Since this post, I’ve been really trying to sever my links between food and guilt. I’ve been listening to what my body wants to eat and giving it that no matter how much my nutrition indoctrination screams otherwise. And that’s interesting, because sometimes my body really does want a Big Mac and sometimes it really wants a yogurt/fruit smoothie. But this exercise has given me a secondary discovery. At some point in my life, I decided that private guilt was preferable to public judgment. So, while I have no trouble going through a drive thru and getting a burger, I think two and three times before letting myself be seen getting a chocolate bar from the vending machine. And I don’t think I’m imagining the judgment either.
How many of you have been to this lunch? You sit down at a restaurant with a group of people. The menus are opened and suddenly the celebratory ambience vanishes to be replaced by self-flagellation, true food confessions and food penance. But the self-hatred can’t stop there. Oh no. In classic passive-agressiveness it will be turned on you. Your lunch mates will suddenly become evangelizers and inquisitors for whatever flavour of food philosophy they currently subscribe to. Here’s how it goes:
What are you having? Well, I shouldn’t really eat too much because I did eat those 6 saltines this morning and I’m feeling SOOOO bloated. What are you going to have? You know I was thinking about the quesadilla but I wonder if they have a half serving? I mean, I have VISIBLY put on weight this week. I am a horse! Just braid my mane and put me in parade! Do you want to split a side order of the squid or are you still on your cleanse? I know, I worry about the mercury too, you’re right, maybe I’ll just have a bowl of the vegetable soup. I wonder if they use organic vegetables for the broth? You’re going to have the water? Mmmm, that sounds so good. I’ve only drunk a gallon today, I’m like totally parched. You’re having the penne? (Stunned silence) Really? Don’t you find you get sleepy after a carb overload like that? I would so like be in a coma if I ate all that! You should make sure they put some lean protein the sauce like tofu to balance it out. Do you think they use a multi-grain pasta?
Then when the food actually comes (all dressings and sauces on the side, nach!) it’s divided up to avoid over-consumption and after six mouthfuls have been consumed over a 45 minute period, it is declared to be causing yet more bloating, weight gain and general distress than they ever could have imagined possible.
It is said that the most controversial topics are sex, religion and politics. Well, I would like to add a new one to that list…Food. Food is not just food anymore. It’s a philosophy, at times a religion, complete with gurus of cult-like status, Dr. Frankensteins, evangelizers, inquisitors, manifestos, and sinners like me.
It’s hard enough to change myself, but then to discover that I’m fighting culture as well is a little daunting. All I can hope for is that changing my own mind will change the world.
And I have to grow a thicker skin.