Hi there friends,
First up, apologies for my lack of time here at ChangeSational lately. I have had the flu and although my mind and heart have been saying ‘blog, blog, blog”, the rest of me has been screaming ‘please tell that enthusiastic writer woman to lay down and get some rest, for goodness sake!’ Blogger Me kept protesting, but I gotta say the extra rest has worked wonders and I am feeling a lot better. Sometimes you have just got to pay attention to the signals your body is sending! 🙂
Okay, so it’s on with today’s post, which is about Food Neophobia. Neo what? Read on dear friend….
The other evening I decided to try something new at the Changesational dinner table and serve up falafels. I think most of you would be familiar with Falafels, but in case you are not, they are essentially a dish from the Middle East made mainly from chick peas, which are very healthy, high in protein and low in fat.
Falafels and Me go a long way back. Way back to a backpacking holiday in Israel during a time when myself and my travelling companion had only had enough shekels left to feed ourselves with Falafel Kebabs. Yep, that’s all we had – one Falafel Kebab a day, everyday, for about four days. Granted we had a cup of tea every morning, provided for free at the hostel we were staying at. However after that our one Falafel Kebab was our main and only meal.
The Falafel Party
Lucky for me, I loved them and in no way felt deprived or lacking. Of course I knew it was for a limited time, which no doubt helped me psychological, however I now also know the power of high protein food to satisfy the appetite and do not think my experience of food deprivation would have been quite as happy had the only food available been, let’s say, a high sugar food. Anyhoozie……I am digressing as the real point of this post is to discuss our individual aversions to trying new foods.
Which brings me back to the dinner table and my Falafel meal. I was happy about the menu selection, however my enthusiasm did not extend to all family members at the table. I couldn’t understand it.
‘What’s wrong with Falafels ?’ I asked innocently, to the wary diners at my table, all of whom were staring at their plates wearing their best ‘I’m not gonna eat this’ expression. Personally I love trying new foods. I may bawk at a few, like snails or crocodile, but otherwise I would say that I am a healthy but adventurous eater.
Apparently I am in a minority and as it turns out ‘food pickiness’ is actually quite widespread. Who knew? Not me. However, after a little research and reading on the matter I have managed to uncover the following facts about food pickiness or as it is known in the world of psychology, Food Neophobia.
1) Although most will grown out of it, children typically develop a form of Food Neophobia around the age of two. Their innate fear of eating unfamiliar foods apparently protects them from eating something poisonous.
2) This primal fear also apparently dates back to our prehistoric ancestors who had to be wary of things they hadn’t eaten before or hadn’t watched someone else eat, as it may have contained toxins.
3) Sometimes however these early eating phobias turn into adult fears, even though we know it is irrational. If we have a fairly rigid menu when we are children, this makes it more difficult for us to eat out of our ‘comfort zone’ as adults.
Healthy Eating/Healthy Choice
Not surprisingly, this type of rigidity is not beneficial to our overall health. As a professor of human nutrition from the University of Sydney recently stated, “Eating a wide variety of food increases your chances of receiving the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.” ” There is also personal growth to be found in trying new foods,” she continues, “as it assists us in learning that it is not uncomfortable to try something new.” Besides all that, you might actually like it!
So what new food might you try this week? I ask that question because if you’re up to it I’d like to start a ‘New Food Challenge’. It basically goes like this: – Could you try one new food this week and then let me know about your experience? Did you enjoy the food? Was it as bad as you perhaps had thought? What did your taste buds have to say about the new food?
Please let us know if you choose to join this challenge. We would love to hear from you! Just click on the comment thingy below to share your ‘New Food’ experience, now or anytime over the next week. We may even publish the best ‘New Food Experience’ (with your permission) to share with other readers. So Happy New Eating Friends – hope to hear from you soon.
Oh and what of my non-falafel eating diners ? Well, I’ll be honest. There was a mixed reaction, but overall but they did enjoy them and that was even without my ‘big stick’ approach. 🙂