Did you know that yogi sips and cheese croissants are bad for you? I know, because my lovely friends point it out to me all the time. Because of them I also know that even though kombucha tastes like burned plastic, it’s full of probiotics and therefore very healthy. Bean pasta, also very healthy, definitely worth skipping a pizza for. Turmeric coffee, chia seeds and sumac soup, all very nutritious I’ve been told. My friends can hardly remember their life before wheatgrass juice and almond milk it seems. But are they also aware that healthy food can be dangerous? If you’re one to think that you can never have enough organic fruits and raw vegetables, you are wrong. It can easily grow into compulsive behaviour, referred to as orthorexia: the obsessive desire to pursue healthy food in fear of falling ill, feeling unfit, or looking old. Pretty much any good habit can turn into a disorder, like too much tea, too much fitness, or too much sleep. And orthorexia is happening all right. It didn’t catch on in South Africa just yet, thank goodness, but it surely did in Europe. 

In the Netherlands I can hardly finish a meal without getting a speech about all the risks. While still busy shallowing a fried onion, I have to listen to my friends’ latest diet consisting of celery salad, roasted nuts and beetroot quinoa. People have made me eat bowls of unsalted vegetables, with no cheese, no carbs, no flavour, no nothing! They have even tried to talk apples and potatoes out of my mouth: too much sugar, too much starch. Cheese and butter are also out of the question: way too much lactose. I should treat my body like a temple! And did I just throw salt over my avocado? Am I fucking mad?! Don’t I know how bad salt is for me? A slow killer, it’s a slow killer! And is that pre-made hummus in my fridge? Do I have ány idea how many E-numbers are floating around in that bucket?! E-NUMBERS, do I hate myself?? I should be better than this! 

South Africans, to the contrary, pretend as if vegetables are against their culture and shamelessly stuff deep-fried junk down their throat. The downside is that they are either too fat or exercise obsessively to make up for their carb-sugar-and-fat-saturated diet. And when people are the exercising kind they, yet again, seem to make it my problem. Relentlessly they carry on about the amount of kilometres they run and calories they burn every darn day. I better get up at 5am too, they preach, so I can join them for a 50 km cycle! South Africans have even tried to talk Sunday sleep-ins out of my system: way too lazy. Common girl, you better start working on your strength-to-body ratio before it’s too late! My friends do pilates in the morning, practise martial arts in the evening, and go on yoga retreats on weekends. I would be crazy not to join! It will rid me of my muffin top ánd help me find my mindfulness. 

Another stress factor in the life of my friends seems to be their alcohol intake. Each time I poor myself a glass of wine is used as an excuse for them to rave about their latest life choices. They make sure everyone listens when saying that they wish they could, but can’t, join me for a glass, even though I never offered, because they stopped drinking. It’s normally only for a month, sometimes longer. They unfortunately have to order a coke zero instead, they point out, while pulling a pouty face. Some people even go as far as saying that they don’t drink at all anymore, because it’s very, very unhealthy. They’ve made tea their latest obsession instead. Peppermint tea, Ginger tea, Chamomile tea, I’ve seen whole trees disappear in a cup of boiling water. It has lots of antioxidants, I’ve been told by people who seem to have removed all oxidants from their diet anyway. Friends have even tried to talk coffee out of my morning ritual: way too toxic. They do sometimes make an exception for decaf coffee, they giggle, but only on special occasions, and without sugar obviously, they mention while giggling a bit more.  

Most of my friends also stopped smoking and make very sure that I know about it. My porous and grey skin seems to be a justified reason to brag about how good people feel lately. They definitely look a lot better after they stopped smoking, they repeat themselves, and since they started sleeping eight hours a day. They also rub organic bamboo oil on their face to make it look even younger, organic argan shampoo in their hair, and organic aloe toothpaste on their teeth. And did they already mention that they don’t drink anymore? Oh yes, they did. I didn’t need to ask, I could tell by their flawless, bright skin. They also drink lots of smoothies, right after their morning exercise. You know what they say: one organic smoothie, two hours of yoga, and eight hours of sleep a day keep the wrinkles away! But while listening to this goat crap, all I end up wondering is what it is that makes people think I’m even remotely interested? Did it ever occur to anyone that I don’t give a lama’s ass?? Jeez! I had enough, I’m gonna give them a taste of their own medicine. Or a cookie of their own dough, as we would say in Holland. And yes, that cookie will have carbs in it. 

The cookie I will be serving them is my absolute absence at dinner parties and yoga classes. I’m gonna keep on drinking booze and eating unhealthy stuff all by myself and then show my friends twenty years from now just how bad I feel: há HA! I’m gonna rock up at birthday parties reeking of old cigarettes and aged whiskey and display the full array of E-numbers right in the cavities of my wrinkly old face. I’ll sink my overweight body into their couch and struggle to get up again, loudly complaining that I should’ve done some bloody pilates after all. I’m gonna interrupt people’s conversations so I can shamelessly talk about my heart burn and chronical diarrhoea, caused by years and years of living without fermented food and carrot juice. And when I really start to sense their discomfort, I will carry on moaning about my weak muscles and stiff joints, my nutritional deficiencies and high blood pressure, my forgetful mind and aching body. And that my friends, is what we call revenge.