Friday, January 1, 2016

A Diet for a New World

The New Year has arrived, so we know what’s coming. The next best diet. There will be an app for that, of course, articles in all the glossy magazines at the grocery checkout, a new book topping best-seller lists, another super-food, and at least one miracle routine (drinking kale and hot sauce smoothies three hours after standing on your head, perhaps).

And yet the answer to what really works best will remain the same. David Katz and Stephanie Meller researched the medical evidence for and against every mainstream diet. What works best won’t surprise anyone - a diet of minimally processed foods, predominantly plants, and including whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Yet despite scientific evidence and common sense, people continue to seek a different answer. And there is always someone willing to provide it.  In an interview Dr. Katz said, “I really at times feel like crying, when I think about that we’re paying for ignorance with human lives. At times, I hate the people with alphabet soup after their names who are promising the moon and the stars with certainty. I hate knowing that the next person is already rubbing his or her hands together with the next fad to make it on the bestseller list."

I know how he feels. We are constantly at the whim of the next new thing in education, too, and, like Katz, I feel like we are paying, or at least playing, with the lives of our children. Every few years, millions of precious education dollars are spent to follow a new idea when, really, if we stopped to think, the answer for how to teach is as simple (and as hard) as eating healthy foods.

Indeed, all the most important things in our lives - health, relationships, learning, saving the environment, peace on earth – are simple. They are just hard to stick with and take a long time. John F. Kennedy said, “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” You could substitute health or learning or saving the environment or relationships. Perhaps it’s our human nature that has us seeking a different answer; we keep looking for a technological fix that will make everything easier and faster.

Perhaps it’s time, though, that we turn our ingenuity toward finding a diet for a new world. The recipes won’t be new. The hard part, the part we need to work on the most, will be slowing down, being patient, persisting, digging deep and resisting the temptation to dash madly off in all directions after the next shiny new thing.

1 comment:

  1. After nearly 35 years in the education system, I couldn't agree with you more.