Did someone say cheese?

“Do you like cheese?” It seems like the simplest of questions, right? The asker didn’t realize how loaded his question was and probably thought I was a little nuts based on how long it took me to figure out how to answer his question. 

Jon and I were meeting someone for the first time to talk business. We sat down at the table and when the server asked if we wanted to start with an appetizer, our new friend looked down at the menu and looked back up at us, “Do you like cheese?”

The flood of answers began swirling in my head. Of course, I like cheese, I love cheese! But we eat cheese sparingly these days and not in the cheese board fashion he was suggesting. But I don’t want to be one of those people JP Sears mocks in his If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans skit, which is highly entertaining- you all should watch it. We are always pretty easy going, can find something anywhere and not make a big deal about it eaters… but a cheese tray? Could I just eat the crackers? Will there be an olive? Maybe I’ll just go ahead and eat some cheese today so as not to make a big deal about it. But, we are here to talk about SOZO, about lifestyle medicine and about encouraging others to reduce their intake of, drumroll please…CHEESE! 

My answer came out something like, “We like cheese but don’t eat a lot of it. If it sounds good to you, order the tray for sure.” Thankfully the server forgot about us for a while and when she came back we had all decided just to skip the appetizer and order our own meals. 

This is the hard part about changing what we eat. Food is so social and there is stigma to having too many things you can’t or don’t want to eat. I love food and being flexible so this has been one of the hardest parts of the journey. But I’m finding that even some of the things that seem like limitations help me branch out in different areas. I am trying things I never would have ordered before and loving most of them. Cauliflower tacos, yes please. (Don’t dog them ‘til you try them.)

The next time I was out with friends our server came over and I preemptively ordered the hummus plate, before the suggestion of the cheese board was even an issue. I didn’t tell anyone they couldn’t get the cheese board, I figured we could share the hummus or they could order another appetizer too. We ended up sharing the hummus board and discovering the goodness of tangerine chili olives and tiny sweet and spicy peppers, that I had never heard of before. We all enjoyed something new. 

We all come across these types of issues when trying to eat more consciously. Sometimes you will feel stuck and other times you will know just what to do. The good news is that however it plays out this time, you can learn a little about what you want to do for next time and with each new opportunity you will get better and better at deciphering what to do. Just keep moving forward! 

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