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Throughout the developed world, we are at a point in our evolution at which famine, which essentially governed the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history, is no longer an acute threat. And we know more about the connection between food and health than ever before--down to the molecular level, actually.
This has provided us the curious luxury of being fussy, even snooty, about what we eat, considering some foods, well, below our station. That's silly. Food isn't about cachet. It's about nourishment, pleasure and the profound well-being that comes from the way meals draw us together.
Even foods that I have described as no-go items are really O.K. in the right situations. I recently enjoyed some fantastic barbecue after a long project in Kansas City, Mo., and I certainly ate the cake and more at my daughter's wedding. As with any relationship that flourishes, respect is at the core of how you get along with food--respect and keeping things simple.
Mehmet Oz is a vice chairman and professor of surgery at Columbia University, a best-selling author and the Emmy Award--winning host of The Dr. Oz Show