Most women learn how to think about food from their moms. And for many of us, that also involves diets. And negative body image.
I hear this all the time when I talk to people about mindful eating. Women whose mothers were diet-obsessed learned that this is expected behavior.
I certainly got that from my mom. She was so careful with food. And she was hyper-focused on my own eating.
But I also learned something else from her. Something not all women get.
To enjoy the food you eat.
Because she did enjoy it. She ate a very balanced diet, with lots of fruit and veggies, but honestly, I never got the sense it was due to a diet or specific “plan.” She just loved them.
In fact, I remember when she went on a yeast-free diet because of candida. The first week or two, she couldn’t have any fruit. That was so hard for her. She loved fruit.
And even after finding out about dairy allergies, she wasn’t prepared to give up pizza. At the time, the only places with cheese alternatives were specialty health food stores. And the only option was soy cheese (and not great soy cheese at that).
These stores weren’t around in rural Maine. So when she had to go to Portland for other reasons, she made a point to stop at these places and stock up.
Sometimes we used it on English muffins pizzas at home. Or she’d bring it to the Sundancer, our favorite restaurant, and have them put it on her side of the deep-dish pizza.
And she never fully gave up ice cream. She didn’t have it often, due to the allergies. But in the summer, she liked going to the Naples causeway for a soft serve vanilla cone. Or stopping by Dairy Queen if we were in Windham. As I recall, she always got vanilla, while I preferred the chocolate and vanilla twist.
What about you? Do you have any good memories about your mom and food? Do you know what her favorites are or were?
If your mom is still around, and you have a good relationship with her, maybe you can surprise her by making her favorite dish. Or sharing your favorite with her.
Or if you have your own ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Personally, I’ll be getting together with a couple of friends who’ve also lost their moms, so we can share memories and foods our moms liked.
And I plan to focus on the good things I learned from Mom about food. To truly enjoy the raspberries and strawberries I bring, and the macadamia nuts, deviled eggs, and possibly chocolate from my friends.
Because even though I didn’t like Mom’s focus on my food choices, I’m not going to dwell on that today. I’d rather it be a day to celebrate her life and what she loved.