Friday, June 30, 2006

Supermarket Blues


When I was a young wife, grocery shopping was a breeze. At home, I'd consult the sales flyer, make a menu for the following week, write up a list according to the store aisles, look through my coupons (the ones I'd sorted by catergory, throwing away the killer coupons which had, of course expired), get Naomi dressed, get myself dressed, search for my purse and car keys, grab my shopping list and head out the door to the supermarket where I'd walk up and down the aisles, feeding Naomi Cheerios and then pretty much just choose the cheapest forms of food I could find.

Man, those were the days. Easy-breezy, carefree days.

But now Tom and I are in our late-40's. Some of you know what that means. (And let the rest of you youngsters be warned.) Because of our various and assorted food allergies, medical conditions, diets and volumnous reading about chemicals and sodium and fats and sugars in foods, well, basically, Tom and I are no longer allowed to eat anything.

Okay, maybe fruits, vegetables and water. But only some kinds of fruits, vegetables and water.

Supermarket shopping is now officially downright complicated. Even shopping in the awfully-quiet (hellooo... oooo) dusty,way-over-priced health food section. It makes those years with a baby and trying to buy a week's worth of groceries for $20 appear positively heaven-like in retrospect.

I mean, just today while at the supermarket, I casually walked up and down the aisles with no real list, plenty of time, money and a simple desire to just fill my cart with enough food for the weekend. But soon I recognized the song playing in my head--the same old supermarket song I hear in between my ears as I wheel my cart past shelves and tables and refrigerated sections of food I can no longer buy. A song which goes rather like this:

Nope, can't get that--
Too much sodium, too much fat
Tom's high blood pressure--
Remember that.
Not that either, it's way too sweet--
Not that other thing--it's made with wheat--
And wheat makes my head explode--
The same with milk and cheese,
Citrus and caffeine too... (boo hoo)...
Way too many chemicals inside that box,
And they say that stuff over there
Will make you sick and lose your hair.
Nope! Too much sodium,
Too much fat.
Too much sugar--
Put it back.

And then there's the ol'-- Oh good! No wait.... this-has-no-wheat-but-it's-loaded-with-sodium and this-is-low-in-sodium-but-high-in-fat-and-calories.....

Oh for the days of blissful ignorance... the pre- learn-what's-inside-your-food days.. the pre- now-you-can't-get-away-with-anything days... the days I could live on sugar and still feel young and vital... the days when I simply bought groceries according to the amount of money I had--or didn't have--and complained about it.

How sweet--and simple--it all was....

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