I Wish I Had Been Forced to Eat More as a Child, and Here's Why
The Reasons Giving Tastes a Shot Saved My Life
As a child—my aunt told me—I could be found with half an avocado and a spoon running around my house, or with mango smashed all over my face. I had a taste for food, I had energy pouring from my ears, I had passion for the world, I had great wonder, and I ate—and could always eat—what I was given.
Then the years of my favourite word being 'no' came along, and my diet took a turn for the worst.
My parents are unbelievably kind and understanding, and of course, they wanted what was best for me. But, a parent can only do so much with a young hot-head with issues she was yet to understand. After a while, it became impossible to feed me unless given what I was used to. I feel so horrible about that now, wishing that the one mean bone in every person's body would have made me sit and cry at the dinner table until I ate all my vegetables. But that, of course, wouldn't have been much better either, really. So I screwed the pooch on that one, huh.
I didn't like going to other peoples houses for dinner, in case I hated their food, greatly limiting the time I spent with my favourite people. I lived on a diet of wheat, of sorts—plain pasta and bread with butter. I had the occasional fruit and veg—fruit being my preferred of the two—butnowheree near recommended amounts to maintain a healthy balance. And I even remember—I shudder as I type this—I used to not like chicken. At all! Sigh.
There was one time, I remember so clearly, where I was having dinner at a friend's house, and I couldn't bear to continue eating the pizza which was made for me—plain as anything with only ham, cheese, and pizza sauce—because the sauce had too many herbs in it. I am only allergic-ish to two things; lemongrass and pure black pepper. That means that there was no excuse for barely even giving the sauce a chance. Looking back at it now with my new tastebuds, I probably would have enjoyed that pizza. Looking back at it now with my changed point of view, I would have appreciated it a lot more.
I was lucky that the family had known me a long time, and was particularly aware of how obscenely picky of an eater I was.
My eating—along with few other internal issues—lead to my body reacting to the slightest change my body wasn't used to. Chocolate and milk-based products were the biggest no-no, anything fast food coming in close, and lollies/sweets became an outcast of my body. My diet became limited to apples, scrambled eggs, pasta, and bread. Though this wasn't unlike what I used to eat, it was insanely difficult to wake up in the morning, knowing I would be in terrible pain until I ate what my body ordered, and would continue that pain unless I followed this strict diet my mysterious ailment had developed for me. It was similar to food-poisoning. Churning stomach, occasional vomiting feeling, stabbing pains, and an on and off fever.
I was the worst off I had ever been.
I couldn't handle how lonely it became as I was stuck at home in fear I would have a bad reaction out in public. I had to—repeatedly—shut down invitations because of this irritating illness I had developed.
I sought after medical help, but no doctor could help. Then, try after try with ultrasounds and consultations, a naturopath which I owe a great deal to was able to find a way to limit, and control my pain. She also set me on a better diet, which forced me to try new things because I was going to get better. And it worked.
My grades had begun slipping before this, because I was in a spiral of sadness and I dreaded waking up for school. The elixirs (as I liked to call them) made that part so much easier. My happiness rose to a new level and for that I am forever grateful.
It was me in the end who admitted to my underlying emotions after plenty of researching. I was suffering the physical remnants of severe/extreme depression and was immediately prescribed medication from my doctor and naturopath, beginning to speak with a therapist. My new diet helped my health in an immense way.
I would have never admitted to this if it wasn't for my desperate need for a cure, which, in a way, helped me more than anything in the past had.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't the testimony of a preacher attempting to convince the world to be healthier, this is the words of someone who suffered for years from how bad my diet was, literally forcing me to change or writhe in pain. I had to start with simple foods, unmixed but good for my body. I would try things my family and friends enjoyed, and no one could or would blame me if I didn't like it.
I'm thankful for the friends I have made through the years which have understood my pickiness and raised me something new to try—a cop-out food awaiting if I didn't like it. I understand as you get older your tastes change, but I wish I had learned to do that much earlier, and endure what I didn't like just to make sure my diet was healthier, so I, in turn, could be healthier.
Now, I know a girl—younger than me—who is just as, or even more, picky than I used to be, and to be honest, I fear the worst. I, of course, only had the reaction to food I did because of other underlying health issues which I have dealt with for a very long time and didn't quite understand the connection to my horrendous stomach. She very well could be completely fine, but that doesn't mean I won't be doing whatever I can to sneak new tastes into her diet every so often—occasionally with a simple omission of detail when I cook for her.
Now that I am much healthier, I am very aware of my body, and what is a normal or abnormal reaction to things that I eat. Most people, I would believe, aren't as in tune with their stomach as I am. All I know is I'm never going back. And the occasional broccoli stem isn't as bad as all the movies portray.