Many of us will gather within various communities this week and throughout the winter months to share time, energy, and likely food. Food is a necessary resource, the sharing of which has strong symbolic meaning while also providing literal sustenance and support.
I did not grow up in a cooking household, yet now I am an avid cook. One of the things I am most grateful for is the roommate who taught me how to cook. I learned not only how to better care for myself, but also how to care for my roommate by making them tasty, nutritious meals! (Bonus fact: this roommate was vegan, and thus taught me all sorts of tasty vegan recipes!)
It is unthinkable that all my diverse loved ones would share the same diet. My framily (friends, family, and everything in-between) includes conventional, organic, omnivorous, vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten-free, freegan, and coconut allergic-diets. Obviously diets span many aspects of our lives and are important to our values, lifestyles, and health.
It isn’t always easy to talk about our dietary needs and preferences. Sometimes it feels like one of the taboo topics we shouldn’t talk about in polite company, on par with religion, sex, and politics! I know too well the feeling of being shamed for just talking about ice cream, beer, or vegan sausage. I want to divest from this idea that we all need to share the same diet. What we can share is our loves, needs, desires, cravings, and best snacks. We all know what it is like to be hungry!
Let’s normalize conversations about food, and let’s start this week as you gather with family or friends for Thanksgiving. Here are some starter questions:
What are some of your favorite foods?
What is your favorite part of food preparation?
If you could grow any food in your personal garden, what would it be?
Have you ever made a major diet change? If so, why?
What do you wish you ate more of?
What are the biggest factors that impact your diet?
And so many, many more….!
I also want to encourage everyone to advocate for themselves now, and always. It is not easy, especially if you find yourself unique in your diet. You have the right to determine what you put into your body. You have the right and the ability to make that decision for yourself.
Take care of yourself, take care of each other.