So a few weeks ago I decided it was time to introduce my new boyfriend to my Dad and Step-mum. I thought that the best course of action was for us to swing by their house for a couple of hours one Sunday afternoon. Nothing crazy. Just a drink and a chat. Simple.
As it turns out, my Dad and Step-mum are both on a juice feast this particular week (they're both a bit crazy for Jason Vale). Now, to give you additional background, new boyfriend knows that I'm in to raw food. We've had all the conversations about green smoothies and such, he's partial to a smoothie or two, he even knows how to use a spiraliser! He's totally down with the whole raw food thang. In fact, it turns out he's way better at making raw food than I am. Which isn't hard really, if it fits in a blender, it's breakfast, lunch and dinner as far as I'm concerned irrespective of taste, texture or colour...
Back to my point.
So we get to my Dad's house and I decide I want wine. We're sitting around the table, I with my wine, boyfriend and my step-mum with their juice, my Dad with his juice and some wine on the side (umm yeah, go Dad!) and it's all very pleasant and lovely.
During the course of our conversation my Dad turns to new boyfriend and goes:
'Don't worry, we're not normally this healthy...' As if it's a bad thing that they're having juice. With a genuine, 'please don't think we do this all the time' attitude.
How interesting, I thought.
Some time passes. 'Next time, it'll be normal without the juice' says my step-mum.
Hmm... I wonder to myself whether they just don't want him to think they're as nuts as me.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I'm sitting in my new office doing my new job explaining to people what the hell it is I'm drinking.
'Oh, it's nothing really, just some bananas and berries.' I reply.
It's a shit-tonne of greens, celery, cucumber and superfoods I can't even spell but I'm playing it down. I don't want to appear too healthy so I just tell them fruit (which doesn't explain the colour) but I know they can handle fruit smoothies because well, even shops sell them. Everyone knows about fruit smoothies. Fruit smoothies are safe.
Nothing to see here folks!
Conversation continues in the office along the lines of 'I'd rather have a can of Coke any day'.
Play it down, play it down, you don't want them to think you're too healthy.
What the actual fuck?
I'm doing exactly the same as my Dad and step-mum did weeks before. I'm not wanting them to think I'm healthy. That would be tragic, especially at a new job, right?
Have you met the new girl? Have you seen what she drinks? She's drinks slime. True.
I ask myself what the hell it's all about not wanting people to think you're in to healthy eating.
Where does this come from?
What's the big deal with eating healthy food anyway?
Healthy has never really been cool. If you're into healthy food you are not cool. In fact, you're probably a hippy and you wear sandals and make cardigans out of lentils, only eat sprouts and breastfeed your child until it's 26.
Why does healthy have such a negative self-image that we daren't be associated with it?
'What am I drinking? Oh, it's nothing really. No, just a couple of bits of fruit I blended...WITH ALGAE! YEAH, I SAID ALGAE! Nutritious, disgusting ALGAE. Cause I loves me a bit o' algae in my smoothies. Yeah, I drink algae and I love it!'
Cue people thinking you are a bit weird.
But so the fuck what?
Now don't get me wrong, forcing what you do in others faces - 'Look at how healthy I am', 'what are you eating/drinking? Oh my god, that's DISGUSTING, do you know how bad that is for you?'. That is so uncool. That not only makes you look and sound like an idiot, but it gives healthy a really bad name.
But there's a balance.
Healthy is never going to be cool if we keep running away from the fact that people, really cool people (and I obviously include myself in that) are doing it. People are being healthy and having a whale of a time and keeping it all under wraps for fear of what other people will think or say. And these people aren't hippies digging lentils, they're people that like to go out dancing and occasionally drink whisky and wink at boys and wear black nail polish and enough glitter to kill a small horse... Or is that just me?
The tallest Poppy gets cut down. Nobody likes a tall Poppy.
But it's OK to be a tall Poppy. You stand out from the crowd and other Poppies get interested in just what you can see from that high up. It doesn't mean you're a better Poppy, it just means you're doing something a bit different. But hiding the fact you're a tall Poppy is very sad.
Embrace that you do something different.
Love that you're in to rocking a green smoothie and feeling awesome.
Be proud of the fact that you dig celery so much that you think it should have it's own public holiday.
Fuck healthy being uncool.
It's time to bring healthy into the space age. Bright spangley silver suits and smoothies. That's what I'm all about. No more playing it down. No more being bashful.
Healthy IS sexy.