Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Cart Full of Smug

When I buy healthy food, I want people to notice.

I want them to walk by my cart - piled high with produce and whole grains and beans and sprouted bread and organic free range hormone-free brussels sprouts - and think to themselves: "Wow, now that's impressive. I wish I could be half as healthy as that woman."

I want to wander the produce section of the grocery store, choosing organic apples with a small serene smile on my face. You can buy your white bread, and your chips, and your processed cheese product. In fact, I want you to buy them, because it makes me feel even better about myself.

Please understand, I won't look at you or judge you personally. I won't even notice you. But I will give myself a smug little mental pat on the back as I wait for you to pay for your overly processed, overly packaged junk food. So many chemicals. So much plastic. Starving baby koala bears the world over shed a tear of sorrow.


The contents of my cart: smug and healthy.




No?

Nothing?

A bit disappointed, I pay and walk out with my canvas bags, still feeling healthy and morally superior.

And all is well until about an hour later, when I start wanting a snack.








And then, at supper time, I have all of these fresh ingredients, just bursting with phytochemicals and antioxydants and rainbows and unicorn breath.

But the chopping.

And the cooking.

And the cleaning.


After a few weeks, I have to hold my breath and sort through drawers half-full of mushy, rotting produce. And also, we're out of cereal again.

Once every month or so, we have a movie marathon day (or - last weekend - a Dexter season 2 marathon day). We buy a bunch of junky snacks and skip meals altogether. On those days, my cart is not overflowing with smug. Instead, it's overflowing with shame and cancer and giddy excitement and chocolate pudding.

When I unload the bags of chips and chocolate and candy onto the counter, I avoid eye contact. "Don't notice, don't notice" I whisper over and over in my head as the cashier slides each bag over the counter.




And the guy behind me in line?

He's buying spirulina, and chia seeds, and gogi berries, and hemp protein powder, and psyllium. I don't even know what half of that stuff is, but it's just so good and healthy and smug. He's wearing a marathon t-shirt. I slink away in shame.

We get home, pop in the DVDs and tear open the bags. And we eat.


And eat. Until...








Tomorrow, I'll be healthy again! I'm going to go grocery shopping and buy only healthy, life-giving foods.

Maybe the smug will work for me this time.

57 comments:

  1. *dying*

    I'm glad I'm not the only one. It's nearly 2:30pm and all I've had day is 2 very big mugs of coffee. I think I shall have cereal to tide me over :)

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    1. I honestly don't think I'd make it until 2:30 without eating. I'm definitely in the "never skip a meal" camp! (With the word "meal" being very, very flexible.)

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  2. HAH! I started having to include the chopping and putting in snack sized containers to shopping. That way I can just go into the fridge and grab my 100 calories of berries and bliss.

    Although it all gets a bit mushy by the end of the week. But that's why God invented spoons. They're still good, and maybe slightly alcoholic!

    Your movie marathon day sounds COMPLETELY AWESOME, I am going to institute this at ONCE in my house.

    So recently, after feeling superior about my free range cage free vegan chicken eggs, I was over at a friend's house. And you know what he was cooking? AMISH eggs. Because he had to one up me. So I went out looking for Amish eggs, because they MUST be better, and he bought chickens for his back yard. I CAN'T WIN AT THIS!

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    1. maybe sightly alcoholic?

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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    2. Hahaha! Oh, I wish that I were you right now. Because that's such an awesome story. Blog it! That way I can read it.

      (And yes...the monthly movie-slash-junk-food day is highly recommended.)

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  3. Love it! I actually don't like when cashiers comment on my food, healthy or not, it makes me feel so exposed :)

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    1. I live in such a small town now, and one time the cashier said "Oh, these are really expensive!" while ringing through my fruit. And then I pretendd that I hadn't realized, and thanked her, and put it back...even though I really wanted those overpriced raspberries. Ha! I really do think it's better if no one comments on other people's food at all.

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  4. Replies
    1. Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure that I've heard it somewhere before, because I'm not usually clever enough to make stuff like that up.

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  5. Can we talk about the marathon tshirts? :)

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    1. Ummmm...maybe? What would you like to talk about? If you want to talk about the fact that I will NEVER be a marathon-runner, even though I'm in awe of people who are...then sure! I'm all ears!

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  6. Totally get it! I always feel superior when I stock my kitchen with only Trader Joes and Health food items. I imagine all the meals I am going to cook, and how I will walk into work the next with my black bean and quinoa leftovers. Then about 5 hours after I get home from such a shopping trip, my husband is standing in the cupboard saying "we don't have any snacks!!" and I have to say........I agree with him. Then it's back to the 'regular' grocery store for YUMMY processed goodness!

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    1. It's so true! If all I have in the house is healthy food...then I always feel a bit deprived.

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  7. Replies
    1. Which part? The healthy smug food? Or the candy-and-chips buffet?

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  8. I always overestimate the amount of produce I need. Always. Maybe you remember when a few weeks ago, I bought rainbow radishes because they were pretty. Well, they're still in my fridge. I looked at them today and thought I should throw them out, because they're certainly past the time they can be eaten...
    I aspire to always make and eat fresh healthy foods. Right now, while doing an elimination diet, I know the exact feeling you described---I think I open the fridge and food cupboards approximately 975 times a day, just searching for something to eat. I don't eat cereal, so I have resorted to things like kale chips (ate a whole bunch of kale earlier...and now I feel like crud). But, generally, I just snack all day on "healthy junk food." That's how I justify it.

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    1. Farmer's markets are dangerous places for me. Everything's so PRETTY. It's easy for me to cook real food when I get in the habit...it's just that sometimes I have a lazy day, and that lazy day extends into a lazy week. It's hard to commit!

      I'd have a hard time giving up cereal...

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  9. hahaha, I am so the same! I want people to notice when my cart is full of healthiness! I push that thing around with a big smug smile on my face, showing it off to everyone.
    And then it is Andrew who is all, "you just went grocery shopping and we have no snacks" and accuses me of buying only canned tomatoes, beans and quinoa. Not true!

    And there is nothing wrong with cereal for supper.

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    1. I'm glad that there's someone else who will admit to being smug at the grocery store! I read this story a dozen times before posting it, because I was afraid that I might come off as a gigantic jerk. Ha!

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  10. I literally JUST did this. :)

    And oh, open my cabinets and reluctantly eat what I bought, grazing because none of it is chocolate. So I'll go do that tomorrow. ;)

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    1. I feel you on the cabinets. When I'm hungry for something that I don't have, I'll open the fridge, then the cupboards, over and over again. So strange that chocolate doesn't magically appear when I shut the door. Ha!

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  11. oh, this is awesome, stephanie! best phrase: "organic free range hormone-free brussels sprouts" -> love it!
    i can totally relate!! lately, since i stopped diet coke, as i'm checking out, i'm feeling all superior - "do you notice what i do not have?? do you? DO YOU??" and i totally hear you on the cereal thing. if i'm feeling like i must have cereal, but am going thru an "organic phase," then i buy cereal at the health food store. yea, like $40 vs $20 later...
    thanks for the great story. not sure what the answer/solution is. shop incognito??!

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    1. Haha @ do you notice what I do not have?? You should seriously get that made into a t-shirt.

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  12. All that hemp powder just gave you the munchies didn't it.
    Look by the time all that healthy food gets to you it might as well be processed junk.
    Beautiful story, beautiful pictures.

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    1. Ooooh...I actually hate hemp powder. It tastes like chalk. But I do have the munchies. Always.

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  13. Ha! I wonder if the check-out people think I'm two different people--some days with the cheddar puffy chips and chocolate-covered wafer cookies, other days with the organic green onions and bulk sugar snap peas and brown rice. Wear sunglasses. Inside. No one will judge you about your groceries--they will just think you're a celebrity.

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    1. Ha @ pretending to be a celebrity. Love that idea! (And now I'm kind of craving cheddar puffy chips. Whatever those are.)

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  14. My hubby and I totally do this exact same thing! I've tossed out slimy vegetables that I never did find out what they were. Something Asian, green and spiky.

    I've sometimes take the middle ground and buy bags of frozen mixed vegetables. That way it's healthy without all the chopping and they last longer. Not as tasty though. And no spiky green miscellaneous Asian veg.

    Cereal is awesome. :)

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    1. I found it!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_melon

      The ones I tossed looked like the middle picture under "varieties". Only brownish and slimy.

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    2. "cereal is awesome" <--- understatement, my friend! And bitter melon is so yucky. I really, REALLY don't like bitter melon. My husband cooks it sometimes, but I'll just pick around it and leave it on my plate.

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    3. Good to know. I don't like bitter things. We just bought them 'cause they looked cool. According to the wiki page they cure cancer and HIV or something so now I wished they were tasty. :P

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  15. Ha! Yes! And sometimes your buggy will end up half healthy, half junk. I'm pretty sure they cancel each other out.

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    1. And if they cancel each other out...then there's really nothing at all to eat. Ha!

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  16. *Ducks head as lone dissenter*

    I am certainly smug at the grocery store...because I'm thinking that all of the rest of you are paying twice as much for all that organic produce even though it still has pesticides and other chemicals living on it. Because 1) we all live in the same ecosystem and the organic field is not in a bubble...the factory farm next door sprays their crops and there's this thing called wind; and 2) organic doesn't mean chemical-free...it just limits the kind of chemicals you can put on it. But then, I have a degree in biochemistry, so I consider that, technically, everything is made up of chemicals and I don't get freaked out by them. Also, life is short, I gotta die somehow, I might as well enjoy my food. Also, I don't eat cereal. So that's why I'm smug. :)

    I do still come home from the grocery store with bags of stuff wondering how I spent all that money and didn't buy anything to eat. Fortunately, I always keep a supply of chocolate on hand, just in case there's nothing else.

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    1. No need to duck your head! I love dissenters! See...that's the thing about being smug...we can be equally smug for completely different reasons. Ha! And I definitely see your point about organics. That said, I don't just buy organic to limit chemicals...I buy organic to support a different approach to farming. And then I buy doritos to cancel out any good that I might have done.

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  17. Replies
    1. Thank you Sabrina! I'm glad you stopped by!

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  18. Gotta admit--as a former grocery store bagger and cashier, I judged away! That said, I'll still walk through the line proudly with a box of Reese's puffs cereal. For my next dinner, breakfast AND lunch. This made me lol as always...Especially shame, cancer and chocolate pudding. Sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good.

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    1. Haha! Oh, now you've confirmed my worst fears. Actually, my first real job was as a cashier. I don't remember judging anyone. Unless they tried to buy 12 things in the 8-or-less aisle. Anyway...the bad just makes the good seem better, no?

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  19. Hahaha! I just had cereal for lunch! I swear it's like you're writing these stories about me!

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    1. Maybe I am! After all, I did first find you by googling "clay zombie". So we're pretty much soulmates.

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  20. I totally get all smug when I stock up on healthy stuff, too! But, I tend to have a few not so healthy things in my cart every shopping trip... Life needs splurges! I'm all about the moderation :).

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    1. I hear you! Everyone needs a treat every now and then. That's why I can't help but roll my eyes at myself when I buy only "healthy" stuff...but then can't find a good snack.

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  21. This is freakin' hilarious, as usual. The part about there's nothing to eat just killed me. My son says that all the time right after we go to the store. I'm a big cereal fan myself, but my BF is a complete smug shopper all the time and forbids cereal, but he also cooks and makes kimchee and sprouts everything and stuff, so I just wait for him to hand me the good stuff all prepared. When he is gone I live on bars (not IN bars, mind you) but Clif bars, Green Energy bars, etc. Seriously. I love me a bar.

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    1. Ha @ living IN bars. Have you tried the Simply Bar? I absolutely love those. They're my favourite. I like chocolate and lemon-coconut.

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  22. haha this is funny. I stopped caring what people thought about my food habits many yrs ago....what works for our family ...works!! one time I had 3 kids at the same time in the shopping cart...all hungary and acting up...I gave them 2 donuts a piece ( a lot of junk esp for little kids ) the cashier and the bagger said "that will spoil their lunch" I said "it IS their lunch" unspeakable shock!!

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    1. I love your story. Seriously...I'm in awe of people who grocery shop with little kids. It's hard enough for me to grocery shop with my husband. Ha!

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  23. This is truly hysterical! I can't believe you made all of those tiny veggies...well yes, I can believe it! Have a great weekend, Steph!

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    1. Yeah...sometimes I'm a bit embarrassed by the amount of time I spend playing. Ha!

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  24. I am so glad I am such good company. The week after new years I did that exact thing- cart full of good stuff and no junk. Then round about Thursday the toxics leaching out of my system got the best of me and I had to go back to my beloved junk.

    *sigh*

    At least there's comfort in knowing I'm not alone. In my smugness and shame.

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    1. Haha! I love that you blame on the toxins leaching from your body. Some things are just beyond our control! Sisters in smugness. And in shame.

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  25. Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Cameo. Glad you enjoyed the story!

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  26. I think you're probably the funniest, most clever woman on the planet. And healthy, too.

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