This was a revelation I had while shopping in the late lamented Marks & Spencer Simply Food on the harbourside. I'd wandered in, following my usual rut, and was looking through one of the sections, finding something for dinner. And then I noticed the person next to me.
Now, obviously I'm in no place to throw stones, but this guy was large. Soon-to-appear in a Channel 4 documentary-large, in fact, and fairly clearly unfit and not particularly healthy. And here he was, picking meals from the same ready-meal selection as I was.
This made me think a bit. And as he reached for one of the pre-packaged meals from the lardier end of the spectrum ("this isn't just cholesterol, it's extra-gloopy, man-killing Marks and Spencer cholesterol...") I took a step back, and started to form a new diet plan.
This is therefore my new way of getting out of a dietary rut, which can be a difficult thing to do: I look around until I see someone who looks fit, healthy and roughly the right shape, and follow them around the supermarket. I take a look at what they're buying, and even if I've never bought it (or, in some cases, even heard of it), I'll give it a try myself.
Obviously, you can be a bit scuppered if the person's buying some random ingredients for a couple of recipes you don't know—I ended up with kidney bean upside-down cake last night—but it is taking me into previously unknown bits of supermarkets, and expanding my fruit and veg choices, and so on.
Of course, you've got the outliers on the healthy person spectrum. There's a couple of svelte people I've followed around who are either shopping for someone else, have an eating disorder, or are those fabled lucky scumbags who can eat any old crud and stay skinny and healthy. And you want to avoid following bodybuilders around unless you (a) want to follow them to the gym and do the requisite workout, too, and (b) really, really like chicken. But it does generally seem to work.
I have no plans to extend this to changing the places I shop by following random fit people in the street and seeing whether they end up in Sainsbury, Waitrose, or an organic greengrocer, as that way lies arrest, I feel. But whenever I find myself stuck in a sugary aisle of a supermarket, I'll look around for an unsuspecting healthy person, and let them lead me to safety.