Monday, 11 July 2011

Be kind, then be kind, and be kind again....

I recently came across a post on My Fitness Pal, which was berating people for apparently not eating their vegetables.

Quite apart from it not being any business of the person by whom this rant was penned, it often takes a lot of courage for people to join sites such as MFP, to change their lives for the better, and even more courage to make their diaries open to the public, so I think it's wholly unfair of some people to go through said diaries, uninvited, and then have the temerity to criticise their owners in a public forum.

Hoppity & Huck - BFF, and childhood companions of amato mio and myself!

I suspect that many people's views on veggies are formed at an early age, when possibly their parents/carers may not have cooked them in the nicest of ways. For example; my English grandparents insisted on us always eating fresh veg as much as possible, so my grandfather grew almost everything my grandmother needed for the kitchen (I suspect this is where I get my enthusiasm for growing my own from). However, all these good works were ruined by the fact that my grandmother had a very Edwardian approach to cooking said veg; i.e. they were indigestible, so boiled them until they were mush!

Also, she only ever boiled veg - with the exception of potatoes, which might also be roasted, mashed or fried. And she would never have dreamed of using a vegetable - other than possibly an onion and a carrot - as an ingredient! Needless to say that garlic was 'foreign muck' to my East End grandmother! So while I grew up loving most veggies (despite the heinous crimes against them), some I absolutely loathed because of the way they'd been served to me as a child. It was only as a teen, when I had to cook for myself, that I learned to love things like kale, spinach, and cabbage (I'd seriously consider selling my soul for a lifetime's supply of cavolo nero and a handful of tartufi!).

With that in mind, it's unsurprising that some people just find it difficult to get on with vegetables. No matter what their good intentions, the biggest hurdle is often in overcoming their childhood conditioning. I really believe that instead of a critical approach regarding the eating habits of others, we should try to understand that just to make that step toward healthy eating is a huge step for some. It's a step in the right direction, of course, which should be encouraged. Remember, Roma non fu fatta in un giorno!

It's no good telling someone they should be doing a thing (by virtue of the fact that they are already embarking on a healthier eating plan/lifestyle change, the chances are they are well aware of it. Most people are not stupid.) - the more they are told, the more they may resist.... to their own detriment. Who would want that for someone? Change, I find, is best effected with gentle nurturing and encouragement.

Besides, who are we to tell others how they should live their lives? We may think we're doing it with the best intentions, but are we really? Do we consider how our well-intentioned advice might actually affect someone? And would the recipient see it as well-intended, or just another know-it-all telling them what to do?

(Obviously my strategy posts are motivational suggestions, not dictorial instructions! Heheh!)

When all is said and done, I wouldn't be quick to jump to conclusions about how others live their lives, and actually, it seems like incredibly bad manners to me, to look at someone's diary on a health and fitness site, and then start a forum thread about how unhealthy they are....even if it is done with the best intentions. We humans can be fragile creatures, y'know - the last thing we need is to be pulled up by our peers for not eating our vegetables!

(NOTE: I always eat my veggies! /smug-mode)

As Henry James said;
"Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind."


Ahzuri said...

I am always sad when people say they hate veggies because I love them so! I always try to get people to try them in many different ways, you never know maybe they have never had it that way and thus do not know it can be yummy :)

Nicôle said...

I agree! My attitude toward food is very similar to my attitude toward life.....there's a whole load of adventure out there just waiting to be experienced! Why limit yourself?!

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - I love it when my readers take the time to respond to my posts!

N x