. I actually had this made for me by a friend, and it was surprisingly tasty.

Main course: Mealworms ‘burgers’ with raw cauliflower ‘risotto’. The latter is a recipe favored by vegans, but I confess I’ve never had it – I love cauliflower, but eating it raw instead of rice – not so much.

Desert: I need to find a recipe that avoids eggs, sugar and flour – probably something made with oats and fruit and sweetened with stevia. As if life was not complicated enough…

One must not forget to be extra careful because of people’s allergies to nuts, gluten or even strawberries. Thus the planning of a simple dinner has been turned into a major strategic exercise – what with reading up on the latest developments and finding the ingredients (although some might be captured in the garden?)

Perhaps the answer is to eat everything, but stop reading? Because it never ends. Today, I read an article about antibiotics. It seems doctors now are not sure which to prescribe, because of resistance and allergies. Also they disagree about whether you should finish the whole course, or stop taking them as soon as you feel better.

I rest my case.

Bon appetit, everyone!


91 thoughts on “The food conundrum”

  1. I eat five eggs a day most days. Will never, never give up dairy. Meat and fish, 3 x a week each. I must be doing something right – I’m alive, kicking, and my immune system is made of diamonds (or something just as hard). Can’t remember the last time I had a cold.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have had ‘cauliflower rice’. It tastes like grated cauliflower, nothing remotely like rice. I was offered insects to at in China, locusts, bugs, crickets, and scorpions. But I could not imagine putting an insect into my mouth. I have decided to ignore medical advice, and die when something kills me, however soon that is. I wrote something similar on my own blog, here.
    Enjoy the cheese, seafood, olives, and lamb, Marina. Drink the wine, the ouzo, and Metaxa. You are Greek, after all. I am not Greek, and I am determined to enjoy all of those, and more.
    What use is life if it is lived in fear?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Having it all laid out like that certainly gives perspective on the food wars. I cannot see giving up eggs and certain dairy. And I have found juicing does make me eat my vegetables-but I agree, eating should not be this difficult 😉 Great post-


  4. I think it is generally accepted that the Greek Mediterranean diet is the most healthy diet in the world. So I recommend lots of Feta Cheese, Greek Yogurt and honey, grilled fish and meat and those wonderful salads laden with large juicy tomatoes, Olives and Oregano and smothered in Olive Oil.

    Simple .

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I did read your post Marina and know you have your tongue firmly in your cheek. The best advice is to ignore all advice and carry on exactly as before. Life is too short . I’m with beetleypete on this one.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So true! And if I were responsible for killing my own food, I wouldn’t eat meat at all. I’d be restricted to shellfish. I could manage that. On the other hand, cheese and other dairy products, which I love, would present a major problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Like most days, I started out eating healthy and moderately (which I think is the real key) but fell apart quickly and ate a few things I should not have touched. As for insects: they come into my house, I kill them – but I’m not eating them. I respect those who live in nations where insects and grubs are considered tasty protein, but I can’t do it.

    Great article, Marina, you made me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enlisting all food groups in a large family’s diet is so important Marina. I agree everything in moderation. A salad is a daily (Yes, of course “Greek”!)…LOL A fruit smoothie midday. Fresh fruits are always in the home. As a food blogger it is always such joy sharing recipes. Such as Casseroles, pasta, etc. Seafood at least once a week, protein (chicken, small piece of meat-Lamb is a fav!). I use a 3rd generation Meat Market, Seafood Market, produce Market (plus my own garden), Italian bakery, Greek Market. I am very lucky to shop each week (Wednesdays are my days) early morning. It does make you wonder though. Hang in there my Koukla Mou! x


  8. An excellent post! I think there’s a great deal too much preciousness about the human diet, and those who demand ‘purity’ in their food had better start growing and raising their own.
    I refuse to be alarmed by any food except added sugar, which seems to appear in the most bizarre places. I eat at least 7 different vegetables and fruits a day, I buy and eat the best quality meat I can afford (and I’ve butchered my own in the past, so I can look lamb chops in the face), plenty of free range eggs, and as much dairy as my body will tolerate (I’m lactose intolerant). I don’t eat anything made of refined white flour (I’m a coeliac), or much rice or potato. I’m a fairly heathy weight, my blood sugar and blood pressure are both normal, and I drink very modest quantities of alcohol.
    Given this diet, I’m not going to start stressing about the ever-changing opinion of the so-called experts, I’ll eat what tastes good and makes me feel good, and to hell with the diet police!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a doctor and a nutritionist and still at unis studying the topic after 20 years I was not going to comment and annoy 🙂 ! Then read Kate’s just now and burst out laughing . . . the diet police would not go near her with her close-to–perfect habits 🙂 ! OK: my ‘extra’ tips – carbs are absolutely necessary but make them natural: vegetables and brown rice and all else unhulled!. No more than two pieces of fruit a day! OMG: DO watch your sugars! No frying except stir-frying! Oils: olive and bran in my book! You do not need cakes and desserts – make multiple interesting primo piatti instead ! Don’t buy farmed [Atlantic] fish for God;s sake! Make certain you have plenty of mackerel, sardines, anchovies etc – tinned will do! ! Black coffee and 70% cocoa chocolate – oh yes! Breakfast the most important meal of the day but no juice! . . . . Wine: what would a meal be without it . . . ? OK, methinks I have outworn my ‘welcome’ . . . 🙂 !!! But bugs and seeds only . . . . very, very funny . . .


  10. Fortunately I don’t read those kinds of articles. At this time of year, I mostly eat from my own garden. Things are going to have to be very bad before I’ll consider eating insects. I tend to think that the simpler your diet is and the more locally grown your food the better it is for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would love to go vegetarian but that would make choosing meals even more difficult than it is now. Also, I used to live next to a dairy farm and I now feel if I ‘went’ vegetarian on ethical grounds I’d have to ‘go’ vegan too after some of the things I saw. Then what? Too many seeds make my tum go a bit funny and I’m not sure rural France has embraced insects as a food item yet. I just try to make the best choices regarding organic or outdoor raised, traceable food when I’m shopping but I’m going to have to start taking reading glasses out with me as I swear some producers are making the writing on food labels smaller and smaller 😉
    I have this bag which is a very easy way to make your own guilt free almond milk
    As for wine – it’s the only thing that’s cheap here in France so hopefully the amount of glasses I drink that are good for me will cancel out those that are bad 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I read in the Times today that the food nutritionist of Liverpool Football Club is recommending that footballers eat Greek Yogurt just before they go to bed. I quote ” The protein in the yogurt digests slowly in the body and is ideal for rebuilding muscle following intense training, but particularly a gym workout using weights.”

    Of course in my case it is not the consumption of yogurt that bothers me, it’s the intense training!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You got me smiling, at the moment we are out of food ideas, as we tend to eat too well (that’s what I think).
    During my pregnancy, I had to avoid all sorts of food, like every pregnant woman, but then I was put on an extra special diet, as I had diabetes… so even more restrictions and any starchy food had to be weight but was not to be left out either… fruits were almost forbidden, but dairy (except for cheese, limited amounts only) was to be had up to 6 times per day (at least 3). Eggs and white ham suddenly became a big chunk of my diet, I haven’t had white ham in months.
    Have fun with the mealworms!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So did I. I guessed that having to cook food to make it edible was not natural – no kitchens in the caves, after all – so I eliminated everything that required cooking to be edible. I gave up root vegetables while I was at it. Best idea I ever had, my health could not be better. I wish I had done it much earlier.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I say eat what makes you feel good, don’t overeat, enjoy plenty of exercise, laugh a lot, eat with friend, eat with family, eat as naturally as possible with as little guilt as possible. I for one am tired of keeping up with all the eating trends.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Very funny but my personal solution is not to pay any attention to all the science and PC. You won’t get me on Insects for a million dollars, and no way I’ll give up my mojito, my seafood spaghetti sauce and gloriously calorie & fat-gorged bufalo mozzarella 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Good thing Ilona is such a great Vegan chef. We never have to wonder. We send love and greetings to you…..F & I


      1. I guess we all do the best we can with the produce available and the ever-changing science behind the currently accepted ‘advice’. I’m fortunate to have fresh, and often organically grown produce, available to me. Others are lucky to have enough food of any kind to sustain them. I feel grateful.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hahah, great post! These thoughts run thru my mind way too often. Just had a
    soy milk latte (because I prefer the taste to that of milk) but feel guilty because they say soy products affect your hormone levels. 😄 Oh my all these 1st world problems! 😂 Luckily they also say that chocolate containd cockroaches, since insects seem to be the next big healthy trend… so I can keep eating chocolate, yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I gave up on the does and don’ts years ago. Don’t smoke I drink at least one glass of wine per day, walk for exercise, eat (almost) everything, making sure it’s clean. My favourites a most forms of offal and fish such as herring, tuna or macaral.


  19. Nice article. But the truth is even with the pesticides, fruits and vegetables are far healthier than the other options you discussed.
    I am passionate about food too and just started my blog. Do check it out!


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