The year after I graduated college I moved back in with my mom while I did my dietetic internship in Baltimore. Only it wasn’t just my mom anymore- along the way, she’d met & married my step-dad. I’ve mentioned him before- he’s the real food lover of the family- a true meat & potatoes kind of guy.
Appreciating them letting me intrude on their new life together, I gratefully ate dinner with them whenever my internship allowed me to be home in time for a meal. (Which wasn’t often.) Continuing my “keep everyone happy” mode, I ate whatever my step dad cooked. It was clear that food was how he demonstrated love, and I felt turning down his cooking would be a slap in the face of sorts.
Then I got married & moved back to NC. All of a sudden not only was I in complete control of every meal in the house, I was responsible for cooking and feeding two people. I could make whatever I wanted, and not hurt anybody’s feelings! I also learned that when I made my own food, I had fewer issues with my stomach. It even got to the point where I could eat cheese & milk again. Apparently it was more of a quality of food issue, as opposed to only just a type of food issue. (I guess pizza & beer don’t do a body good?!)
Fast forward to now. Back to the food spectrum question. Where do you fall? Meat eater <—> vegan, or somewhere in between?
(I suppose I should add flexitarian to the list, since clearly I fall in between. But although I am a flexitarian, it feels like a cop out when I say it out loud.)
I actually have a lot of trouble with labels. To me, they feel like rules, and I don’t do well with rules. Making a generalized statement that I’m a vegetarian or vegan makes me feel like I can’t ever eat meat or milk or a cookie with an egg in it. I live by the idea of ‘everything in moderation’, and that really does mean everything.
Not having a label doesn’t bother me, but it does pose an issue in terms of my keeping other people happy issue. It’s one thing to say “No thanks I don’t want _______ because I’m a _______” (Steak – vegetarian; ice cream – vegan….you get the idea) It also makes it difficult for people to understand- whether I’m trying to keep them happy or not.
It’s another thing to just say no, I don’t want that because….because what? At this exact moment I don’t want that? I’m uncomfortable with where that came from? My stomach will explode if I eat one more ounce of cheese? (Unfortunately I’ve had to use that last one all too often haha)
So why did I go back through all this? Your history helps shape your present, be it food or whatever. But it doesn’t dictate it. I’ve been exposed to a few things recently that really make me say hmmmmmmm. I felt the need to tell you where I was coming from so you could better understand what I thought about these things. But of course I’m not telling you what these “things” are yet. For that you’ll have to wait. (You so knew that was coming, huh?)