Hot Pockets and judgment day

I did something terrible today. I seemingly judged another person’s food choices in the checkout aisle at Shaw’s.

I spend my entire day assuming people are staring and judging. I assume, when I enter a room, that I will either be ignored completely because I am uninteresting or I will be judged immediately for being too fat, too old, for not wearing make-up, for wearing too much make-up, for being too trendy, for not being fashionable, for being too loud, for not saying enough, for talking too much, for interrupting other people, for not listening, for listening too intently, and for having bad hair…always for having bad hair, actually.

So, I try not to judge other people. When I was in the eighth grade, I got pulled into a fist fight at my locker with a blonde version of Xena Princess Warrior because, as my Xena tormentor later clarified, she did not like my face.

My face naturally defaults to whatever emotion is going through my mind and none of the looks are flattering. You really do want to play poker with me. Today, I was angry, sad, disgusted, amused, and judgmental in the span of about 30 seconds and this poor woman at Shaw’s got the full brunt of force.

I noticed she was piling boxes of Hot Pockets on the conveyor.

I started thinking about what I’ve read regarding Hot Pockets and what is actually in a Hot Pocket. (Are you singing the stupid jingle now? I was. Hooot Pocket. God DAMN it.)


Then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend recently. She noticed a sign at Mister Bagel that read “Our Doughs Will Never Contain Yoga Mat Materials.” Naturally, she sent a picture of it to me immediately with “wait…what?!” as her text. I’d like to think she pulled over to take the sad little picture rather than texting and driving, by the way.

Mr BagelNo, seriously. Where is this Mister Bagel? It looks like it’s next to my old apartment on Sherman Street in Portland.


I explained to this friend that highly processed bread is made with Azodicarbonamide–I read about it on Food Babe a while ago, got totally grossed out, and starting really paying attention to bread ingredients. I don’t eat at Subway–the most culpritiest of all the culprits apparently–but it looks like they’ve pledged to remove all the yoga mat from their bread, so we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

(And I just read this article that has a pretty even-keeled approach to the Azodicarbonamide debate. Okay. No need to be a crazy person. Noted.)

I swear I’m getting back to the Hot Pockets. While I was watching this woman purchase Hot Pockets in bulk, I was thinking about my habit of checking ingredients (these days, if only to make myself feel like a bad person for purchasing and consuming food with too much sodium or food containing corn syrup because I still don’t know what the deal is with that and I can fight only one battle at a time, people). I remembered something Groom had told me after he sat through a presentation by the guy who founded OnTarget Living–this is the guy, by the way, who convinced me to take a tablespoon of Cod Liver Oil every day and the results are magnificent. I’m so flexible, I can cross my legs like a champ now.

Here’s the OnTarget message broken down for people who are trying to change their diets: Do it in small amounts. Instead of making yourself crazy by comparing all ingredients, look at the ingredient list on any food item and choose the item with fewer ingredients.

Groom used lentil soup as his example, which is odd because all through college, I used to make fun of the lentil-soup-eating, scarf-wearing, artsy-fartsy pains in the asses that hung out at the Damn Yankee and ate at the soup kitchen at Fernald Hall at UMaine. (How many of you did I just lose?)

Anyway, always choose the lentil soup with five ingredients instead of ten. It’s a baby step but it’s a good baby step. I still eat crap, but I eat less crap.

And I’d like to point out I love lentil soup now–coincidentally that’s the soup mentioned in the link to Fernald Hall above and I do plan to make that soup–and I was wearing a fashion scarf at the grocery store today. Annnnd, I was at the Phish show mentioned in the Damn Yankee link above. I am the worst kind of hypocrite.


I was thinking about all the information I’ve read about the effects of gluten and processed foods on the body. The swelling and the inflammation. The GMOs! The big bellies and the scientifically supported theory that wide hips lead to promiscuity…wait…what?

I then unintentionally gave this poor woman the elevator eyes and I noticed she, much like myself, had a big belly and wide hips.

And then I thought, “She doesn’t know! She doesn’t know that she’s poisoning herself!” And I immediately thought of Junior Soprano after he was diagnosed with cancer and says something like, “We ate tons of meat. It was meat all the time! We didn’t know!” (Sorry, I can’t find the clip, but I can offer this Junior Soprano compilation as the silver.)


From this woman’s perspective? I glanced at her food, made an angry face that turned into a sad shake of the head leading to disgust before an up-and-down look and finally a scoff and a look of pure amusement.

In short, judgment day.

Sarah Devlin

About Sarah Devlin

Sarah Devlin has been writing about the recreational industry since the late ’90s but ironically can’t run, swim, or bike a mile.