How Do You Choose What To Eat?

I know more than one person whose relationship with food is precarious at best. Many people I know avoid wheat, dairy and sugar. Others avoid soy and corn, and a huge number are vegetarians. One person I know keeps eliminating foods from her diet. She is vegetarian, doesn’t eat wheat, dairy or sugar. And she recently announced she is also cutting fats from her diet due to having gall stones. Soon, she will have nothing to eat if she keeps it up. She and many others have made food their enemy.

I am not saying this out of negative judgment. I myself had a long history of making food my enemy. I was fat, allergic to many things and my health was deteriorating. The harder I tried, the more attention I put on my diet, the worse it got.

I must admit that I am a picky eater. I limit wheat intake because I feel bloated and tired when I eat it and I don’t care for beef, barbecue, marinara sauce, anything breaded and fried, most seafood, anything smoked or anything with raspberries or oregano.

As you can imagine, going out to dinner with others can be difficult. Where do we choose to eat? One person wants barbecued ribs, another wants low-fat vegetarian and yet another wants seafood. Everybody seems to be on their own food trips, fueled by the latest reports and books. How can we enjoy a meal if we are worried that it will make us fat or unhealthy?

If I read (and believed) all of the many books and articles about what we should not eat, I would see food as my enemy also. They tell us carbs are bad, animal protein is bad, soy (estrogen compounds and phytic acid) is bad, spinach (oxalic acid) is bad, and on and on.

There are books that tell you not to eat grains, avoid dairy and animal proteins, swear off sugar and refined foods, and not to eat grapes, melons or cucumbers unless they are organic.

At some point, we need to get back to remembering that everything — even our food — is energy. We should embrace it and love it as we eat, not make it the enemy. We should love our food choices and affirm that they will contribute to our well being.

Most of what I don’t eat is out of flavor preferences rather than what some book or news article tells me I should eat. I can taste the chemicals in most packaged foods. I like simple, not overly prepared foods.

I went to an Italian restaurant for a friend’s birthday a few months ago but couldn’t find anything I liked to eat. I was fine with not eating. I am not in danger of starvation.

I am no longer fat, but I am still shedding some weight to get to my balance point. I lost about 75 pounds over a few years without dieting. I decided to eat when I’m hungry, stop eating when I’m full and avoid foods that make me feel bad after eating them. I still eat sweets, but I don’t crave them like I used to.

I like being on the path to making peace with food — and everything else — in my life.

Copyright © 2009 by Victoria Young