Is this YOUR seaweed on the floor?

by Bella

Some people can be real dicks. If you don’t do what everyone else is doing, what you’re supposed to do, they feel compelled to bring you back into line with society’s expectations by using high-school bullying tactics. I’ve worked with people like that in the past. Now I’m fortunate to work in an environment that is fairly open-minded.

Being mostly vegan, I keep vegan snacks like fresh and dried fruit, snack bars and seaweed at my desk, and I nibble on them whenever I get peckish. My co-workers are used to it.  Most of my peers are simply curious about what I eat, some have similar diets and many have at one time or another been vegan or vegetarian. Nearly all have an appreciation for organics and many grow some of their own food which means they can relate, on some level, to my dietary choices.

So I was sitting at my desk nibbling away on a pack of wasabi seaweed, and a piece flung across the room. I couldn’t find it because  the carpet is almost the same color and I honestly didn’t try very hard, so I quickly capitulated and went on working. About an hour later, when a co-worker, bent over and picked up a third of a sheet of seaweed off of the carpet near my desk and asked, “Is this your seaweed?” We laughed as I countered her question with, “What makes you think it’s mine?”

I know what it’s like to have people say things like, “Oh! you’re one of those people,” or worse, having bosses make me work through my lunch so that everyone else could go out to eat together sharing parting words along the lines of, “You can just stay here and nibble on your nuts and seeds. See ya later!” as the laughter of my co-workers grew to a crescendo and then faded into the distance as they grabbed their coats and debated who would ride with whom.

Through all of that, I maintained the conviction that I was making the right dietary choices for me. What I soon came to realize, was that I was surrounding myself with the wrong people, because that environment caused me stress and lack of sleep.

Peace of mind is just as important as a good diet. Once I realized that, my world changed. I made different and better choices. This led me to change my work environment and to find the place where I can be myself without being made to feel like the odd one out.

These situations bring to mind the humorous  “In the end, we all fruit” speech from the movie  My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding.

I’d love to know how you choose to deal with closed-mindedness and bullying be it from co-workers, friends, strangers, or even family. Have you experienced bullying because of your lifestyle or dietary choices? What is your response? Have you made any drastic changes like finding new friends, moving, changing jobs, etc.in order  to surround yourself with more like-minded people? Let me know in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Is this YOUR seaweed on the floor?

  1. In 1976, Kenneth Cooper had written a book about jogging. No one jogged in the part of Idaho I grew up in but I decided to start. Neighbors would stop their yard work and watch. Some would call out things like, “ Is there someone chasing you?” or “If you have that much energy, come rake my leaves!” About this time, yogurt became available in Idaho grocery stores. I don’t know when the rest of the country had yogurt but I imagine it was several years before Idaho. One day, the school bus driver stopped the bus because of a commotion around my seat. One kid said, “Ooh she’s eating rotten milk!” That started a chain reaction of kids gathering around my seat to ogle at yogurt and make comments. The experience was mortifying as a child. In the workplace, I was called Granola Chick. Since I traveled for the company, they teased me about making sure I packed my fiber and oats. When eating out they joked about my rabbit food.Once, I made my son a healthy birthday cake with organic unbleached flour, eggs , butter and creamy carob frosting. He invited a couple of friends over to play. When it was time for cake, one of the boys swiped his finger along the side of the cake and stuck it in his mouth. Then he started spitting on the floor and scraping his tongue with his shirt sleeve. My son, saw the look on my face so he tasted the frosting and said, “Don’t worry mom, I like it!” On another occasion my other son invited a friend for dinner. One of the sides was green beans. The boy picked one up with his fingers and said, “What is this?” I told him that it is a green bean. He said, “My mom cooks it with sugar and butter until it tastes good.” After thirty years of dealing with people with rude and obnoxious behavior, I don’t put up with it. Only boring people look for entertainment in what other people eat. In my house people eat healthy, go hungry or get out. I became a clinical nutritionist and some of my best clients were food bullies!

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    • I think it’s great that you knew from very early on that clean food and exercise are so important. You stayed strong and didn’t let the bullies win. That had to be challenging. What an ironic, though not surprising twist of fate when former food bullies had to turn to you and other clinical nutritionists because their lifestyles caught up with them. Thankfully, I see a shift in perception, an enlightenment if you will as people are making the connection that how you care for yourself and the choices you make do matter.

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