As my fixation on nutrition continues, I'm becoming more irritated by people talking about moderation. I might say that wheat gives me a stomach ache or that starches cause weight gain or that natural animal fats are actually good for us, and someone will respond with "I say: everything in moderation."
Everything in moderation. I hear this so frequently in discussions about the wretched state of American health, I'm really beginning to question it. Clearly, Americans can't do things in moderation. We suck down sugary and starchy foods all day long. We buy soda in 32-ounce sizes. We polish off entrees that could feed two or three people. We binge drink. If Americans -- and I include myself -- were capable of moderation we wouldn't be facing the health crises we are facing.
Yet the word appears frequently in diet articles, weight loss tips and health discussions. It's as if we think that if we keep repeating the word moderation, we'll magically bring it into our lifestyles.
The only part of everything in moderation that Americans practice is the everything part. Really when someone says "everything in moderation" they're just
refusing to restrict their habits. They use the word "moderation," but
that's not the spirit of their statement. The spirit is that they don't want anything
to be off limits. That's how Americans do moderation: we want the freedom to destroy ourselves with toxic substances, too.
So please, no one tell me "everything in moderation" ever again. Everything isn't good for us and Americans are worse with moderation than we are with grammar.