On Moody Monday, I mentioned a question posed by my oldest regarding our (western) cultural attitudes about food, health, and wellness:

“The other day, I had an interesting question posed by my oldest, “Mom, do you think we can change peoples’ minds about health and diet?”

I laughed.

Then wanted to cry.

Then laughed again.

The ironic humour again settled in to my psyche.”

I skipped ahead to the point, because, well, it was a blog… and I was already planning to exceed decent word length by adding Chapter 4 of my book.

What I left out was the remaining conversation. Here’s a compressed, edited version which catches the spirit of this rather lengthy discussion:

“…Well girls, what do you think?”

*silence*

“You will just have to get used to being the annoying person who cuts their food in half at those consumerist restaurants who serve too large portions…”

*Lengthy. Awkward. Silence*

“Look…” I was starting to get exasperated. I could sense their incomprehension. “People won’t change, unless it affects them.” {pause} “And even then, well… they probably won’t.” I rested my case there.

The younger chimed in. “What about college? How will we stick with the diet then? Will there at least be grocery stores nearby?”

“College?” I huffed… “That’s going to be the biggest challenge of your life regarding food and diet…”

However, after a moment’s pondering, I conceded… remembering another aspect of college life I’d all but forgotten.

“…but YES, there are always grocery stores nearby… but, more importantly, and thankfully – in college A LOT OF GIRLS go vegan or vegetarian because it’s cool, they want to be ‘skinny’, or they want to save the world, or some other such nonsense…”

I let it sink in for a second…

“… I highly suggest making friends with these types…”

“Why?” the older one posited, a little taken-aback by the statement.

“Well, maybe, just maybe, you can help them eat healthier, and understand how to balance all the aspects of their diet, you know, proteins, carbs… a lot of people, myself included, when they first go vegan or vegetarian – make A LOT of mistakes… you can politely share what you know.”

“But… MOSTLY… You should hang with them because, well, they won’t SHAME you for cutting your food in half, or ordering a side salad instead of a main course, or for eating strange foods like hummus.

*Silence*

In unison they almost shouted, “Oh! You’re right! They won’t!”

I could almost hear the hand clapping and “woo-hoos” in their voices. They both understood, and were a little relieved. Finally, a portion of their social lives where they could fit in.

I felt obligated to add, and a bit guilty for suggesting such an exclusivity regarding friendships:

“Look… you know I don’t believe in limiting your friends based on their physiology. But, I will tell you FROM EXPERIENCE that if you hang around fat, um, heavy-set, people, you WILL END UP LIKE THEM. That’s just how it is… I’ve tried to lead by example, or just do my own thing, and either way, I ended up alienating people that I otherwise thought were excellent human beings… all because I didn’t order the same things on the menu… and didn’t weigh 250 pounds like them…”


Look, here’s the deal.

I don’t give a flying fractal what other people eat, drink, think, or believe.

I was raised Calvinist; United Methodist; Primitive Baptist.

This idea was instilled in me, from an early age: Faith is a Personal Matter.

What you do, and what is in your soul (and yes, on your plate)… is between You and God.

Even if other peoples’ actions directly affect me?

I will likely move to the next line… and, if necessary, create a protective perimeter to absorb collateral damage.

If I’m ever cornered?

Well, that’s a different story. And you can read all about it in my, much needed editing, draft of the book

Strange how those, simple, core beliefs carry over into other aspects of our lives… Isn’t it?

Consider those who believe in the Rapture…

You know…The End Times…

The people who, with glazed, apocalyptic fervor shining in their eyes, recount how they will be saved and everyone else will perish in the eternal fire.

*silence*

Think about that.

For a moment.

Just think…

These were the individuals I was up against before and after our health ordeal.
Officially, for the freaking record: W.T.Frack?? Per the USDA and FDA suggestions, a serving of meat, in one meal, is THREE OUNCES. Quick… how many ounces in a pound? Oh, but it’s only half? *pah*

These were the people judging me, instead of themselves.

If it makes you feel any better about my character…

I did add, later, to the girls, “…if, by chance, you find a heavy person who won’t judge your eating habits… as long as you aren’t judging theirs… well, Good Luck… I’m sure they exist.”

But ultimately?

Human nature will win. People are people… and this society is based on statistical norms.

Most of this country was raised apocalyptic Christian… even if they aren’t practicing their faith… they’re still affected by the climate around them.

Along with this, particular Christian demographics’ inherent isolationist, exclusionary believe-as-we-do-or-else-burn-in-the-eternal-fire traits; add the Capitalist, Consumerist economic system that leads ALL of U.S. by the proverbial noses?

This is from a marketing textbook, Consumer Behavior in Action: Real-life Applications for Marketing Managers By Geoffrey Paul Lantos. It gives you an idea of the ‘science’ of manipulation used. I was unsuccessful at finding an old article I read years ago that stated the Advertising and/or Marketing Association named Pavlov, Man of the Century… *ahem*
And well, the person sitting across the table from you, in all their I’m-saved-and-you’re-not glory, will assume at some point…

If you aren’t eating like them… you’re not ONE OF THEM.

The classic “YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US!” from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978) Read more at “Den of Geek“.

And, well… then there’s the inevitable self-doubt of a thinking individual.

Am I wrong for telling my girls to hang out with the crowd that will keep them healthy and alive longer?


*Nah. Pretty sure I’m right. lol.

**oh, and by the way… the girls are aware that heavy-set = unhealthy eaters in general. 2+2=5