As a child, did you read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess? Did the Cat in the Hat have a preference for eggs? How about ham? We never do learn why the Cat in the Hat refuses to try a bite at first, or what their food preferences are, but we know they did not want those green eggs & ham, Sam I Am.
Today we are constantly bombarded with miracle foods, fad diets, and “cutting edge” nutritional information. These are undoubtedly clouding our own preferences for food. The constant marketing is creating more complication than you may expect.
To remember one’s preferences, take a moment to identify your likes and dislikes. Take note of thoughts, rules, feelings, beliefs that direct your food choices. Green eggs and ham? What comes to mind? Would you eat them? In a box or with a fox? What sights, smells, textures, sounds, tastes of food play into your preferences?
And what about, HOW, your preferred food interacts with your body?
Marc David challenges his readers in Nourishing Wisdom to believe that, “food is neutral” - food is neither good nor bad. David continues “there is no such thing as an intrinsically good or bad food,” and that one can “assess the effects of food ... as either desirable or undesirable.”
Intuitive Eating experts Tribole and Resch reinforce this idea by encouraging the practice of letting go of “preconceived notions that certain foods are good and others are bad.” In addition, legalizing food is the process of “decriminalizing eating and removing moral qualities and negative powers from food.” When all foods are allowed “food returns to its appropriate status as a nourishment for life” and food choices can be driven by adequacy, moderation and variety. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports when “all foods are allowed there is less incentive to restrict, binge, purge, or secretly eat. Legalizing food does not mean it must be eaten, it only means it can be eaten.”
Food can be referred to as “more nutrient dense” and “less nutrient dense.”
Food can be referred to as “more to my liking” or “less to my liking.”
The effects of food within one's body can be identified as “desirable” or “undesirable.”
You can re-learn which foods you actually like or dislike. Here’s how.
Try all foods (as long as you are knowingly not allergic to it) and notice what happens next: satiety, pleasure, pain, nothing, hunger, headache, joy, gas, bloating, discomfort, neutral-ness…only you know how food feels in your body.
Proclaim: “I __________ green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-am!”
Andrus, E. and Cruze, R. (2013). Making peace with your plate. Las Vegas, NV: Central Recovery Press
Suess, Dr. (1960). Green Eggs and Ham. New York, NY: Random House Children’s Books
Resch, E., Tribole, E. (2020). Intuitive Eating 4th ed. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Publishing Group
David, M. (1991). Nourishing Wisdom. New York, NY: Bell Tower
Setnick, J. (2017). Pocket Guide to Eating Disorders 2nd Ed. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics