Friday, February 28, 2014

The Cheese-free No longer Stands Alone

So you have decided to eat on purpose.  Maybe that means Paleo, Vegan, or Gluten-free.  Maybe it's for health reasons, environmental reasons, animal rights reasons, or a mixture.  You have kicked the processed food addiction and are feeling absolutely amazing.  Great job!

Then it happens.  Everyone around you stops being happy for you and starts asking when you are going to eat a slice of pizza.  A burger.  Wendy's.  "What can you eat?" becomes the mantra of the JERF-adjacent.  "What can I eat?" you want to say; "an enormous variety of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and algae!  Far more vast than your usual corn-wheat-cheese-iceberg fare, presented to you in endless combinations of the same old addictive crap!"  But you don't say that.  It would be inhumane.

Community and food are inextricably linked.  I have never wanted doughnuts so bad as the day someone brought them into work.  She had been out for weeks with a shoulder injury and was so thankful to be back, she brought in doughnuts.  Two dozen of them walked through the lab encased in a giant bag that oozed abundance.  They were heart-shaped.  It was a love offering in the truest sense.  Pure gratitude in edible form.

I am wired to eat that.  Eat the abundance and gratitude and love she brought us.  As my coworkers pored over the adorable little treats, they made comments about the flavors and colors.  The look of bliss and ecstasy on their faces shone through the dark clouds on that rainy day.  It wasn't just a sugar rush.  It was being a part of this awesome gift.

I have never had a taste for this particular brand of doughnut.  That day, it looked like the only form of sustenance in this world that could keep me alive.  I had been knocked around enough by food in the past to know that I couldn't risk it.  By turning it down, there was a part of me that felt shunned from the society.  It was nothing my coworkers said or did; it was just the feeling of not partaking.

When I was done feeling sorry for myself, I imagined a scenario where everyone who is around me eats on purpose.  I imagined that they were Caveman Cookies or Paleo Treats instead, and the chatter would abound.  Love and gratitude and abundance were mine that day.

Does feeling left out affect your attitude toward food?

1 comment:

  1. I relate to every single word of this. We have been gluten and dairy free for several years and paleo for the last couple. It has been so alienating for my whole family, most notably, my eldest daughter who is thirteen. It seems that all of the social events we once enjoyed as homeschoolers revolve in some way around sharing food.