General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Please provide suggestions for how an already-picky eater can eat as few animals as possible.

Asked by girlofscience (7434 points ) October 8th, 2009

For quite some time now, I have felt so unbelievably guilty every time I have eaten meat, and thus, I am trying to stop. My reasons for feeling guilty are solely rooted in the terrible conditions in which animals to be eaten are kept and killed. I wish to not continue to contribute to this practice by not consuming its products.

The only problem is: There are very few foods I like to begin with. Additionally, I love going out to eat, but there are usually only 1–2 items on any given restaurant menu that I can possibly enjoy because of my food pickiness. So I am already very limited, and I am afraid that if I vow to stop eating meat entirely, I’ll be completely cutting out one of my favorite pastimes – eating at restaurants.

I haven’t eaten meat for a week now, and it’s been going just fine because I haven’t been out to a restaurant since last Wednesday.

Here are my food issues: I don’t like salad at all, I don’t like sandwiches of any kind (aside from PB&J and grilled cheese), and I like very few vegetables (string beans, peas, corn, lima beans, and edamame are the only ones I will really eat). I do not like ANY tomato products (no marinara sauce, ketchup, salsa, nothing!). I have tried bites of salad and the other things I do not like, and it is just not possible for me to eat them. As soon as they hit my throat, I gag. I find them to be very unpalatable.

The primary foods I eat are pasta, potatoes, and cheese. I like all three of these things in almost any variety. I also like any cereal, candy, dessert, and sweet thing. I can absolutely eat anything on any dessert menu; I wish I had that kind of flexibility with regular food!

The only meats that I have ever enjoyed are chicken, steak, and bacon. I used to get bacon every morning with my breakfast, but for the past week, I have only gotten eggs and hash browns.

My main issue is that, typically, the only menu items I like at any restaurant are the chicken dish and the steak dish. And even then, I usually need to make modifications to them and have them leave some things off. If I decide to stop eating meat entirely, there simply won’t be anything I can eat at most restaurants. And I don’t want to have to limit myself to the few restaurants that may have a pasta dish for me. I love trying all restaurants. Nor do I want to have pasta be the only thing I can ever eat when I go out. (I should also note that I have frequent work-related lunches and dinners, so I can’t always control what restaurant I’ll be eating at.)

Additionally, considering my food limitations, is a meatless diet even a balanced diet for me? Here is a typical day of food for me:
Breakfast – eggs, hash browns, and coffee
Lunch – grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, and juice
Snack – candy bar
Dinner – mac & cheese, potato & cheese pierogies, edamame, and a glass of wine
Dessert – ice cream / cereal / poptarts

That’s literally what I eat almost everyday, and it’s pretty much all the foods that I can tolerate, other than chicken, steak, and bacon, which used to be incorporated.

These are a sampling of the typical foods I get when I would go out to eat:
Asian – teriyaki noodles and chicken or chicken, string beans, and rice
Indian – chicken vindaloo (spicy chicken and potatoes) and rice
Italian – pasta with olive oil, garlic, butter, and parmesan cheese with grilled chicken
Mexican – chicken quesadilla (no veggies) or steak tacos (no veggies) or chicken tortilla soup
Greek – flaming saganaki and pasta with oil and feta cheese and chicken
Other – filet mignon or some other cut of steak with some kind of potatoes

And those things are pretty much the only things I like on the menus.

I really do not want to continue to contribute to the horribly meat industry, but I am already so limited in the foods that I like. And I have attempted to like more foods, but I just can’t even swallow them.

Finally, I am unsure what to do about the gelatin issue. This would mean I couldn’t eat my favorite cereals or fruit snacks, which I love very much. I am not even trying to cut out animal products (because really, WHAT could I eat then?), but gelatin is real animal, not just animal product.

Please help!

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49 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

Consult your physician and/or a nutritionist.

girlofscience's avatar

@eponymoushipster: Wtf, not helpful. Did you really think that would be a new, insightful idea for me, or were you just trying to be snippy?

Perhaps a nutritionist could provide some suggestions, but I opened this question to Fluther so that I could survey a larger group of people who may have had their own variety of experiences with food.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@girlofscience

Additionally, considering my food limitations, is a meatless diet even a balanced diet for me?

sunshine, you didn’t mention doing that once in your details. maybe you had overlooked that. and if you have other dietary restrictions (halal is my guess~), then that would probably be the BEST bet, especially since you don’t describe to us your “other limitations” and you appear to be a somewhat picky eater (no tomatoes in any form, etc).

people could suggest to you certain products, but we won’t know whether they fall into your limitations or not.

girlofscience's avatar

@eponymoushipster: I did not describe such “other limitations” because I do not have them. And why did you think I was Muslim?!?! As detailed as I was, don’t you think I would have mentioned if I also had some kind of insane restriction?

I pretty much described all the limitations that I have. And none of them have any reasoning other than the fact that I don’t find the taste to be pleasant. I also tried to give a good sampling of the things I do like. I’m sure there are Fluther people who will be able to help in some way.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@girlofscience perhaps this site (http://www.vegpa.net/) would be of benefit to you.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Your diet appears to be lacking vegetables. Starches will just convert into sugar. Look into more whole grain products, like quinoa and barley, and more legumes like beans. Here’s some tips on eating out. Here’s how to make better-for-you vegetarian food at home.

girlofscience's avatar

@eponymoushipster: Ok, I don’t live in Pennsylvania, but thanks. But really, where did the halal hypothesis come from?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

The assumption that all animals are mistreated in the course of thier lifetimes to becoming food for humans annoys the crap out of me. Do some research, there are people in the animal husbandry business that kill their livestock humanely. I know, because the places I buy my meat do not cause their animals to suffer needlesssly. I love animals enough to want them treated humanely when they become food for me. People that can’t understand how a person that respects animal life can still eat meat, well life is too short to try and explain what is quite obvious to them.

sorry if this sounds snarky, but I often hear people state that killing an animal for food is automatically cruel. Well, if that is true, then harvesting fruits and veggies kills them as well, and maybe someone who is worried about the pain of animal death and vegatative death should maybe stop eating all together.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@girlofscience it was a guess. i thought you were in Philly too?

girlofscience's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: I’ve been doing volunteer work for animals for over a year, and I’ve only recently started to feel guilty about eating animals. I never implied that I don’t understand how a person that respects animal life can still eat meat. I certainly do, because I respect animal life, and I eat meat.

I also never assumed that all animals are mistreated in the course of their lifetimes to becoming food. And I have done a lot of research on this. But as I’m sure you’re well aware, many, many animals are severely mistreated. And seeing as I eat most of the meat I do at restaurants, I can’t really control where that meat comes from.

I’m missing what I said that you disagree with…

girlofscience's avatar

@eponymoushipster: No, I live in North Carolina. I grew up in Philadelphia.

But seriously, where could that Muslim guess possibly have come from? I can’t imagine a single thing I have ever said that could have even remotely implied I was Muslim.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@girlofscience there was a tilde next to it. let it go.

girlofscience's avatar

@eponymoushipster: I see the tilde. I’m still completely confused by the idea and curious as to what could have possibly led you to that assumption. Please inform. PM if you wish.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@girlofscience I didn’t meant to direct the assumption of cruelty to animals in the butchering process to mean you personally, and I should have stated that a little more clearly. In the past, other people on Fluther have questioned my ethics concerning being a carnivore and having respect for animals. I think it is great that you want to continue to eat meat (or not) and have concern about the welfare of animals raised for human consumption. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to imply any of my previous answer about my annoyance to you directly.

girlofscience's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: Ok, that’s fine; thanks. It really came across as annoyance directly at me. Glad we cleared that up.

DarkScribe's avatar

The primary foods I eat are pasta, potatoes, and cheese.

You had better manage to develop if not a liking, at least a tolerance for other more healthy foods. These are all carbs and fat, great if you want end up on television having parts of your house demolished to transport you to the waiting ambulance.

Many adults eat foods that they don’t necessarily enjoy purely in order to be healthy. It is normally children who are “picky eaters”.

girlofscience's avatar

@DarkScribe: Ok, if I ever even weighed more than 110 pounds, I’d drastically change my diet. But I’m a skinny gal with an apparently ridiculous metabolism. And I’m active, too.

rockstargrrrlie's avatar

@DarkScribe
I’ve known @girlofscience and her family for many years. Given both her current size and the size of her family members, I find it incredibly unlikely that she would ever be that large.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rockstargrrrlie I find it incredibly unlikely that she would ever be that large.

Stick that diet and she will be. Carbs are what stack weight on, not fat. I struggled to gain weight when I was young, tried everything, but as I didn’t like bread, potatoes or pasta – it was hard. Then I began a relationship with someone who thrived on them and with a year I was much heavier. As I have a very active lifestyle I never got too big, but ALL of that girl and her family are obese nowadays. A few years back I had to lose weight to manage medically induced type two diabetes. I went of a heavily carb restricted diet and dropped close seventy pound in six weeks.

Carbs are what create body fat, not consumed fats. I eat a high fat and protein, moderate carb diet and have a BMI under 22. The low fat diet myth has been discredited for years, but food (diet companies) still push it. It is less expensive to cut fats and bulk food out with carbs, than cut carbs and increase protein.

girlofscience's avatar

@DarkScribe: I’ve had a diet of pasta, potatoes, and cheese for 23 years. If I ever were to start gaining weight, I would change it… Not just continue to gain weight! I take pride in my body, and as of now, eating the way I do does not adversely affect my figure. If it did, I would not eat like this.

Jesus, I really can’t win. If ever I say I want to start eating healthy, people freak out and act like I’m anorexic. But my current diet will apparently make me a house.

laureth's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra is right. I go out of my way to seek out meat that is from animals raised in non-factory conditions. It turns out that my local farmer’s market has humanely-raised buffalo, beef, lamb, pork and chicken. All of them are delicious. And all of them had pasture, enough room, etc. The people that sell me the meat are the ones that do the actual raising.

And, when it comes down to it, eating steak kills fewer animals than eating an equal amount of chicken meat, or even fish (especially if you count by-kill).

I’m with the other people when it comes to choosing a healthier diet – but please understand that not all animals live in the conditions you despise.

girlofscience's avatar

@laureth: But I’d really only be interested in eating meat when I go out to restaurants anyway. I have plenty alternatives when it comes to purchasing my own food. But at restaurants, my options are limited.

laureth's avatar

Also, if you like restaurants (and I do too!), you may wish to check out Chipotle’s stance on animal husbandry. It’s getting easier to find minimal-cruelty meat in restaurants if you know where to look.

DarkScribe's avatar

@girlofscience I’ve had a diet of pasta, potatoes, and cheese for 23 years.

Wait another ten years and see what happens. You can do it when young, but it is a habit that will bite you when you get a bit older. There are many millions of obese people who will say “when I was younger I could eat anything – I don’t know what happened.

You asked for advice, you don’t have to take it. A high carb diet without vegetables and proteins is not healthy unless you have an athletic lifestyle. If you do burn a lot of energy, then no problem – until you slow down.

casheroo's avatar

@DarkScribe Seriously. A diet without roughage leads to diverticulitis as my poor cousin had to learn the hard way, and have over a foot of intestines removed….and she is shaped just like @girlofscience. She had to completely change her diet, after emergency surgery.

I see your dilemma…at home is no issue, but since you do eat out a lot..it seems you’re just out of luck. Some restaurants have specific vegetarian sections on the menu, or you could make a meal out of multiple side dishes of your liking.

Harp's avatar

Wow, @girlofscience , that is…um, challenging. How about working some beans or other legumes in there, for a start. You’ve got the peanut butter, but if you can handle lentils or beans you can get the protein with less fat. Fresh fruit would also be a nice addition.

As for restaurants, here in Chicago we have a bajillion great Indian places that are entirely vegetarian, and they have ways of dealing with vegetables, grains and legumes that you may never have seen before and may actually like. Try going with a good friend and ordering a big assortment of small portions and see how that goes. You may find a few things that you can make a meal out of in the future.

Ethiopian restaurants also do interesting vegie stuff and will do the same kind of variety spread.

That said, my current diet isn’t radically different from yours. All that stuff on your daily menu figures heavily on mine, too. I have a metabolism that seems to deal pretty well with all those carbs and quite a bit of fat. I’m 51 and not especially active, and still lower than average weight for my height. Not everyone can get away with that, of course. I know a younger guy, in his 30s, who’s also vegetarian and is even pickier than you. He lives, as far as I can tell, largely on candy bars. Scrawny little guy. Still, I wouldn’t recommend his diet to anyone.

As a woman, you should watch your iron, and may want to find yourself a good multi-vitamin just to cover your bases a bit better.

janbb's avatar

I’m a bit like you although not as picky. I too have pretty much given up meat because of the factory farm cruelty, although I will ocassionally have it. How about quiche and other savory tarts, pasta primavera or alfredo, welsh rarebit, etc.? I do force myself to eat more salad than I would be naturally inclined to and try to get in fruit more than I would also naturally do. Breakfast is usually vanilla yogurt with bluebberries, bananas and walnuts, lunch a hummus sandwich with lettuce and tomato and cuke (know that you don’t want the veggies) and supper is something with cheese, beans or fish. You didn’t mention whether you would eat seafood – that is often what I eat now in a restaurant.

As Harp said, Indian restaurants are great places for veggies and beans with lots of flavor.

Don’t know if any of this helps or not?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

We went through a period of eating foods of other cultures as a way to learn about that culture. We stayed away from chain and fast food restaurants, and ate at local small places. Italian is the easiest, because there are lots of choices. I agree that Indian food is a great way to eat meatless.

I like good food, and tend to avoid chains.

ratboy's avatar

A typical forest elephant… which weighs 5,000 to 6,000 pounds… produces 1,000 or so pounds of edible meat…

Fox News

MissAusten's avatar

Take a good multivitamin, and fit in more of the veggies you like. You didn’t mention fresh fruit, but adding that with the veggies instead of the potatoes so often will help balance out nutrition. Do you like brown rice (for fiber)? Do any baking? Whenever you bake yourself some cookies or cupcakes, add some toasted wheat germ to the dough/batter. You won’t notice a big difference in taste, but it adds nutrition.

I’ve noticed more and more restaurants offering “free range” chicken on the menu. It’s also getting easier to find places with grass-fed beef. Look up websites from the restaurants you like and see if they have any information on where their meat comes from. To be honest, local foods are quite trendy and restaurants that use them will advertise it. Locally produced meats are generally from smaller farms with more humane practices.

Local Harvest is a great website to find farmers in your area who can supply meat from animals raised in a more humane environment than your typical agro-business mass producer. Or, find a farmer’s market in your area. At our farmer’s market I can buy free-range, grass fed beef, eggs from cage-free, and organic, free-range chicken. I also know a family that raises pigs and makes nitrate-free ham and bacon. They live too far for me to buy from them though.

Shop around, learn about the restaurants, and find sources for meats other than the local grocery store. Maybe you won’t feel too guilty to eat meat.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@ratboy who is doing the counting and weighing of said elephant? When it comes to using all available parts of an animal, responsible people will use everything. Bones, skin, internal organs, even the skin to produce food. When I’ve butchered my own animals, I’ve used as much of the carcasse as possible, even boiling the bones to make stock.

You listed a story about poachers, who are going to waste much of the kill, and doing so for profit. Poachers are the scum of the earth. Poachers should be served raw (and preferably still kicking) to a pride of hungry lions.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is great that you asked this question, means you are willing to try new things. You have obviously tried foods from various countries, as mentioned above Indian food has excellent vegetarian options.

I think you will develop a taste for more foods as you get older, I think you said you are in your early 20’s, don’t feel too pressured. I didn’t like salad until my 30’s, the dressing was too flavor filled for me and not a flavor I liked, but as I got older I discovered dressings I do like. Since you like sweet you might like Paul Newmans low fat Rasberry Vinagrette. I use spring mix salad and cut up apples and add some walnuts. You might like cous cous, I like the Far East brand so you have an alternative to pasta and rice. Try the original plain one first and you can add veggies if you want. What about fruit? Either whole or dried? Honeycrisp apples are AMAZING, and they are out now for just a couple of months. I also like Sunsweet dried apricots (each brand is very different).

Your typical day that you described is not including any of the veggies you do like, I think you should eat at least one meal with some veg. Just curious to throw out some veggies maybe that you have not tried or thought of: orange or yellow peppers (they are not as stong as green pepper, and can be good on a quesadilla with cheese), mushrooms, zuchini, bok choy, carrots.

I am concerned that you are eating so many eggs and cheese. I would get your cholesterol checked, if you are lucky you have no problems, but that is a lot of cholesterol you are consuming. One egg yolk has 220 mg cholesterol, a six ounce burger has about 150 with cheese add another 50 maybe. I doubt you are eating only one egg when you eat eggs. And if you are eating dessert foods many are made with eggs especially custards. Some people can handle the cholesterol, but many cannot.

I would recommend taking a multivitamin every day to ensure you are not missing nutrients while you figure out more foods you like.

janbb's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Shouldn’t poachers be poached?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@janbb you’re punny, my friend, very punny. =)

Kraigmo's avatar

Don’t worry about gelatin, until that, too, is disgusting to you. In the meantime, enjoy it and don’t worry about it.

The Amy’s brand of frozen foods you’d probably like, except for the vegetable based dishes.

Denny’s has a veggie burger. Not sure if you’d like it. Different brands of veggieburgers taste vastly different, so try a few to see if any are great. Most are in the frozen section at the market. I like the Jolly Green Giant veggieburgers. The mozzarella sticks are good at Denny’s too, and also available at Chili’s and TGI Fridays.

When you’re at Taco Bell, maybe you’d like the Bean Burrito. Or the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. Or a tostada. You can also get a taco there made with beans, instead of meat.

When you’re at Jack-in-the-box, maybe get
cooked broccoli with teryaki sauce and rice
Or just teryaki sauce and rice if you hate broccoli.
They also have grilled cheese sandwiches, and you can name the type of bread you want and the type of cheese you want.

The options at Taco Bell of course are also available at El Torito or Chevy’s, two much better common restaurants. I’m not sure if you like tacos, I guess you’d hate the salsa, so remember to get them to leave it off.

You need vegetables and fiber though. Except in rare cases. Fiber can be easily found with cereal. Eat the vegetables you can tolerate much as you can. The easiest way for me is to chop them up in to very tiny cubes… i mean very, very tiny… of all the vegetables i need, raw. Then I pour honeymustard (and or plain yogurt mixed with apple cider and celery seeds) on the mixed veggie cubes and eat them. All you need is 1 tablespoon a day. (Preferably 2 cups a day… but 1 tablespoon will give you what you need without burdening you). So maybe try that if possible, and come up with whatever sauce on top works best for you.

ratboy's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: your remarks reinforce my point. Killing just one elephant should provide @girlofscience with sufficient meat to last her at least a month. As for poachers—with so many children starving, it would be simply reprehensible to feed them to some lions.

evegrimm's avatar

I definitely hear you about the picky thing.

(Um, just re-read your OP and the following may or may not be useful to you. Sorry! I am tired and have midterms tomorrow. :P)

One thing I try to do is to eat three pieces of fruit everyday. (Sometimes it happens, sometimes…not.) Eating fruit provides many of those necessary nutrients without being weird like bell peppers or onions. :P (Do you like fruit? Or is this completely useless to you?)

Another thing I try to do is to eat as little packaged food as possible. (Sometimes it works, sometimes not.) This forces me to do two things: one, save money on groceries, and two, eat more healthfully/consciously (I know what goes into my food).

If you don’t mind a bit of work, you could always put pureed veggies in food (a la Deceptively Delicious). This page has some good ideas and so does this one.

One question: what are you the most worried about in your diet? Iron? Calcium? B vitamins? Protein?

A good protein analogue is soy: TVP (texturized vegetable protein) made with taco seasoning is virtually indistinguishable from real live tacos (except it’s less greasy/chewy). It’s also a great way to cut down on the amount of meat in such things as chili, sloppy joes, etc. Tofu is delicious if prepared the right way; my mom prepares an eggless egg salad with tofu instead of egg (she also puts it in her canned chicken noodle soup for extra protein).

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, what exactly is your question? Was any of this helpful to you, or was it completely off-base? I’d love to help, but I feel like I’m just shooting the breeze, at this point.

rooeytoo's avatar

I’m just amazed you aren’t totally constipated!

I love animals but have never had a problem eating them, as long as I don’t have to personally murder them. Aboriginal people have the theory that all living things have a purpose and for some their purpose is to be eaten. I guess I subscribe to that school of thought.

I do agree with you though about the cruelty. Buying meat at large grocery stores almost always means you are buying factory farmed animals. And that is a sad life for any creature. As @evelyns_pet_zebra says, you have to search to find sources where the animal is grazed for its entire life and then killed quickly and humanely.

But you seriously have to get some veg in your diet. Sneak some veg in with your pasta and potatoes and then cover it with cheese. If you keep trying, hopefully you will eventually acquire a taste for them. Good luck.

janbb's avatar

@girlofscience (It would be helpful if you would weigh in and let us know if any of these suggestions are of use to you.)

Just want to say that my son who is a bit older than you has never eaten fruit or vegetables and he is very healthy. He loves meat, grilled cheese, some pastas – will eat tomato sauce – some Mexican food, one Indian dish. He is not trying to give up meat but the relevent point is that you can be o.k.on a limited diet. But obviously, ideally, you should have some fruit or veg in your diet if you can find a way.

fireinthepriory's avatar

If you stop buying meat entirely and make it your “last resort” at a restaurant that has no other dish on the menu you enjoy, you’re still moving in the right direction in your quest towards vegetarianism. It’s not your fault that you’re a picky eater, and while I think you should probably make sure your cholesterol stays low and you’re getting enough vitamins in there, so long as you’re active and not obese I wouldn’t worry too much about whether going vegetarian will be unhealthy. Especially if you only go mostly vegetarian, and do eat some meat maybe once every two weeks if you happen into a restaurant that has no other alternative for you.

jonsblond's avatar

There are some great suggestions here for eating more fruits and vegetables. I highly suggest that you try to add these to your daily diet. My husband had to have part of his colon removed like @casheroo ‘s cousin, when he was 30. Diverticulitis usually doesn’t occur until adult’s are over the age of 50. My husband’s surgeon told us that he is seeing more and more people in their 30s getting diverticulitis because of the “wonder bread” diet that is so common now.

Have you tried V8 Fusion? (It has an endorsement from the American Heart Association). I am also a bit picky when it comes to vegetables but have found this juice to be a good way for me to get some of the vitamins that I am lacking.

casheroo's avatar

I wanted to look up the candy I was eating today and came across this link http://www.petakids.com/candy.html I don’t know what candies you like, but seems like a lot of good ones are on the safe list (from gelatin)

6rant6's avatar

I sympathize with your predicament.

You didn’t mention beans. Have you thought about burritos? Start with the rice and beans, then add whatever you need to make it palatable – potatoes, chicken, guacamole, cheese. Over time, perhaps you can reduce the amount of the “bad stuff” and increase the amount of “good stuff.” Plus you get the tomatillo green sauce which sounds like your kind of food – spicy!

You also said you eat edamame, so soy products are a possibility. Do you like miso soup? I’m guessing you would. Spicy tofu dishes, with sauces you enjoy are worth a try.

You might want to revisit this idea that you like this and don’t like that. If you think about what people eat around the world, it’s easy to see that people’s tastes are influenced by what is seen as normal. That’s not to say that everyone likes everything, but that biology plays less a role than what our intuition tells us. It’s in your head, and that part you can change. You’re consciously trying to move away from meat. So you are exercising your ability to chose what you like. Stay with it. Choose to like foods that are good for you.

Just_Justine's avatar

sorry too many other answers so I haven’t read them yet. Hope I don’t duplicate. It sounds by your gagging that you have a bit of a food phobia. Not that uncommon. I suggest go to a dietician and discuss with her. No one really ‘gags” over salads. Well unless it is a phobia. Also you know you need variety in your diet and yours is not very varied. A lot of food phobic like to eat potatoes, in any form but they love it mashed. Plus they do better with sweet too. So it may be worth looking into for long term health.

jsilberg's avatar

I suggest easing into a more varied diet by using the foods you do like (fats and starches) and slowly incorporating healthier foods. Swap out whole wheat pasta in your mac n cheese. Put some spinach in your grilled cheese. I dont expect you’ll order a salad any time soon, but you can put cheese on those, and sometimes that’s the best way to transition. Also, I’ve found that the more you exercise, the more appealing healthy foods are.

Nullo's avatar

My advice? Try to stop feeling guilty. There’s nothing wrong with meat that some time in the pan won’t fix.

Aster's avatar

DarkScribe is right. Someone VERY dear to me won’t eat any veggies except green beans or onions. No tomatoes, broccoli, peas, carrots, zucchini, (sp), radishes. No legumes. No fresh fruit but strawberries or honeydew which we can only get in summer. Lots and lots of diet soda and pepperoni pizza. The result was uncontrolled diabetes and kidney cancer.

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t know where you live, but you should try to make a visit to a farm animal sanctuary. They can tell you all you need to know about animal suffering, but they also give advice to people on how to become vegetarians. One that I support (which is not in my city) is called Animal Acres: http://www.animalacres.org/. There’s another great organization called Farm Sanctuary in New York: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/

You should also consider learning how to cook and/or subscribing to a good vegetarian magazine (either online of in print) such as Vegetarian Times: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/. There are endless recipes and lots of food products, that you may not be familiar with, that are discussed. Learning to cook can really change your perspective on food.

You should also get a physical, with blood tests to check your cholesterol and to see whether you have or are likely to develop diabetes (your current diet suggests that you are a candidate for both of those problems). Then make an appointment with a dietician and then follow the advice instead of comlaining like a little baby to us that everything is icky.

When I was a child, I was way more picker than you are now, but when I became an adult (in my early 20’s) I made an active choice to start trying new things (not just once or twice, but sometimes several times so I could develop a taste for them). Part of the reason I decided to do this was because I realized that proper nutrition is extremely important if you want to live a healthy life, another reason is because you look and sound like a childish baby when you refuse to eat lots of things because they are icky. People don’t want to be around someone like that. Sounds like you’ve just grown used to eating the same things day after day after day and don’t give much thought to actually changing your ways. It’s not magic, you just have to actively try things over and over until you develop a taste for them. You may not end up liking everything, but you will learn to like, if not love, new foods if you give it a real chance. Don’t just taste something once, make a yucky face and spit it out. That’s what little children do, not adults.

It might help if you make a food diary. Write down everything you eat for a couple of months (starting now, when I hope you will start adding the new foods that have been mentioned to you by all of these nice Fluthers that are here to help you. And please don’t b*tch at us like you did to that person at the beginning of this thread!) That way you can count the times you have tasted an item that you think you don’t like. I would give it ten tries before you give up on any particular food. You may have to try one particular item prepared in many different ways before you find one you like.

You also might want to consider hypnotherapy, accupuncture or yoga to deal with your stress about food. It does sound like you have an actual phobia rather than just a distaste for food.

Then pick a willing friend, to start going around to different ethnic restaurants (and just regular grocery stores) and trying something different everytime you go there. Then write in your food diary what you ate and what about it did you dislike, tolerate or actually like about the dish. Was it the texture? The color? The spiciness? The unfamiliarity? Be specific.

I’m a vegetarian now, I wasn’t when I was in my early 20’s, and I have come to learn about new foods from all over the world and have found lots of things that I now love that I wouldn’t have even thought of or considered when I was a kid. You don’t need to go specifically to vegetarian restaurants to find things to eat, but it helps, initially, to learn what you actually like. Asian vegetarian restaurants are great. They usually have “mock’ meats in their dishes.

I read somewhere that children are more likely to enjoy vegetables if a little bit of sugar is put onto them. I’ve never tried that before, but you might give it a go. And since you do like sweet things, add more oatmeal to your diet. You can eat it for breakfast, bake it into muffins, make a fruit crisp dessert with it or add it to a vegetarian meatloaf. Sweet potatoes are another good choice, you can eat them baked with butter, made into pie, added to chili, grated raw into soup etc. Use berries too, you can eat them raw, or bake them into muffins and pies and mix them into rice pudding or yogurt. And make smoothies. You might want to invest in a good juicer, that way you can add vegetable and fruit juice to yogurt or milk, maybe with some added protein powder. Beans also have hundreds of uses, look them up!

The possibilities are endless, you just have to be willing.

casheroo's avatar

I was reading this article about Adult picky eaters and thought of this question.

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