It’s a beautiful Thursday morning here in sunny SoCal, but all I can think about is PopSugar. Why? Because PopSugar keeps telling me what to eat. I cannot only blame PopSugar; Self, Society19, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Seventeen, Men’s Health, Shape, GQ, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, keep publishing articles in which someone with visible abs tells us what they eat for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert. Who really cares? Who reads a story about a bodybuilder’s eating routine and thinks, “That’s exactly how I should eat!” Who reads up on Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite breakfast and vows to only eat Goopy cardboard granola for the rest of their lives? Who cares that some fitness influencer has bulletproof coffee every morning?! Ugh.
If I see one more article that tells me to eat oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch, and salmon for dinner, I’ll scream. I will. You’ll be able to hear me, wherever you are, whomever you're with.
The most insulting thing about these articles is that they’re not health-oriented. They aren’t about the scientific reasons why humans need carbs to function, or how some part of our brain releases serotonin when we taste fat or sugar or salt. These articles aren’t about body chemistry, or brain chemistry, or the psychological or cultural reasons we eat certain foods or indulge during holidays. They don’t help us understand our brain chemistry, or bodies, any better. These articles are empty fodder, for all us mindless readers who seem absolutely entranced with what our favorite celebrities eat for breakfast. Because if Jennifer Lawrence drinks a beet smoothie in the a.m., we should too (but you wouldn’t do that, would you Jen?).
Articles detailing what famous people, or even normal people eat, are step-by-step guides about how to live like someone else, and that’s annoying. It’s tiring. It’s stale. Find something better to write about, yes?
And in case you were wondering (you’re probably not), I have an intense attachment to my morning oatmeal because I'm a creature of habit and have little to no culinary skill. When I’m 98 years old and living in an assisted living home, I’ll still eat oatmeal for breakfast. Why? Because oatmeal never killed anybody, that’s why.
[Google Check] Hold the phones. An April 30, 2016 article published by the New York Post, is titled “Your Oatmeal May Be Killing You.” What’s this? Apparently, a man named Lewis Daly from Brooklyn, New York sued Quaker Oats because the company uses a chemical called Glyphosate, which is a common weed killer and carcinogen, to process its oats. Egad. Daly ended up sueing Quaker for $5 million in damages. Before you get your granny-panties in a bundle, rest assured that Daly lost, and that trace amounts of weed killers never killed anyone because you’d have to eat cartons of oatmeal to ingest enough poison, and by the time you were 80 cartons deep, you’d be quite ill, probably.
For lunch, I eat food, and for dinner, I also eat food. If I’m hungry after dinner, I eat more food. Sometimes I drink some non-food, like a chilled glass of chardonnay or some fancy (boxed) pinot noir. There is nothing inherently wrong with the printing and re-printing of of "What I Eat in a Day" fodder. But there's nothing inherently useful in it either. What you eat has absolutely no bearing on what I eat, and vice versa. Food is simply not that fucking complex.
I’ll end this little rant with a thoughtful PSA: if you actually need help deciding which foods to eat for optimum health, visit a dietitian who can work with you to make a culturally competent meal plan, and who won’t quietly shame you with photo shopped pictures of oily abs.
Peace hope and love,