Let’s face it, we all have our own eat-i-o-syncracies, our unique eating habits that are not only particular to us but sometimes downright peculiar. That’s okay. They’re nothing to be ashamed of and even may make eating more pleasurable. They sure do for me.
This subject came up when I was talking with a client who’s trying her darndest to eat vegan. I know how difficult that can be, as my husband enjoys following a mostly vegetarian regimen. First off, that means he often eats foods that others don’t (tempeh anyone?) and doesn’t eat foods that they do (such as turkey at Thanksgiving). Second, he’s very concerned about how food is prepared (the amount of salt, type of oil used for cooking, etc.). Third, people think of him as a very fussy (albeit extremely healthy) eater.
My client had a similar approach to food, but felt uneasy burdening food preparers and servers. She was uncomfortable eating differently than people around her—colleagues, friends, family—and this made eating outside her home stressful. She feared that people would pooh-pooh her food choices which got in the way of feeling comfortable in social situations. Because of this, trying to eat healthier felt almost insurmountable.
This whole issue of what it’s like to eat differently from those around us got me thinking that we all have food eat-i-o-synracies and should be tolerant of one another. Are you someone who likes to eat one thing at a time, hates foods to touch each other, won’t let someone eat off your plate, or refuses to share a dish? Maybe you only like brussel sprouts with peanut butter on them or will eat only the dark meat on a turkey. Perhaps you detest blueberries and pick them out of fruit salad, leaving a little clump of them on the side of your plate. Or you eat the cheese off a pizza and avoid the crust (or vice versa). We all have funny little habits with food, but who cares.
The underlying issue for many people who are picky about food is getting caught up in what people think of them. They’re not used to asserting their needs without having major concerns about being judged. This lack of assertiveness goes beyond food. It’s hard for them to put their needs out there on a daily basis and make sure they get met. Eating differently is a way of saying, “This is how I eat and who I am. If you don’t like it, tough toddies.” For many of you that’s an incredibly bold statement because it says that you accept yourself as is and that doing so is more important than being accepted by others. Make sure that your eating suits you and focus on how empowered you feel when you eat what and how you want to. Three cheers for eat-i-o-syncrasies!