The things I learned from being a picky eater

Some of my first memories are of my mom trying to get me to eat cooked peas at the dinner table. Perhaps it was the unappetizing and unnatural green color, but I could never bring myself to actually try the small green veggie. It wasn’t just peas though, many vegetables or foods that just looked “funny” were refused in favor of simple or plain foods. This phase of picki-ness lasted a long time, perhaps longer than it should have. By the time I went to college, I had lost most of my adversity to strange foods and begun to branch out to new things. Depending on who you ask, some may credit this to new experiences at college while others (looking at you, Mom) credit it to a new special person in my life. Either way, I began to open myself up to new tastes and experiences including a trip halfway across the world by myself. It’s interesting to think about how much a small change like being more open to food can impact the rest of your life.

How can “food picki-ness” impact other areas of your life? Here are three examples:

1. Getting the full experience is so much better than limiting yourself by not taking it all in. (Eat everything on your plate even if it’s unknown or scary)
It can be hard to completely open yourself up to new experiences and new people. Vulnerability can cause us to question everything and everyone around us, but what is the point of living life in fear? Or questioning every decision you make? Eating everything on your plate (or at least trying to eat everything) is so much better than looking back and wondering what it might have tasted like.

2. Trying new things can be scary, but everything was new once right?
(Remember the first time you tried your favorite food?)
Traveling to Israel two years ago was easily the most terrifying, but also exciting moments of my life thus far. There was a point when I was younger that I feared separation from my parents and house for long periods of time. This anxiety kept my dreams of traveling to places like Israel, in my dreams. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized my dream could actually become a reality, which opened up a whole new arena of food! (Think pretzel bread pizza, falafel, gelato, etc.)

3. Be grateful for what you have and never take it for granted
(Food is something that we often don’t think about in terms of where it will come from next, but many people wonder when and how they’ll eat their next meal)
Being picky means missing out and letting good food go to waste. I consider myself to be very fortunate because I’ve never had to worry about where my next meal will come from, but according to 49 million people in 2012 lived in food insecure households. That’s just in the United States.. While the numbers surrounding poverty and food insecurity are extremely high, there are also those that suffer from extreme allergies to certain foods. This is obviously not the same thing as food insecurity, but there are certain foods that can cause people extreme health concerns or even death. With all this in mind, it can be hard to forgo certain foods because we don’t “like” them.

Being a picky food eater is not something that I would recommend to anyone because you truly miss out on incredible tastes, but more than that you miss out on new experiences in life. It’s incredible to think about how being a picky eater can easily take over other aspects of our lives and begin to control the way we make decisions. With all of this in mind, you might be thinking well I really don’t like x food or I’ve tried it and I just can’t stand the taste of y food. Well as long as you make the effort, that’s all that should count right? Hopefully, because I did eventually tried cooked peas and I really didn’t like them, but I have gained a new appreciation for many other foods that I never thought I would like.

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