Over the last few years, “clean eating” has become trendy, or attempting to eat clean/healthy (because donuts and cupcakes are also trendy). Everyone’s obese, and we’re all going to die unless we eat more fucking kale. So much kale.
I, like any trend follower and good mom, try to do my best to feed my family well-balanced, “clean,” healthy meals. I want us all to bug the shit out of each other for many, many years to come, and longevity is what you eat evidently.
But, fuck, eating healthy is a giant pain in the ass.
First of all, if your life is anything like mine then you get the joy of grocery shopping with small children. Small children who are always hungry and whiny and tired beginning the moment the automatic doors open for us. And when they’re hungry and see food, they want to eat it because, well, hello, Mom, snacks are everywhere! I sneak them a couple grapes and start looking around.
Everything has to be organic, of course. But, seriously, why is it that the most bruised and blemished apples are the healthiest? How does that make sense, Mother Nature? And they cost more. When I take them home I have to explain to my husband why I spent $80 on the ugliest apples to have ever fallen from a tree while the pretty ones would have been $4 and looked like art on our kitchen counter.
On top of the organic thing, it all has to be fresh. The fruits and vegetables should never have seen the inside of a bag or a box or anything that could leech toxins all over them. The uglier and the fresher something is, the healthier it must be. That’s what I’ve figured out from Instagram.
But sometimes you need a backup plan just in case. So I push my cart past the bulk bins of beans and the Goop-following, “namaste”-whispering bitches look at the few aluminum cans of green beans in my cart hiding under a bushel of ugly apples and stick up their noses at me just like how they stick healing crystals up their vaginas. The judgment is strong when you’re shopping anywhere that sells fresh, local, organic food. Everyone is watching you.
Then you get home, and you can’t just throw it all in the fridge and call it a day. You have to wash it — all of it. Even if it was carried to the store in a hermetically sealed bubble on a unicorn’s back you still have to wash it lest a GMO piece of corn dust fell upon it. Washing is just the beginning though. Then you have to prep it because, obviously, if you don’t have a plan for it, if it’s not readily available, then the parsnips will get pissed off at you and rot in hell because you didn’t put any love and care into them.
You peel, you dice, you chop, you mince, you give yourself carpel tunnel from all the knife work you’re doing. You place it in color-coded and dated and labeled containers in the front of the fridge so if anyone wants a snack that’s what they see first because you’re a good mom, dammit.
But here’s the worst part about trying to eat healthy: After you’ve shopped and chopped and prepped and planned, you have to attempt to make it in such a fashion that your picky kids will eat it. You turn zucchini into noodles, carrots into fries, and cauliflower into mash, and you know what happens? You’re not fooling anyone. They just want everything covered in cheese or ranch, and for the love, if you’re going to do that, you might as well go back to buying the pretty produce and save yourself a thousand dollars.
Trying to eat healthy is utterly exhausting and underappreciated, but here I am. Getting ready to go shopping once again because nothing says “I love you” quite like spending my kids’ college funds on food they’ll never eat all in the name of health. Wish me luck.