Hey, do you remember that scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where they find out the boyfriend is a vegetarian?
And we laugh and laugh because that's so silly!
Well, when I became a vegetarian, my very Southern Brazilian family told me, "But chicken isn't meat! Eat it!"
See, red meat is what's considered "meat" to my family, and probably most families from around the world out there. So you can see that just through our language differences, we are influenced by our culture when making food choices!
Culture doesn't mean that you have to be born from a different country then be thrown into the United States to be considered to have a "culture."
In the U.S., our culture is disguised by the fact that we live here and are surrounded by it, but throw us into Germany? Man, does it become apparent that you have a culture when you ask for a soda refill or a soda that's larger than 8 fl.oz.
Even regionally in the United States we differ in culture! In the Mid West it's meat and potatoes. In the South it's greens, grits, and beans. In the North East it's fish, more fish, and fluffernutters!
Where you come from, how you were raised, and what you've learned to love to eat all are the driving forces behind your food choices!
You're probably not going to whole heartedly adopt a new way of eating unless it includes what your culture considers to be a full meal. For my family? There's no complete meal without black beans and fluffy white rice. You try telling my mom to switch to brown rice and see if you don't come out without a few bruises.
Just kidding, my momma is a super nice lady. Go to my parent's house, and she will stuff you full of beans and white rice until you pop!
Knowing that black beans and white rice are a staple to my family's meals, I wouldn't suggest that they switch their white rice to brown. It's just not something that's going to happen.
Sure, my family eats brown rice in other dishes, but they won't replace their white rice completely because that would mean giving up a part of their culture.
Embracing your culture and identifying how it drives your food choices will help you create personal nutritional balance.
So let's go back to your childhood
What did you grow up eating at the dinner table?
Did your family even have time to eat at a dinner table?
What's the side dish that was always there?
What's the vegetable you ate the most?
What's the protein your family ate the most of?
How was the food prepared?
Now that you know these answers, apply them to these new tips!
How can you prepare your new food choices to incorporate your own culture?
When you're given a new tip to improve your diet, how can you modify it to fit your cultural needs?
Don't abandon your culture. Your culture is a part of you, and if a diet is asking you to get away from it, chances are it's not going to last.
So how does where you come from drive your food choices? Share below!