The First Shots Have Been Fired andThe Return of the Ineffable Palate
the Food Revolution Has Begun
issing from the table of nutrient gourmets these last few years has been the most famed Information Age gastronomist, the elusive taste scientist who operates under the nom de plume, The Ineffable Palate (IP). As the law of averages would have it, I finally ran into her Ineffable Highness again just last month at a large food convention somewhere in the Western U.S. As befits the indescribability (the ineffableness) of her tasting senses (her palate), she was munching her way through what appeared to be a long line of texturized vegetable protein products.
Goodness knows why, I thought. She might just as well have been eating soy sonnet or seed suet. Despite the preponderance of epidemiological studies showing the benefit of one class of foods over another (green tea, for example) or one type of food as opposed to another (monounsaturated oil instead of polyunsaturated oil), science has pulled out ahead. The goal of nutritional discovery entails finding out how to produce and consume more of the good stuff while swallowing as little of the bad stuff as possible. Is it still realistic - I introspected as someone who loves the taste of food and rarely finds hope in nutritional constructs - to hope to find foods that can replace dietary supplements, or that can truly supplement the mainstays of any serious dietary program, ie, dietary supplements?
UNDERSTANDING THE FOOD MINEFIELD
"Indeed", IP said, "model building must look to what exists in order to create what will be. We must pay careful attention to the epidemiological findings because of what I call the 'integrity problem of nature's packaging.' To survive the process of evolution, plants have had to 'learn' how to protect themselves and have developed lots of natural toxins. One example is the production of natural pesticides that all plants manufacture within their organisms to prevent from being eaten by six-leggers. Another is phytoestrogens, which prevent foraging by four-leggers, whose ability to sire is reduced when plant estrogens inhibit sexual functioning. And then there are many substances that have not been clearly identified (and of possible negative consequences for two-leggers). Some of these may prove to be immensely beneficial and yet others significantly harmful. We cannot afford to take too many risks. Food is a minefield!"
I will bring you up to date on how
taste can improve intelligence, on
how you can actually communicate
subtle but valuable insights to the
entirety of your cognitive makeup.
A NEW FUTURE FOR FOOD
"What I am interested in is not how food evolved, although that is important. But that is the past. What intrigues me most is what will happen to food as we learn to incorporate more of our scientific knowledge into it. We have just begun to scratch the surface and we know we're making progress because the Food Luddites, shouting blasphemy and danger at every turn, are out in force.
"But try as they might, they cannot turn back the Information Age and the New Era of Biotechnology. The first shots have been fired and the Food Revolution has begun. While we have long known how to alter plants to produce specific outcomes through the process of grafting, it is a fact of life that biotechnology is now speeding this process, speeding up evolution, by seizing control of the DNA, of the genes, of plants and creating a new future for food.
"The day will soon arrive when it is possible to engineer plants to grow finished human biomolecules that directly affect genes and thus convey information that radically improves human functioning. Plant byproducts will also include nanotechnological (at the scale of 1/1,000,000,000) biocomputers to operate within the cells of our bodies to improve intercellular housekeeping and enhance intelligence through cell-to-cell and cell-to-central-nervous-center communication.
PEAK DELIVERY SYSTEMS
"Energy levels will be stabilized at the highest levels of productivity. People will operate at peak receptivity, peak sensitivity, and in ways that we can't possibly imagine. And I don't mean more energy, but descrete energy, resulting in improved thinking . . . improved motor mechanisms . . . improved sexual performance . . . improved reaction times . . . improved perception. All this is coming, let me assure you, and now that I've decided to take a position as a columnist for your publication, Life Enhancement, you can be sure that there will be lots of surprises in store."
By the way, IP, where have you been the last few years? A number of your followers have been quite concerned and have been asking about you. But no one I know has been able to contact you or had any idea where to find you.EXCAVATING THE PAST
"I've found that the amount of unfinished work that gathers on my desk over the months and years reaches a point where either I sweep it away, or become an archeologist of the strata that represents all the unfinished leads I haven't pursued. Therefore, every so often I dig in and go off on an excursion into my intellectual past. So much has gone on in the last few years that I had to duck out for an extended period of time. It's like a Toynbee Trip, if you remember (with paraphrasing), 'Those who do not excavate their past are condemned to repeat the errors (and suffer the limitations) of their findings.'"
"My first assignment will be to bring you up to date on how taste can improve intelligence, on how you can actually communicate subtle but valuable insights to the entirety of your cognitive makeup through the simple act of flavoring your food with neurotransmitter precursors. And I don't mean just any exquisite food, but food that delivers some of what the genetics revolution will offer once it really begins to kick in. So hang in and stay around, look for my column and as we say . . .