The packaged salad

My eyes are watering slightly as I stuff my lunch into my face on a random free bench in the sunshine.

People might be thinking I am going through a breakup. But what I am eating is not Ben & Jerry’s. It’s the healthiest health salad I could find at my nearest posh supermarket.
It’s a lime and chilli chicken salad with grains and edamame. The chilli is in the dressing, which I am not eating, because it probably contains sugar and is mostly consisting of soy sauce which in my world = gross.
The packaging assures me it is 322kcal. And you know, greens and fibre and protein, but at this point I am beyond caring. What it should have stated is contents of actual edible components: 2g (the Edamame).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do want to eat healthy, and think healthy food is a fantastic thing. In theory I even like all the ingredients listed on this salad. But pre-packaged food is usually gross (to me – I am very picky). Which is also good! Because Processed Food Is The Devil. But, realistically, noone has the time to *always* prepare fresh amazing lunches, and even more realistically, I can neither afford nor stomach the always same “healthy lunch option”. Try finding stuff that is dairy-, sugar- and glutenfree, that you can buy ready made or as “take away” (because I don’t have 2 hours of lunch time where I can sit in a nice restaurant, thank you very much). Options are limited, let me tell you. And expensive. Which brings me back to my prepackaged salad which grazes my lap today. (Are my thighs skinnier yet???)
After a recent meeting with my nutritionist, which was mostly bitter and snarky from my side, she said the dreaded line: but there are so many different types of salad! Your posh supermarket has a couple of options.
I knew I was right back then, but boy did I know I was right now, as the healthy salad of my choice methodically turned into dust in my mouth.

The first bite – was alright. Not much flavour, but not offensive. The problem with these pre packed salads (and a couple of other things, such as vegetarian chickpea burgers) is that they become unbearable about 3 bites in. I’m not sure what dark sorcery that is, but I suspect the same powers behind it that make Coca Cola and McDonalds so tasty. Or, you know, Michelin starred cooking. It’s all one big conspiracy.

As I am trying to control my gag reflexes, I try to shove as much in my mouth at any given time as I can. I am painfully aware of these 3 facts:
1. If I stop now, I won’t be able to finish this, and if I don’t finish this, I will go hungry the rest of the day.
2. Emma Stone would eat this if she had to*
(* definitely not a fact, I don’t know if she would)
3. There isn’t enough lunch break left to buy something else (also, I’m cheap – I paid 6 Pounds for this!)

The grey-green mush between my teeth is relentlessly broken down as I grind, swallow, push in another fork. It is fair to say, I hate myself and the world at this moment. I hate my nutrionist a bit, just to make a point.
A slightly obese group of friends walk loudly chattering past me. One is wearing a demin jacket with the slogan: Whatever the fuck it’s worth.
Good jacket. Story of my current life. I take the universe’s sign, and with one last forkful, mentally screaming like the Highlander, I finish the bloody salad.
Staring angrily ahead of me, I rip open my “treat”. I bought this because I had a premonition about this all being dreadful. It’s apple slices with a peanut butter dip.
Apple is nice. And peanut butter makes everything better. Peanut butter dip? Not so much. But after what I have just experienced this is almost bliss.

A few minutes later, I am done with the slices, and leave my bench with sticky fingers that I can’t wait to wash. Thus ends my lunch break: sad, angry, disgusted, and having cried only a little.
Success, I’d say.


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