Grocery stores make me sad

The other day at Safeway, a father with his two young daughters were waiting in front of me to check out. Not only were the kids acting like monsters and the dad was doing nothing to stop them, but I wanted to cry  when I looked at the groceries the dad had chosen. He was buying an array of chips, sodas and frozen pizzas, topped off with a pound of red meat. Not a vegetable or piece of fruit in sight. Maybe I was put off by his parenting to start with, but from where I was standing, it was a pretty pathetic attempt to nourish his children.

It’s not only the people in the stores that are depressing. When I was doing the 30-day-challenge, I realized that if I wanted to cook food “from scratch”, I could skip most of the aisles. In Target, there are at least two full aisles dedicated to bags of candy, but when I tried to find fruit other than a few oranges or bananas? SOL.

Even the foods that are bad for you are advertising themselves as good. For example:

A box of Kraft Mac-N-Cheese that says, “Shhh. There are veggies in here.” It claims that the problem with “other vegetables” (meaning it considers itself a vegetable, right?) is their “overt vegetableness”. As if “vegetableness” is appalling. And, embarassingly enough, I bought this vegetable version of Mac-N-Cheese. I don’t eat it more than once every six months, but sometimes I’m in need of a quick meal (cut me some slack!). And the vegetable one was on sale. Or maybe the “veggie-tising” tricked me too, who knows.
But consider the commercial for Fiber One Cereal Bars. The husband tells his wife, “Fiber makes me sad” after she suggests he consume more. The commercial offers a solution, to eat their candy bar-like treat that provides “fiber beyond recognition”.
There is something seriously wrong here. Since when is fiber, an essential part of everyone’s diet, a cause for depression?
In his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan discusses the ‘national eating disorder’ of the US. 

“The cornucopia of the American supermarket has thrown us back on a bewildering food landscape where we once again have to worry that some of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. (Perhaps not as quickly as a poisonous mushroom, but just as surely.)… It is very much in the interest of the food industry to exacerbate our anxieties about what to eat, the better to then assuage them with new products.”

Pollan focuses on three types of food (industrial, organic and hunter-gatherer) in order to dissect and compare our different options.

Am I inspired to do a new food-focused 30-day-challenge? Maybe. As I know so little about food and where it comes from, who regulates it, etc. it would certainly be an adventure.

iPhone update: Found a case with a built-in screen protector for $14 on Amazon. Better than $40 but I’m still not happy about it. Won’t have data again until October 6th, but I’m able to use wireless at least. My boss also sort of nicknamed me “Texty” Joslin so I probably need to lay off the phone use while at work. It’s just…. so…. addictive.

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