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  • Sara Mann

The Check Out Lane.

Let’s play a game!

Can you point out what’s different between the first photo and the other photos?

Answer: ummmmm pretty much everything other then they both are checkout lanes with a person scanning your food and you pay!

Let me tell you a story and what I noticed.

About a month ago my mom and I went to the Amish Home & Garden show. While we were driving home we stumbled upon the Amish Ashery bulk store that had a sign saying lacy swiss cheese, $3.84 a pound. We decided we MUST stop in and get some cheese and meat and whatever else tickled our fancy. ( I mean, I pay like $7.99 a pound for this stuff usually so this is a no brainer..) It did not disappoint. We picked up not only cheese, but lunch meat, maple syrup, maple peppered bacon, and all the yummy things.

When we went to check out I noticed something. There were no magazines anywhere. There was a shelf that had some candies on it and some mini pies. THAT’S IT!

As I walked away from the Ashery I realized a few things.

  1. Everyone there was nice. No one working there was annoyed or treated my poorly. They were not pushy, seemed to have zero agenda and just simply helped when I needed help.

  2. There were no signs ANYWHERE telling me what to eat or not to eat. In fact, there were tastings everywhere so I can decide what I like and don’t like.

  3. 90% of the food did not have advertising on it or crazy marketing. It literally was in clear bags that simply had the name of it, a bible verse and the nutritional value on the back.

  4. Everything bought there had a bible verse on it! Now, I know not everyone will appreciate this like I do, but wow, to have Proverbs 3:6 on all your packaging, I thought was way better then reading the word “DIET” or “LOW CALORIE” or “...FREE!”

  5. When I went to check out I was not bombarded with any advertising. Literally nothing. I could buy a maple candy or pie if I fancied, or maybe a pretty postcard. That’s it.

It was such an incredible shopping experience and it made me really take a step back and realize how freaking bombarded I am anytime I go to the store to get the food I need to eat.

Fast forward to a week or so later, I went shopping at my regular grocery store. I decided to take notice of my experience while grocery shopping this time and wow, what a world of difference.

  1. Everywhere there was a sign telling me what to eat and buy. LITERALLY EVERYWHERE. You have to maneuver your cart around all the little tiny signs and mounds of advertising.

  2. People were rude. I waited 10 minutes (with no one in line in front of me) to get my salmon from the fish counter. Now I know some will judge me and say, be patient Sara.....but you know what? I’m comparing here and this was a solid C fish counter experience. They were rude, rushed and annoyed and all I wanted was some yummy salmon.

  3. Everywhere I am bombarded with diet talk. EV-ER-Y-WHERE (say it slow like Squince in sandlot...) Low calorie this, fat free that, low carb this, sugar free that, organic, irresistible, original, lite, fewer, healthy, no this and no that. I mean holy cow! No wonder I have anxiety picking out what I want to eat. I can’t even decide what I like because everything is telling me what I should like and buy.

  4. There were too many choices. Literally. Have you ever been to the olive oil section? I mean geez. There are like 20 different brands, all advertising what makes them the best and competing in price. It is literally overwhelming.

  5. The check out aisle was the ultimate doosey. I mean, you saw the photos above. Talk about being ambushed. According to this check out aisle I should be thinner, vegatiarian, or maybe vegan, gluten free, have better breathe, more vitamin c, clearer water, chocolate that makes me sleep, hemp for headaches, be on the meditarinain diet, practice yoga and look like the girl doing it, eat “clean,” eat “healthy,” and cooking should be done in one pan and in 15 minutes. And by the way, this is a pretty bougie organic store, so if you head over to walmart or target at the check out you will be told how to have sex, what your abs should look like, all the keto recipes you need, all the whole 30 recipies you need, the new noom diet, who is considered beautiful and what you should and should not wear and look like to be socially acceptable.

Ok. You all get the idea.

This is sad. Really really sad.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying we should all become amish, put bible verses on our food and not be educated on what is best for our bodies or not (although for me, it was a much better experience shopping then I have had in a long time), but dang, I don’t think this is what we are dealing with here. Everywhere we turn we are being told what we should look like, how we should eat and its unbelievably conflicting. One magazine says health at every size, while another is telling you what diet will help you lose weight fast. One says to be gluten free while another is saying, no, the best way to eat is Mediterranean. One says be yourself and another is telling you how to be smarter. Last years whole 30 is now the keto diet and now that it’s April and since that’s dwindling and science is sharing how scary it is we are onto the noom diet. When I shopped at the Ashery I just bought food, used my own head and went home and ate it. By the time I walked out of my local store I felt inferior, like all my choices were “bad” and like I needed to fix everything about myself from the inside out and from head to toe. This is a BIG problem for me. Not just because I’m recovering from anorexia, but also because it’s gross. Look, we live in country where businesses need to sell there stuff for profit. I get it. But wow. It took going to a store, where life is a bit simpler to realize how bad it has gotten. Oh, and by the way, these places are only an hour from one another.

This blog isn’t one where I’m trying to cyber picket some really great stores that sell really wonderful food. I’m also not saying we can’t want the best food for our bodies and be educated on that or that a magazine with some quick meals is “evil.” However, I just wanted to share what I’ve become aware of and how it does truly affect me in hopes that it might help you to become aware of it too. When you leave the store and feel like you need to lose weight, are wrestling with shoulds and should nots, have guilt and worry about everything you bought or are on a high because look how healthy you are, I think there is a deeper reason for that.

To be honest, I’ve already driven back to the Ashery to get more groceries. Yes, it’s further away, and they don’t have everything I need, but it’s nice to shop in a peaceful place where for once I feel like I can just be me and buy some food to eat without having to stand in the checkout line and see everything that is “wrong” with me. Plus, and it’s a big one, their maple peppered bacon is literally out of this world and my husband and I need to continue to have it in our lives!



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