Category Archives: Food

Orange you glad to see me?

Most people have heard if you eat too many carrots, or other food high in beta-carotene, it will add an orange-hue to a person’s skin. This is not just a food myth, it can happen. I’ve met parents with orange kids because their diet is so restrictive.

People have restrictive diets, or are picky eaters, for a number of reasons. One of the reasons has to do with the texture of the food. I was unable to eat scallops for years because of how they were cooked for me. It make me gag just thinking about them. Some people I know cannot eat raw veggies, drink milk, or a whole list of random food things that are completely off limits.

Another big reason for restrictive diets is a sense of comfort. In elementary school, I had a cheese sandwich on Hawaiian bread with chocolate milk almost exclusively for lunch. It made life easier because I knew exactly what was waiting in my lunch box. Even now, I sometimes fall into a routine of the same foods. The only difference is now I try new foods on almost a weekly basis.

When parents ask me how they can make their child try new foods, I need to correct them. They can’t ‘make’ their child do anything. There were times my father made me sit at the table until my plate was rid of veggies. He did not say they had to be eaten and the centerpiece was often my hiding place for peas. Instead of making mealtimes a horrible or dreaded event, there are so many ways to make food fun by first including the person in the process.

What if there was one new fruit or veggie selected each week and that could be an adventure. What if there is a way to prepare or cook the food so it had a different texture? What if it looked more appetizing? What if food was fun and an opportunity for the person to have a say in their own life? Below is a picture of a fun bento box. Fair warning, if you start looking up fun bento box designs you can spend hours falling down the rabbit hole.

Photo credit Wendy Copley from wendolonia.com

Just like with addressing a biological reason why hearing is impacted, it is also important to address if there is a medical issue preventing someone from eating specific foods. There are autistic people who exclude gluten, dairy, and food additives like artificial colors from their diet. Food sensitivities are less serious than allergies, but also need to be considered. Food issues can also develop at any point in life and can also leave randomly. I was horribly allergic to citrus when I was younger, but now I can eat as much as I want. I mean, I still ate citrus when I was allergic but I didn’t care if my face hurt until I ran out of strawberries then I was more upset there was not more. A doctor can run tests to determine allergies, but it doesn’t hurt to make a note if there is a behavior or negative reaction after eating a specific food or at a certain restaurant.

Why I don’t want to see your lunch.

There is something I’ve noticed on the internet and based on comics like The Oatmeal, this is not only on my facebook page. It would be hysterical to imagine history teachers in the future making their students research the origins of this sensation the same way we currently ask students to research what events led up to the Civil War in the United States. “Please write a 2-4 page paper on the origins of people taking pictures of their daily meals and posting these pictures to social media websites. Please note: pictures of food for religious or celebratory purposes are not to be included. “

I have two very big issues with this whole posting food pictures trend. The first issue has to deal with the eating and diet culture we have. The outdated and unhealthy model of “Skinny is Beautiful” oversimplifies health and nutrition. We have a problem in our country with eating disorders and disorder eating. In fact, if you look at your friends on Facebook you make know some of these people. However, odds are you don’t know everyone who struggles with an eating disorder or who is working to be healthier and recover from their eating disorder.

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“Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.”- The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources,” 2003
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As someone who tries to be an advocate for many people and a supportive person, the last thing I want to do is post something out there which could cause someone a problem. There are pictures of food I’ve posted, but those come from travel adventures and most are not terribly appetizing to look at. I sometimes chronical exotic foods not for the sake of others, but for my own memories. My long term memories sometimes get jumbled and there are some fun things I wish to remember in years to come.

The second reason I have issues with posting food has to do with a basic life function: hunger. Just like you may not know how many people on your social media page have eating disorders, you may not know how many people on your page go hungry. Although it should not be, food is not always plentiful for everyone. Let’s not even get into the conversation about healthy food being affordable in places referred to as “food deserts”.

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“In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children. ”- feedingamerica.org
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I was one of those people who lived in a house where there truly was nothing to eat some days. This was also while I worked 40+ hour weeks, lest some of you think I was a slacker. (If you have ever thought I was a slacker, you are obviously not paying attention.) Having money to provide nutritious meals sometimes does not happen. I know I’ve had to make the choice to either pay for medication or food. I choose to get the medication I needed in order to keep my quality of life up enough to go to work so maybe next week there would be money for food.

Hunger is a real issue for many in our community. The point I’m trying to make is to encourage people to be more mindful of what they put out in cyberspace. Posting about your decadent lunch won’t cause the world to end, but donating some canned goods to a local food pantry if you can afford it may help change the world a little. It’s not just Thanksgiving or other major celebrations we should be thankful for what we have. If you can go to bed with a full stomach, or at least don’t have hunger pains keeping you up at night, consider yourself blessed.