#13: Our obsession with talking about what we eat

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irony

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. But she forgot to add that even smaller minds discuss food.

We must preface this by saying that we are NOT talking about nutritionists, doctors, dietitians or chefs, who have studied food, know a lot about food, and are qualified to give us advice on what and how to eat. We love Jamie Oliver as much as the next person, because he reminds us how fun, fascinating and social preparing and eating food should be. Further, at a time when more that 1 in 3 Australians are obese, it is unequivocal that as a nation we need to be re-educated, and thus food experts have an integral function. In the Middle Ages, the black plague killed one third of Europe. Now, in the final moments of human history, it isn’t plagues, famine, poor sanitation or contagious diseases that are killing us in Western society, but our own behaviour. Drinking, smoking, becoming sedentary, not exercising, eating too much high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods, and in some cases, not eating anything at all, is what’s killing us. So yes, we’re killing ourselves, and yes this is obviously a really important issue. Therefore, food is something that needs to be in the public discourse and warrants extensive study.

In saying that, we don’t give a shit what you had for breakfast. Not even if its “muesli and chia seeds, drizzled with fat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, lactose free, yogurt-free, yogurt, topped off with a sprinkle of gogi berries, acai (don’t even know what this looks like but we tried it once when we worked at Boost and it tasted like dirt that Ted had rolled in), and almonds. All this along with a herbal tea and water infused with coconut, oxygen, energy, health, and longer life. #YOLO #naughtytreat #livingtipsfromsomeonewithnoqualifications”.

Congratulations, that is REALLY healthy. Like good on you. I had Weet Bix. If you only eat that kind of stuff, you’re going to live a really long time and feel really good. But we’re not sure why you need to tell us about it…are you trying to make us feel guilty? And you don’t status update at 4am in Kings Cross with “double shot of vodka infused with red bull…topped off with fries drizzled in oil and salt, and two sugar filled buns with an oily, hormone-induced meat patty (ambiguous as to what animal), with fatty sauces, and a coke that has more kilojoules than my breakfast! #mylifeisnotwhatitseems #wealldoit #iwascravingsugarandfatafterbreakfast”.

It appears to be a status thing. Like a bit of “I’m better than you because I can eat gogi berries without throwing up” (they taste like sultanas infused with cat pee, drizzled with ear wax…seriously there are some in the cupboard and we just tried them again in order to aptly describe the taste, and Castor is heaving and now sculling Pepsi Max. They are to date the worst thing we’ve ever tasted.) It also seems to be a little competitive, and since when did heath become a competition? We don’t find pictures of people running/ eating salad particularly inspiring. Considering a great portion of women have learnt that their social worth is inextricably tied to their body, these conversations are increasingly prevalent amongst young girls. We have on numerous occassions listened to females list off what they eat on a daily basis, how much they exercise, what their ‘vice’ is (if you say they are almonds we know you are full of shit), how much weight they once lost, and how if they just lost a few more kilos they would be content. In that bloody Lara Bingle article from the weekend she said that avacado and vegemite on toast was her “treat” and that you wouldn’t normally see her eating like this! Lara…what did we tell you. Shhh…no…shutup, seriously stop talking…sh…shhh. The point is that what you eat is your business, don’t tell anyone, don’t feel the need to “confess”, don’t brag about coconut water or whatever, no one (let me assure you, NO ONE) cares about what your vice is, just eat it…and then thats it. The only time a person should know exactly what you are eating/ have eaten, is if they are sitting across from you on a table. Or maybe if you are travelling and it is part of the cultural experience or something. Or if they found a feather in a chicken McNugget. That seriously happened to a friend and it was important she told people because it was very funny.

We concede that we are not foodies, so are probably missing something from this whole disclose-what-you-eat-for-every-meal phenomenon. (P.S Castor is whinging because she still has the taste of gogi berries in her mouth and has brushed her teeth twice). But taste is not something that you can ever properly describe, so we just don’t understand uploading a picture of your fairly ordinary looking salmon with oyster mushrooms and avocado and flax seed oil and lentils and kale and raw walnuts and whey and barley and brocolli (not really a recipe). It’s like when someone tries to describe to you a route in a location you don’t know very well, and you literally have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. You can’t visualise it unless you are there so WHAT IS THE POINT in listing off a whole lot of roads that we’ve never heard of. Or when someone recounts to you their really complex dream that makes NO sense at all, because it was DREAM, and has no bearing on real life. So even if you were to understand the bizarre story line where characters keep changing (“it was you, but you looked different! But I just knew it was you”…okay) it still…wouldn’t…matter because it didn’t happen…So maybe the person eating the food cares about their weird salmon creation, but the person looking at the photo most definitely does not, because um they can’t taste it, which is the point of food, and you already ate it so it’s all gone…

When we were in London about 5 months ago, we were sitting in Starbucks and overheard an interesting (hilarious) conversation between three girls who were about our age. They spoke about dieting non stop for about half an hour. One girl outlined an extremely complex diet she had discovered which involved no meat, no lactose, no sugar bla bla bla. Anyway – she explained every detail of the stupid diet. She then announced in her funny cockney accent (think Vicky Pollard from Little Britain)

Vicky Pollard: “So right, I went to this big fancy dinner with my family yeah, and I knew I couldn’t drink alcohol so I ordered a Diet Coke, but that was like, actually, against the diet I had been on for two weeks…”

Friend: “Yeah but that diet, must be like, completely impossible.”

Vicky Pollard: “Yeah exactly right! I mean NO ONE could eat like that, it’s completely ridiculous, I totally gave up yeah, I mean we all need meat and dairy…”

Obviously there are several problems with this incredibly banal conversation, first of which is why would you dedicate ten minutes of your life recounting a diet as though you were the Messiah of healthy eating, when you a) did not stick to it and b) do not believe that it is legitimate/ works. BUT the best is yet to come. After hearing someone go on and on about the ins and outs of healthy eating, one cannot help but look over their shoulder, to perve on the glowing goddess who appears to have never consumed a processed molecule in their life.

She was:

1: Not just overweight, but would probably be classified as obese.

2: Eating cake

3: All her friends were also eating cake.

WHAT? Did none on them see the irony of eating cake whilst discussing the excessive sugar that is in fruit and how ultimately that should be avoided? These girls had been arguing over the difference between soy and almond milk, and raw vegetables as opposed to cooked vegetables. And they were eating cake?? We have NO problem with people eating cake ordinarily because as Pollux too often recites “it is good for the soul”…but it did seem that these girls had missed the point of these fad diets altogether.

So, the proof is in the pudding (cake). We can talk about healthy foods as much as we like, but if its over cake, well then there is no doubt that this planet only has a week to go.

We should also establish that we are not having a dig at overweight individuals, but are just attempting to point out a clear cultural hypocricy. You see, the more we seem to talk about food, the more we seem to EAT food. During the writing of this blog, we have gone to the cupboard at least three times. All the discussion about what is healthy, the images of healthy recipes, and the diet ads, ultimately just seem to make us all way more hungry…

The other problem with uploading a picture of your spinach tofu sprinkled with oats and cauliflower, with maca (yep no idea what this is ), blueberries and carrot, along with a green tea, is that you scare people into apathy. What we mean by this, is that someone who knows very little about healthy eating will think “Eh, I have no idea what language this person is speaking, and considering I will never be able to eat like that (where do you even get ‘maca’ from? Is it like imported?) I might as well continue with my fast food diet. The whole eating well thing looks too hard.” And to an extent that train of thought is so right. We get a ridiculous amount of contradictory information when it comes to food, one minute soy milk is the bee’s knee’s and the next, it screws up your hormones, so men will pretty much grow boobies, their penis will fall off and then they will die. And then there’s wholemeal bread, which we thought was meant to be good for you because of the fibre content but noooo, humans are not meant to consume gluten because it blocks up your liver (for some reason we envisage clay?) and doesn’t digest properly, meaning that we WILL get fat and probably die also. Are we meant to have carbs or not? And isn’t dairy a food group? But then people say we only need calcium as babies? WEDON’TUNDERSTAND. (P.S Pastor just made me google whether anyone actually enjoys the taste of gogi berries or do they just eat them because they are healthy).

But ultimately, what frustrates us most about the excessive, uneducational, counter-productive, and completely fruitless (hehe) discussion about food, is one simple issue: it is….REALLY boring. You know when someone says something, as in they use words, but they have actually said nothing? One example would be “mmmm nomnomnom sooo hungry nomnom I love food” or “I just LOVE water, it is just sooo refreshing, I was so thirsty before bla bla bla I’m a socially awkward person so I talk about nothing bla bla bla”. Like, how do I go about responding to that? “Ahh okay, yeah it’s so weird how refreshing water is”. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY BECAUSE YOU SAID NOTHING.

The amount of times we have heard someone say “I could soo eat a horse right now”, and then they can’t finish their sandwich, or just generally “I love food”…we all do…that’s why we’re still alive. Or at parties you will often hear, “ohh my goddd, sooo much foooood, I’m going to be sooo fulllll”….ahh..okay. We don’t know where to go from there. We don’t know what to say. “Ohh umm..there is a lot of food isn’t there. If you’re genuinely worried about being too full maybe you should pace yourself….like only eat a little bit now…and then some more later…I don’t know”. Yeahh. I think we’ll try to seek out the Eleanor Roosevelt of the room so we can have a conversation about philosophy or politics, basically anything that has nothing to do with food.

The funny thing is that if society keeps developing in the current direction, we will end up with a Western civilization who are morbidly obese but can’t stop talking about how healthy they eat. And the claims will get more and more contradictory. Capitalism seems to be the biggest hypocrite, because now we’re being sold gyms and health food and alternative medicines and TV shows about health and weightloss and doctors and psychologists to help us resist the chocolate bar…..but aren’t you selling us the chocolate bar? Didn’t you make us fat by crazy-good marketing for fast food stores and misleading nutritional information and making most occupations sedentary? And now you want us to spend ridiculous amounts of money trying to reverse that? Maybe we should be talking about this instead of what we eat.

All we can say is that the more that’s expected of us, the more worried and anxious we become. And the more worried and anxious we become, the more we become apathetic to making any lifestyle changes at all. So we’ve dug ourselves into a big hole, we can’t stop talking about bloody food, when we need to be talking about the fact that the world is ending on the 21st of December and NO ONE seems to be doing anything about THAT do they.

But we will leave you with some food for thought (hehe). We both got McDonalds after watching ‘Supersize Me’. It’s true. It’s shameful, we’re not proud of it, but it’s true.

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