Monday, 13 October 2014

Debunking Myths We Were Exposed To While Growing Up

We all grew up believing certain things that our parents, grandparents, and teachers have told us. Even though some of their advices and warnings were based on actual evidence, others we nothing but old wives’ tales. The following are some of those myths.

1. Not to wet the toothbrush before using it.

My family dentist always said so when we were younger. However, this reduces the effectiveness of the toothpaste and its abrasive power is increased, wearing your teeth prematurely. I'm glad I could never really do it as it felt and tasted unnatural.

2. Not to swim for an hour after a meal.

Just an old wives’ tale about getting cramps which can lead to drowning. The truth is, we have enough blood to keep all of our other parts running just fine after a meal.

3. Adding oil to water when making pasta so it doesn't get sticky.

Lots and lots of people do it. This makes the pasta oily so the sauce slides off and doesn't get absorbed — becoming greasy and losing its taste. Stirring the pasta as it cooks for the first minute or two will prevent it from getting sticky.

Another reason people add oil to the water is for it not to boil over. This can also be prevented by using a large pot, as well as by reducing the heat a little, while still maintaining the boil. Or, by placing a wooden cooking spoon on top of the pot; if foam appears on the surface after a while, you can always blow on it and it will disappear.

4. When you marry someone, you marry their whole family.

Not necessarily. Some people know how difficult/irrational/controlling their parents are so they marry and leave them behind or keep their distance.

5. Wearing socks while sleeping is bad for your eyesight.

Common myth but no relation. This one wasn’t told directly to me, but my grandmother used to say it to my father when he was younger.

6. If you wash grapes before you store them in the fridge they will go bad.

They don’t.

7. This is a common Arabic saying: He who is fearful is safe  ( اللي خاف سلم ).

Meh. It may keep you safe, but it will also make you complacent and weak and boring. I saw what that lethal mindset can have on people; for you cannot really live if you are afraid of life.

8. Your head is heavier than your body.

We were told that as kids so we don’t look out from balconies. In reality, the head constitutes only about 8 percent from the body mass.

9. If you swallow bubble gum it will take seven years to be digested.

It is not the healthiest of things to swallow, but far and away from any ‘years’ or ‘months’.

10. Not to shower after food.

Another common myth. It’s the same “blood flow diverted to the skin which doesn’t help with the digestion” idea. Again, most humans have enough blood for digestion as well as for other functions.


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