What We Eat in The Shadows
Happy Halloween, y’all!
I wanted to write something about the conversations that I have with people all of the time when it is discovered that I am a dietitian. Sometimes it’s okay, but often the comments I receive are quite ridiculous and often make me feel uncomfortable. Help a dietitian out and be more mindful of what you say, alright?
If they discover you’re a dietitian, they will invariably ask you the same questions:
“What do you think about ______ diet?”
“Is [food component] really good or bad for you?”
“I need to see a dietitian/nutritionist – can you get me on a diet or meal plan?”
Those questions are easy to smile off, or give a short answer based on the research you’ve read. But then, there are the other comments and questions:
“Oh, no wonder you’re so skinny!”
“What kinds of foods do you eat, because I need to start doing that!”
Or, my least favorite comment:
“Oh, so you’re a dietitian? You must not eat anything!”
This comment, exclaimed with a sort of glee that is quite socially complex to understand the roots of its nature. For a moment, their minds fill with the image of perfection. Of one who has figured out the true nature of food and has the perfect control to prevent any unhealthy (unclean, bad) foods from passing their lips. A saint of all that’s edible. They dream.
But we do eat.
When I hear this comment, the expression on my face falters slightly. I am exasperated by absurdity of the statement, but then I pull myself together. I smile and tilt my head slightly.
“Of course we eat!” I say before ending the conversation and walking away. The expression drops again.
We eat, yes, but not what you think.
If I were to tell you what we ate, surely you would be aghast from this information. The ideas in your mind would fall and shatter like delicately blown glass. Perhaps you would start backing away, suddenly grasping at excuses for why you need to be somewhere else. The blood would start rushing to your cheeks, showing the vitality of your being.
The smile returns onto my face, in earnest this time.
But we must keep our secrets to ourselves.
Only the unfortunate truly see what we consume.
And we never stay hungry for long.