Eating to Live

I grew up in North Carolina where the smell of pine fills the air, tobacco crops line every back road, and pork is on every table. I loved barbecue, bacon, my mom’s pork chops, honey baked ham, and OMG pork rinds!!!! Meat was a staple and we didn’t shy away from grease. Even our collard greens were greasy. We could take the healthiest dish, deep fry it, or smother it in bacon grease and life was good.

They say when you know better you do better. When I became pregnant with my first son, my super over-protective fiancé at the time imposed a very strict diet. I mean he examined EVERY label, checked the origin of every piece of produce, and insisted I not drink anything other than bottled water or organic fresh squeezed juice. That was my first time being a vegan.

Now after years of teeter tottering on that tight rope of healthy eating, back and forth between veganism to vegetarianism to eating everything-ism and back again, I have become more anal than ever when it comes to food. Even moreso with my children. I cringe when my husband treats them to Popeyes chicken or McDonald’s fries. Even their lunches have become the topic of conversation with other moms and teachers at the school who are somewhere between impressed and bewildered by what I pack. I complain every morning that I am doing the absolute most and it should be appreciated. But I don’t stop.

This past Thanksgiving, we ate at my aunt’s house. I nearly vomited into the pan of mac’n’cheese because I glanced over at the chitlins (I refuse to say chitterlings) in the pan beside it. They stink, they are gross, and they are ugly as shit (bc thats basically what they are). My children settled on a couple slices of turkey, greens, mac, and sweet potato casserole. Even they were leary.

It’s always funny to me because the people with the greatest health issues are always the ones encouraging the poor diet. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol all run on both sides of my family. Yet, my sister and I are the only ones who have ever been vegetarian or selective about our diet.

It amazes me how people can watch a documentary like “What the Health?” yet still insist on putting poison into their bodies without at least an attempt at eating clean. I actually heard someone tell a child that they were a “good girl” for eating pork and not only eating veggies. Who says that? Well it definitely shouldn’t be a person who’s BP baseline is on the verge of cardiac arrest.

At the very least, I can control the majority of what my family eats. I buy all the groceries and prepare all meals according to the menu I’ve planned. I am unbothered by the negative comments due to lack of knowledge or discipline. The same way folks wanna clown my so called rabbit food, I can remind them that they are eating eggs aka chicken embryo aka lump of fowl menstrual cholesterol…or chitlins aka pig intestines aka swine dookie chute. Which reality sounds more offensive and incredibly unappealing? Yeah, that’s what I thought. 😁

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