Mediocrevores

I really like this article about all the guilt, judgment, and general craziness around food choices. The idea is that a huge part of this comes from the dizzying array of things to consider in order to feed yourself. Not just what do I have access to and what do I like, but all the health and ethical and other things. And there’s no way to do it perfectly.

Given the range of food options and the variety of demands we try to satisfy when we shop and cook, it is no wonder that most of us feel like mediocre eaters – call us “mediocrevores.” We do the best we can, but we know every meal we eat could have been lower calorie, higher fiber, less processed, more local. The Chorus of self-hating eaters is what happens when mediocrevores see people who appear to have solved the food problem and then project their dissatisfaction with their own choices onto them. The Soloist is what happens when a mediocrevore needs to persuade you of his superiority in order to persuade himself.

I would love to see everyone chill out about food, especially at work. I always feel weird if I’m eating a salad or a “healthy” frozen meal and people talk about how “good” I’m being.

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5 thoughts on “Mediocrevores

  1. Slyjinks says:

    Good article, and yeah, I can totally emphasize. People at work tend to get pre-emptively defensive or self-condemning about their food choices around me, as if expecting me to condemn them because I usually eat in a manner they perceive as ‘healthy’. :/ I just want to explain (and sometimes, I /do/ explain), “Dude, I’m not judging you for eating that candy bar. I don’t blame you! It’s delicious! And I’m not worried about whether you’re going to ‘make up for it’ later. That’s your business!” I mean, I like to talk about food, because I like food and things concerning food (including, yes, nutrition) fascinate me, but the topic goes over to judgement far too easily.

    Thanks for the link.

  2. Chutti says:

    Wow-thanks for sharing this. I only recently (well in the last couple of years) realized that part of why I particularly enjoy working in the field versus an office gig is dodging the bullet on workplace food discussions.
    I used to think I just enjoyed the variety of working with many different clients daily instead of a smallish fixed group in the office.

    I’m pretty much the poster child for fat vegetarians. Been one since 1985, ups and downs weight wise, but mostly just plain fat. I don’t expect anyone to cater to me or go out of their way to provide food that I find suitable, so often no one even notices (much easier to eat out now than it was then). Mostly people in the professional sphere make too much fuss on helping me find food….recently I had to practically beg a group to continue with their plans to eat at a steakhouse. I LOVE those long baked potatoes you can’t get elsewhere and unadorned sides like asparagus or spinach. A better meal than many, so let’s go judgement free!

    The other weird thing that happens when acquaintances decipher that I am veggie is that they want me to be their food confessor. Lots of declarations that…” we don’t eat meat that often, but we did have chicken for the kids last night” or ” I don’t really care if I eat meat, but every once in a while I just HAVE to have a steak”. Bully for you! It’s none of my business what you eat!

    I tried to stay out of a recent discussion where two friends talked about their “food addictions” (don’t get me started) and how they are working hard to eat at table instead of in front of a TV, cause they are sooooo bad. They kept trying to include me in the conversation, and I kept trying to change the subject. I have ALWAYS enjoyed sitting down to a meal at table with nice dishes, etc. even living alone as a fatty. So, I don’t think it makes any difference. But I hated to burst their bubble.

    It just makes me sad to see so many people afraid of enjoying food and feeling they have to justify or rationalize their choices. Life is TOO LONG to spend hours on that!

    • KellyK says:

      I think workplace food discussions are the worst. The whole “Oh, you eat better than me so I must apologize/justify/make excuses” thing is really prevalent.

  3. inge says:

    Very good article. “Eating *at* people”. So true. I actually catch myself doing it on purpose, because if it will be seen like that anyway, I can at least direct it a little. But stil, try to convince anyone that you’re skipping lunch because you are actually, really, honestly, swear-it-to-god not hungry? Plain imposible. If you are fat or normal-sized, they will think you are on a diet, if you are skinny they will think you have an eating disorder. Gossip never rests when a woman eats (or doesn’t).

    • KellyK says:

      Wow, yeah. As far as the skipping lunch thing, I think people also don’t necessarily understand how much variety there is in people’s metabolisms. My first response to someone skipping lunch would be, “Wow, really? You can do that and not feel like crap?” Not because I’m not taking them at their word, but because I feel lousy if I don’t eat three meals and two or three snacks, and my stomach gets pretty ornery after three or four hours.

      So, people tend to assume that if you’re skipping lunch, how they’d react to it is how you’d react to it. (And then, even better, pile a nice helping of judgment or misplaced concern on top of that.)

      And you’re totally right that “Gossip never rests when a woman eats (or doesn’t).” Guys aren’t totally left off the hook, but there’s definitely more policing of what women eat or don’t eat, or are supposed to be eating.

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