Sunday, December 10, 2006


I was in Thrifty Foods the other day, doing a spot of shopping. I'm there quite often, because I got a big "POOR" mark in organization from the School of Life, and I no sooner get home from Thrifty Foods - usually at 5:30 in the evening - than I realize I have forgotten half a dozen things that were on my list (which I left at home, if I made one, and which most likely only exists in my brain. My favourite phrase, muttered to myself absently as I wash the dishes, or fold laundry, or knit, is "Mental note: Molasses. Tin Foil. Tea.") and I STILL don't have anything for supper.

Yes, there's a point - keep reading.

As Christmas approaches I have noticed a huge upturn in the amount of Utter Crap people are buying. I have no problem leaning against the gum and magazine racks, casually surveying the belt contents of the shopper in front of me, so I can say with some authority that the average cart is probably 35 - 40% absolute rubbish, all of which will apparently be eaten in the next four or so weeks. I am not immune - I have found myself craving pop lately (the Americans will be saying "What the hell is pop?" so I should clarify - soda). I think I blacked out while in the "Candy - Salty Snacks - Pop" aisle because when I got home and opened the trunk to unload the groceries, there was a 24 pack of Pepsi in there. Now somebody has to drink it - I have had two and I am sick of them already.

Anyway, this all got me to thinking. Why is it that December signals a frantic mass consumption of sugar, salt, alcohol and starch? The celebratory spirit is a nice time to reward yourself with things you wouldn't ordinarily have - I get that. What puzzles me is why these rewards so often take the form of packaged plastic pseudo-food that is completely nutritionally bankrupt and will, if consumed, result in an overwhelming lack of the following:

- feelings of goodwill toward men
- feelings of inner peace (especially if you have overconsumed dairy)
- alertness
- good cheer
- good skin
- ability to sleep
- ability to look at yourself in the mirror without loathing.

That doesn't sound very festive. It doesn't look all that appealing to me. Suddenly that bag of Hawkins just looks like what confronts Chernobyl's janitor every time he looks into a plugged toilet.

But I digress.

The end of it all is, I have decided that I am going in a different direction this year. No chips, no dip, no Tray, no pop, no mounds of cookies, shortbread, Milk Tray, Pot of Gold, Terry's Chocolate Oranges. The insanity has to stop sometime, and that Sometime is now.

"But, Shan," I can hear you saying, "Christmas is a time for luxury, for treating yourself, for feasting!" You're not wrong there, mate. This is what I've got planned. I'm going to treat myself all right - instead of tens or hundreds of dollars of bad nutritional choices, I am going to treat myself and my family to All Organic, All Month Long. That means Christmas dinner, which will be our hour of feasting, is going to be organic: from the burnished bird on the platter to the butter in the stuffing, from the orange cranberry sauce to the ice cream on the free-range-pumpkin pie. Yes, it will cost me a mint - but think what I will save in the long run. If I skip all the usual Christmas-junk purchases, I will even be able to buy a few Cocoa Camino bars, usually prohibitively expensive, to have with coffee after dinner.

In conclusion, if you, too, are tired of the yearly excess, the bloat, the fuzzy teeth, the hyped-up children -- think about joining me. It couldn't hurt, right? And it might help. I always toast the New Year about 3-5 pounds heavier than I was on Advent Sunday...not this year. And I'm really looking forward to cheating Kraft, or Coca Cola, or Cadbury, out of my money, which they get in exchange for a few grams of sugar, salt and disodium phosphate, with a little tartrazine added before the whole brightly coloured mess is whipped into appealing shapes.

Who's with me?

And if this post doesn't incite my mother to comment, nothing will.


Gwen said...

I often shop merely to impress the cashier and the others in the lineup; I lay out my organic legumes, organic goat's milk and organic produce on the belt with pride. Unfortunately this leaves me in the same position as you -- cupboards brimming with healthful legumes and grains, and nothing to make for dinner.

I would join your Health Quest if I hadn't just made four dozen PBChoc balls and two dozen rum balls... not to mention Pulla tomorrow morning. You can gloat in January when I am pimply and chubby, and you are lean, clean and disciplined.

Kate said...

While I am all for whole foods and we eat a lot (and I mean a lot) of friut, veg and wholesome food in this house, you can't tempt me over. See, Christmas without shortbread is just, well, not Christmas in my house. And I have 11 people to cook Christmas dinner for. My pocketbook couldn't handle organic.
However I will be your cheerleader, and admire you from afar. But no pop. I have to draw the line somewhere, right?

American Sis said...

I'm in awe here. This is true revelation. Sadly, as is always with the Truth some will follow in faith while others mock and scoff. Build the ark, Shan, build the ark. . .

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clumsy ox said...

Y'know, this will give us something to discuss as we sip rum-n-eggnog and eat truffles tonight.