(Don’t) peel that apple


…and other contradictory, confusing and inconsistent healthy eating tips involving cucumbers, eggs, chocolate, coconut oil, etc. Plus, one occasion when peeling an apple may be a good idea.

Up to a few days ago, we health-conscious individuals would snigger at the dilettantes who consumed peeled apples. Then we found that some experts actually recommend peeling. To be fair, they say: wash it well or, even better, peel it.

The reason? Apple are highly pure breeds, and, as every pure breed, susceptible to diseases and worms. So, they have to be sprayed. A lot.

Perhaps due to hurt vanity, we decided to stick to washing and to take the peel-your-apple advice with a pinch of salt. Figurative salt, of course. No self-respecting health buff would add salt to anything, at least not until some researcher somewhere…

You don’t believe that something like that is possible? Just think back a little. Remember how eggs first were good for you, then not good for you, then good for you again? Some of you may be old enough to remember how diet gurus demanded that we throw away the yolk and eat albumen-only omelettes! (Yuck!)

Chocolate is presently going through similar oscillations. Almost everybody admits that cocoa is good, but many are not convinced that the goodness caries over to chocolate, even of the dark kind.

Things stand even worse with canola oil. Some maintain it’s the ultimate healthy choice. Others bad-mouth it so much that it’s a wonder it hasn’t been labelled “poison” yet.

On the other hand, coconut oil, once the chief villain, is now the darling of the health food stores in the USA (though only in its virgin variety).

Among the foods that seem to have been definitely vindicated is the modest cucumber. For a long time, we thought it had no nutritional value. Now we know better. Turns out cucumbers are not only cool, but super-filled with good stuff, especially their dark skin (ha, the skin!).

Avocados have been cleared of the “high in fat” charges and are now whole-heartedly recommended.

As for red wine, it is so universally acclaimed (providing one is free of alcohol-related risks) that we tend to forget it was not always viewed so favourably. (And even now traffic officers will refuse to make a distinction between red-wine-related and other-beverages-related alcohol levels…)

Coffee is on the brink of following red wine into the hall of good foods. We are waiting for butter to get a clean bill of health too, basing our hopes on the French, who continue to enjoy the irresistible flavour of butter, but refuse to succumb to the ills associated with it.

So, what is one to do if one strives to eat healthy? It seems that the best option is to keep informed – but to rely on our own best judgement.

And, going back to what started all this, there is one occasion when it is okay to peel your apple:

An old belief says that you will see the face of your future beloved if you peel an apple in front of a candle-lit mirror on Halloween. If it works on Halloween, we see no reason why it shouldn’t work on Valentine’s Day too! So, give it a try come dusk on 14 February.