A mid-week fire alarm resulted in an early evening visit to the Eagle’s Nest. When a friend couldn’t find the Velveeta shells and cheese she so desired, I convinced her that the organic brand would be just as good. For those of you who consume organic food regularly, this is not meant to be critical, but the substitution was a far cry from the “cheesy” richness everyone remembers from childhood.
Thinking about this fresh and organic food revolution that seems to have America in its grip makes me wonder about what this says about us as a people. As consumers, it says we are willing to pay higher prices for healthier, more environmentally friendly food. But this also suggests we are willing to pay twice as much for food that stays fresh half as long, and in some cases tastes half as good. Who’s surprised that other countries don’t understand us?
We’re all obsessed with finding a significant other who is right for us - someone who adds value to our life, helping us to grow and mature without the burden of adding too much weight. Yet how often do we gravitate toward someone who destabilizes our happy routine, knocks us out of our healthy habits and leaves our emotions malnourished?
We overindulge in someone’s sweetness only to get so buzzed we want to flit onto the next conquest and regret the pain that follows. We take shot after shot of someone’s bitter or sour attitude, hoping it will get better if we endure—only to black out and suffer the exhaustion of returning to normal life, mentally and emotionally hung over.
Why is it that we always go back to the foods that comfort us when we inevitably feel bloated, lazy and unattractive afterward? Why do we crave the lovers we’ve left behind when they only seem to undermine our self-esteem?
We are a people who want to stop global warming but balk at the price of a hybrid car. We complain about the price of gas but still insist on driving SUVs. We want our bodies to look thin and healthy but can’t stomach the taste of most fresh or organic foods, so instead we compensate by paying exorbitant amounts for diet programs or spending hours in the gym. Or worse, we merely whine about how fat we are but do little more than lift the remote or chopsticks provided with our Chinese takeout.
If you really want to feel healthy inside and out, you have to make sacrifices. A partner that respects you, who recognizes and appreciates your attributes and loves you despite your faults may not look as appetizing at first. But once you acquire the taste for a genuine person, not overloaded with synthetic or harmful ingredients, you will find it hard to go back to anyone who makes your stomach - or your heart - ache.
None of us may be mature enough to make these choices at our age, we all want the instant gratification that will satisfy us until the next craving comes along. But someday, we may realize that what we crave may not be good for us and that we are the only ones who can improve our health.
On Sunday, the same friend and I skipped the organic pasta and opted for cheap and greasy pizza instead. The ideal scenario may be a healthy meal and a loving partner, but if you are with a good friend you know won’t clog your emotional arteries, a little pizza isn’t so bad. Our stomachs may have hurt a little afterward, but our hearts felt just fine.