Perhaps because I haven't eaten for two days -- or maybe because I work for a healthy-lifestyle magazine -- I have been pondering this question: Why do we healthy? Sure, we're concerned about our weight, disease risk, allergies, and general well-being. And some of us choose to eat vegetarian, vegan, or raw for ethical and environmental reasons. But I have a new theory.
I think that I have carefully manicured my diet (no red meat, pork, or unsustainably farmed/caught fish, plus a bevvy of likes and dislikes) so that I won't have to face up to the ridiculous number of choices I face in the grocery store every day. For example, when confronted with an entire aisle of pastas, I can discount three-fourths of the varieties simply because I only eat whole-wheat and quinoa-based pasta. That makes the time I spend deciding what to purchase a fraction of what it would be if I actually had to peruse each and every label and brand, searching for a characteristic that set that particular product apart. Another example: I used to live in San Francisco -- a city with perhaps the most exquisite farmer's market imaginable. Yet, I hated going to the farmer's market because the number of choices were totally overwhelming. To my eyes, each of my 25 choices of organic radish was acceptable -- and they all cost about the same, so I couldn't use that as an excuse. I can't tell you how many Saturday mornings I arrived with my farmer's market basket only to leave empty handed because I simply couldn't make a decision.
Very few cultures in the world shop in supersize like we do. I still remember arriving home after studying for six months in Italy and feeling totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount (and wastefulness) of U.S. markets. These aren't just grocery stores, they're SUPER stores, with ten types of apple, 30 brands of potato chip, and various colored, shaped, and size egg. (Cage-free, free-range, omega-3-enriched, organic?!) This is also why I tend to find smaller natural products stores so appealing. But finally, Americans might be tiring of the SUPER trend. Taking a page from the Trader Joe's business model, supermarkets are starting to downsize their locations, reported AP in late October.
Hallelujah! That doesn't mean I'll start eating chicken with the skin on (a pet peeve), but at least I won't have to trim my diet down so that I'm just eating one type of lettuce grown two counties over. Now, I hope, some stores will even heed recent findings by the American Dietetic Association that show that adults are paying more and more attention to what they eat, and start offering high-quality nutritionally, environmentally sound items. In the meantime, it's our job at Delicious Living to help you eat as healthy as possible while sifting through the many options.
To rant and rave with me, check out my forum post on this topic, or just comment below: Why do you eat healthy?