Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Growing up, I hated vegetables. My Mother had a garden and I remember picking peppers, squash and peas – but by the time they were cooked and served, I had no interest in them. When forced to eat vegetables, I would pinch my nose and chew and swallow as quickly as I could.

I think some of this came from any child’s natural pickiness about food, but another major factor was that vegetables simply couldn’t compete with the cookies, chips and soda that I would surreptitiously eat all day long. And lastly, I would venture to guess that my exposure to public school cafeteria food created a lasting impression of disgust (who ever thought that ‘creamed spinach’ would be appealing when ladled out of vats onto small plastic dishes?).

Over the past four years I have changed my mind so completely on this point, that if now I don’t manage to have a least one large helping of vegetables during the day, I don’t feel satisfied. I have them fresh and frozen, raw and in soup, stir fries and salads – just can’t get enough. The produce section has become my favorite part of any supermarket, and it’s the first place I go when I visit Whole Foods or Trader Joes, even when I’m shopping for other items. The more I began to experiment with healthy eating, the more I came to crave fresh squash, peppers, peas – well, all of the things my Mother used to grow.

But there are many times I feel as though the rest of society were still back in the 1960s of my youth – where vegetables are a ‘necessary evil’ to be tolerated only when cooked in oil, slathered in butter, masked in sauces, or hidden in pasta. It’s a shame, too, because with the rise of the organic movement, and with an overall renewal of interest in healthfood, there are more and better vegetables available to more people than ever.

At my office, I have tried in vain to advocate for the inclusion of healthy fruits and vegetables in our many, many food events. But like little kids, my adult office mates strongly prefer ice cream, pizza, cookies, candy and soda almost to exclusion. Recently, I approached my company’s general manager about including a fancy fruit basket in our upcoming year-end holiday party, explaining that good quality food would actually help the staff feel better. His response? He sent his secretary to my office to let me know that while the rest of the staff eats pizza, lasagna, rolls, ice cream and cookies, she is going to make a ‘special trip’ to Boston Market to buy me a ‘vegetarian alternative.’

I was too nonplussed to explain that I’m NOT a vegetarian. I just like fruits and vegetables. So I’ve decided that I’m going to BMOHF (bring my own healthy food) to the party and see if I can come up with the most visually pleasing, most aromatic and tastiest plate possible. I might not change any minds, but at least I won’t be eating junk food.

Vege-philians of the world, unite!

10 thoughts on “Vege-phobia

  1. Heather says:

    Go Jonathan! I’m sure your platter will be the most beautiful there.

  2. Greta says:

    When I bring a fresh fruit platter it’s the first thing eaten.

  3. Julie says:

    Grab the frozen mango chunks from TJs-they’re delish!

  4. Lara says:

    He’s going to Boston Market for a “vegetarian alternative”? Yeah, cuz they’re the home of vegetarian cooking. Bring your own food, I fear for what this guy will come up with for you!

  5. Laurie says:

    It is sad, but we’re so conditioned to eat the junk that fruits and veggies have almost become an acquired taste. Before I started eating more healthfully I never realize how sweet and flavorful a carrot is, how indescribably good roasted veggies are, how much I enjoy tomato sandwiches, and how much of a treat a banana can be. I now cannot stand the thought of drowning veggies in butter and mixing my strawberries with sugar. Although a occasional chocolate dipped strawberry would still appeals to me. 🙂 The bottom line is most of these people eat the way they do simply because they don’t know any better. I’m sure when they get a taste of what they bring at least a few will realize what they’ve been missing!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    My church recently had a potluck, and while there were plates of cookies and brownies still remaining at the end of the meal, the three ENORMOUS bowls of fruit salad were pretty much gone (the one I brought was about 3 pounds of fruit, and it was one of the smaller ones).

  7. Leanne says:

    Veggies are delicious, cooked almost any way. My favourites include butternut pumpkin, eggplant (marinated – yum!), broccoli and snow peas.

    I pity the poor sould who think pizza is a great food. They’re missing so much! And they think we vegans eat a restricted diet!!!

    Enjoy the veggies and fruit – and I predict you’ll be toasting your good health long into the future 🙂

  8. Bonnie says:

    Jonathan, I totally agree with you that we seem to be a lonely minority in an ocean of people who are maniacally overdosing on junk, processed, fat-laden, and high caloric foods, especially this time of the year. I think all of the closet “food-pushers” come out in full force during the holidays. Kudos to you for bringing your own healthy alternatives! I, too, have made a commitment to eat healthfully and resist “most” temptations, which is especially difficult now when office-mates dump cookies, chocolate, donuts, and candy on my desk. Deborah Madison’s cookbooks, many of which focus on fresh vegetables, have been a life saver for me. She is incredibly inventive in her preparation of vegetables. It’s fun to try new recipes and it actually helps me resist all the other temptations. Keep up the great work and positive attitude when dealing with this silly “feeding-frenzy” time of year. When I compare how I feel both physically and emotionally after eating healthfully to how I feel after eating junk, that’s a HUGE reason to keep me on track.

  9. Josie says:

    I have to laugh whenever I go to business luncheons and request the “vegetarian alternative.” I usually end up with a plate full of blah-tasting steamed vegetables (usually the leftovers from the main entree of everyone else).

    I can just envision the poor, beleaguered chef panicking in the kitchen about what to throw together for me. 9 times out of 10 the food is very unappetizing, but I still don’t regret asking for it because I am so proud of myself afterwards.

  10. Greta says:

    I am slightly vegi-phoebic myself but I keep on buying and eating them. Veggies are such a major key to weight loss I would not be where I am (down 50 lbs) without veggies.

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