In Fine Feather: Healthy, not high-maintenance

April 1, 2015

By Alena Purpero

While standing behind a woman ordering coffee at a café, you are certain you were an eye witness to an incredible sensation. This woman either A.) Channeled the coffee gods to allow her body as a host to speak in barista tongue B.) Had absolutely no idea what she was saying but she wrote it down most likely after being referred to it from a magazine, talk show, friend, etc.

Regardless of how this woman was so fluent in titling this “who-knows-what” drink that consisted of who-knows-what, every bystander is confused and probably annoyed at how specific she had to be to get a cup of coffee to her exact liking. This is because it is common for people to dislike others who come off as high-maintenance.

As soon as a person turns asking for a cup of Joe to “can I get a grande, extra hot caramel macchiato with half 2 percent milk and half whole milk, one Splenda, no whipped cream, but drizzle the caramel on top, and, hey, can you double up on the cup sleeve things?,” they transition from being fellow coffee drinker to a stuck up and high-maintenance prince/princess.

We are quick to deem others as spoiled, high maintenance and picky as soon as they provide specific circumstances for things such as my previous example, coffee. However, there is a solid line between being picky and having standards for specific things. This is something I cannot stress enough when it comes to healthy eating.

When it comes to a “picky eater,” you have two different types: the one who only orders tongue-twister coffee beverages and the one who prefers bringing a packed lunch of roasted veggies and rice instead of stuffing their face with chips and cheeseburgers at a family cookout.

Which picky eater can you justify? Hopefully the obvious answer to you is the picky eater who prefers the healthier item, because it’s backed up by logic and reason and not just a quirk.

I, for one, can relate to feeling like you’re “that person” for going out of your way to eat healthy.

As someone who simply has a preference for foods that are healthier, it is ridiculous to feel like you should eat the junk other people are eating for the sake of convenience or their own verification. Those who eat salads next to people who eat nachos are not trying to prove a point, they are not trying to draw a contrast between their culinary choices and they are not trying to persuade them to eat a salad with them. They are simply eating the salad because they – wait for it, it’s groundbreaking – want to eat the salad.

It didn’t take many comments for me to realize this is a pet peeve of mine and I was intrigued to discover there is a title for the concept of putting others down for their healthy eating habits. Obviously enough, it is called health shaming.

“People feel the need to disrupt our diet on a regular basis, waving junk food in our faces because eating clean with commitment isn’t ‘normal.’ In general, your nose shouldn’t be in other people’s business, but it definitely shouldn’t be in my meal plans,” Spotmegirl.com explains on health shaming.

Whether you are guilty of food shaming others for healthy eating or vice versa it is important for us to realize that everyone is entitled to their own choices.

No one should be shamed for their healthy eating habits just as no one should be shamed for their not so healthy eating habits, but rather encouraged to eat healthier.

If you ever find yourself out to eat, indulging in a plate full of cheesy Mexican food while your friend has a petite salad with dressing on the side, know that it is not necessary to make a comment. If anything, maybe hand out a“good for you,” and then proceed to get down with your enchilada-eating, bad self.

As for those who feel they are health shamed, keep doing what makes you feel best. You should never settle for eating food that you don’t want and will most likely give you a stomach ache in order to “take one for the team” and eat what they are eating just to avoid being viewed as high-maintenance.

If you eat what others eat, do what others do, work out as much as everyone else does you’ll be just that; everyone else. So live to stand out and be your happiest and healthiest.

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