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Mad not Glad? Consider this.

Is there ever a right time to be mad about food? Let’s get to the “why” of it.

Updated 8/15/2021 and 1/4/2022

Mad at gluten when celiac disease isn’t present.

Mad at plastic straws when a medical condition that benefits from use isn’t considered. caipi-377960_640

Glorifying kale even if the taste and texture of other deep, leafy greens is your preference.

When is it the right time to be mad in food and meal decision making?

The easy answer is never. The more honest and correct answer is, it depends. If you get newly diagnosed with something that directly impacts your food and the way you choose it, that’s an understandable time a person might feel anger.

I’m a dietitian, not a doctor or psychologist. I know the science, nutrition, and cultural relevance of food. Consider this point of view as you read this.

Many of you are “why” people just like me. This is for you.

Some people are diagnosed with celiac disease or something else pertaining to gluten and then gluten becomes the very important topic and focus it should be. For those of us not diagnosed with any of these, gluten, in general, is not the enemy.  I’m pretty sure almost no one dreamed that it would become a thing people would start using to filter food choices.

Plastic straws. Is there a meaningful point to them? I’m not talking about using a bendy swirly one for your drink at a birthday party. #Spoileralert, there is. I think the #FOMO (fear of missing out) situation is that when something hits the marketplace to as a solution to a question or condition, others who are not the intended audience start to think maybe it’s a thing for them, too. Let me explain: Did you ever see the Simpsons episode where Homer found out about a “machine that breathes for you” and was mad that he was using his own lungs? Now think about the person who actually needs help breathing. This is an extreme example, but when something hits pop culture with a story like this, you know we’re not the only ones thinking about it. There are some medical conditions where straws help. A lot. (Get details via links throughout this blog post if you’re curious.)

Another example. Go to an older, high end hotel. Notice the glorious staircases front and center (usually created before elevators existed). Using beautiful, well placed stairs offers the chance to make a grand entrance and you also get built-in activity. Now, oftentimes, you can’t even find the stairwell and if you do, it’s dark, painted a sad color, and/or locked from floor to floor so you are “forced” to use the elevator.

Changing our habits is complicated. It takes almost a month for something new to even start to feel comfortable.  What if our hearts and heads aren’t aligned? Then it might take even longer.

Let’s start by getting to the “why” of things to help turn the tide, dear friends.

Why is gluten important in food and for some medical reasons?

Why are straws helpful to some?

Why do we make one vegetable to “win” over others that offer a similar nutrient profile to ones that don’t look or taste as delicious to us as others might?

Let’s refocus our energy from worrying to wondering.  Channel that energy to finding the solutions we need. Be happy to focus on something that matters to you personally. Consider, too, the impact of your choices on the greater good.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.