I finally understand vegetables. I was a vegetarian for decades. But I was a mac and cheese vegetarian. I’d have been happy to live on mac and cheese! Maybe a sandwich, lasagna, enchiladas, and rice from time to time!
Vegetables were difficult for me! Intense flavors, intense textures, a lot of variety and needing knowledge of how to prepare them. Also, they could spoil as I tried to figure out how to make them, so I would feel guilty.
Veg felt like obligation. Then when I changed how I eat because of the histamine issue I was having, I learned so much.
This is how I explained it to Ming.
My goal of life was to eat delicious carbs. I loved pasta, rice, bread, pancakes, tortillas… My whole goal of life was carbs! Soft, slightly salty carbs. And then delicious sauces or toppings or sandwich fillings, to delicify the carbs.
Mac and cheese was perfect–the loveliest sauce, with the carbiest carb. Or eggs and buttered toast–similar. Or quesadilla, cheese enchiladas, pancakes with nuts. Carbs with something fatty and decadent and savory. Yes!
So vegetables were really just a distraction from all of this. Veg could make a nice flavor, like a little bit of broccoli in the spaghetti sauce. Or a little cucumber in the cheese sandwich, if we were feeling fancy.
I could enjoy a carrot from time to time, or some peas in my garlic lover’s pasta. Spinach was delicious to me, and I would have spinach sometimes in eggs or by themselves. Same with tree collards–especially growing tree collards ourselves.
Then I was narrowed down to way fewer foods, last summer. Suddenly I was not eating wheat or corn, so I stopped eating pasta and bread. Wow, no sandwiches anymore. I shifted to rice and quinoa as my main carbs, and eating vegetables with those was common. Stir fry over rice was a concept I had for a long time.
But I realized I could throw veg in with the rice as it cooked, and then I didn’t need to dirty the wok. Ming has ocd related to dishes, laundry, and other water-based activities, so the fewer dishes I make, the better!
I learned to make quinoa in my rice cooker, which was a triumph, and I put veg in there the same.
Also eliminated from my food plan was tomatoes, spinach, avocados, eggplant, pumpkin, cheese, peas, and many of my favorite things to eat. Soy also was eliminated–tofu and fake meat were no longer available to me.
Veg was now important to me, as something I could eat and not react to. The more veg I ate, the more it became a happy, normal part of my life. The guilt about veg disappeared, and only joy remained. I learned it’s delicious, fun, helps me feel healthy, helps fill me, and doesn’t have to be difficult.
Some people long ago criticized me for liking soft veg. They said veg is supposed to be barely cooked, and then I felt guilty for liking veg soft. The result was that I mostly stopped eating veg–I was frozen by their criticism.
That’s a good example of how realizing I probably have autism helps me. A lot of people with autism have texture issues with food. People with autism could need crunchy, or hate crunchy, or only want one texture.
My hated foods are celery, jicama, and water chestnuts. I hate crunchy! I would let my cereal soak in milk until it was soft, when I was a kid. My mouth gets overwhelmed by food textures, and I quietly freak out and feel really really uncomfortable.
So that is one more reason I loved mac and cheese. It has a consistent texture and is soft. Yay. I smile to think of it.
I send a fuck you back in time to the people who shamed me for wanting my veg soft, and who did anything to make eating vegetables harder for me.
And a fuck you to anyone who shamed me in general. I was a good kid, doing my best, against incredible odds. If you’re going to shame people, please choose a valid topic, such as polluting Mother Earth, exploiting workers, or caging kids. There’s a lot of harm done in this world–how I cooked my broccoli was not harm.
Jackasses made assumptions that I was a regular person playing with regular rules, which was not true at all. I was a remarkable person playing with very different rules, and I did not deserve to be shamed for any of my struggles.
I googled about autism and food textures, and I’m crying to read this article. https://otsimo.com/en/how-to-get-child-to-eat
I’m crying because I see mentioned a lot of struggle I felt and couldn’t get help with, as a kid. The list that ends “being unaware of pain” gets me a lot. I had a lot of trouble with pain–I was aware of it, but I didn’t think it counted as pain.
I was the kid told to shut up and stop crying. That’s what I did then, obedient and easy, so I could keep getting what I needed to survive. I was accommodating the needs of adults who couldn’t handle the needs of a kid.
So I cry now. Now I live in a safe family where my needs are respected, and Ming can handle them. Hmm, I seem to have derailed my own post. Thanks for sticking with me.
Ming and veg
Ming thought I was saying that veg was something I considered unimportant, like I was misinformed about nutrition.
No, I corrected him–I knew abstractly that veg is nutritious and good for people. It just was not something that made sense for me and seemed to work for me, on a day to day basis. I knew I should want veg, but I didn’t want it. All I honestly wanted was carbs with deliciousness on them.
I could have eggplant around to make baba ganoush, or mushrooms to make mushroom curry. (I know mushrooms are fungi, not veg, but I treated them like veg.) But unless I had a certain purpose for them, I had no use for veg really.
Ming said for him, he liked vegetables and understood they are important, but he lacked skills at preparing them. Then there’s disability–falling asleep all the time, ocd, trouble with follow through. So for him it was a lack of cooking ability.
Things shift and change all the time. So happy not to be stuck. I’m glad Ming learns and I learn.
Thank you for holding these tears I cry, as I comprehend the vastness of what was done to me as a kid, and what happens to seas of kids. Then the adults we grow into, who carry all this shame and struggle. Thank you for being kind to kids and all people, about foods and feelings.