I’ve been thinking today about the many varieties of foods that I like and dislike since I’ve been trying to decide what my next recipe to post here should be. One thing that I’ve learned over the years of my life is that I really and truly can not stomach cooked carrots. At all. No, not even with ghastly amounts of brown-sugar/molasses. Truth be told, I’m not really all that fond of them raw either; especially after using them forever as the “approved” diet snack of my younger days. That starchy, orange taste just doesn’t do it for me. And no, making them “waffle-edged” doesn’t do it either. And it never has. But you know what? That’s okay.
All of us have different tastes. I know there are PLENTY of people out there who love carrots; those who are ambivalent about their potential as life-giving energy and then those of us who wouldn’t shed a tear if carrots were to mysteriously vanish from stores entirely.
But you know what, variety is the spice of life. Getting a great variety in your daily foods is vital to getting all the nutrients you need for your body. But MY variety could be vastly different from YOUR variety. One thing that always bugs me when I spot those magazines (or those little pamphlets of diet tips) with the latest and greatest list of “5 foods to make you slimmer” or “10 drinks that keep you healthy” or “7 foods guaranteed to make you a happier you!” is just how limiting they are. What if you don’t LIKE any of those 5 or 7 or 10 items? Does that mean now you won’t be able to stay healthy or happy?? Does NOT eating these items somehow make you LESS healthy or happy? Do you have to somehow cram down those horrid yams since they are on the list of miracle foods in order to fit the latest and greatest standards of health??? Are you a paragon of virtue upon whose door the happiness fairy will be knocking if you DO eat these particular things??
The simple answer: No. There is no one MAGICAL food that will make everyone slimmer, make everyone happier, make everyone healthier. More to the point for my post here: there is no one SET of foods; no single approved list of “variety”, which will do those things either. So we shouldn’t be trying to all focus our eating habits on the whimsical ideas of a few list-making folks (who may really LOVE the carrots, yams, raisins and yogurt they prescribe). Learning to understand and respond to our body’s actual likes and dislikes helps us to better fuel ourselves for our daily lives!
All of us have a food that will rarely fail to make us smile. Mine is a great piece of smoked Gouda cheese. Yours might be chocolate or fresh cucumbers (oh man those are a close second) or lasagna or what have you. I just find it very limiting that despite all of our very different tastes and styles, variety is only encouraged as another sort of method to railroad us all into eating the same exact foods; regardless of our actual enjoyment of them.
Food should be fun! It should be tasty! It should be tasty for YOU! No one else can tell you what your taste buds enjoy or dislike. It is up to you to listen to your body and find out what it has been trying to tell you so that you can stop trying to force-feed it foods that it doesn’t enjoy and start eating what makes you feel good. It may seem amazing but your body DOES know what it needs to function at it’s optimal level. And you know, the vitamin C you might miss out on from by avoiding carrots could just as well be supplied by that banana or watermelon that you love to munch.
Perhaps that was more rambling thoughts than informative discourse but I just felt the need to share that there is no ONE right way to eat a balanced variety of foods. Missing out on one food, even if it is one of those MAGICAL foods, does not preclude you from others that have just as much, or even more, of the same nutrients. There is no need to mentally beat yourself up because you can’t stomach a certain food that is being touted as the latest and greatest food known to humans. Accept that your body just might not LIKE those carrots. Move on, eat something you like, and enjoy the feeling of your body thanking you.