Eating In The Modern Age

Is anyone else out there FREAKING OUT about food? It is bloody exhausting, all these things we're supposed to worry about at dinnertime. Everytime you pick up a magazine or flick on the telly, there's a new report about something else we should or should not be eating. We are all drowning in food information, scare stories and buzzwords. Antioxidants, superfoods, free range, fair trade, arrgh! A trip to the supermarket is now a stressful ordeal of label reading and moral dilemmas.

I dunno about you, but I'm conflicted and confused. Not only do I need to eat healthy foods to lose weight, I need to eat the really healthy foods, the ones they say can ward off heart disease, diabetes, crappy livers, dry skin, bad breath and cancer. I've banned the trans fat, cut down the sat fat, because I need to eat low fat, but I can't forget the good fat! Such as omega-3s. As seen in salmon and tuna. As long as they're not farmed or full of mercury or over-fished. I don't want to eat endangered fishes. I love sushi but every bite gives me guilty nightmares. I need more whole grains but they need to be real whole grains, not the Bullshit Whole Grains like Nestle are trying to convince me are contained in a box of Cheerios. I've subtracted additives. I'm avoiding corn syrup and all things partially inverted. Plus sucrose fructose maltrose dextrose pantyhose, anything ending with -ose. I'm don't eat any animals that were cooped up in small places. I avoid processed foods. Although I do eat Quorn sausages now and then. Is it more noble to eat a processed vegetarian sausage instead of a processed "meat" one consisting of ground-up snouts, trotters and rusk? Am I getting enough protein? I try to buy organic produce, but if it's organic and shipped from Peru, is the organic smugness cancelled out by all the air it pollutes en route to the UK? But if I don't buy the Peruvian organics, will the poor Peruvian economy suffer? Then again, what about my poor local farmer? Does one Buy Organic or Buy Local?! And chocolate. I know I should choose the antioxidantal 70% Organic Dark made from fairly-traded cocoa beans, but what if my body is screaming out for a shitey old Mars Bar? Will I be struck down by a bus in punishment?

Sometimes I feel like I can't even just simply unpeel a freaking banana these days before I've sent it a lab for nutritional analysis, traced its lineage for seven generations, then personally met the farmer who planted it. It's almost enough to put me off my food. Almost.

15 thoughts on “Eating In The Modern Age

  1. I have to say I totally agree with what you’ve said. It’s hard trying to follow a diet (Weight Watchers) in my case, wondering if I should be doing something else because it’s healthier.

    I look at what they offer (you seem to have more offerings in your country that we do here in the US, and more than I can find in my rural stores), it’s all what I’d call “fake” for most of it. I’m not sure whether I should forgo stuff like that or not. (I lean towards avoiding most of it too.)

  2. This was one reason that we saw made it all worthwhile to relocate to Estonia – getting away from all the additives & especially that EVIL ‘corn syrup’. That product is the major cause of obseity in the USA because it is added to so many snack foods. Now we eat more vegetables & less of those processed foods. Keep thinking healthy thoughts.

  3. Shopping can be exhausting. You forgot to mention palm oil, which endangers orangutans, but means my oat cakes have no trans fat. Arghhh! The trick is to buy local and cook from scratch in bulk and then learn to love your freezer and microwave. But then of course there’s the radioactive waves beamed at me from the microwave, and it all starts over again…It’s enough to drive a woman to drink…

  4. I try not to think about it too much but every once in a while you have creepy moments…like noticing the difference between farm eggs and the eggs at the grocers. Shouldn’t they be the same? But they aren’t..What are they doing to the poor chickens for the cheap grocery eggs? I don’t like to think about it but I now find myself paying more for farm fresh eggs.

  5. I bought some vitamin capsules the other day, with “gelatine-free capsule shell – suitable for vegetarians”. Which instantly started me obsessing over whether I’ve been taking non-veggie vitamins all these years. On the other hand, if someone offers me a sweetie, I pretty much deliberately don’t check the wrapper, because I don’t want to know whether it contains gelatine or not…

    This way madness lies. I should just forget it and eat more fruit.

  6. I had to laugh at your smugness over organic produce comment. I recently ate an organic Green & Black’s chocolate bar. Tasted almost the same as my usual chocolate choice, had the same calorie content and I actually said out loud that the least it could do was have fewer calories since it was organic!

  7. I’m with you sister!!! 1258%!!!

    Being in Belfast was quite the experience foodwise. I went to grocery stores and was amazed that they all had salads and pieces of cut fruit and sandwiches and meals in small packages, ready to eat!

    I mean…what is the use to eat the fruit if it has been cut 6 hrs ahead? All the vitamins die!!!! Same with fresh salad veggies!!!

    I do not know. We also eat organic, and we always complain to each other that it is too expensive, and we have not had any chicken since November cos of the avian flu, and yet, you think deep inside we feel “safe”?

    Once in a rare while, something we buy from the organic shop will be discontinued and the reason will be that the production standards were not quite follown, and we will feel like super idiots for paying double for that tomato juice while it was grown apparently the wrong way.

    Its crazy!

  8. Great post Shauny. I’m plugging away with WW at the moment and I love the way they try to peddle their food wares at the meetings. Have you looked at the ingrediants in that lot? Absolutely chockers with food additives and chemicals.
    Then somebody told me that WW is owned by Heinz or some other such multi national company and it all became very clear. Our meetings are becoming one big food ad.

  9. Great post Shauna – I totally agree… There is so much info out there it’s hard to decide what to choose.

    I’m not sure what “trotters and rusks” are – but maybe I don’t want to know… 😉 Gotta love the Aussie/Scots speak, eh?

  10. Oh, how this one hits home…
    I’m kind of annoyed that I feel like I need to check the ingredients on everything before I chuck it in my shopping cart. Of course this is how I discovered that some dreid fruit has sugar added! Even the stuff I think is pretty healthy sometiems isn’t. It’s enough to drive anyone completely bonkers!

  11. Am I the only one who doesn’t obsess on healthy food? As a trained archaeologist/anthropologist, I know we live longer than humans ever have in the past… so we must be doing okay!

  12. My grandma who is 90 and lives the country in Spain has never ate anything in a tin, or with additives, frozen ect. When my dad was young they were very poor. They would make their own bread, grow veg to sell and eat, and had a farm which provided meatm milk, eggs ect. A trip to the shop did not happen often. But yes, she is 90, no illnesses. Yeps, Eli

  13. Lots of important questions there indeed, Shauna! It’s tricky, but I try to avoid anything processed, full of bad E-numbers (except sour wine gums – can’t give them up), try to buy organic chocolate to satisfy my cravings. And shop a lot at the local farmers market for fresher and more delicious food. I guess it’s a bit more expencive, but what can you do..

  14. I was thinking about this post a lot. And about the comments too. Especially Gracie’s. Which certainly proves your point!Cos the people that lives to be 90 yrs or more nowadays, are our grandparents, the ones who ate fresh, pretty much what Eli describes.

    before jumping into any conclusions, we should wait and see what today’s generation will reach as an age, and how well will we be, what diseases will make us die, and years after, what relationship they will discover between those and all the poisons in food!

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at