This week I got a letter from a newlywed couple telling me how happy they were to learn the specific dietary changes they can make to better ensure the health of their future baby. Most people who read Deep Nutrition, I’m happy to say, wind up liking it. But every once in a while we get a hate mail or a negative review on Amazon explaining in explicit detail exactly why we should pack our bags and return to whatever corner of Hell we came from.
Okay that’s not exactly true. Truth be told, so far the “haters”—as the kids like to say—never tell us exactly why they find fault with our book, our message, or our science. They will go so far as to say that the (30 or so) pages of Deep Nutrition that discuss the relationship between physiologic growth, physical attractiveness, and human health have no business being in the book.
What they do tell us is that there is something wrong, something very very wrong, even pornographic, about indulging in the unseemly discussion of the standards of physical beauty. One can feel a little like Kevin Bacon’s character in the movie Footloose dealing with a town of well-meaning folk who know that no good can come from teenagers dancing to that rock and roll music.
Discussions about looks are a little like pornography, in that those who would proscribe them aren’t exactly sure, or at least fail to articulate, why they are so offensive. Just as with Justice Potter Stewart in his famous description of pornography, they don’t care to specify what characteristics qualify a scientific discussion worthy of open debate. They just know when it’s something we shouldn’t oughta be talkin’ about. In other words, they know it when they see it.
And so far, we’ve been happy to let them get away with that. Well, suffice it to say, our generosity in this matter has now been spent. We are frankly tired of allowing these peanut-gallery naysayers to lob half-baked criticisms into our backyard like so many homemade scud misiles. Enough is enough. It’s time to put this matter to rest.
If you are a fan of Deep Nutrition, you well understand that there is nothing “selfish” or “shallow” or “superficial” or “self-serving” about providing information to allow caring parents to better ensure the health and happiness of their children. And there is nothing, at least nothing we can think of, wrong with parents exploiting this information to help improve their family’s quality of life.
For those who think that height, good looks, and athleticism don’t bestow immeasurable benefits to their children, we invite you to watch the news, pick up a newspaper, or just go outside and talk to people about how, for example, the ongoing political process of determining the two opposing candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties will once again boil down to a battle between the tallest, best-looking people on the ballots.
What’s true of politics is true of the job interview, the casting call, the college entrance evaluation, and on and on. Studies have consistently shown that these rules apply every bit as much to the kindergarden classroom as they do to the world of showbusiness. It’s a jungle out there. We’re not saying this is how things should be, just that this is the way things are. To quote William Munny in Unforgiven: Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.
Of course, we don’t really get into all the social benefits of good looks in Deep Nutrition. We restrict our discussion to the relationships between unimpeded growth, beauty, and dynamic symmetry (proportion). If you’ve read the book you’ll remember that we say what’s true for a growing plant is true for a horse is true for a human being. When things grow right they tend to be pretty. And generally speaking they tend to be healthy too.
You would think that people who have a problem with this would take the matter upstairs—as in all the way to the top. Like all scientists, we don’t make the rules, we merely observe and record them. As I said in the opening, this hasn’t stopped a smattering of people from taking up the issue with us. Not many, but enough to warrant this post.
So if there are any others out there who have read Deep Nutrition who would like to present objections, exceptions, or demurs to the scientific claims regarding physical attractiveness in the 30 or so pages of our book, we now formally invite you to air your concerns. Now is your chance to explain to us and our readers how it is wrong or, as one person recently wrote, “morally reprensible,” to suggest that there may be some benefit for mothers-to-be to follow a dietary regime best suited to the production of a beautiful, healthy baby.
We get letters every day from parents thanking us for helping them navigate the ever-shifting currents of dietary advice. They like knowing what’s best for their kids. That makes me happy. As a doctor, I know how lucky I am to have the chance to help so many people I’ve never even met. But today I’m speaking directly to those readers who would have me lock away this critical information rather than communicate it to those hoping to put it to use. Let’s hear your side of the story. But this time with specifics.
Speak directly to that newlywed couple who just wrote me, the ones dreaming of their beautiful baby. Comment now or forever hold your peace.