Well, it’s been a pretty big few weeks, I’ve got to say. Firstly, I dissed the machine that is Pete Evans – and survived to tell the tale. Secondly, I donned my invisible cape of assertiveness and pimped the story to a parenting website (at the risk of being descended on by activated nut-jobs around the country). And thirdly, I joined twitter.
The freakish spike in my stats since last week’s post appears to confirm three things:
- Love him or loath him, Pete Evans and his ‘Paleo Way’ are very hot right now
- I’m not the only one who has completely cracked the sads with fad diets, food wankery and the people getting rich off the back of it all
- Secretly, we all have a little bit of Alf Stewart in us.
Happily, all of these factors seem to be working in my favour, and have brought about more than one spontaneous expression of joy through dance in my kitchen, and a record number of new subscribers. So to the newbies, I’d like to introduce myself:
Hello. I’m Marnie. And in real life, I’m not nearly as authoritative as I sounded in my last post (just ask my children, who never listen to me).
In a previous life (B.C.), I lived with my husband in cosmopolitan St Kilda, dined in the hottest restaurants, and worked with one of Australia’s most talented chefs (he was scary as hell in the kitchen, but a teddy bear outside of it). But these days, I spend a lot more time reading Lego instructions than articles about the hottest new fad diet on the scene. And (quite dull I’m afraid), I spend a large chunk of my life teaching clients about basic nutrition, and preparing meals that my kids will actually eat.
I don’t usually make a habit of poking my nose into the business of celebrity chefs, or blogging about their peculiar food choices – but I’ve made an exception in Pete Evans’ case. And that’s because he’s decided he knows a crap-load more than anyone trained in nutrition or public health, and has quite a penchant for dietitian-bashing.
The recent argy-bargy between Pete’s disciples and dietitian Susie Burrell is proof that many members of the public prefer to take dietary advice from a tanned celebrity, than an experienced health professional. It’s also been a stark reminder of how downright revolting people can be, from behind the anonymity of a computer screen.
And that’s what was on my mind, last Friday afternoon when i-village parenting site published an edited, (somewhat less entertaining version) of my Pete Evans rebuttal. As I quietly closed my laptop, and bundled the kids into the car for the shopping trip I’d be putting off all day, I realised I had just put myself out there amongst the trolls.
And it was in the supermarket, under that horrible flurescent lighting (my shopping list predictably forgotten) that I experienced a severe case of Supermarket Stupor.
It went something like this:
‘Okay kids let’s think about what we came here for THINK Goddammit. Visualise the list and stop pulling the trolley – it makes it hard to steer’ Oh God… have they started slagging me off yet?!
‘I think we’re out of juice [toxic cocktail] Who said that?!? and cheese sticks’ Oh no – excess packaging = bad. Will get 1kg block and cut into cheese sticks.. [probably from miserable grain-fed cows] Excuse me? What are you doing in my head?! Hmm.. maybe should buy organic cheese – is that a thing? Quick! What would Rosemary Stanton do?
‘You wanted granny smith apples? There – grab that bulk pack. Oh FRIG the packaging thing again – must send message to evil supermarkets re: obsession with wrapping everything No – get the loose ones and put them in a bag I’ll reuse the bag for dog poo and Arlo STOP pulling. It makes it VERY. HARD. TO. STEER.’ Ommmmm… Breathing… breathing is good….
‘Mummy!! You said we could choose one thing – can we have CLIX?! Yeah CLIX! CLIX!’ here we go – this is my fault for letting them have Clix last week
‘No. We’re not getting Clix.’ stop frowning – people think you’re a grumpy cow
‘NO!’ because I’ve just published a post professing we all need to eat less processed food and more plants, and I’m pretty sure Clix biscuits don’t fit into the second category there, and ? is that guy looking at me strange ? Is he going for his..?! No of course he’s not. Don’t be silly. He’s just looking at his phone.
‘Mumma can we have Shapes then?’ Maybe he’s waiting to snap a picture of your kids with Clix and Shapes so he can post it to Pete’s Facebook page with the caption:
Just encountered outspoken paleo ridiculer and brainwashed brand-slave dietitian Marnie buying her kids processed crap in the stupor market this evening #slavetothefoodindustry #dietaryguidelinesfail #badastherestofthem
* * *
You’ll be glad to know that I eventually pulled myself together and escaped the supermarket without appearing obviously unhinged. I also stopped worrying about my potential death by social media suicide, and enjoyed an extremely delicious Thai takeaway with a friend while we watched Dead Poets Society and toasted the life of Robin Williams.
But the point of this post (I think) is that being a parent is a tough gig. Sometimes, all of the noise and clamouring and expert advice out there about what we should and shouldn’t eat drives me a little batty – to the point where I just want to pack up, go home, and cuddle the dog.
But when I take a breath and a step back from it all – I realise this: Rather than freaking out and reinventing our way of eating, I just need a reminder, every now and then, to get back to basics. And so my aims this week are simply to say no to the pester power of packaged rubbish, and to pack good, simple food in their lunches.
I’m also working on my new book I know stuff Pete Evans doesn’t – which I’m writing in the hope it will convince my husband and children that I actually do know what I’m talking about. Wish me luck.