When it comes to food and sex, we’ve allowed science to trump common sense. We’ve let this happen even while we know science has been at times savior, at other times profiteering fear-monger – think the birth control pill versus artificial aphrodisiacs, or any of the numerous “facts about nutrition” that change every year – from low-fat to good fat, or oat bran to Omega-3s, not to mention trans-fats and genetically modified crops.
Science is modern, America loves modern, and therefore science has ruled hands down. The rigors of science require extreme discipline, and we have long been proud of our abilities in that department. Discipline over pleasure is our long-standing mantra. Sacrificing pleasure is one of the foundations of American society – Puritan ideals, Protestant work ethic, Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons, Prohibition – like everything else, we took even Christianity to extremes. Our influential American ancestors applied those principles and then used science to go even further – Kellogg, Rockefeller, Roosevelt bought into the superiority of science hook, line and sinker, especially when it came to such animalistic indulgences as food and sex. They went so far as to say meat caused masturbation, therefore we must eliminate meat. “The decline of a nation commences when gourmandizing begins,” according to Kellogg.
I consider myself a loyal gourmand, even here on the homestead. As I have said before, sacrifice has never been my forté. I am, you might say, très français, in all my appetites. People look at this lifestyle as some great sacrifice we’re making, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Going back to basics means more pleasure, not less. Time to garden, cook, read, entertain, be creative. No high-traffic commute, no 60-hour work week, no noise or air pollution. And we all know that less stress means more sex and better health for all species. Even on its worst days this lifestyle is definitely less stressful.
Of course, the tides of science are beginning to turn. Science is finally beginning to prove what many of us have known all along from good old-fashioned common sense: The Western diet and the Western lifestyle are directly linked to the Western diseases. Now the famed Dr. Oz claims an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away.
For all of its triumphs, science is often wrong. It believed it was doing the world a favor in creating the pesticides and herbicides required for monoculture farming practices, or pharmaceuticals that cause more side-effects than ailments they cure, or the hydrogen bomb.
The stern rigors of science or the passionate chaos of nature – when it comes to food and sex, I’ll second-guess science over Mother every time.