Food. What the hell, right? Who even knows what’s healthy anymore?
I’m pretty much at the point where if I see something in the health-food aisle, I assume it’s stupid, over priced, and overhyped. I feel like just going ahead and letting my kids become illiterate… which is apparenlty exactly the kind of thing that happens if you ever let them eat a fucking Pop Tart heated in the microwave. But I don’t care because like a normal human, I don’t like flax chia quinoa (keeeeeenwaaaaaah) milk. And agave syrup is disgusting.
But the fates just won’t allow me to get all junk-foodie indignant on people. I have children who are allergic (like diagnosed by real doctors with real allergy tests, and not by holistic juice-fasting colonic healer franchise clinic owners) to dairy, eggs, and food dye… and my 5 year old is a lacto-vegetarian (except for beef jerky and pepperoni. I don’t get it.) And my minimalist digestive tract forces me into a high-protein low-fat low-carb diet. So I walk through grocery stores counting carbs and fat grams and protein grams and reading allergen disclaimers and running my finger down ingredients lists for dyes. I walk up to pharmacists and ask “Do you have this in a dye-free formula?” I am everything I hate.
While I’m paying too much for shit I think is bullshit, the health food aisle is an oasis of reassurance. The foods scream “CASEIN FREE!” “VEGAN!” “NO ARTIFICIAL COLORS!” I feel like a skeptical hypocrite. I want to walk up to everyone with me in the aisle and say “you know that’s bullshit. I only buy it because I HAVE TO.” And then they can be all like “I have to, too. My chi is dependent on it and last week my plate wasn’t properly feng shui-ed so I was still full of toxins after my organic grapefruit and kelp cleanse. I just don’t want cancer.” And then I’ll scream at them, “I DON’T WANT TO USE AN EPIPEN ON MY TWO YEAR OLD YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE YOU ARE STUPID. YOU DON’T HAVE CANCER AND YOUR HEMP YOGURT ISN’T DOING ANYTHING BESIDES TASTING DISGUSTING.” But then I’ll get escorted out of Whole Foods. Again. And I can’t get drunk on biodynamic wine samples all afternoon. Which hardly seems worth it just to not be mistaken for an anti-vaxxer.
And because of our messed up diets, my family has to take vitamins. And I had to learn what the hell “bioavailable” meant because I assumed that was some bullshit, but it’s apparently not… or maybe it is. I don’t even know. I can’t even begin to figure out what any of this healthy shit means because anything that might be true is tainted by the reputation of all the other claims in the aisle. So when I have to buy supplements, I just take a deep breath, close my eyes and hope I’m grabbing the right thing. Then I read the label for sugars and dyes and allergens.
I worry I’m overly dismissive of all claims made by all “health food” and supplement proponents. But then I immediately feel like I’m not being dismissive enough. And then I worry it’s unreasonable to be that dismissive, so I dismiss my dismissing and then… I don’t know. It keeps going like free-range hydroponic Inception.
How do you feel about “healthy foods” and supplements? Do you reject them outright? Do you avoid them because you don’t believe their claims? Do you care if your food is processed? Do you care? Do you consider chewing a “food process”? Do you judge people in the health food aisle? Is food skepticism overwhelming for you? Can we go back to pretending wine is a miracle food?
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.
Featured image: xkcd