Just like somedays I don’t eat any “sweets.”
What was your first reaction to that – a hint of celebration when a day passes by without dessert or a tinge of guilt when you look back on a vegetable-less day? There’s a some good insight behind that reaction.
Diet culture praises one and vilifies the other. That’s exhausting.
I think it’s interesting that, for many, our identity becomes how we eat or what is in our grocery cart. That enjoying Doritos is a moral failure and eating kale is essentially the pathway to martyrdom. The more we can uncouple our worth from our food, the more permission we have to authentically show up to meal time and show up in life. Living with food rules doesn’t just affect breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Food rules are much more pervasive, seeping into your relationships, your thoughts, your feelings, from your mundane day-to-day activities and especially to big, fun life experiences.
food challenges around vegetables
- Ask self, “why am I pursuing this vegetable right now?”
When I studied abroad, my professor shared that they teach their children to “eat vegetables because they’re delicious” rather than in America where the rhetoric is “eat vegetables because they’re good for you.” I thought this was fascinating. What if we approached vegetables in a way that sought out the deliciousness, rather than forcing them down out of obligation? Doing anything time and time again out of pure obligation is a sure-fire way to create burn out and repulsion.
- Get comfortable with marinara or salsa as the “vegetable” or color on your plate.
Vegetables don’t have to look like perfectly steamed broccoli. Variety is a pillar of good nutrition. Mix up your veggies – pureed (sauce / salsa), roasted, steamed, flash fried, fresh.
- Practice seeking out color, rather than vegetables.
Food is meant to be fun. Pursuing color can help center your food choices on fun.
- Meet yourself vegetable averse, if that’s where you are.
It is not uncommon, at some point in chronic dieting or eating disorder recovery, to become averse to vegetables. After force feeding yourself sooooooo many plain vegetables, it makes sense that this type of food couldn’t be less appetizing. Meet yourself where you are in that moment. Validate what you’re experiencing – that makes sense, or wow – it must have been hard to deny yourself for so long. Vegetables provide our body water, fiber, vitamins and minerals. We can get those nutrients from other foods, for the time being, as you explore food freedom.
- Stop subbing carbs for vegetable (cauli rice, spaghetti squash, ect).
Vegetables are vegetables, carbohydrates are carbohydrates. While normalizing your relationship with both of these foods, I encourage you to respect those foods’ boundaries. Eating the “real” food helps us learn how that food affects our satiety, fullness, joy, and other body sensations. Eating the “real” food helps us to reconnect to our body and honor it.