After the IQS program ends you get this ‘special invitation’ to join the graduates facebook page (it’s a secret group) and I did of course – who turns down a special invitation to join a secret group?! Well I may have made my first enemy on the page. As I write this I am waiting to see the little (1) to turn up on my facebook tab telling me I have had a response to my comment. It’s a slightly sick feeling.
What happened was that a woman posted that her checkout person had exclaimed loudly and made quite a big deal over her food shop – being that it was mostly fresh fruit and vege and dairy and meat (no packaged food). The checkout lady told her that she hardly ever saw that any more and that it was so nice to see someone shopping healthy. The woman who posted described herself as feeling ‘proud and a little sad’. Proud because she was providing her family with healthy, nutritious food, and sad because ‘wasn’t it sad that people were too uneducated or too reliant on convenience foods these days’. Remember this is after only 8 weeks of ‘being educated’ herself – freely admitted. I let it go.
And let it go and let it go until about 5 other people had posted about their pious and gold star worthy shopping, most of them adding little patronising comments about ‘other people’ who ‘didn’t bother’ cooking from scratch, ‘didn’t understand’ how fresh produce was simply better for you or were just too lazy.
So I wrote this; Fresh produce costs more – the simple fact is that most people would like to feed their families fresh fruit and vege and dairy but that their budget doesn’t allow it. When you are trying to keep tummies full and a roof over your head you do what you can. My husband and I both earn enough to be able to buy fresh as well but a lot of people don’t. I don’t think its ever ok to assume people just ‘don’t know’ or can’t be bothered – they may not have the means.
And it brings me to something that I have been finding distinctly uncomfortable about the newly ‘cool’ JERF movement. I think that we all know that if you can get fresh fruit and veges, meat and dairy for your family this is good thing. And I also know that the grumpy Dutchman and I spend more money every fortnight on food for the four of us than on anything else – and it is a lot of money. Way more than we’ve ever paid before and it seems to go up and up all the time. It’s gotten so that I try not to take the GD with me food shopping because he’s never dealt well with the spending of the money on the food ‘But, but, but’ he splutters ‘we are just going to eat it all! And then have to buy MORE! It’s such a waste of money!’. (He’s never dealt well with the spending of any money on anything mind you).
And we both work full time jobs. And we are lucky to be well paid in those jobs (in as much as teachers and house painters are well paid). But not minimum wage and not unreliable or seasonal work. So we have wiggle room when food shopping that includes fresh produce and less packaged foods as works with my special needs and our taste.
But, there are people that simply can’t afford to do this. They need to keep their families fed, and they need to keep them full so they do the best that they can and buy food that is going to do the job. There are people who are time poor because they work multiple jobs or a solo parenting or have a really good social life and they want food that it quick and easy and does the job. There are people that grow their own produce and buy their dairy and meat at specific places so when they go to the stupidmarket all they are buying is all the other stuff – the toilet paper and the crackers and the chocolate biscuits. There are people who do whatever the hell they want and it’s none of my fucking business. Or yours.
And this is my point. It’s none of my fucking business what you buy at the stupidmarket. It’s none of my business what you feed your kids. And it’s none of my business why you do it. I have no right to look in your trolley and you have no right to look in mine. No judging full stop. And it makes me so uncomfortable because it just seems to be another stick to beat people with. ‘Oh look at that person, she’s obvs far too thick to feed her kids healthy food – she needs ‘educating’. As one of my girls said to me the other day ‘Miss I know the sandwiches in the cafe have salad in them BUT I can get wedges and a coke for half the price at the shop up the road’. Because what teenage girl doesn’t love wedges? I was a particular fan of mashed potato, white bread sandwiches with a lot of butter as a teen. Mmmm. White carbs. No judging – this is a safe place.
As I write this I am remembering getting annoyed with someone on the coeliacs page for only wanting to know about junk food when I was trying to give ‘helpful’ advice about ‘real food’ snacks. I will own this food snobbery and learn from it and try to bite it back when I am tempted next time.
I realise that my ‘journey’ is about this stuff (ha ha I can just about feel the GD cringe as I write journey – he hates that shit), and that I am obsessed with what food will be ‘good for me’ because I am trying to heal my gut, and that I’m gonna write about this stuff BUT I am going to try to be aware of not wanking on like a sanctimonious prick about it. Because food snobbery is gross. And I let my kids eat all sorts of shit that I can’t be proud of. (you can’t fight Dutch grandies when it comes to treat foods believe me – I had to learn to let it go before one of us got cut).
So far no notification. Maybe I haven’t pissed off some random stranger in a far far land by implying that she is naieve and snobby? Or maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t care what I have to say.