It’s A Food Thing: My Relationship With Food

I grew up in a Jewish home where high holidays and meals at Beth Shalom were Kosher, even if we didn’t practice it…but with a special menu thanks to my food allergies. As a kid, I was deathly allergic to dairy and fowl. The kind of allergic that causes a kid to be rushed to the hospital after eating ONE cookie from a recipe that had three tablespoons of milk in it to make 2 dozen cookies.

I was the kid that ordered pizza without cheese, ate peanut butter and jelly when the kids had grilled cheese, ate a lot of beef and pork chops, and lived on really disgusting Kosher hot dogs at the synagogue. Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, my allergic reactions to dairy and fowl have lessened significantly, and Kosher hot dogs are now made in a fashion that eating them is a delicious treat instead of a horrific experience. But also as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that there were a lot of foods that we didn’t eat as kids that I do now… and some I grew up eating that I will never, ever eat again.

For example: I really like sausage. It’s something that I didn’t grow up eating, but started thanks to my Redneck husband and enjoy it tremendously. I will never, ever eat gefilte fish. Don’t ask me what it is (a white fish Jews eat a lot of ) because I find it disgusting and I grew up eating it.

But it’s all part of my relationship with food. There is love, hate, tolerate… it’s something that we all have and is deeply personal to each of us in a way that we can’t get others to understand completely.

I have a variety of friends who have a variety of eating habits. Each and every one of them are different, too. I have one friend who swears by nothing but everything dairy free, gluten free, nut free, and vegan. She makes her own bread and hummus almost weekly even as she works a full time job and I think that’s crazy. I have another friend who refuses to cook anything, and eats out all the time… adding salt and extra salt to everything she eats. And I think that’s crazy. But they also look at my diet and think I am crazy. Each of us have a crazy diet and eating habits… a crazy relationship with food… that seems completely normal to us.

My friend Dawn thinks I’m crazy for having a deep seated hate against onions, and she thinks it’s insane that I could eat mushrooms like most people do potato chips. I think Kat is crazy for making her own bread when it’s just easier to buy one, and she thinks I’m insane for being able to keep chips in my house and not eating them all in one sitting. Everyone has a quirk in their eating.

Your relationship with food can be like a well balanced relationship, or it can be an abusive one. How many of you have binged on something that you later felt guilty for eating or drinking? I know I have.  I can’t keep soda in my house, or chewy candy. That stuff is gone as quickly as it is purchased. There have been times where I have gone through an entire 12 pack of soda in 4 days. It can be that bad.

The way to make it work is to really focus on what you can and cannot eat. It’s knowing what you can and cannot do, handle, tolerate, whatever that helps you keep your own diet intact. And the biggest thing is to not feel guilty when you have a bad food day. One day isn’t going to make or break your plans. I was in Savannah this past weekend with my in-laws, and just like every time I hang out with them, my normal diet goes out the window. But you know what? It’s just one weekend. It won’t break everything I’ve done up to this point.

And just like clock-work, I got back on the normal regime today and ate healthy. I splurged a little at lunch and got a soda, but it wasn’t enough to really do much damage so long as I keep the rest of my calories in check, and guess what? I’m already down to 187 from 191 two weeks ago.

My grocery list always has fish, fruit, veggies, eggs, milk, Clif bars and hummus on it, every week. Brian doesn’t really eat lunch, so it’s mostly for me. Breakfast is almost always hard boiled eggs or my Gluten Free Vans waffles, and lunch is almost always hummus, carrots, fruit and yogurt. Sometimes I’ll splurge and do a full size salad for lunch instead. Then for dinner, Brian and I do lean meats, veggies and a carb. It’s a habit that works for us and is our “normal” now. Throw in the running I do, then the walking I do, and I stay under the calories determined by the My Fitness Pal app, and I’m doing good.

But I won’t lie. Sometimes I let the stress of life and work get the best of me, and I’ll go to Kilwins and get my favorite treat: A chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel dipped apple. But it’s mostly fruit, so I figure it’s not as bad as it could be. 🙂

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