In Search of Normalcy

True Confessions: 
When I'm around health-conscious eaters, 
I always order the 'bad for you' stuff on the menu. 

I mostly do that to torment them because I'm pretty sure they're lying. Plus, a treat like that prevents me from launching into the great food debate...

You see, I think they're lying about how they'd prefer crunching on a carrot stick to savoring a sandwich wrapped in fresh-baked artisan bread. Or that they prefer Activia to ice cream. This list goes on and on and they drive. me. nuts.

But, are they lying about their preference for the ultimate in healthy foods? Or, is the whole "Eat Healthy!" message so pervasive that they're simply brainwashed?

I should probably make another confession ~ because it's the reason this makes me so crazy. I've worked in the food industry my entire adult life. On brands such as Healthy Choice, that hopefully everyone knows is not all that healthy.

Little did we know that 15 years after we started producing "Eat Healthy!" commercials that every food company on planet Earth would jump on this (mostly lies) bandwagon and follow suit.

These days, there's no escaping that 'healthy lifestyle' guilt trip advertising. It's on every internet page we view, every magazine we're flipping through. It gets worse every year all the while we get fatter. And, I've always wondered if that's because we're a contrary nation. The deep desire to be thin and healthy strikes a cord with a small minority. The lion's share of Americans simply flip the channel.

Last year, I traveled with 4 different women to horse shows and flower shows. (My two great passions.)

√ On the first trip my traveling companion lived off of celery because it's a negative calorie food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
√ On the second trip, the woman relied on hard candy. (I'm guessing to curb her appetite.) WORSE, in the evenings she pulled out a journal at the restaurants to calculate calories before she 'went overboard.' That was so embarrassing.
√ And, the 3rd woman. Well, she's closer to normal though everything that enters the pie hole must be the healthiest selection on the menu.

And, then! A breakthrough!

In November, a friend joined me and my family on an impromptu road trip for a weekend of casual hiking. We stopped for lunch halfway there. I ordered a burger. She did, too. In fact we all did. (This joint makes killer burgers) But, I stared at her plate for just long enough that she demanded: What??? I'll burn this off in no time. 

I wasn't staring at her plate because I was appalled. I was staring at her plate because I was thrilled! I'd finally found a friend who was in the right frame of mind.

You see, I think if you are an active, mobile, fun-loving adult you have earned the right to enjoy your food. You don't talk about it, fret about it, or make apologies for it. You just eat it. And, those things like the killer burger? Yes, they're on the menu. As the special delicious treats they were always meant to be.

Thanks for listening to my rant. And, please weigh in with different points of view. Half the reason I posted this was to stir things up. ; > )


A Taylor Bogdan said...

I completely agree. I grew up with a foodie dad and a health conscious mom; talk about conflict of interest. It wasn't until I moved out of the States that I began to understand the society in which so many people, women in particular, live in with regards to food, health and body image. I think what people don't understand is that your favorite diet food company, your favorite workout video production house, your favorite healthy living whatever is an industry, a business that has making money as it's number one priority and not your health. In less developed countries, food is food. People aren't making money off of it to the same extent as in the USA; it's not an mega money industry, it's just food.

Anyways, I completely agree. Whenever I'm around my mom I always eat the worst things possible, even though I usually eat pretty well normally. Thanks for starting the conversation!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

That's a terrific observation.

It IS a business! And, with respect to dieting it is a REPEAT business, since diets don't work.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. This was great. :)