I am the stereotype of what people call “picky eaters”.
I don’t eat fish except for raw tuna and salmon. I try to avoid most vegetables. Some because they make me sick (such as broccoli or spinach), some because I just believe they degrade the rest of the food’s taste (such as onions or peppers).
Those last two I can eat but I also feel a disgust go through my entire body if they crunch between my teeth.
In today’s world, vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, or other such ways of eating have gotten widely accepted but picky eaters still get looked down upon.
Why are we pushed down?
I think it all comes down to a lack of understanding of why picky eaters are the way they are.
Vegetarians, vegans and such always stated a reason for their choice of food regimen but picky eaters don’t show the same consistency.
Why can I eat onions if they are cut in very thin slices but not in larger? The taste should be the same, right? If I can eat raw salmon, why couldn’t I eat cooked salmon?
“It makes no sense!”
For you maybe, but it does for me.
When it comes to seafood, I got a shocking experience when I was 6 or 7 when my father forced me to eat some sardines even though just the smell was making me sick. I ended up trying and did get food sick from it.
It may look stupid in your eyes, but for me, it represents the day my body started rejecting any type of seafood.
The only reason I can eat raw salmon and tuna is that the smell is less strong and because I spent years forcing myself to breathe in fish markets I would come across in the hope of getting used to it.
Every picky eater’s “cannot-eat list” is full of varied items seemingly unrelated to others but connected by the same trait linked to a shocking experience — or, unfortunately, to various experiences.
You’ll never be able to fully comprehend why we have such blocks but it doesn’t mean you can’t try to understand the most important thing.
It’s not a choice
Just because you don’t understand the reason doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to understand this part.
Being a picky eater is complicated.
Living in Japan and not eating many vegetables nor fish is quite complicated. Fish is everywhere after all and it’s a constant hassle to be able to find what I want without bothering others.
For someone living in Korea where plates of food are often shared, this would be very cumbersome too.
Nobody wants to be a picky eater. We just are and we learn to adapt to the society we live in.
Yes, we do try
Ah, the magical belief that picky eater never try. What a beauty.
This belief most certainly comes from every single parent telling children to “stop being picky” and us associating being picky with being a child.
However, contrary to children, adults who are picky eaters often try to overcome their food nemesis.
As stated above, I was able to start eating some raw fish because I tried. For onions, I can now eat some because I added some here and there in extremely tiny doses in my food at home.
This, again, could sound childish to you, but they are efforts that go unnoticed.
It’s not because you don’t see someone try that they aren’t trying at all.
To me, the well-known saying “Work when others are sleeping” doesn’t just mean to work when others aren’t. It also means when others can’t see you.
The efforts you do are for yourself first and trying to stop being a picky eater is just as much work as anything else.
So next time you see a picky eater, why not genuinely ask the reason behind that specific food being a problem?
And if you’re a picky eater, let me know how you’ve been handling it!