The Brown, Mushy Lunch Option
A little while ago I was at the cafeteria at my university standing in line for the 5$ lunch, trying to see if they might have some sort of veggie option that I could get my hands on. On the handwritten board with today’s specials, it said “Vegetarian: Chickpea & Vegetable Casserole”.
Awesome! It’s no secret I’m quite fond of chickpeas… Smiling, I went up to the lady who worked behind the buffet and asked for the vegetarian option. She smiled back and reached for a large pot of brown, gushy, unrecognizable something.
“Oh God, no! No, no, no, no”
… is what I blurted out, as I hurriedly backed away from the buffet, and went home to make myself lunch.
Feel free to scoff (I cringe while typing this), but I was initially quite satisfied with myself for that immediate reaction. Because it was proof that eating fresh and just real food, basically, is now such a huge part of me that I wouldn’t even consider eating a lunch cafeteria’s brown mush. It’s instinct. If I’m going to eat something that’s the color brown, it’s going to be something I made in my own kitchen from scratch so I at least know what’s in it.
But later that week, I kept picturing that poor cafeteria lady’s puzzled look.
Was I incredibly rude to blurt out an expression of being horrified at the vegetarian dish?
YES. Oh boy. Yes, I was.
I don’t want to be a food snob
I don’t want to come across as though I think I know better than you do because I’ve chosen to eat a certain way.
I don’t want anyone ever to feel like I’m peeking at their lunch/dinner from the corner of my eye and making judgements.
I don’t want to be that person who sits on their high horse and looks down on all those other people who just don’t get it like I do.
I fear that sometimes, however well-meaning my intentions are, I risk coming across as that person. Not because I consciously judge other people or think that I’m “better” somehow for choosing this route – I really don’t. But because it’s really freakin’ hard to have experienced a major wake-up call, and to learn about things I believe every person deserves to know, and not want to share that message with everyone around me.
Being passionate about something, as I have become about and nutrition and eating real food, means having an urge to express that passion and to spread the seed, so to speak. But there’s a very fine line to thread, there… And sometimes I lose my balance.
To the lady in the cafeteria – I’m so sorry I behaved like a brat…! If I’m that picky about the things I eat, I really have no business being in a cafeteria buffet in the first place. Point taken.
Always be humble, always be kind
We’re at that stage now where my male roommates are starting to catch on to the fact that I eat differently than they do. My American roommate, who I’ve been living with for 7 weeks and cook side-by-side with daily, glanced over at my green salad the other day. He stopped for a second, and then he turned to me:
“Are you a vegetarian or something?”
“Yeah, I am.”
“Ohhhhhh…… That makes so much sense now. I thought it was a little weird that there’s always 3 tons of vegetables in the fridge.”
He chuckled and turned to the stove again where he was frying up thick slices of ham in 5 tablespoons of butter. Cue awkward moment as he looked over at my dinner, and then back at his dinner, and the separation of the two diet-worlds we live in just became uncomfortably clear.
The truth is that, Yes. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my roommate eating white bread with cake sprinkles, or bacon fried in butter, and I think, “Oh dear lord… He’s committing the slowest form of suicide right before my eyes. Please, someone throw that guy a carrot stick before it’s too late.”
But at the end of the day, it’s not my place to pass any judgements at all. Not with food, not in any areas of life. It’s not about how other people eat or don’t eat. It’s about being the healthiest I can be, while keeping myself in check to make sure that I don’t ever become that person who makes someone else feel bad about their eating habits.