Mad at gluten when celiac disease isn’t present.
Mad at plastic straws when a medical condition that benefits from use isn’t considered.
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. That’s the point of view to consider 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 a very important topic and focus as 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 that others who didn’t need to avoid it 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.
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.
Another example. Go to an old, high end hotel. Notice the glorious staircases front and center before elevators existed. When elevators did come into existence, it was that option that was hidden. Not only could you make a grand entrance on a winding, marble staircase, you were also getting some 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 actually are forced to use the elevator.
Changing our habits is complicated and takes almost a month for something new to even start to feel comfortable. What if our hearts and heads aren’t aligned? I think that getting to the “why” of things can 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 and not the ones we don’t. It’s good to want to focus. Be happy with your choices because you focus on something that matters to you personally that’s also something that might benefit the greater good.
PS – I’ll take my ice water without a straw, please. Not because I’m mad at it. But because right now, I want to save that one for the person who needs it most and/or for the occasional beverage that works best with a straw as a treat.