I like to enjoy my food. Go figure

I am over society’s obsession with dieting. I think it’s important to eat healthy but also sometimes eat things you enjoy even if they’re less-than-healthy. And of course it’s important that, no matter what you eat, it’s done in moderation. But I hate seeing the way that people seem to agonize over food, because there’s pressure right now to be ultra-healthy and only eat a teeny-tiny amount of food and count calories or whatever (and while the two are related, I’m talking about this independently of the additional pressure to be stick thin (which, hello, isn’t always an indication of being healthy). I will rant about that another day). It’s fucking annoying. People should be able to enjoy their damn food. They shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting a damn sandwich sometimes.

Whenever I eat out at a restaurant, or go out for lunch during the work day, I see the same thing. People sitting there, poking at a fucking salad, looking miserable. Now, I’m sure some people enjoy salads as meals. Me, I’m part Italian. To me, a salad is something that comes before the actual meal (and that meal would also be 6-8 courses to even be considered worth eating) and lettuce is a garnish by itself (Having lobster? Put it on top of some lettuce. BAM–instance fancification). In a normal situation, I think salads are fine as a light meal, like when you’re having a late lunch and don’t want to spoil your appetite for dinner. And I know that some people can make and consume giant salads with a zillion toppings and be happy and satisfied. But a lot of people I see seem to be eating salads because it’s considered healthy, not because they actually want the fucking salad. And it makes me mad, not at the people, but at the fact that they feel like they have to keep up some healthy street cred or something. Maybe they really wanted a panini, but those have bread, you see, and all bread is DEADLY. Or something. So they settle for the salad. A salad that is often kind of wilty and has maybe three add-ins (cucumber, carrots and tomatoes are usually the standards in this city). If you start to get too fancy, the salad will suddenly become more expensive than the sandwich you actually wanted (because restaurants know it’s trendy to have salads as meals, but they also know that a basic salad is kind of boring, so they charge out the ears to get anything even remotely interesting. And I’m not talking grilled chicken (which they also charge for). I mean like…olives. Or radishes).

Again, I know the importance of having a healthy diet. And I don’t mean to completely hate on salads–I eat them myself sometimes. But I hate seeing people look so miserable with their meals, like eating brings them no joy at all. So what if it’s a salad, and therefore healthy? If it’s making people fucking miserable because all they ever eat is salad and never have that burger they really want, then what’s the fucking point? All I’m saying is, people need to balance their meals–sure, have salads, but occasionally indulge in that sandwich or whatever you’re craving. Get a little fucking enjoyment out of your food, and screw anyone who might comment on your “unhealthy” choice. You know what? It’s for your fucking mental health. Breaking news: Pretty much anything is bad for you eat too much of it. And new studies seem to come out all the time about how wine is good, no, wait, it’s bad! Bread is terrible! No, wait, sometimes it’s okay! CARBS WILL KILL YOU–no, actually, you need some carbs sometimes!

My point is that you pretty much need at least a little bit of everything, and sometimes things that are thought to be bad for you turn out to be necessary–in moderation. MODERATION IS THE KEY HERE. Don’t eat a pound of ground beef, but a normal-sized burger every once in a while is not going to kill you. It might even make you HAPPY. THERE’S AN IDEA. MAYBE FOOD AND EATING SHOULD BE ENJOYABLE! HOW CRAZY!

And while vegetables and fruits are certainly good for you, you can’t get all the essential things from them (most, yes, but not all). Unless you are vegetarian or vegan, a little meat isn’t going to hurt you.

I just think people should be able to enjoy their meals. It’s fucking miserable to be eating lunch somewhere (and usually I have a panini or other type of sandwich when I eat lunch out–GASP) and see so many people eating what they think they should eat instead of what they want to eat. And trust me, you can tell the difference.

The other thing about dieting that drives me crazy is people who diet without doing their research. I was in the kitchen at my office once around lunch, and someone was heating up a bagel when her friend came in. The friend starts talking about how the bagel smells so good, but she’s on a no-carb diet and the only bread product in their house is for her husband’s sandwiches. Now, she said no carbs, which leads me to assume that her goal is to CONSUME NO CARBOHYDRATES. That is idiotic, because you need some carbs. So do your fucking research first, please. Don’t just believe what Oprah or Dr. Phil or whoever tells you. And really, anyone who wants to go on a diet should talk to a nutritionist, because everyone’s individual needs are different. But usually a diet that entirely eliminates a food group or substance type is a bad idea, because as I said, at least a little bit of everything is necessary to truly be considered healthy. Yes, even sugar. Not a very large amount, mind you, but SOME. Why is this so fucking hard for people to understand?

Man, I was talking about how people seem to be miserable when they’re out to eat, but I forgot about all the pathetic things I’ve seen just in my office. That woman with the bagel? Had it plain. I can’t think of anything more miserable for a bagel than having no toppings (and what’s the point of eating a bagel if you’re not going to put SOMETHING on it? Just eat a loaf of bread, then). I’ve seen people have an APPLE for lunch. Just one apple. Asshole, you know you’re going to be hungry again in like 30 minutes, so who are you even kidding?

Another annoying thing about the dieting trend, going back to that bagel story, is people who feel the need to declare to everyone that they’re on a diet. Sure, maybe your friends care, but it also adds to their guilt if they aren’t also on some kind of diet. I bet the woman eating the bagel was even more miserable once her friend talked about her diet than she would’ve been before. Because you can’t help but look down at your meal–that someone else just said they aren’t eating because it’s not healthy–and wonder if you should also be on that diet. And some people don’t just talk about their diet, they brag about it, and there is no purpose to that other than to shame people who aren’t dieting (whether they “need” to or not). Don’t brag about all the delicious and wonderful foods you choose not to eat because you think it makes you more healthy than your friends, because we all know you want a piece of chocolate or some french fries as badly as the rest of us. You’re not better than anyone just because you get no enjoyment out of your food. Keep it to yourself unless someone asks you how your diet is going (but even then, there’s a difference between talking and bragging about it). Otherwise, they don’t want to know about it, because they’d like to enjoy their lunch without feeling inferior to some ambiguous standard of what it means to be “healthy”.

Despite this rant, sometimes even I get sucked into feeling guilty for eating something I enjoy but know isn’t the healthiest option. Some days I walk into my sandwich shop and think. “Today, I’ll have a salad for lunch!” But then I look at how much they charge for all the add-ins I’d want to make the salad even mildly enjoyable and realize the panini is like half the price for potentially more enjoyment. I’d be better off making a salad myself at home, because it’d be cheaper and exactly what I want it to be. But then I get the panini and sit down and look around me and feel the societal pressure of the fad to be health obsessed and diet obsessed and calorie obsessed. It’s hard not to when you’re inundated with it on every magazine cover or news show or whatever, about all the newest diets and ways to get flat abs and be ready for the beach. I wish I could tell the media to fuck off. I deserve to enjoy a fucking sandwich every once in a while–or a slice of cheesecake, for that matter–without feeling like I’m making a poor life choice. And even if I am, it’s nobody’s business but my own.

So go forth, people, and occasionally enjoy the food you’re eating no matter what society tells you.

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