The Picky Person

I ride the express train into work every day. It’s a place that allows me to read for pleasure, catch up on my emails and reconnect with my social network. Last week, I decided to unplug and be present. I stared out the window as we approached the city, the beautiful Chicago skyline waiting ahead. As I soaked up the particularly stunning cityscape that morning, my random train of thought suggested that I am a picky person. Before the train even pulled into the station, I had discovered the theme to my blog.

I am a picky athlete, a picky student, a picky shopper and a picky traveler among other things in my life. This blog explores all aspects of picky eating in my life but I think it is important to start with the pickiest part of my life – eating.

When it comes to food everyone is different. Some people grab the attention of others by eating too much or eating too little, by only eating vegetables or not eating them at all, by never straying from the same one or two foods or merely liking fewer foods than the average person.

Admittedly, I am a picky eater. When I was young, if a peanut from my brother’s doughnut touched mine, I refused to eat it. If I forgot my cold lunch on the kitchen counter and the hot lunch at school was less than appealing, I wouldn’t eat. I made excuses at friend’s houses when they served weird meals and resorted to secret stash in my backpack. At home, dinnertime was an occasional nightmare because I wanted to try new foods on my terms and no one could change my mind. While this has improved, I still avoid trying new foods because I know what I like and am perfectly happy with my approved assortment of foods. I eat what I know I like (and I eat a lot of it). Being picky has always been a part of who I am. It is something I’ve learned to accept and embrace.

This isn’t the case for every picky eater, especially those who tirelessly battle their inability to experiment with food. For many, picky eating is a daily struggle.

Just like our opinions of our picky statuses are different, so are our relationships with food. In fact, picky eating is nearly impossible to define because it is such a subjective experience. No matter how similar we may seem, no two picky eaters are the exact same. Clumping picky eaters together is like judging a herd of cows. It may appear that they are the same from a distance but when you pay attention to the details, each has noticeable differences.

For example, a picky eater can be someone who: doesn’t stray from the same five foods; only eats certain brands of food; has adventurous taste but is very particular when it comes to how the food is prepared and presented; has developed food allergens and is forced to adopt a picky palate and more.

Every picky eater has different eating habits just like every cow has different spots.

-MW