These Crazy Times of Extreme Healthy Living is Freaking Out the Truly Rich Lady
A funny thing happened when I hosted a casual dinner last Monday. We were on our third course of the sumptuous spread I prepared when I noticed that, three places away from my seat, our guest of honor, a China Rich Lady, was staring intently at the decorative pattern of her empty plate.
In fairness, she was pretending to eat (to be polite). She placed bits of leaves on her plate, cut them into bitsier pieces, and strategically moved them around every now and then so as to give the appearance of participation.
Worried that my cooking—my very abilities as a hostess!—were lacking, I inquired if everything was alright: “How is the food, dearest Willie? Would you like to have something else from the kitchen?”
“Oh, forgive me, Si-si. You are an excellent host, but I am afraid I do not eat anything that I can not certify as organic. Does your cook have the certificate? From the Organic Association of Healthful Living?”
“I don’t think so. Old Cook sources from the grocery.”
“That’s okay, dear. Your plates are so beautiful though.”
And then she put a Dyson air purifier on the dinner table because she was “...feeling a weird vapor from your very old house. Hi hi—I am also minding my exposure to dangerous ions.”
I put on this face because I did not know what to say:
No doubt, taking care of yourself is a good thing. And more important for those who love to keep score, being health conscious is considered thoroughly modern and cool. Just think of all the #organic, #glutenfree, #zerosugar food posts you can upload on IG.
Today, most everyone, like my China Rich Lady guest, is obsessive about their fitness program, stress management, and of course, nutrition or what they put inside their bodies. “I don’t kiss strangers, but I eat sashimi—wild salmon only though,” confessed one Health Nut.
On their mind is the concept of healthy aging for an active retirement. What they want is to look like Jennifer Lopez at 50 years old (this is impossible, by the way) or just to not be trapped indoors because they have bad knees and horrible skin.
I am okay with all of these. I even confess that I, too, want to look like Jenny and will do whatever it takes—even pretending to eat at a dinner party—if it means I can have abs, creaseless face skin, and a baseball legend boyfriend when I grow up.
But there are times when the quest for healthy living goes too far. How do you know when you’ve crossed the line to crazy territory?
1. When the Health Nut Insist Her Way is the Only Way
Good becomes bad—actually, rude—when the health-conscious insists their ways are superior.
Look, I am very open-minded. Gender-neutral facilities? Yes! Above-the-knee skirts? Sure! Bangs? Hmm… Okay.
But I do not appreciate it when a person foists their beliefs on me. I draw the line when the Health Nut tut-tuts my choice of eating a lot of fat (mayonnaise—yes!) and no carbs (croissant—boo!) and then lectures me about the joys of being gluten-free and using jade eggs.
You eat (or don’t eat) what you want and I’ll eat (or don’t eat) what I want. We can stay in our corners and talk about something we have in common. How about politics?
Oh, wait. No.
2. When Healthy Food Is Absurdly Pricey
Another sticking point is the cost of living healthy. In my search of unicorn blood, the kind that J.Lo drinks for youth, I went to one of those fancy health stores and, my God, the prices!
You may think it should not matter to me, the Truly Rich Lady, but when the store charges you almost P500 for a clutch of strings beans, I head out the door.
And I just go to the grocery store! Surely, there must be less expensive options that does the same thing here. But no! The organic stuff is only marginally less expensive at the grocery.
Following the restrictions of a particular diet always lead to specialty ingredients, which are expensive. Do you know how much a bar of butter made from grass-fed cows costs? (And that is why the healthy are more often than not the rich.)
Anyway, what good is organic food? Give me my pesticides! My body can handle it.
3. When the Healthy Lifestyle Consumes Them
The worse is simply taking the lifestyle too far just like my Truly Rich Mother, whose favorite hobby is visiting the hospital and ordering up all sorts of medical tests.
I swear she's inside the clinics of various specialists every other the day. And when she is home, she reports all her exciting results to me and then admonishes my total lack of interest at undergoing say, a colorectal screening, a blood sugar check, an electrocardiogram, a treadmill stress test, an abdomen ultrasound, and so on.
Like vices, you know your quest has become bad when it takes over your life. Mother was not available for my important dinner and that was why I was left to do all the arrangements, which then led to missing key details like how one of my guests only eats ambrosia.
And where was she? Mother skipped dinner because she scheduled a non-emergency appointment with our on-call doctor because she saw a light brown mole on her upper chest. It turned out to be stubborn dirt.
Two days later, to tease my dirty mother, I sent her a care package of sweet-smelling soaps from Jo Malone with this note: “Please take care of your health. Scrub-a-dub-dub. CC”