A Single Piece of Ham

My boss is one of the people who initially inspired me to try Whole30. She takes it seriously in a way that I sometimes find intimidating; basically, she thinks that as participants in Whole30, we owe it to ourselves to stick with the program. She’s never going to shame someone for not sticking with Whole30; it’s more like she wants people to treat themselves to the real experience. She gave me my first RX bar, a clean-food energy bar that many Whole30-ers and Paleo folks swear by.

One thing that I realized, though, is that there are certain foods that Whole30 participants should be able to have, but current popular methods of production simply don’t make. A good example would be sausage or ham; both of these foods don’t need to have added sugar in order to be delectable, but pretty much all commercially available kinds do. So the other day, my boss walked into my office and gave me a single piece of ham in a plastic baggie. It looked pretty ordinary, and I looked at her with amusement, ready to hear a hilarious story.

It wasn’t hilarious though – she told me how she’d found uncured, no sugar added ham at a local market from a nearby farm. She was so excited to find ham that was still in a reasonable price range that supported local farmers, that she wanted to share that excitement with me. Instead of being amused, I was really excited.

I think that the presence of so many “celebration” foods at our fingertips may have had an unfortunate side effect; as Americans, we have a hard time seeing almost any food as rare or special. When you choose to make a lifestyle choice, like eating less added sugars or trying to buy more locally produced products, you create a kind of scarcity. This scarcity does lead to more expense most of the time, and often a little confusion or frustration at social gatherings where folks don’t share your passion, but it also leads to moments like this: someone found the hard-to-find item you were looking for, and shared it with you. I’ve seen this look when I made gluten-free cornbread instead of regular cornbread for a dinner with a friend who cannot have gluten without feeling wretched; it’s an opportunity to be there for someone. I still appreciate people who are flexible on their food intake, because it does make hostessing less stressful, but the opportunity to give someone exactly what will nourish them? That’s a pretty special gift.

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4 comments on “A Single Piece of Ham

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Sharing home grown or,home made seems to have a similar effect. Even at bake sales, people are bringing store bought sweets!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jr cline says:

    I have preferences but I don’t inflict them on others. I attempt to be a gracious guest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dacia says:

    I love this take on whole food. We have just recently changed habits and have found that we spend far less on calculated whole meals than buy a ton of processed food in anticipation for what we MIGHT be hungry for. We also waste more food because there was no true plan to use it in the first place. Love your blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree. Now I cannot think of cooking without making dishes nourishing, adding seeds, using whole grains and the like. It is a conscious decision to leave out processed food and I appreciate people going out of their way to eat well. Cheers.

    Like

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