The past year has begun an interesting project: that of challenging my food prejudices. Food prejudices? What’s that, you ask. Oh, that’s how I refer to the foods that I either hate or pretty much know I would probably hate but have never tried.
The Average American eats a small number of foods often, or so that is what many articles state. It’s easy to become deficient in vitamins and minerals if you don’t have enough variety. I found profound health in only eating the vegetables raw that tasted good raw (carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc.), and in a whole food supplement called Dr. Schulze Superfood, which I got off of ebay. So, I wondered: what am I missing by refusing to eat radishes? What am I missing out by refusing to eat mustard greens? Or cauliflower?
So I’ll go to the store, and whatever I automatically write off as something I would never try, it goes on my list on my food notebook. This has been also a challenge because of coming from a vegetarian background. But, my naturopathic doctor having advised me to eat some meat, and also my wanting to be more open-minded and experience the world a bit more, I decided to branch out and try things… didn’t mean I had to like them…. but I decided to have the attitude that I would try anything at least once.
An advantage of doing this, besides knowing more about the world and being able to relate to other people better, and besides adding different kinds of nutrition, is that I find new favorites… and in finding new favorites, there’s less of a chance that I will eat things I am allergic to just because they taste good. How would I have known that I would have liked Escolar unless I tried it? How would I have known that fried chicken tastes okay with mustard greens, without trying it? This is an interesting process of growing outside the comfort zone.
Some of us get prejudiced against foods because of how they were presented to us when we were children. For me, that is green cabbage. Green cabbage was a starvation food, much like the college student’s stash of Top Ramen. I hated green cabbage so much that if that’s what we could afford in the Spring when money was tight, I would go hungry. But that too is a prejudice to overcome. I am sure there has to be a pleasant way to make it.
An advantage of deciding to challenge a prejudice against Nori, because it looked like it would taste like lacy dragonfly wings, is that at the same store I discovered two other kinds of sea vegetable… Wakame and Kombu. I bought all three that day, and it turned out that Wakame and Kombu were the answer to getting my iodine for my thyroid…. this would have not happened except deciding that I would do whatever it took to boost my thyroid, even if it meant eating something that looked like it was weird!
One big hangup is red meat… not only does it look gross to me … because I am against killing and never was raised on meat anyway, but also the Bible talks about not eating blood, saying, that the life is the blood (which means if you eat an animal’s blood, you can catch whatever disease it had). But, I think it would be good to try it at least once for cultural experience sake.
There’s ginger root, which is kinda hot, but it can help you break a fever from a flu, if you drink tea made from real crushed ginger roots, and also soak your feet, at the same time in the hottest water you can stand, with crushed ginger roots in it. Eating ginger root can make your circulation improve. And boy, I could really tell that was true – I broke out in a sweat when trying it for the first time.
Grandma puts sunflower sprouts on her oatmeal in the morning. I thought that was kind of weird, but it tasted okay when I ate with her. She has outlived her younger sister due to her approach on whole foods not processed food, and because everything she does, even in her early nineties, is therapeutic – from riding bicycles, to doing tai chai, to playing the piano and violin. She told me about Green Tea… which in my food prejudices, it seems like it would be bitter. But that will be one of the things I try, not only so that I can tell her that I tried it, but to try something new, and because it is said to be beneficial for health.
There’s the radishes – something I wouldn’t eat when growing up, even though I liked to grow them then because they were so pretty. You can make radish flowers for your salad if you take a knife and cut them first one way and then another crossways, but don’t cut all the way through. And then a couple more times dividing the four petals into eight, if you want to…. and then put them in cold water. Radishes are still a bit pungeant, but actually, not as pungeant when you soak them in the water.
My sister and I ate homegrown nasturtium flowers sometimes when growing up, but in general, I feel weirded out by eating edible flowers, although I think they would be so beautiful in a salad. There’s okra – the one time I had it it was slimy – and I automatically wrote it off. Then of course there’s a bunch of exotic seafood that I’ve never tried. I’ve been trying clams and scallops. I didn’t die from the experience…… so I will keep going. And the bear and rattlesnake sausage was not that bad either. The Salmon is passable.
The benefit to trying new things is finding new ways to be more balanced in diet, not always eating all the same things, not always having the same preferences, not always seeing through the same world lens, realizing that there are many different eating modes, and that no one mode is better than another if you are getting all the nutrition that is required for the human body.
Could I be a complete vegetarian again? I don’t know. Fried chicken and Escolar IS awfully good!
Comment on this article if you would like to challenge me to a specific food to try! I can’t guarantee that it is available in my area, but I will give it a shot.