I believe that our food preferences are deep rooted from a young age. It’s my Mom’s birthday today so I wanted to dedicate this post to her since she was always so supportive of my food choices. When I was five years old, I decided on my own will that I was going to be a vegetarian. I didn’t even know the name for it at the time, but I once I found out that some foods were made from animals, I realized that I didn’t want to eat meat. I apparently began to double check before I ate anything…bread, cucumbers, peanut butter, etc. I was always confused why everyone didn’t avoid eating animals as well.
Vegetarianism was very uncommon thirty years ago. Eating out at a restaurant resulted in tomato pasta or garlic bread with cheese and a caesar salad. I remember that some people used to ask why I was allowed to make these choices at such a young age. My parents used to “stick up for me” and say that if I truly believed in it, they didn’t want to interfere with my views. I could have easily had parents who forced me to eat meat and maybe my life would be different. I watch people around me develop issues with high blood pressure, acid reflux, heart disease, osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases that are all linked to our diet…and quite often a high consumption of red meat.
I have spent a lot of my life defending my choices, being teased at school and answering silly questions. My favourite one is “What do you eat then?” That question always stumps me for some reason. I can’t help but feel frustrated by the ignorance, but it’s also possibly the lack of knowledge which isn’t the questioner’s fault. I haven’t been asked that question this year but if someone asks again, maybe I’ll just send them to the recipe section of my blog…I don’t think there is lack of food here!
Even though I didn’t become interested in nutrition until 6 or 7 years ago, it was obviously something that I was always in tune with. That being said, it is possible to be an unhealthy vegetarian. I was one myself for the majority of my 20’s, focussing on mostly cheese, bread and other processed snacks. Once I began to focus on whole foods and intuitive eating, my energy levels have dramatically improved and any health issues have vanished.
If you’re a parent right now, please listen to your children’s requests. You don’t always have to respond (eg – I hate green vegetables) but ask them why they feel so strongly about their food preferences. Thank you again to my Mom for listening to me!