It’s the height of cold and flu season. Should you add a restaurant outing to your immunity arsenal? Well, if it’s one of the new “immunity-enhancing” menus being touted at a number of new California restaurants, it might not hurt.
Now, restaurant menus here are marrying the broader commercial movement of “functional” foods – those stuffed with heavy doses of vitamins and antioxidants – and a national fixation on immunity boosting (a fizzy gulp of Airborne is as much a part of the pre-flight experience as a baggage check). In Beverly Hills, Crustacean, a modern Vietnamese restaurant, has attached an icon to the left side of several menu items letting diners know that those dishes supposedly boost immunity. At M Café de Chaya in Hollywood, a macrobiotic restaurant often dotted with celebrities, the chef, Shigefumi Tachibe, has “items that offer both immune boosting and healthful benefits for everybody,” said his spokeswoman, Cindy Choi. Down Melrose Avenue a bit from M Café is Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden and Herbal Emporium, where immunity enhancement is always part of the menu, said Dr. Tea, a k a Mark Ukra. “We work a lot with cancer patients to bring their immunity up, and lots of people come in to get our tonics to get rid of the flu,” he said.
via New York Times
First off, we applaud the restaurants’ attention to the link between nutrition and immunity. It’s something we’ve been harping on for a long time now and wrote about last month in the Sanitized World post. Immunity is, in large part, determined by how well you take care of yourself. And diet, of course, is a major component of that.
We’ve also talked some about the problems with our conventional food supply: lower nutrient levels, skewed omega ratios, etc. Any of these places sure beats your local Baker’s Square.
Nonetheless, we worry that this mini-movement will cast a more complicated and spendy light on truly healthy eating than it deserves. A healthy, immune-boosting diet shouldn’t be seen as a chic indulgence: it should be an everyday, reasonably economical routine. You don’t need to be four-star chef to whip up immunity-boosting fare for yourself. In addition to our Smart Fuel and Healthy Tastes Great! features, we’re looking forward to bringing you more posts that offer down to earth ideas and recipes for your own kitchen table. No tip required. Stay tuned!
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SqueakyMarmot Flickr Photo (CC)