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2.01.2012

MYTHICAL MADE UP MANTRAS

I looked up "feed a cold, starve a fever" as I had both this week.  Sometimes I wonder about origins of the goofy things we say and declare as truth.   Was this a sort of urban myth?  No one can exactly place its beginnings as a folklorean myth now taken on as quasi hokie pokie truth.  But it might stem from 1574 when it was stated by dictionary writer John Withals that "fasting is a great remidie of feuer".  No, I didn't misspell those words.  That's the quote!  The medical wisdom of that day was that a drop in body temperature caused colds, while fevers produced a temperature spike.  Thus eating and drinking generated warmth needed for a cold.  And, since a fever indicates an increase in body temperature, laying off food and drinks did not increase that internal body temperature any higher thus giving the body the rest it needed to fight off fever.  Fevers usually make you not feel like eating anyway.  And colds typically last longer than does a fever, so you would need food to endure it!   It's both a bit of junk science and our body's own natural reaction to disease in it.  I have found when not feeling stellar, food isn't necessarily at the top of my desires list whether I have a cold or a fever!  My husband kept telling me this week that I needed to eat chicken soup. He has quite a bevy of folklorean Muriel-isms (that was his mother) that he shares with me from time to time.  She must have been quite the character (her home is now heaven), as most of them are just down right funny.  Why do we associate chicken soup with colds?  Is there validity to that claim?  The bit of legitimacy to it has something to do with how chicken and the vegetables can help fight against the inflammatory response of colds.  But then so can lots of other foods like; good oils, fish, nuts, broccoli, cranberries, cherries, grapes, apples, cocoa in the raw, grass fed meats.  Why is not pie an anti-inflammatory aid??  So the chicken soup for a cold thing is only marginally true.  How many times when I was a kid did I hear, don't sit too close to the TV or read without adequate light or you will damage your eyes.  Fact; it will not damage your eyes only staring into the sun indefinitely will.  Now, with age it becomes a bit harder to read in dim light as our reading vision declines (just ask me, I know!).  One of my nieces, when she was about 3 years old, used to sit cross legged 2 feet from the TV and stare at it like it was a cult leader holding her in a trance.  It seems that the younger you are, the more prone you are to want to experience the wonder that is TV.  We get close to what we love:)   That is a truism no matter our age.  Lastly, as a child I regularly heard my mother say, "You better get that look off your face before it freezes like that."  I though never heard that statement when I was making a joyful face.  When I was showing delight, contentment or a grateful and obedient heart sort of look.  The times I heard her say that was when I showed disdain, made a monsterish face at one of my sisters or she caught me sassing back in my without words manner that marked most of growing up years.  I don't know if she really thought that would deter me from making yucky or inappropriate faces.  I don't know if she hoped it would place fear inside me.  It did neither.  And, if there was a chance that my face could freeze permanently in that disrespectful manner, it was a risk I was willing to take for the sheer thrill of expression!

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