Listen to Bubba

12 03 2010

I continue to be amazed at our collective myopia. I am always asked about eating this or consuming that and I am always looking at some of the latest information. It seems the “scare you to death if you even look at that food” articles and reports make page 1; the retractions end up in the circular file. Food and health is a very complex equation, even more so than weather prediction and we’re not so hot at that.  I think sometimes we are so impressed with our own science that we forget the very basics and power of simple observation.

Let’s use shrimp as an example. Why? Because I really like to eat it and I’m making some recipes with it this weekend. But also because it serves as a perfect example. If we take a step away from the forest and simply observe populations that subsist on natural seafood rich diets, including those consuming lots of tasty crustaceans, what do we find? We find that in general they are quite healthy. They do not suffer from high cholesterol and cardiovascular effects of hypercholesterolemia (fancy pants medical term for high “bad” cholesterol). Yet when shrimp were noted to be “high” in cholesterol warnings went out not to eat them. I spoke recently with a patient who was watching their cholesterol and would not eat any shrimp because their health care professional had told them to avoid it. Let’s look at a little follow-up after the Boys cried “Shrimp”.

Studies since the initial scare have shown that shrimp may raise your cholesterol-but it’s your “good” cholesterol that gets the big boost. Population based studies have found no ill-health effects from diets rich in seafood and shrimp (and squid and other mollusks and crustaceans): “In fact, consuming shrimp instead of other high fat foods will have beneficial effects,” said Elizabeth De Oliveira of Rockefeller University. Well imagine that, something we probably should have noticed had we paid attention to what nature was showing us in the first place.

The whole affair is an example of something that never made sense to me when I first heard it. It seemed to go against common sense (like the parallel “don’t eat avocados warning”). It is why I adhere to this bit of sage advice from The Buddha:

Believe Nothing,

No matter where you read it

Or who has said it,

Not even if I have said it,

Unless it agrees with your own reason

And your own common sense.


And of course I when it comes to eating shrimp I take the advice from our modern-day wise-man, Bubba Blue:

 “Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp Creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” shrimp



2 responses

12 03 2010
Chef E

I have got a morning show going in my own living room, just read this entire post to hubby while his is eating his cereal…he said now I have to come up with some shrimp dish, as he is now going to think of it all day!

12 03 2010

That is too funny! The power of Bubba Gump! He should be glad we didn’t do a box of chocolates!

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