This afternoon I had gone to the Grocery Store with my mother. That’s always fun. We had started off at Bob’s Red Mill, I needed one more flour to make my bread flour mix, so I was able to get that. I have been Gluten Free for 9.5 months now, in addition to being Dairy Free for 2.75 years.
I had done milk free (just cutting out milk, but not other dairy products like yogurt, cheese and ice cream) while I was in college, so I had an idea of what it was about before I had to go off dairy for good. I was a bit hesitant to cut out yogurt and cheese as I loved both. It was hard, but worth it. The hardest part was getting my family on board with being careful about how they hand washed dishes, and washing their hands after they had handled dairy products and that kind of stuff since I am very sensitive to it, but I by no means expected them to give it up just because of me. Since I had gotten onto using Almond Coconut milk, my mom has been a bit more open to trying my dairy free stuff, and she actually likes almond coconut milk like I do.
With that being said, we got talking about cooking, and the types of food we could live without and foods that we couldn’t live without, and for the most part she and I are a lot a like in that way. She and I still have obvious differences, but when it comes down to food, she will eat pretty much anything I cook as long as it is healthy, and is Chicken or Fish. While I am not a big turkey fan, and could live without beef, and generally pork (though I do like a bit of good bacon on occasion), I have found ways to stomach it. It has taken me well over two years, but I have finally gotten my mom to the places that she has accepted that my being dairy, gluten and caffeine free is normal, okay, and just part of who I am.
Over the course of the last 5 years really, which was while I was still in college, my ideas and concepts of food has dramatically changed. It really began with spring term of my senior year of college when I had taken a nutrition class and a history class about American Food and Culture. It really got me thinking about what I was eating, and putting in my body. That was the first kind of light bulb moment. A year and a half had passed by before I had to dive head first into the life of food sensitives and intolerances. Food has been one of the things at the center of my world for the past almost 3 years. Now it is normal. Beings that I have had to think about what is in my food for almost 3 years, it has gone to another level.
I look at food labels for soy, gluten, dairy, trans fats, unsaturated fats, gmo’s and so much more. I am not a hippie or a hipster, or natural granola-ie type. If you were to see me walk down the street, you couldn’t tell the difference between me, and someone who shops and eats entirely mainstream. Yes I prefer natural, organic, non-gmo, grown and produced locally foods, at the same time I don’t always eat these foods. There are times I do shop someplace like Market of Choice, Whole Foods, or New Seasons but even then that is generally for specific items that more specialty items geared to food intolerances and a more natural lifestyle. At the same time I do a lot of my normal grocery shopping at Safeway and Fred Meyer.
While I do prefer Foods that are grown and produced with as few chemicals and enhancements as possible, I am not going to become vegan, or stop shopping at specific stores, or change my style, or quit showering on a regular basis, or not wash my clothes regularly, all because of my food choice. While I still trust Lysol and Clorox for getting my bathroom clean, I definitely try to use cleaners such as Mrs. Meyers Clean Day in the Kitchen. I still love shopping at old navy, and using ivory soap, and going through the health and beauty section at the local drugstore for my shampoo and condition but My preferred face care lines are from the body shop. I still generally live like a normal mainstream person, but choose to live a healthier life, with fewer chemicals in and around my food.
All of this thought came from a conversation with my mother in the grocery store, and finally feeling like I have broken down one huge wall. Getting her to see, smell and tastes that while I do eat differently by choice and force, there is nothing wrong with it. I also got validation that the food that I eat tastes not only “Normal” but actually tastes good. I have also been learning, and teaching my mom about how with a few substitutions or alterations I can pretty much eat normal food, just made with ingredients that won’t mess with my system.
I can only speak for myself, but I feel that I am somewhere in the middle of mainstream grocery consumerism and the “counter culture”. I have taken what I feel is the best of both and combined them to create my own way of life.