Expanding My Food Choices

April 8, 2011: The first time I tried broccoli in oh, a decade, and the first time in my life that I thought it tasted good!  Photo credit to my sister who realized the shocking nature of the meal and photographed the whole thing.
I have always been a picky eater.  Ask my parents.   I was pretty bland and narrow.  I ate more with my mind and eyes than my mouth and taste-buds.  I wasn't keen on vegetables except raw carrots, green beans (only with cheese on top), or potatoes.  I didn't like salads of any sort be it lettuce salad, potato salad, or macaroni salad (they were cold).  I didn't like milk (it coated my mouth).  I didn't like eggs (bad texture and smell).  I didn't really like fruit except apples or oranges or canned fruit in syrup.  I didn't eat anything that came from water (that fishy taste and smell!).   I was huge on grains.  I still am.

If I look skeptical it is probably because I was.
Over the years I have trained myself to enjoy a variety of foods I would never have previously touched with a ten foot pole.  Like beans of any sort.  (As a child my mother would make me a special pot of chili with NO beans just hamburger, tomato sauce, and spices.)   Adopting a plant-based diet really helped.  It "forced" me to look at my food choices in a whole new way.  No longer could I call just chicken nuggets and tater-tots a meal.  I was "forced" to try things!  I now can't imagine my life without beans, fruits of all sorts, squash, peas, spinach, mushrooms, yams and so many other things that I used to turn my nose up at.  Still....it was sometimes slow going.  Case in point:  green salads and broccoli.

Roasted broccoli and garlic with white beans.
So, after reading In Defense of Food a few months ago I began a campaign of increasing the variety of the foods I ate, particularly leaves.   I felt all along that a diet composed from a wide variety of foods was the key to robust nutrition.  In Defense of Food just drove home that my diet still wasn't quite as varied as I'd like it to be. 

So, I tried a salad.  I tried different kinds of mushrooms.  I tried a radicchio, which was the one experimental food that I thought was horrible.  I tried quinoa, which I absolutely love.  I tried chard again.  I tried red cabbage.  I ate broccoli.  I tried a arugula.  I ate miso.  I bought kale for the first time.  I ate a whole fresh pear.  I made a green smoothie.  And so on.

I still don't love salad, but maybe someday I will.  Broccoli was pretty darn good roasted and even if I never learn to like it prepared a different way at least I have that.  I had roast broccoli for lunch in fact!  The pear was amazing.  Green smoothies are a subtle way to engest raw greens for breakfast.  Miso soup is incredible.  And there are still so many things I need to try.  Like collard greens, and bok choy, parsnips, turnips, and oh so many others.  All in due time....


  1. Good for you! Did you try shredded radicchio in a salad? There is less to bite down on and might please you better. I like so many foods that I refuse to try to like the ones I cannot stand because those are foods to which I have allergies. The fishy smell gets me, too. Fish in a can--tuna, salmon, sardines--is better than anything from the seafood dept. The one exception is fresh-caught. fresh-water fish. At least you realize how limited your diet has been.Great post!

  2. Ah, yes, variety is truly the spice of life! And I am blessed with absolutely no food allergies that I know of!

    I didn't try the radicchio in a salad as I am still training myself to like salads! I will try it again when I am salad ready, if that makes sense. I appreciate your suggestion though.

  3. Good for you for being adventurous! I've heard that you have to be exposed to new foods up to 7 times or more until you like them :)

  4. I've heard that too. I know for experience that I CAN train myself to like things if I care enough about it and keep at it. Thanks for the encouragement.


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