I am staring at my second gluten free beer of the night. My intention was to go home and make a salad of bitter greens and eat some oily fish because a) I bought those greens last week and they are rotting as I type and b) oily fish in a can is both cheap and relatively healthy, if not exactly saliva inducing. That’s what a responsible broke person with autoimmune issues and a crummy thyroid would do. They would go home after work and patiently make that meal that aims to be both frugal and nourishing and as such succeeds also in being BORING AND JOYLESS AS FUCK. So I went to a nearby pub and got a great gluten free burger and two beers instead. I rested my legs. I revelled in doing nothing.
I’ve been extremely tardy in putting up my blog posts, but not because of my innate laziness. I work long hours, sometimes with commuting it amounts to 10 am 10 pm, and that leaves time to shove anything readymade in my mouth, browse the internet in bed, and fall asleep to dream of smashing all clocks like that kid in Hook. The alarm goes off nonetheless and I drag my puffy corpse out of bed to make an enormous coffee and maybe eat a boiled egg or if I’m feeling hopeless, a peanut butter cup.
This is not good for me, not by any standards. I know this. I know this intimately because with a body that is running at a disadvantage already, my food selection leaves me scraping by on energy fumes. I also know this because in bouts of chutzpah and motivation, I read books and blogs prescribing lifestyle and dietary changes, always with the same mermaidhaired, whitetoothed, whitekitchened woman beaming at me with her “quick and easy” coconut rice, evilfree paleo curry and her 5 minute breakfast smoothie and her immaculately lit and arranged grain free, sugarfree raspberry bars. Where do these bitches find the time and money to wrap things in twine?! These images fill me with deep guilt and selfdisgust as I stare at them wearing a tshirt off the floor, my greasy fringe grazing my unplucked eyebrows framing my baggy eyes staring at this unbelievable woman while I brush some chip crumbs off my chest and emit a hungover burp. Where do these people live? What do they do? I’ve come to the conclusion that they are all in some way, in finances or lifestyle, moms in LA. No one else could possibly proclaim the “simplicity” of that kind of life and believe what they are saying. It’s worse when they make some concession to the harrowed, hurried, stressed lives most people live with the encouragement that eating this way or sleeping that much or using lavender twigs as barettes is worth the effort. It is out of touch, it’s classist, and it’s patronizing.
The people I know work lousy jobs for the most part, for measley pay. They look for joy where and when they can. In going out with friends after a long day instead of getting that much needed 8 hour sleep. In having some sweet, sweet alcohol to take the edge off having 50 customers treat you like a whimrobot all day instead of making themselves a puritanical banana, camucamu, date smoothie or paying $12 to have someone else do it. They eat potato chips because potato chips are fucking delicious and so few things in life that cost less than a twoonie/pound bring that much instant satisfaction, especially at 3 a.m. They hit snooze instead of waking up at dawn, in line with their circadian rhythms, to meditate on the crushing pace and fruitlessness of modern, capitalist life. The people I know need to pay rent.
But they aren’t dumb dumbs. They are also educated and aware and they know about their gut bacteria and environmental pollutants and all the ways modern life can slowly degenerate you. They try, when and where they can, to make good choices for their bods, because it does make you feel better to drink some water occasionally instead of a third gutrotting coffee. Sometimes they buy probiotics on their credit card. My issue with the glut of current health blogs is the illusion of bright simplicity and vitality. Where’s the grit? Where are the single moms with canned food? (Jack Monroe excluded obviously, who is a wonder). 99% of my meals do not look like they do on instagram and you know what, nor should they. If the focus is health then let the focus be health, the messy, downtoearth, salty, hearty pursuit of health. It should be about how to feel more functional without also feeling like a wet hemp napkin on a night out with friends, or like a failure because you can’t afford organic kale and now you’re going to get ab cancer. Oh wait you don’t have abs so it’s fine. Selling people images of pistachios placed just so, of god damn wooden boards and charming china, of women in “natural makeup” eating a bowl of food that costs as much as my free time and money budget for the day to make; is not helping anyone save the people who can already live like that. I want to see recipe pictures with chipped, ugly plates and the guts of the operation. We need blogs for working people, for stressed, depressed, cleanlaundryless, scrambling for bus fare types. Direct and unmanicured and realistic about what’s possible. I’m hoping to make this one of those spots.
It won’t always be magnificent and hardly ever Pinterestworthy, but I do hope it will give you some ideas for what to eat instead of the leftover half of Ritter Sport on your table, with as little fuss and money, and as much satisfaction as I know that chocolate can give.
Sincerely Glandy x