Great Health Nuttery

Ah, health nuttery, a spice that can be added to anything. I’ve heard it many times, that alternative medicine and quack cures have a collection of ideas (all bonkers) that often get combined together. You see all sorts of combinations. Qi magnets, detoxifying magnets, Qi detoxification. Most of these terms mean so little that they can be combined randomly to make a novel-sounding new types of alt. med.

It’s really just like advertising, where there is a pool of non-specific positive adjectives that are slapped on a product to jazz it up. Pick any two or three: new, brighter, improved, best, free, breakthrough, exciting.

That’s all background for describing something that made me bust a gut. Bear Grylls, star of the Man vs. Wild survival show, had caught and gutted a fish. As he often does, he starts chomping on it raw. Then he says it’s high in protein, gives you energy, and helps boost the immune system. Yes, boosts the immune system! One of the universal alt med claims! If you are stranded in the wilderness without shelter, fire, food, or water, ‘Does this boost my immune system?’ is not on your list of priorities. Bear didn’t think through his food options, and think, I could eat a caterpillar, but a fish will boost my immune system more, so I’ll try and catch a fish. No, the choice was a raw fish or nothing, and it is literally true that a fish, being food, would be better for the immune system than not eating for the day. Trivially true, but really, really funny!

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