A friend of mine posted a comment on a previous post (here) about a certain side-effect of going Paleo/Primal:
The last and possibly worst side effect that I’ve suffered is that I feel as though I’ve become more judgmental about the way other people eat. Suddenly I’m mortified by the sight of someone eating a whole grain bagel…eek!
When I started this WOE, I took a very Zen approach. We’re all different, our bodies need different things, yadda yadda yadda. I have friends who are vegetarians and far be it for me to judge someone else for their dietary choices, lest I be judged. I really felt relaxed about it and could keep my ideas to myself.
But lately…all around, I hear “Moderation is the key” and we all know how much I love that one. I was recently with some friends and I tried—I really tried!—to keep my mouth shut about several topics, but I kinda lost it when someone said that the cholesterol in coffee was bad for us. After some research, I got hits saying that French-press coffee can raise bad cholesterol and some saying coffee raises good cholesterol levels. Gotta love it. Besides, worrying about coffee raising cholesterol levels is missing the ENTIRE point, isn’t it? May as well put a band-aid on a cancerous tumor.
I’m currently in my favorite coffee shop raising my cholesterol, and, of course, every food stuff they sell is gluten-based and slathered in various forms of sugar. I see people noshing on their berry scones, croissants, and muffins. I remember fondly the day about ten years ago when I was working in a café and a customer said, “Ooh, those muffins look good! But I’m going to have a scone instead,” thinking it was healthier somehow. Even then I chuckled because the scones had about a stick of butter each. And now I know the butter isn’t a problem, it’s all the other stuff, and it’s still funny.
But it makes me sad, too. A woman ahead of me in line obviously had the same issues I had pre-Primal. She was mildly overweight, had the tell-tale abdominal rolls, a layer of fat hiding the curves of her calves. She was wearing running shorts, running shoes, a ballcap, and a wicking t-shirt. She ordered the scone. It’s all okay as long as you work it off, right?
Paleo/Primal thinking creeps into other areas of my life too. I can’t watch a movie anymore without tweaking the actors’ diets for them. The two most recent examples I can think of are Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau and Rupert Grint of the Harry Potter series. Now, I hate to contribute to any more body image issues in Hollywood, but I’m always mildly surprised that people with so many resources at their disposal, especially those whose appearance is their livelihood, haven’t heard the news. In Matt’s case, I feel like he’s in the insidious weight-gain phase of carb intake which gets harder and harder to control as we get older. He just looked softer around the edges and his skin not as vibrant, and I can say that because, honey, I’ve been there. We can all chalk it up to aging, and that’s somewhat true, but I know from my experience that it’s not the whole story and it’s mostly a bullshit excuse for why we all feel so bad. As for Rupert, we get the benefit of actually watching him grow up on film. He’s at his prime in the 5th and 6th movies of the franchise, but most recently, he has the familiar look of bulky muscles hidden beneath a doughy layer. He’s young yet, and I’m sure he’s having a lot of fun with his money and youth, so maybe someday he’ll buckle down and get serious about it all. I know I didn’t start thinking about it until about age 21.
Then, in the most ridiculous development of all, I get all judgy reading my daughter her books. Yes, it’s true. I’m that bad. In Sandra Boynton’s Hey! Wake Up!, various bizarrely-grouped animals wake up, put their clothes on, and greet the day with bowls of oatmeal, glasses of orange juice, and plates of toast. Except for the rabbit who gets broccoli stew. Then they all go out to play, get tired (gee, why would that be?), and come in for a mid-morning snack of—wait for it…wait for it…—COOKIES AND MILK! There was, however, a pleasant surprise lurking in my daughter’s book bin—an old, strange little story about another bizarre grouping of animals who all live together in a house in the woods. They all take turns making dinner which is problematic. For example, when Miss Kitty makes a dinner of milk, catnip tea, and liver, everyone is unhappy except Pup, who doesn’t mind the liver. And when Tweeter the bird serves worms and seeds, only Little Chick will nibble on them. The moral of the story is that all creatures should be and do what comes naturally to them. Now there’s a story for the ages and our waistlines.
Honestly, I think I’m in a bit of a weird phase here. I think I’m at the point where Primal eating is second-nature to me and because of that, I’m mildly surprised that everyone else has yet to catch on. I’m simultaneously excited to talk about it and exhausted to explain myself over and over. I’ve officially become the asshat weirdo who thinks it’s all a big conspiracy and everyone is wrong about everything.
But all is not lost. I feel like given a little more time, I’ll be able to ignore comments from folks who are steeped in CW and re-learn how to keep my mouth shut. But I just don’t see a simple little scone as harmless anymore. It’s become symbolic to me of everything that’s wrong with our diet today. And there are so many innocent people who don’t know how truly damaging it is and that their freezer full of Lean Cuisines is the culprit instead of the solution.
Has this happened to you? Please tell me I’m not the only one! How do you deal with being surrounded with so much misinformation?