“I panicked, and skulked away from the cracker aisle, again”
We have all undeniably felt those miniature panics that arise in the supermarket, when you’ve wandered away from the other members of your grocery party and are then left with the pressing struggle of relocating them; resulting in a scared, slightly bemused, lost sheep facade, that we will no doubt attempt to conceal as if looking for a well hidden food item… #firstworldproblems.
Though I definitely still have these miniature panics (I stand by this remaining common at 22…), where I contemplate shouting for the retrieval of my born-to-wander mother, over the supermarket Tannoy; I’ve in recent weeks started experiencing new types of bewildering panic between the aisle’s of these stores.
What was once an hour time slot of the week I used to excitedly count down for, and feel the need to announce the excitement to everyone for, was the delivery of the online Tesco shop! When you’ve no choice but to resort to the only Dolmio pasta sauce, (left in the cupboards for god knows how long), in an attempt to make a relatively edible dinner concoction; the arrival of the delivery man, was almost always greeted with a shower of greedy gratitude. But in the turn of last year, I found myself beginning to wander down, the far from atypical, “road to red”, that many sufferers may find themselves veering towards in regards to their food and drink incentives.
‘Red foods’, ‘Safe foods’, ‘Oh hell no, foods’, or anything to this effect, were what categorized a significant part of my dietary habits and thus, the weekly shop. There was next to no deviation from my week to week grocery list, except maybe the flavour of the litres of drinking squash I had virtually made an osmosis relationship with. I was in such a regimented eating routine that I couldn’t, or didn’t even need to, browse the aisles of the shops, or the pages of the website, to select what foods I may have fancied that week; because they were either immovable in ‘My Favourites’ or I has just grown to know the exact location of these items in the store.
Meat was first to go; gradually succeeded with the irrational fear of complex carbohydrates, fats and anything that hadn’t been meticulously made or prepared by me, in the fear of food containing something I wasn’t aware of and unknowingly consuming. Breakfast and lunch soon became non-existent, though I still called my banana, breakfast; and my apple and banana, lunch. Dinner was the sole meal I felt I was eligible for, so long as I had ensured I’d exercised, soon resulting in each and every day becoming a tiresome, laborious, countdown; ticking away until I could treat myself to the vegetables, that comprised my dinner for that evening.
So when you’re afraid of virtually anything that contains calories: fats, carbohydrates, sugars, dairy, protein; you aren’t left with much scope other than the wonder that is fruit and vegetables. The fact I haven’t grown broccoli florets from the gaps between my fingers or an apple stalk and leaf hasn’t emerged from the side of my head, or my skin hasn’t enveloped a green, earthy tint; still to this day, amazes me.
Step by step, as I push myself to become more accepting to the idea of introducing new foods into my diet, the weekly shop is starting to re-emerge those once felt emotions of excitement, as I slowly but surely, begin to treat my palette to new ingredients again. Though fortunately my mum remains within sight, the panic in the supermarket is still very much felt, when I feel completely overwhelmed by all the sudden food and drink items that proved non-existent on the shelves before. Okay; it may mean I stand in front of the ‘free from’, cereal, or cracker aisle for a tremendously indecisive 7-10 minutes, contemplating whether I can laden my basket with these alien items or not, but it’s a place i wouldn’t have found myself standing a few months ago. Sometimes, I do unfortunately have the disappointed result in skulking away, empty-handed, feeling defeated; but then I man the hell up and forcibly turn my trolley around, throwing the Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread in amongst my shopping items, feeling like another tiny fragment has been chipped away from the problem.
Confectionary aisle… I will be coming for you soon.