What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Before I quit my day job to focus full-time on writing, being a mom and rebranding and relaunching my two Etsy stores, I was that person who packed my lunch every day.
I planned out my food and I ate healthy snacks every three hours or so. I actually enjoy eating salads for lunch.Salads are a lot of work, though. Lots of washing and chopping and cutting. And don’t even get me started on the amount of chewing that goes into eating raw vegetables. Now that I am a lousy quitter, I should have all kinds of time to devote to food preparation and eating. Right? Think how many salads I can chew with all this free time!
See, unlike Emily, I actually enjoy cooking. Following recipes, not so much. I’m the kind of person who prefers to go into the kitchen and throw a bunch of stuff in a pan and see what happens, because I am a risk taker and I will eat almost anything. Also: Making stuff from scratch is fun.So naturally I imagined my self-employed life would involve new food experiments, making mid-week trips to the farmers’ market (here in Los Angeles, there is one, somewhere, nearly every day), and leisurely lunch breaks to chew all that salad.But no. Oh no. The reality of my new life is that food is just too much work.Here is how a typical day goes for me, food-wise:7:30 a.m. Should I make my standard plain-oatmeal-plus-flax-seeds-plus-blueberries breakfast? No. Too much effort. Eat Oliver’s Panda Puffs cereal instead (directly from the box, no milk-like substance) and ignore the fact that it contains sugar, which I am not supposed to be eating.9:00 a.m. Hungry. Decide to make my first cup of coffee in three months, never mind about the migraines. I work from home now! I can close my eyes in a dark room anytime I want!9:30 a.m. Still hungry, and now caffeinated. Need appropriate companion for the coffee. Find chocolate ganache in the fridge and eat half the pan of it. Justify this decision by reminding myself that the ganache is gluten-free and refined-sugar-free, so it probably counts as actual food.1:00 p.m. Realize I didn’t eat lunch. Look at vegetables and decide they are too much work, even though I washed and cut them up two days ago and all I would really need to do is throw them in a bowl with some oil and vinegar. Eat a handful of corn tortilla chips with some salsa in front of my computer.4:30 p.m. Look at the fruit bowl. Calculate how much time it will take to wash an apple and decide preparation to consumption ratio is just not worth the bother.5:45 p.m. Jeff gets home from work and asks what we should do for dinner. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME, DUDE? Can’t you see I’m lazy? Fortunately, I have some sodium-laden frozen food that can be popped in the oven, but even that seems like sooo muuucch wooooooork.
Frozen food. It's what's for dinner tonight. And tomorrow night. And the next night, too.
But it’s not work at all, is it? The other night I watched a show about people who live north of the Arctic Circle, and I immediately felt like a total loser for my inability to suck it up and feed myself real food.
Some people, for example, scramble to collect mussels from ice caves that are only accessible for 30 minutes per day before the tide comes in. These people die collecting food for their families if they don’t get out of the caves fast enough. I watched a man dangling from a skinny nylon rope collect eggs from a high sea cliff. And let’s not even start talking about how physically taxing and dangerous it is to kill a walrus, haul it to shore and butcher it on the beach, okay?And yet I complain about the effort it takes to put vegetables in a bowl with some dressing. I feel like such a dick. My great grandma used to slaughter her own chickens, and she would be so disappointed in me right now. I’m even considering having a “LAZY R PEOPLE 2” t-shirt made for me in honor of my favorite Mr. Show sketch of all time (Prediction: some of you are probably going to be offended by this).The real problem of course, is that I have a child to consider in all of this. These are the times I’m glad to be a part-time parent; when Oliver is at his dad’s I only really have to feed myself. But I can’t even do that, now can I?
I refuse to feed my kid takeout every night, and I also certainly do not want to continue to feel like an ungrateful jerk for all this food abundance that I take for granted. Must I be shipped off to live with an Inuit family in order to set myself straight? Boiling rice might not seem like such a chore once I’ve had a near-death experience just to get food on the table.
It is too much effort to lift this plate of food.
I need help! Do you freelancers and work-from-home folks have any tips for keeping on track in terms of healthful eating (or eating at all)? Are you all just a bunch of lazy people like me? How do I get out of this rut?