Food – It’s essential to human existence.
Not only that, it’s fun. It’s social, delicious, beautiful, and even spiritual. It feels fucking good to eat.
That is, unless it doesn’t.
Thoughts that come to mind when I’m buying something to eat: GMO’s, hormones, pesticides, organic, all-natural, FDA, sugar-addiction, sugar highs, protein deficiency, animal rights, anemia, blood type, anorexia, bulimia, binges, fat, ugly, stupid, irresponsible….
Buying and eating food make me feel like shit about MYSELF. And every day, we all feed into it.
I read articles all the time about how to choose the right organic apple, or how to avoid eating in a way that will trigger a blood sugar drop. Today, I woke up and ate some organic blue cheese with pretzel crackers. I immediately regretted that, but I chose that option because I am broke this week and my other choice was only coffee and an apple.
So, I ate the apple. In an attempt to balance myself out. I felt guilt about THAT, because my apple was not organic. Why? Because I’m too damn poor to pay $1.20 per apple. If I ate an apple a day, that would amount to $36 in apple-eating bills per month. I chose to spend my money in a way that made sense to my budget, instead of choosing to spend my money in a way that supports the things I think are right.
I also felt guilty about the coffee. Coffee will stain my teeth, make me addicted to caffeine, and doesn’t contain the antioxidant effects of green tea. I felt guilty, because I chose taste and pleasure over what’s better for my body.
I work at a coffee shop and a Mexican restaurant. I am paid minimum wage plus tips, and all of my income goes towards saving up for school and a car. If it’s not going towards that, it’s going towards rent and bills. My treat to myself is going to get coffee every other day at a local coffeeshop. I am not stupid with money; when I want something, I save up for it and I spend it when I have all the money for it.
And yet, every day that I buy food, I feel like an asshole. I feel stupid, and irresponsible.
In buying that apple, I feel like I am ignoring all the things that are right in the world. I feel like I am asking my body to grow a dangerous tumor, that I am asking my skin to get grey and for my body to get tired and sad.
Because I read articles that tell me that I need to be an educated, better consumer. That to change the world, I need to spend more money and tell the food industry, “I am boycotting food that is bad for the environment and society, and supporting food that is good for me and the world.”
Yes! Certainly, choosing to spend my money this way would make more sense.
I also love this argument: “Yes, it’s more expensive now, but chemotherapy is infinitely more expensive than organic groceries.”
Fair. Totally fair.
But, you know what’s not fair?
PUTTING THIS ALL ON PEOPLE WHO MAKE VERY LITTLE MONEY AND DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO EAT THE PERFECT WAY.
Why are we pressuring each other? Why are we pressuring consumers to change the food industry?
Why on Earth aren’t we more focused on pressuring the FOOD INDUSTRY to change the food industry?
The food industry is seeing our responses to this, it’s not that they’re ignoring our demands. They’re just using this to make more money off of us.
They’ve seen a new market and they’ve invested in it. Paying for an FDA organic certification and selling organic food at exorbitant prices…this is how our food industry has responded to our demands for safe and sustainable food.
And all I hear, day in and day out….is that I am responsible for taking this option and paying an insane amount of money for it.
We need to stop blaming each other for this problem. We need to stop posting articles about how we need to stop eating Cheetos, and buy all organic apples.
We need to stop telling each other that the paleo diet, or the vegan diet, or the blood type diet are all the key to health and saving the environment.
We need to recognize that we are here to EAT – and to enjoy it. Food should NOT be this hard.
The food industry pushes twinkies and cheetoh’s on us. It feeds into our desire for pleasure and convenience. Americans are typically hard workers, and delicious, easy food is perfect for us. In fact, it’s awesome.
But our peers push us to be thin, beautiful, and cool. So we try to eat in ways that make our bodies look awesome, and make our skin clear. So we head to the salmon, to the frozen veggies. We buy things that will make us attractive and immortal.
And yet AGAIN – our peers pressure us to choose foods that are good for the environment and for the world. They pressure us to spend more and more money on things that aren’t just good choices for US – but good choices for people who produce qunioa in South America, for the animals, for the rainforests.
We need to STOP putting the pressure on us, and START putting the pressure on the people who NEED to change what they are feeding us –
The food industry.
We need to change laws, we need to change how food is allowed to be given to us.
Because guess what:
Most of us are broke. Many of us have to feed ourselves and our families the best we can. Many of us have to work over 40 hours a week just to get by, and shouldn’t be pressured to make homecooked meals when we don’t have time. Many of us are uneducated about food politics because it’s confusing, and there are ten different sides to each story.
Stop pressuring each other, guys.
Recognize that eating is fun, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying a twinkie.
Recognize that the people who should feel guilty are the government, the lobbyists, the corporations, and the people who support feeding the world GARBAGE.
And please, if you do have the time and money and natural interest in food politics, stop getting angry at those who don’t have the same PRIVILEGES you do. Some people have to work and eat, and simply don’t have the time and money to get passionate about changing the world.
We need to change the way we’re talking about this.
We need to recognize that we have made food WAY too hard, and that it should be enjoyable.
We need to stop making each other feel guilty for enjoying food, for listening to our bodies when we think a kung pao chicken wrap is delightful. We are programmed to enjoy food, and it should be enjoyable.
Twinkies and Cheetohs are cheap, easy, and everywhere. Organic chicken wraps are not cheap, and they are hard to find.
Why can’t we change THAT?
From now on, when people scold me for choosing to buy non-organic cabbage, I will tell them that they need to scold the food industry for making the cabbage so expensive. If it were only 2 cents per pound more expensive, that would be reasonable. But organic food is INSANELY more expensive.
After eating in Europe for five months on an affordable budget, losing a few pounds, and knowing that most of the food I was eating was safer than any non-organic food I’d find in the United States…
I have realized that enjoying delicious, local, sustainable, and AFFORDABLE food is a RIGHT. And as Americans, we don’t have that.
Stop blaming each other, start blaming the companies.
I’m honestly not sure where to go from here, but I know that getting politically active about this situation would make more sense for me than for other people, who don’t have the time for it.
And if you’re inclined, you should join me. Let’s support our communities by avoiding judging each other for our choices. Let’s focus on who really is at fault.
Monsanto, you’re an asshole. And you’ve turned all of the good guys on each other.
Evil, evil manipulation.