Confessions of a Former Food Snob: I Owe Some Apologies

My closest friends and family will tell you I’m a horrible sympathizer; I can’t put myself in someone’s place unless I’ve been there myself. For instance, I couldn’t gently smile at parents of unruly toddlers until I HAD ONE. I had trouble understanding why anyone would willingly be a stay-at-home parent until I ENDED UP THERE. And I didn’t comprehend what life is like for a family living on a less-than-average* income until we WERE LIVING IT. So much of what I’ve written on this blog (or said out loud to people) revolved around food choices, what’s best, what’s bad, what’s wrong. I need to set the record straight before I write one more word.

I need to apologize.

To those I silently (or not so silently) shunned for not choosing organic foods EVERY TIME, I get it now. It’s not always cheap to buy organic, and a non-organic piece of fruit is still better than a processed snack. Crunch on.

To those whom I gave a ton of crap for eating dairy, I’m sorry. You’re right, cheese is farking delicious. If you don’t have the physcial repercussions from eating it often that I experience, have at it. Do what’s best for YOUR body, and may the feta be with you.

To those I lectured about meat consumption while I was eating a vegan diet, sorry again. Meat-eating is not the work of Beelzebub.

Speaking of meat, I’m sorry, readers, but I can’t always buy grass-fed, organic, free-range meat. We do as often as we can, but sometimes we want chicken, damn it, not another plate of rice and beans, and can’t afford the kind priced like it’s gilded in gold.

To the parents I witnessed at restaurants (or at sporting events, or any public place), who let their kids order whatever-they-wanted: I’m sorry for judging you. Maybe you eat fairly healthy at home and just want to relax; you want this meal to be a treat. I get it now. Eating out is a rarity–no need to stress the small things.

To MY parents, who always put wholesome meals on the table, despite sometimes having to wait until the next paycheck to go grocery shopping: I get it. It’s not always easy and everyone does the best that they can, at the time, for their children.

To any former students of mine, who might have heard me rant about the atrocities of cafeteria food, when it might have been the only lunch your family could provide, I’m sorry. What I said was the truth, but no one needs to feel judged when they’re hungry.

In the past, I felt empowered by labels: “healthy,” “organic,” “veg,” “green,” like I had control. “We are what we eat,” right? I’m done with it all. Done trying to elevate my life based on what I buy at the grocery store.

Is this meant to be an excuse, my “out,” so to speak, for not being the perfect “healthy blogger” all the time? NO. But I’ve had a change in thinking. I grew up. I got it. I needed to acknowledge it. The majority of folks are doing the best with the knowledge and resources they have; food snobbery, judgement, and claims of universal diet styles help no one. I see the Bigger Picture now, and I hope, if you see me place that non-organic meat into my cart, or let my kid munch french fries, you’ll see it, too.

Does judgement ever have a place when we talk about diets and food? Join the conversation in the comments.
This post was inspired, in part, by “Cook Your Own Food. Eat What You Want. (Think for Yourself.)” by Michael Ruhlman.

*The median household income in the U.S. is about $50K. Meaning, if you live in MD, the average income is $70K/family, but in MS, it’s $36K. Just so we’re clear about what constitutes “average.”


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14 Responses to Confessions of a Former Food Snob: I Owe Some Apologies

  1. Sherri March 26, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Thats exactly how I do it! Doing the best I can with what we have! 3 kids, a husband who works 60+ hrs a wk and in the end. It is what it is. We are healthy and happy.

    • HealthfulMama March 26, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      I salute you, sistah.

  2. Ciera March 26, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    You hit that nail right on the head. And from another ex vegan I hear ya!

    • HealthfulMama March 26, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      It’s so easy to climb upon our high horses, isn’t it?

  3. mindfullyfrugalmom March 26, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Slow clap.

    • HealthfulMama March 26, 2013 at 10:18 am #


  4. Kdell March 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    I LOL’ed at the dairy…. Balance and moderation and all that jazz…

    • HealthfulMama March 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      I knew the dairy thing would be particularly meaningful to those that knew me pre-blog ;)

  5. Jenny March 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    Yeah, I finally got it about two years ago when my osteopath said to me, “Stop trying to be a missionary.” I got it deep and it set me free from trying to change everyone else. Frankly, it is none of my business. Glad you found your freedom too.

    • HealthfulMama March 26, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

      Sorry, I had to LOL at “stop trying to be a missionary.” Ha!

  6. GGirlGGreen March 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    I am very comfortable on my high horse, thank you! Kidding!! ;) I think we all do it. I know I do, and try not to judge others but I think it is normal.

  7. Paige March 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Great post Gretchen. I totally agree! :)

  8. wendy April 15, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    thank you for your honesty. i have a particular friend that has been very hurtful to not only me but a lot people due to her stance on food. your humility is really refreshing and helps me feel more confident about the food choices i feel are best for my family. thank you for the encouragement!

    • HealthfulMama April 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Wendy! I think everyone is truly just trying to find a place to “belong,” something to identify with, but most fail to realize that “belonging” is an inclusive term. You can’t exclude others to feel like you belong. That was my mistake in the past.

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