When we were kids, I remember the lot of us longing for the future, when we were old enough to decide what we would and would not eat. No longer would we be at the twisted mercy of The Mom and her many allergy diets. We would throw off the chains of millet, spelt, honey instead of sugar, carob instead of chocolate and we would eat Normal Food. We fantasised, we dreamed, we planned.
And now I feel like it was all some cruel joke. Because L’il Sis and Crazy D are back at it, but this time with feeling. Each time I visit, and every time I speak to The Mom, there are new things afoot. New grains to eat, new milks to try. And whatever it was they were eating before is now poo-pooed. They are like Evangelicals with this stuff.
When I’m home visiting, and happily munching away on my no or low fibre foods, there will be tut-tutting from all corners.
“Why are you eating that?” Crazy D will say, eagerly eyeing my all white flour baguette.
Moving the plate out of arm’s reach I retort, “Because it’s food and it has calories.”
“But this,” he’ll say, pushing some dark, crumbling excuse for a slice of bread nearer to me. “This is really good for you, it’s got fibre and Vitamins A through Z, and all the magnesium you’ll ever need.”
“Amazing,” I’ll reply. “What does it taste like?”
“Healthy,” he’ll say.
“So it tastes awful and it’ll kill me? I’m good, you keep it. Happy eating.”
It pains me to see them like this. And what’s more, I feel betrayed. I had imagined us, as adults, awash in a sea of high-sugar all white foods, pastries, breads, things that were for no discernible reason brightly coloured, preferably using Yellow Dye Number Five! We ate chocolate, real chocolate, candy bars, drank fizzy pop instead of Perrier and apple juice. And now, here they are, up to their eyes in chia seeds and lentils. Not that I don’t like lentils, but you know, it’s a bit joyless.
And of course, they eat in quantity. Which I suppose you’d have to do, just to feel full. So when I sit at the table, picking at my non-healthfood (but not entirely unhealthily) meal, whilst doing some reading, there is also much tut-tutting.
“You’ll never gain any weight eating like that,” L’il Sis will say. “Look at you. Gaunt. It’s been nearly two years since your last flare.”
“The Mom bought me a big bag of potato chips,” I’ll retort.
“That it’s taken you over a week to eat! Now, if you’ll just let me make you a shake with some of Crazy D’s super duper protein powder, all the vitamins I have, you’ll be back on track in no time.”
When they’re both out of the room, I tell The Mom to get the car keys and suggest a trip to the pub where there are calories aplenty and no one will try and feed us anything healthy.