Should I go paleo, vegan or detox? Probably, like most people enchanted by the next superfood, you feel quite confused when dwelling on the idea of a healthy diet. If questions like what should I eat to live long, to stay trim and to have enough energy to cope with the fast pace of life today ever arise, then read this. Recently, I was certified in Culinary Nutrition by NGI in New York, still far from claiming that I am a nutrition guru to throw any of your dietary concerns on, my investigative journalistic mind has turned to trustworthy and well-reviewed scientific literature. In his book An Apple a Day, Joe Schwarz, PhD chemist, deconstructs the “myths, misconceptions, and truths about the foods we eat”. No intentions for a best selling self-help book in his oeuvre, but a thorough scientist’s and food expert’s critical look at the evidence that naturally became a bestseller. I conducted several interviews with experts in nutrition, and further read enlightening books from people like Marion Nestle, the director of nutrition course at NYU as well as the user-friendly manuals by Michael Pollan, the international bestselling author. I covered quite a broad field, and here is what I found.
Michael Pollan, the author of award-winning food-centric books wrote it poignantly: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” Nobody, well-read in science can contest his summary.
- Processed X natural whole foods
So what is defined as food according to Pollan? Basically anything minimally processed, as fresh as possible (local and seasonal) and comes from an unpolluted environment, where clean water and soil nourish the plants and the once in a while to be consumed animals. Goodbye processed foods, the cheaper it is, the less nutrients you are probably getting. The problem with making food more accessible to everyone is that plenty of the wholesomeness in the multi-nutrient natural creations is being substituted with barren substances that are cheaper to produce. Cheap rarely associates with quality – it is true about a handbag as well as about a flank of meat or a tomato. Eating whole plants is different from a juice or added vitamins to the nutrient dessert of refined flour or sugar. Stripping your food from fibre means feeling full for shorter time, eating more as a consequence, and too fast absorption of sugar into your system. The last gives you a kick, but as fast the high comes, the faster it drops and spikes in glycaemia increase inflammation, the devil of so many chronic diseases that the Western world suffers from today.
- Organic, biodynamic and other “natural” foods
I have already tackled the pros and misconceptions about organic and sustainable ingredients for our health, so I won’t elaborate on the scientific summary any more. To add, biodynamic or “Demeter” as it is also known in Europe, goes even further in its “listening to nature’s clocks” philosophy, while the “natural” on the label really does not mean anything. So much of such legalese haziness is a result of the global political, legal and scientific environments that are bound to their distinct national laws. This also means that what may be banned in one country, is allowed in another, often based on the same scientific evidence. For example MSG is allowed in Japan, but strictly submitted to labelling in California. [more, surprising information about the MonoSodium Glutamate further bellow]
Many of the misleading health claims on labels such as ”natural” or “organic” do not necessarily mean it is good for you and you should eat it without restriction – often, it can be high in saturated fats, calories, salt and other unhealthy markers. That “eating less is bad for business” is known to the large food manufacturers, and as Michael Pollan writes “still, sugar is sugar” and too much too often is not definition of a treat as it once was.
Simplifying the ever changing, must do’s and never don’ts rules of the constantly evolving nutritional science, is what Pollan’s eater manual does. Read it. Any time-constrained urban dweller or a busy mother will appreciate his concise, straight forward poem-like Food Rules (there are 64).
Do not confuse yourself with opinions of the life coaches, however best-selling they may be, because that does not mean much else than a good marketing, but not what the science has constantly been indirectly and sometimes seemingly disparately confirming over decades and even centuries. It is best to use the wisdom of the tried methods of the past generations and cross-reference it with the broad scientific agreements.
Ancient truth proven by science: “dose makes a poison”
Despite the common sense sound of it, not eating too much of anything is better than overdosing oneself with one nutrient. From the age of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, it has been tested by centuries of trial and error and recently also by scientific controlled trials that only a “dose makes a poison”. Any scientist, whether he is a botanist or chemist like Joe Schwarz, PhD, will tell you that “Natural does not equate safe. Its properties are determined not by its ancestry but by its molecular stricture.” Indeed, high doses of Vitamin A are very dangerous and so is water. Yes, too much of it can kill you, and so can the phosphorus in your toothpaste that helps to prevent cavities, also weakens your bones in too high doses.
Vegan or plant-based diet
We certainly should eat more plants. But, we are not rabbits or elephants so our omnivorous bodies need certain nutrients that are better absorbed from an animal source – such as iron or calcium. If you are iron deficient you would have to eat buckets of greens to get a sufficient amount that will be absorbed by the intestinal wall, while a small portion of for example goose liver will cover your body’s needs. “Not eating any animal food can be a problem, in particularly for growing children and for some genetically predisposed individuals”, warns Abbie Gellman, a Colombia University educated R.D. Further, vitamin B12 only comes from the animal protein, Calcium from dairy is better absorbed, and the omega 3 structure is different in plants. The medium-chain fatty acids are also mainly present only in animal fats, with one stark exception, the coconut oil, so vegans spoon it out on anything you can! Still, in plants-only diet your protein intake may be incomplete. Animal sources offer all essential amino acids, while in plants it is rare. In the west we do not need to be concerned much with our protein intake, we get more than enough. In developing countries, where food is scarce, offering a higher nutritional value such as in ancient grains versus the modern, depleted wheat, would be ideal to combat malnutrition. For example the finger millet in India in comparison with the common millet has almost 10times more calcium and higher iron content. This is where biodiversity secures our future nourishment! Pollan would add though that we can get the vitamin B12 from “foods that have been pre-digested by bacteria or fungi”. Indeed fermented foods have been around for millennia, and they are not just the yogurt or sourdough. You get probiotics as aside effect of this process, and find them in purely vegan sources such as sauerkraut, soy sauce, kimchi and kombucha.
Dairy can be a problem not just for the lactose or milk protein intolerant, but most of the population has difficulties to digest cow’s milk after their growth is completed. I used to down two lattes in my teenagehood, but now a cappuccino gives me cramps, so addition of veggie alternatives to milk were a huraah! to my cappuccino pilgrimage on the Italian highways. Even the Italians now serve soy milk (nonGMO if you are concerned) with your cuppa! The global nut and bean milk market grows like mad (read more in Food Trends). Even the major dairy producers are now buying the once hippie or Asia-only non-dairy milk, yogurt and desserts brands. As much as I enjoy the taste of a well-made almond, coconut or oat milk though, I cannot persuade my palate to replace cheese with these macadamia or cashew cheeses. Often highly processed, stuffed with so many additional chemicals, and much higher in calories than most real cheese, the flavour of a great dairy cheese is hard to fool. Atop of that, making “milk” just from almonds is not sustainable for the entire planet, since growing almonds requires a huge amount of water, and where most of them are grown for commercial purposes? In California, ha.
My conclusion is that we should eat a way less grain-fed meat and high in saturated fat animal food. Base your diet mainly on plant, whole foods. If you want a term for tis diet, then flexitarian would fit. The well-published China Study found the highest correlation between low cardiovascular disease and cancer occurrence (animal protein cassein increased liver cancer) in individuals eating mainly vegetables and whole grains, with some fruit and vary little animal protein (fish inclusive). Lowering inflammation, sustaining body’s energy and maintenance of the endofilian cells help to prevent these widespread modern diseases of over-consumption in the less active environment.
A week-long cleanse vs. long-term lifestyle change
I might disappoint you, but Puzzling out Dietary Myths is not a quick fix that will within a magic switch shift your life to the right track. Sustained lifestyle adjustments, with occasional indulgences rather than frantic and abrupt changes, must be employed to become more happy and healthy for the long term. For our sense of well being can be maintained only in a steady pace. Any short term shock to you body and mind unlikely deletes all the sins and fix all the damage in your body caused by either, the environmental or dietary hazards that you exposed yourself to.
In the sea of dietary advice, one preaching NO carbs, while other shouts NO fat and others list hundreds of forbidden ingredients like tomatoes!?, healthy nutrition gets confusing. Do not even dare to look at the menus of some of the magic transformation promising health food cafes that spread from Australia and California. The difference in today’s diets is that they incorporate more of that Insta-ready social lifestyle, not restricting you to stay alone at home, gulping fast-and-slim cocktails from powders.
Some of us seem to be driven to extremes – either have it all or deprive oneself for a given period of time. This is the concept of adrenalin and attractive to more results driven individuals or practical thinkers, like my husband. His native inclination to indulgence calls for a big stop. Therefore, once he discovered fasting, it became his balancing force for his wine vice and our too frequent restaurant feasts. Plenty of evidence suggests that for some individuals fasting helps beyond weight loss, immune diseases and various allergies were fixed after properly done fasts. Ideally, under medical surveillance, as my husband at first did, many of your ailments can be fixed and inflammation reduced. For diabetics and some other conditions fasting can be deadly, so beware! Quick solutions attract us, in psychology this is termed as the “motivational triad”, meaning that we seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy to increase our probability of survival. Quick rewards result in wanting more, but this can also catch us in an unhealthy behaviour.
Supplements, juices and other liquid nutrition vs. whole foods
If you take a multivitamin, probably most of it ends in you urine, I mean the water soluble vitamins in the pill. This is because your body will not take it all at once and just gets rid of these that are easy to pee out. Joe Schwarz, PhD has a great point that there are “probably other unrecognized ingredients in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that cannot be replicated in supplements”. Nevertheless, he also acknowledges that certain vitamins are hard to get through diet and have been scientifically proven to work if supplemented to deficient or at risk individuals (pregnant or postmenopausal women, small kids and elderly). These are the B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid. Iron deficiency is perhaps the biggest of all dietary concerns globally, and supplements do not work for everyone to elevate the blood level of iron, so eating the better absorbable heme, in animals only present, iron is advisable.
Get your fibre to feel full for longer
The recent mania of juicing and other liquid “detoxes” (soup wads the most recent trend in LA) are also rather extreme. Far from a balanced, healthy and sustainable diet. We need lots of fibre, this scrub of our intestinal walls and also a significant source of prebiotic material key to creating the good probiotic bacteria in our gut and colon. Gellman also added during our interview that “whole food is better than juice or supplements because the absorption of the nutrients is better and the body just works with it differently”. A whole kiwi gives you more than a pill of Vitamin C or a squeezed, fibre-free juice. You can probably read it somewhere on the compulsory label in the small print, but so many of these cold pressed, raw juices can contain harmful bacteria, and these rogues are worse than getting yourself fully vitamin-loaded!
Some nutrients need heat and other substance to be active in our body. Lycopene needs fat and heat to become the cancer fighting substance in tomatoes. Cooking also makes some foods, as most of vegetables, easier to digest. The anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric is multiplied by a small sprinkle of black pepper, and there are many food synergies that can be either useful or detrimental to our health, but we dod not need to focus on that much if we vary our diet and the food preparation. Tomatoes in Italy are often in a sauce that is heated and turmeric is part of Ayurvedic spice blends that usually contain black pepper so traditional cuisines figured it out for you to enjoy and not worry too much.
Food safety first, nutrition second
In all that alarming, often misinformed consumer crusading, many of the Insta gurus, self-proclaimed health-coaches and even some doctors educated at who knows where universities, the safety of the superfoods is shelved. Thanks to the high, but not totally protective hygiene standards in the developed world, we forgot how bacteria in food can easily kill.
“Even the most ‘organic’ of stores pay more attention to seafood sustainability than they do to safety.”, warns Marion Nestle, the director and professor of nutrition at NYU and distinguished author in her book What to Eat.
As with vaccination, we must always consider the whole picture, and here comes the contest between the GOOD vs. BAD BACTERIA. Beneficent bacteria push out the disease causing nasty bacteria such as the life-threatening Botulotoxin, E. Coli, Helicobacter Pillori, Listeria, and the list goes on, that thrive in low oxygen and low acidity environment. Sausages and any cellar aged meat is the most risky. Also some viruses can kill the listeria in raw dairy, meat and vegetables, and so can save our lives. Indeed, there are always two sides of the health card – whether it is a bacteria or virus – its molecular structure, ultimately decides how it will react or behave in our organism.
Touching on raw, unheated foods, any serious nutritionist will confirm that we need both, and it depends on the ingredient in terms of its nutrient availability. Not every vitamin is destroyed by heat, Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants are better consumed raw in some quantity, but for example Vitamin A an the cancer-fighting lycopene in tomatoes is activated under heat. Safety, is another serious concern with some unheated foods. Some harmful bacteria are destroyed by cooking so a well-done steak is less risky option than a steak tartare. Safety of food is above nutritional benefit. Since the later can be adjusted, but a deadly bacteria can kill us, therefore this delicate balance must always be considered if your health is dear to you. Pasteurised dairy (milk, cheese, cream, …), cooked seafood and meat are way more safe than raw, so if you do not know your source closely, go for the heat-treated as you will not deprive yourself of many nutrients, but may avoid weeks in a hospital or eventually death. Just look at the WHO statistics how many people globally die each year from food poisoning (and these are only the official, reported associations!). “Foodborne diseases are a growing public health problem worldwide, particularly for infants, children, and the elderly”. So, be careful where you buy your raw food from!
To prevent the harmful bacteria from spreading in raw meat and seafood, sodium nitrite is added, but after certain chemical reactions with the naturally ocuring amines, it has been associated with cancer. So far there is no win-win situation, but Vitamin C can prevent the reaction to happen, so squeeze the raw lemon juice on your smoked fish or meat.
Chemical changes that occur when heat is applied are very important in cooking fats. For example some oils should never be heated and only used for dressing ready dishes. These include unrefined flax, hazelnut, hemp, pumpkin, safflower, walnut, but also cold pressed olive oil.
Sulphites are quite a different story. Any wine drinker or dried fruit eater is certainly familiar with the labelling of this potentially deadly compound. Behold, wine or fruit so treated will not kill you, unless you suffer from asthma or severe sulphite sensitivity. Like with allergies, sulphites affect some people more adversely than others. Why do we need them in our wine and other long-lasting natural produce? Well, because of its preservation function, like salt it acts as a disinfectant. To prevent fruits from spoiling and enzymatic browning or wine from off-taste, we need sulphites. Some natural winemakers do not subscribe to adding these “nasties”, yet their wines tend not to travel well, do not age gracefully, or if they do a chemical analysis may reveal that they contain natural sulphites in sufficient amounts. Indeed, sulphites are produced by natural fermentation and also they are present in the volcanic soils from Etna to New Zealand, so no need to add more. Sulphites are more about taste than safety though – would you enjoy a vinegar to sip with your dinner instead of wine? Probably not.
Brain and gut and their roles in health
Recent findings on the importance of our gut microflora on our immunity, suggest that an individual’s unique microflora may be much more telling of the individual’s health status than just your DNA. This is where the importance of probiotic bacterial cultures as well as prebiotic foods such as fibre (inulin, etc.) come to our attention. If the health of your colon concerns you, you must get coated probiotic pill so it can survive the acidic environment of your stomach.
From the good bacteria PROBIOTICS, in particular these surviving the acidic environment of our stomach like the Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, have recently received plenty of scientific attention. From improving immunity to weight control, your gut bacteria can play an important role in your overall health status. Eat you yogurt, kimchi and other cultured foods for your health. Pasteurised is safer. PREBIOTICS in our food will be converted to good bacteria in our stomach and colon, so eat plenty of fibre (such as inulin) in bananas, chicory root, garlic, jerusalem artichoke, onion, wheat germ, etc, that produces short-chain fatty acids, that will be absorbed into the bloodsystem. Certain foods also have natural antimicrobial effect. These include broccoli, garlic, certain herbs, olive oil, so include them in your balanced diet.
You can read about the benefits and of Macrobiotic diet, the Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet and Paleo in my past posts (all linked). The latest, Paleo is a low carb diet opposing the vegan no-animal protein ethos as tons of meat, seeds, nuts and vegetables are being advised to consume. I have not elaborated in my past writing on Atkins diet, but like the paleo it is based on high protein consumption, that fills you up (your hunger hormones are happy to go sleep), ditching starches and sugar, and loading up on fat. This might work for high profile athletes and the cross fit community, but high-protein diets are very hard on our kidneys and increase our blood fat levels (risk for CHD), so not a long-term healthy solution. Paleo is basically the evolution of Dr Atkins’ theory when phenylalanine is produced, reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin. If weight loss is your concern, now a new pill based on this process is being introduced, so you can eat a balanced diet instead and swallow the magic weight loss pill. Alkaline diet was grasped by many celebrities and some doctors like the cardiologist Alejandro Junger, who inspired Gwyneth Paltrow to one of her constant dietary swings. Well, most science suggests that this is a nonsense, and I cannot judge Dr Junger, but he makes lots of money at his lifestyle clinic in New York.
Andrew Weil of the Oprah show fame is more grounded recommending anti-inflammatory foods, which indeed contribute to cardiovascular health. Flexitarian, which is mostly vegetarian and a small proportion of ocassional animal food, has been the most proportionally balanced diet from all these fads.
The highly medialized hype of what is the healthiest diet has rarely led us to longevity. No fad diet has ever sustained the lifespan of a person, but a wholesome and balanced nutrient intake seems to be in vogue now, so take it a with a pinch of wisdom and choose the things that you enjoy. You can eat as many plants and tofu you can, but if you fry it in a volatile oil you wrack a havoc with your health as much as a devote carnivore would!
Macronutrients in the spotlight of the dietary myths:
The major contributors to our diet are macronutrients that we consume and need in high amounts. These are fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
Low fat vs full fat
Fat is a mystery macronutrient that puzzles our minds. In a vegan diet you will escape the bad, arteries clogging cholesterol, but still many of the fancy vegan raw desserts will supply you with plenty of fat and calories, and this is not sustainable. It is astonishing how many types of low fat yogurts, cheese and other dairy produce I find on the shelves of the American supermarkets. The problem with the low fat dairy is not that there is less calcium or the beneficial probiotics, but the sugar and starchy thickeners added to these more processed products so they can still taste quite acceptable. Now, make a confession, how much of the low-fat version you end up eating and how much do you enjoy the taste? Well, a small portion of a full fat, naturally dense, and so oooh filling yogurt will not just fill you up, but also you are less likely to consume too much of it. At the end you may consume the same amount of calories. Get the real stuff, just eat less of it.
Grassfed vs. grainfed dairy and meat
Dairy and animal produce has been recently shunned by many trendy dieters, but more evidence resurfaced that what the animal eats changes the molecular structure of the flash, the organs and milk. As with humans, you are what you eat. Grass fed animal produce has higher level of the good fat, while the bad saturated fat is decreased. Grain, unnatural to the animals, causes more suffering and perhaps even stress to the animal so the hormones excreted affect the constitution.
Wild vs. farmed fish
Wild game as much as wild fish move more, so they do have more muscle mass, and thus protein ratio versus total body fat. In the space constrained farming facilities antibiotics are needed to prevent any easy spread of a disease. We want to avoid antibiotics-fed food as much as we can because this can contribute to the antibiotic resistance, and if we get a cold we want the medicine to work, right?
Carbohydrates and Gluten, the shocker in modern grains
Food sensitivity tests are now available at most drug stores and many independent laboratories (such as Savant-health) offer these paid-for services because we want them. This is not about allergies, but any discomfort that you may more likely experience after ingesting certain foods. Gluten intolerance is a serious health concern that can lead to premature death, while gluten sensitivity may well be a dormant trouble waiting for its potential to be unleashed on your system. The recent raise in reported cases of gluten sensitivity are not just because of how medialized and trendy it had become, but also because our modern wheat contains much more gluten than the ancient grain that we consumed for millennia. Yet, in the gluten-free mania elsewhere be vigilant. If you do not have this genetic problem, do not substitute whole grain, fibre rich grains for some of the highly processed gluten-free muffins, cookies and crackers. They will do you no good.
Sugar, artificial sweeteners versus “natural” sweeteners
First, sugar is as natural as the agave sirup you are substituting it with, so just forget that on the labels meaningless word natural. Yet, as most nutritionists agree, it is not just the plain numbers, the calories that you consume that count. The nutritional value goes well beyond the total amount of calories, fat and sugar that we consume. The quality and the type of sweetener, the additional mineral and vitamin content in the less processed sweeteners, and their effect on our brain (low GI=glycaemic index sweeteners are better so you do not crave more after the insulin spike crashes down) count. The bottom line is that added sweetness should not become daily habit but an occasional treat, whether it is a coconut sugar, maple sirup or the old cane sugar. Diabetics are of course a case on its own, and should avoid anything insulin spiking in their diet.
The public opinion of the past decade was not favourable towards artificial sweeteners. Joe Schwarz, PhD highlights that the problem with most of the artificial sweeteners is that they are much more sweet than sugar, and this is also why they are used in the first place. We were supposed to to use less of them to cut calories, but their high sweetness confuses our brains and our taste papillae will expect more sweet flavour than we get from the ordinary sugar. Do you want to train your palate to crave more sweets? Certainly not. Further, some, like xylitol although great for cavity prevention, kill the beneficial gut bacteria, so hold on.
Most doctors and certified dieticians, not the life coaches or a distance learning pursuing nutritionists, that feed the brains of celebrities seeking a quick fix, will tell you that a balanced diet is the most healthy diet. Why? Simply, because we can stick with it in a long term, and unless we suffer from some serious illness, our body should get what it needs, not too little or too much. Seasonally change the foods that appear on the stands of farmers. In a supermarket it is harder, because the seasons blend and the always the same also seduces us to sticking to the same foods that we routinely buy. The easiest way to achieve it without spending too much of your precious time pondering about what vitamin, micronutrient or ingredient you are missing is to “focus on what foods to include, what’s good for you, as these will automatically replace what’s not healthy as you get full from the good stuff“, advises Abbie Gellman, R.D. So start with plenty of salad, then get a soup or a protein rich main course and then think of dessert, not the other way around, your mother got it right.
Hotels do not make it easier for us, travellers, to eat more healthy. The sad truth is that they actually tempt us to eat very bad stuff from their overpriced minibar offering, where highly processed, sugary and ultra-salty snacks, sugary fizzy and alcoholic beverages dwell to tempt us in the moment of weakness. What the eye does not see, the heart does not desire. The typical hotel breakfast buffet is full of sugary white pastry, sausages, bacon, so many traps to feed our bad bacteria and malfunctioning cells. Just look at the two very different breakfast tables above, one is a classical hotel offer, the other a detox cure in Spain. Needless to say, they both taste delicious, just one of them gave my body more – nutrients. Airlines also do not make our traveling healthier and we need to complain so the ca change it. I wrote about the Airlines Unhealthy Habits in a previous musing.
Salt and other flavour enhancers such as MSG
We need salt for proper functioning of our cells, but it can elevate our blood pressure, so anyone concerned about this health marker should reduce salt as much as possible. Processed foods are the worst sinners, so if you avoid any crisps, sweet or savoury, you are more than half way to optimal sodium level in your blood. No serious studies have proven that MSG, in Japan known as umami, in regular doses negatively affects our health. The Japanese consume so much dashi, containing natural msg, that the nation would be all so cancer ridden by now, that it would not exist. MSG elevates the flavour of other ingredients such as sugar and salt so less of them need to be added into food.
The dietary myth of a detox
I wrote about detox so you can learn more in that post. The main point is that our body is detoxing constantly, and this why we have liver, lungs and kidneys. Even sweating through our skin is detoxing, so supporting all these organs through getting out on fresh air, sport, saunas, drinking plenty of water, eating some bitter vegetables such as chicory, dandelion, radichio or herbs such as milk thistle is enough to support the inherent daily activity of our body to detox. Toxins are after all dependent on dose, as I mentioned above in the Hyppocrates’ philosophy.
Coffee, tea, and other stimulants put pressure on the organs and brain. They should not be consumed regularly. Hard to do for some! Unless you are hyper-sensitive to any of these stimulants, pregnant or breastfeeding though, do not worry about them. Also, do not rely on green tea‘s magic power to help you with weight control. A great marketing, but just by drinking more of calorie-free liquids will make you so full that you will probably eat less, but also get less nutrients into your body.
The major dietary advice common to all reputed sources is: do not forget to drink plenty of clean, filtered water. If you drink mineral water, change it from time to time so you ingest a good diversity of minerals.
An ancient Chinese proverb says: “He, that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the time of his doctor.”
I tried to cover as much as I could, but there is certainly more that may enter your mind in terms of nutrition, and if I omitted something, please contact me, and I will get you the answer from a reliable source.
SOURCES: Backed by science and by millennia tested practices, these books and studies are welcome read for anyone desiring to live long and free from food-born diseases.
Interview with Abbie Gellman, R.D. from Colombia University, US
Junshi Chen, PhD: The China Study & its peer reviewed criticism