Ten Foods I Will Not Fear

Although anxiety about the color of food has plagued me for a long time, some foods, regardless of color, spike my anxiety because of their actual substance. In recovery, I have overcome my anxiety of fat by welcoming the likes of cheese, nuts, and chocolate into my diet, but I remain wary of the following, either because they’re dangerously deliciousdangerously because “once you pop, you just can’t stop” – or too taboo. That said, with the goal of recovering as much as possible, I will eventually eat – in entirety or single bite form – each, though I advice not holding your breath; I may take years to muster up the courage.

Importantly, these foods are not bad; sure, fried foods are not as healthful as a meal of steamed fish with wild rice and grilled vegetables, but everything in moderation is just fine. Eating the occasional bucket of buttery theater popcorn will not result in an earlier death by any means, but depriving yourself of such deliciousness will take away from life’s joy. Guilt is self-inflicted, so once one learns to trust ones body, the guilt inherent in eating “junk” foods will disintegrate.

And this comes from personal experience.

Fear of “fatty foods” emerged in my mid teens when I became more nutritionally versed, but full-blown panic in the face of “junk” did not surface until the onset of anorexia a few years later. To me, it made perfect sense that so-called fattening foods would manifest themselves as fat on muscles, which, in turn, meant they were chopped from my diet. No questions asked.

It took several nutritionists, healthy eating websites, and books on well-being to reverse this logic, or “illogic,” as it were. Trial taught me that cake wouldn’t instantaneous make my thighs cakey, and pudding wouldn’t immediately transform my belly into a similarly gloopy substance. Proudly, not a day goes by that I don’t have a sweet treat or chunk of cheese, but I cannot deny that fat thoughts continue to taunt me. The important thing is that I challenge them. I don’t give into my former irrationality. Life is too short. And I am too smart.

Things are only as powerful as we make them, so if food wears the pants in your relationship, repossess your authority, minus the control component. The mind is a powerful entity, which can be both beneficial and harmful; in terms of the mind and food, I am a strong believer that if you think something will make you fat, it will.

Woah there, that’s a little simplistic, you may be thinking. Well yes, you have a point: it is not as though your body will morph into a human blimp if you nibble on a cookie while thinking about its caloric content, but negative thoughts will release stress hormones that interrupt the body’s ease and subsequent digestion. The point: change your take on good and bad foods and your body will change (for the better) too.

And I will not preach. The idea behind revealing ten foods I fear is to hold myself accountable to constantly bettering my relationship with food. As aforementioned, my fears of tabooed foods are so deeply rooted that I do not expect to dial-up Domino’s Pizza within the next week, but putting my goals out in the open makes them seem that much more doable. Baby steps.

Food, beware, I’m takin’ back your power;  I’m on a mission for well-rounded nutrition.

Scones and jam, skip the cream, it's overrated.

Scones and jam. Skip the cream, it’s overrated.

S'mores. 'Nough said.

S’mores. ‘Nough said.

Pain au chocolat. When I was younger, I'd eat these daily when visiting my grandparents in France. I keep reminding myself that they didn't make me fat then, but I still fear them. One day, one day..

Pain au chocolat. When I was younger, I’d eat these daily when visiting my grandparents in France. Despite reminding myself that these breakfast goodies didn’t make me fat then, I still fear them. One day, one day..

Oreo bark. I eat chocolate daily, but there's something more intimidating about Oreo bark.

I eat chocolate daily, but there’s something more intimidating about Oreo bark.

Cocoa Pebbles. Yes, pebbles, not Pops. Pops just 'aint gonna cut it.

Cocoa Pebbles. Yes, Pebbles, not Pops. Pops just ‘aint gonna cut it. The last time I ate these was on the day I passed my driving test. Perhaps that’s a sign I should enjoy this lucky cereal more often.

Poptarts. At boarding school, breakfasts consisted of soggy weetabix and warm milk, but at home I was treated to Poptarts galore. But they had to be strawberry and unfrosted, not matter how pretty those sprinkles were..

Poptarts. At boarding school, breakfasts consisted of soggy Weetabix and warm milk, but at home I was treated to Poptarts galore. But they had to be strawberry and unfrosted, no matter how pretty those sprinkles were. And, interestingly enough, unlike most people I had a special thing for the crusts..

Bologna sandwiches: the sound of my childhood. Though one could argue that they were actually mayonnaise sandwiches with a little bit of bologna. Either way, they were special because I could only have them in America, which meant they became closely associated with vacation time. To be frank, I don't think I could stomach the real deal anymore, but even having the faux-meat version is good enough for me.

Bologna sandwiches: the sound of my childhood. Though one could argue they were actually mayonnaise sandwiches with a little bit of bologna tucked neatly inside. Either way, they were special because I could only find the right materials in America, which meant they became closely associated with vacation time. To be frank, I don’t think I could stomach the real deal anymore, but the faux meat version is feasible.

Irrefutably, home baked cookies take 1st place, but there's something special about Chips Ahoy cookies, especially when they've been slightly warmed up by the sun.

Irrefutably, home-baked cookies take 1st place, but there’s something special about Chips Ahoy cookies, especially when they’ve been slightly warmed up by the sun.

My pre-17 year old self LOVED putting potato chips in my sandwiches. The flavor I most fear is BBQ.

My pre-17 year old self LOVED putting potato chips in my sandwiches, especially tuna ones. It has been years and years since I have eaten a potato chip, and the flavor I most fear is BBQ. I do not doubt that our hiatus will eventually come to an end, though I also do not see them frequenting my meals.

At boarding school in England, when I was about 10, once in a blue moon a jar of peanut butter would make an appearance at afternoon snack time. Since jam was a staple, I'd leap at the opportunity to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and while I savored every bite, my English Rose peers would stare at me with disgust, and housemothers even told me I wasn't allowed to do such a thing. It took the English a long long time to accept peanut butter into their lives.

At boarding school in England, when I was about 10, once in a blue moon a jar of peanut butter would be dusted off for afternoon snack. Since jam was a staple, I’d leap at the opportunity to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but while I savored every bite, my English Rose peers would stare at me with disgust, and housemothers even told me I wasn’t allowed to do such a ghastly thing. It took the English a terribly long time to welcome peanut butter into their lives.

Do you experience anxiety when it comes to stereotypically unhealthful foods?

What foods do you fear in particular?

How have you overcome your food fears?

What are some foods you do not allow yourself to eat but wish you could?

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2 responses to “Ten Foods I Will Not Fear

  1. This was a really interesting and fun read. I don’t get that much anxiety over foods I know I won’t eat because . . . well, I KNOW I won’t eat them (burgers, fries, cake, pie, pastas, pizza, etc). Bread, peanut butter, and cookies, however, make me anxious because I know I love them and have a hard time eating just a reasonable amount. (I love the mortification of a PBJ–my parents came over from the Soviet Union and were initially on a food program that delivered “household staples.” They also had no idea how to incorporate PB into daily food and tossed out the jars.) Otherwise, I’ll usually restrict, and then eat an “unhealthy” food, such as my favorite out-to-eat treat ever: fruit and nutella inside of a crepe. OMG YUM!! Mostly I wish I could eat 50 servings of fruit, several baguettes, and an entire jar of peanut butter every day of my life. My wish is always for AS MUCH AS I WANT.

    • Thank you for sharing; your openness is exactly what this blog strives to bring out of people, predominantly because honesty is fundamental in overcoming personal struggles. The story of how your parents tossed out the jars of pb because they didn’t know how to use such a substance cracks me up- so classic. Has your love of pb encouraged them to try it? And if so, what do they think of it now? I’m intrigued because no matter how many times I get my English Grandma to have a tiny taste of the stuff, she grimaces. It’s entertaining, but also so confusing for a diehard nut butter lover…

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