Day 80 – secret groups and pissing off strangers.

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.

Day 55 – Gluten free fad-ness is killing me

Artist - Alexandra Berger
Artist – Alexandra Berger

Ranting out loud (in my head) at my computer. Or rather – people on the interwebs. I follow the Coeliac disease NZ page and a couple of others, and mostly they are great places to get advice, commiserate and get good safe restaurant recommendations. BUT it amazes me how often people ask for help or advice and then get mad because you are not telling them that actually it would be fine to have just one pie a day because that much gluten can’t hurt can it? If you have coeliac disease it will hurt you. Or when you suggest that making food themselves from yummy ingredients would be easier than surviving on GF cake from cafes – that is probably contaminated anyway by the way. Bitch got mad at me because I suggested she cooks! I don’t know her life but I do know that boiling an egg isn’t rocket science. I only had to ring my mum the first 3 maybe 4 times the first time I did it? and now I’m practically an expert. So there.

Or – and this is really annoying – when someone finds out I am gluten-free from the coeliacs and then they say ‘I don’t eat gluten either – I am trying to lose weight’. REALLY?! ARE YOU TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT ARE YOU?!

I am all for not eating stuff that makes you feel like shite. Have you seen my list of no-gos ffs? And I have every respect for those folks that are doing what they can to feel the best they can feel. BUT don’t go gluten-free ‘for your weight’ and then eat all the packaged, sugar-free, chemical shit storm gluten-free food in the stupidmarket and then complain about getting fat. Processed food is processed food. When they take out the gluten they add sugar and salt and other ‘filler’s to make it taste ‘normal’ Don’t be fooled dude.

Especially don’t come to a work function and hoover up all the gluten-free food that they thoughtfully got in – leaving none for the real foodtards, and then go over to the ‘normals’ food and just have one because it ‘won’t hurt’. Because it won’t hurt you. And you ate all my fucking grapes and now I hate you.

Shall I tell you what I have learned about cafes and restaurant gluten free-ness? I have learned that even if the food has gluten-free ingredients, if it is cooked on the same tray as gluteny food it will be contaminated. If it is stored in the same display as the other food it is likely to be contaminated. (It can be okay if they store it at the top so nothing can drop crumbs on it). If they don’t have gluten-free specific tongs, the food is contaminated. If they don’t have gluten-free cutting boards or utensils out the back then the food is likely to be contaminated. Even if you order gluten-free toast; if they cook it in the same toaster it is definitely contaminated.

I have learned that if you ask these questions cafe staff quickly become sick of you and either a. lie to shut you up or b. make it clear they want you to fuck off. And that’s fair enough really. They can only go so far to accommodate. I have learned that it is easier to not eat out very often.

And although I think that the ‘trend’ towards gluten-free eating has meant that there are heaps of yummy things on the market now that are safe for me to eat and although I agree to some extent that coeliacs ‘should be grateful’ that there are more options out there for us, I am conscious that every time I say that I need to have gluten-free food I cringe a little in case someone thinks this is my ‘lifestyle choice’. It would be amazing to get up tomorrow and be able to eat anything I like.

I am not an angel. I know that if I could – and knew it wouldn’t hurt me – I would eat pretty randomly. It takes a lot of organisation and effort to be able to eat at every meal, to be prepared for each day – and I am not too often – and to make sure that I am getting everything I need from my food. It is tiring when the rest of life is demanding attention too. I guess that’s why I get so irritated with the foodie fads.

I ALSO KNOW HOW ANNOYING IT IS TO HANG OUT WITH ME. My very thoughtful friends and family go to great lengths to make me food or treats and they are so disappointed when I can’t eat them because of some shit. I’m sorry.

GF for life bitches.