My spouse, good citizen that he is, played line cook recently for a big barbecue put on by the company he works for. Because he went the extra mile for them, they let him have his pick of the leftovers to take home. What was left was, of course, what got passed over as it sat out on a picnic table all afternoon–you guessed it, the “healthy” food. So he brought me home a sealed, almost two pound bag of “eat smart” broccoli stem salad.
Two days later, getting home late, I decide this is a better option than washing lettuce. As I pour a pile of the sad mixture into the frying pan, a familiar dread washes over me, for the cut edges already have twinges of gray. As I squeeze the air out of the bag to clip it closed, there’s that smell. That stagnant combination of freezer grit, swimming pool and sweat socks. The old salad bag smell.
The old salad bag smell became a thing for me one night at a shall-remain-nameless community event, one that was pulled off at the last minute by an overwhelmed team doing their best. So that they had something, you guessed it, “healthy” to balance the pizza, they grabbed a bag from a discount big box store. I was one of the few people to brave it. Just as the words “this salad stinks” reverberated through my head, I realized I had a mouth full of mold. Mmm-mmm.
Have you ever made the extra effort to choose the “healthy” option, only to find it’s been poorly handled, poorly prepared, or even spoiled?
Have you ever done it to yourself? Found borderline spoiled food in your kitchen because you bought too much, fell behind on your food preparation, or bought something that was already headed south–and decided to tough it out, because you didn’t want to “waste” it, or to admit you let it happen? (Like that cheap fish that just now went directly from my plate to the outside garbage can?)
Have these bad experiences put you off from eating real food? Have you given in and eaten the junk because at least it was predictable, with no nasty surprises and no ticking time bombs?
For the next few days, as you choose what you will eat, watch for that “ick” reaction. Especially, watch for it when you are offered food that you know will increase your inner glow and vibrancy, but triggers a negative reaction that you can’t explain. Explore the memories and associations you have around that food. Did you learn anything about your tastes? Did you see any “better” options that actually weren’t better, because of poor quality?
Let us know in the comments!