The Best of 2012 TEDxWarsaw (3)

Thanks, Ralph. More of the same, please.

Best in Staying High
The TEDxWarsaw organisers. Thank you for your infectious energy level, the great show and wonderful atmosphere. Carry on in the same way, will you?

The Most Evangelical
What we eat or not eat is so personal that it’s almost a religious choice. Given that religious topics are off limits on TED, is Ola Lazar’s what-to-eat talk a borderline case of TED’s guideline violation?

OL is the founder of, a user-driven restaurant review site. Something like the Polish equivalent of Zagat. I would have used gastronauci more often as a site to read and improve my Polish if it weren’t so peppered with petty complaints. Anyway, OL’s talk is about her journey from being a connoisseur of rich, indulgent palatable pleasures to a millet and grains pusher. She wants us to resist temptations and consider going on fasts. More veg and grains, less meat and desserts.

During intermission, another TEDxWarsaw attendee and I discussed OL’s message. His impression was OL is at the early stages of her diet transition and she came across as a bit lost and still finding her way in the nutrition maze. Yet, she handed out advice that affects the body and on a topic she hasn’t fully understood, he added.

OL mentioned a good friend who lost her battle with cancer. I inferred that her revision in food choices was partly influenced by her friend’s tragic plight. If that’s the case, then OL is indeed only at the beginning of her change journey. More than 10 years ago, when my cousin was diagnosed with cancer in his early thirties, our whole family was on cancer-awareness alert. We consumed books written by survivors. Most reported salvation came from what we put in our mouths: cut out the meat and cheese; more carrots and celery. I swung to the extreme end of viewing food as lethal. I saw each molecule of meat, fat, sugar and salt as agents of evil. I lost the love for food and that was a dark place to dwell in. I’ve since come out of that and I cherish the nourishment on my plates, bowls, mugs and glasses. As Tom Robbins put it (either in Jitterbug Perfume or Cowgirls Also Have the Blues) “a little bit of bad is better than a lot of good”. Or was it “a little bit of bad is less harmful than a lot of good”? It’s the message we knew all along. It’s the hardest balancing act of all, the one that Aristotle told us with the Golden Mean, and Buddha with the Middle Way.

I wish OL well wherever the millets and buckwheat take her.

Related posts: Best of 2012 TEDxWarsaw (1), Best of 2012 TEDxWarsaw (2).


About kitfchung

Experienced food and travel journalist based in Warsaw, Poland.
This entry was posted in Poland and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Best of 2012 TEDxWarsaw (3)

  1. cadumais says:

    I love Jitterbug Perfume! Now I need to read it again.

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