Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Are you scared of your food?

Sometimes I think our culture spends too much time trying to teach us that food is bad for us.  It is sad that every time I open my fridge I think about how every single thing has gotten a bad rap at some point in time or has been through it's "tainted with bacteria" scares.

Let me tell you what I go through every time I go to the grocery store. First I get my cart and based on the placement of hand sanitizer and/or wipes I think about how my cart must be full of germs. I refrain from wiping the handle down and walk in to the produce section. As I look at the salads I think about how ice berg is bad, but spinach might have e. coli. Then as I go through the produce I think about the pesticides they spray on things but as I turn to the organic or local options I think about all of those articles that say that eating organic has no proven health benefits. Some things have distant expiration dates which make me wonder how something natural could last that long, but then half of the things say they will expire tomorrow so I put them back.

Then I walk through the deli and meat section. Usually looking at the meat in their bloody, juicy packages gives me the creeps and so I try to pick only the leanest of meat. A list of articles run through my mind about how poorly most animals are treated so I look at the options that say things like "free range" or "grass fed." Another list of articles runs through my mind about how labels can be deceptive and that they often don't guarantee that an animal was raised any better than animal at Slaughter McGee's. So I look at the fish, but that can be trouble too. Are they endangered or are they over-farmed? Do they have poison in their blood? So I put my head down and move on.

I walk through the bakery and think that finally I'll be able to put something in my cart. But then I start looking at ingredients lists. What are all of these things I can't pronounce? Apparently they are supposed to keep my bread from molding... as if a hungry girl like me couldn't put away a loaf of bread in 48 hours. My head starts racing trying to decide if I should select something with whole grains or something that won't taste like cardboard in my mouth. C'mon I worked at bakery and I'm 100% sure that in a pinch I could wield a whole grain baguette as a weapon. Then I start thinking of all the hype lately about how gluten just clogs up your GI tract making it harder for your body to digest other things. I cry a little and keep walking.

As I stand forlornly in front of the dairy section I lament my lactose-intolerant life. But at least there's soy milk! Oh, but wait. Apparently a diet that has too much soy can be harmful. So I look over the lactose-free milk substitutes. So many choices! But should I pick fat-free or 2%? The jury is still out on that one. 2% and whole milk are closer to the product that actually comes out of the cow, but a high fat diet isn't that good for you. But then there are those people that say that the whole fat-free craze is going to be America's downfall. Look, I just want something to dunk my cookies in.

Then I look at the eggs. Why did we ever decide to start eating the rejected half-offspring of another animal? They taste pretty good, though, so I try to push out the thought of what the human equivalent would be. Sorry if I just ruined eggs for you. But it gets worse. Do I pick white eggs or brown eggs. Definitely brown. But do I pay an extra $2 for the carton that says "organic" on it or pick the placebo brown eggs? How do I really know that they chickens were raised in a healthy environment? They still were probably raised on top of each other because unless I'm buying my eggs from the Amish they probably weren't roaming around in some wonderland where they put their eggs in a separate place from their shit. So when I finally think I've found the eggs for me, I open the carton and see the word "salmonella" scribbled across those brittle little shells.

After narrowly avoiding disaster I decide that everything in the store probably has some sort of disease or is out to give me diabetes. I mean, I haven't even started going through the aisles with processed foods full of terrifying SUGAR! So I get a 6-pack of beer and call it a day.

Seriously, people, when did we start being so afraid of our food?! As a person who is in a healthy place after struggling through an eating disorder years ago, it drives me crazy when someone tells me that something is "bad for me." No, calories are good and they fuel me through my day.  I don't want to open my cupboard and think about all of the reasons why I shouldn't eat something. I want to think about how that food is going to power me through until the end of my day.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Allisa! We have definitely become a nation of food-phobics.