20 Mar Nutrition, Sex, and Priorities
You are a busy person. You have seven hundred things pulling you in different directions. There is always Clark at work that is doing everything wrong and somehow ends up sucking up your time and the little patience you have. You love your family life, yet sometimes it feels like a drag and all you want is some “me-time”. You live with that to-do list in the back of your head. That silly list your subconscious is always throwing in your face every step you take. Then there is also the other list, the list of all the things you should do and are not doing. It includes things like going to the gym, meditating, reading, calling your mom, and eating your effing veggies. All these things are like gremlins in your head pulling you and telling you how much you are kind of sucking right now, and it is exhausting.
Thing is, the food industry knows this. They know this so well they created the convenient and cheap food trap. They know when lunchtime comes, you are stressed and tired and your capacity for making good choices is poor at best. They tell you the lie that you don’t have time for proper nutrition. They convince you what you need is to push a button that will bring you a submarine sandwich -I am sure your brain already liked that idea! Even if at the moment the easiest, most convenient thing to do would be to eat whatever you brought from home, they managed to convince you otherwise. At the end, you fall for their trap and you end up ordering Jimmy John’s for lunch or from that fancy Italian restaurant down the street.
It is a clever and subtle maneuver. They present to you the problem of business and stress, and they offer you a solution: convenience and cheapness. They identify the very real feeling of not having time for shit and claim to address it with their product. This is the idea behind protein bars for example: a ready to-go meal! You don’t need to cook anything. It is all there for you, ready to be eaten, conveniently and smartly wrapped. I say it is clever because what they have really done is to make you focus your attention on two aspects: convenience and economic value. And in doing so, they also have managed to put nutritional value in the rear window. They just managed to mess up your priorities. And what is worse, they made some kind of cultural inception and convinced us of the idea that we need convenience in our foods, that cooking is inconvenient, and that shit should be ready for us. So even if you are not a fast-food consumer, you still want everything convenient, after all: you are a busy person.
Think about this for a second in a different context. A context as controversial and human as nutrition: sex. The convenience food narrative in the sex world would operate like this: “you do need sex. But you are a very busy person. You don’t have time to pick Mr./Ms. Nice. Nobody has time for that. You need something fast, convenient, reliable at a good price. You need something that does the trick, so you can move on with your life. You need something you can have sex with anywhere. You need something you could fuck in the car on the way to work if you were running late because you overslept your alarm. No preparation time, no warm-up, no talk, no b.s. You need the “protein bar of sex”. Maybe a little far-stretched, but also not so much.
Now, I call it a trap because it creates a false sense of convenience. Make peace with this: the fastest most delicious meal in town is the one you cooked with love at home and brought to your office with you. It takes you 5 minutes to heat up and you don’t have to order it from anywhere. It is already there. No Jimmy John’s sub will ever be more delicious than a sub you made at home. The advantage is that the food you make can be made to be as nutritious as possible. It can be made to meet your specific needs and goals. Remember this: food should be convenient and cost-effective, but first of all it should be nutritious. You don’t want an inflatable sex toy (unless you do and I am not judging), you want a fulfilling partner that gives you some high-quality lovin’. Food should be the same.
The solution for the trap is simple and twofold. First, realize that high quality, nurturing food can be convenient and easy. Second, realize you have to think and work a little harder for it. And when I say a little I mean it. You don’t have to go full meal-prep Sundays right away. You can do a lot of progress by making small changes. Let me actually show you how by using some classic food industry advertisement. Look at the following pictures:
The solution is right there biting you in the ass. Just eat the ingredients they use to make the foods you like. Do you need a protein bar made of whey protein, nuts and seeds, and covered in some kind of sugar just to make palatable the seven hundred industrial processes these ingredients have gone through? No! You don’t need that, get a piece of cheese (whey), some nuts and seeds, and a smaller piece of dark chocolate. BOOM! Put this mixture on a Ziploc bag and take it to your office. More convenient, more nutritious, and more delicious. And I bet it will be cheaper.
Do you love ordering Thai at work? Then do some Thai at home, do enough to have for several days. Involve your spouse and kids in the cooking and have some quality time with the fam. Start creating a habit of making your own meals, and let that habit build over time. You will gain control over what you eat. You will have one less decision to make in the day, one less problem to solve, which will make you feel less busy.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still buy pre-made food, order food, whatever you like, just be intentional about it, and don’t let convenience and value be your first priorities. Put nutritional value first and then pick the most convenient cheapest option you can find. Don’t let advertisements victimize you and save you at the same time. Gain control of your shit! Set your priorities right and find yourself a high-quality lover for lunchtime.