As children, we’re forgiven our eccentricities. When everything is new, trying new things gets overwhelming! But at some point when we’ve grown up — whenever that is — we’ve expected to start being more worldly by, say, actually eating a Brussels sprout without steaks.
Turns out there may be a cutoff for when our bodies would tolerate such a radical shift in our eating.
A story titled The Men Who Eat Like Boys, MEL Magazine talks to adult men who still to refuse to eat any vegetables at all. It opens with the story of 56(!!)-year-old Bruce, who says his mom may have fed him peas as a baby but he doubts it. “I’ll straight up gag if I try to swallow vegetables,” he says. “Every single time.” Instead, he gets by on roasted chicken, McDonald’s, boxed mac ‘n cheese and Diet Coke.
Then there’s Brad, the Family Guy cartoon staffer whose girlfriend calls him an “adult child” and says he still eats “like a 7-year-old” at age 28. “What adult man regularly drinks chocolate milk with his meals?” she wonders. She’s since “expanded his culinary horizons” to making his own pasta from scratch and… organic chocolate soy milk.
Mothers, in this story, can do no right. Brad’s mother was overindulgent, cooking three different dishes for dinner for him and his brothers, which his girlfriend blames for turning him into a picky eater.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Evan’s mom “couldn’t cook to save her life,” so he’d sneak hot dogs and cereal and apparently considers this a fine diet for a grown man to have.
Among blaming toxic masculinity — wanting control, not caring how they look etc. — for the problem of not reaching “nutritional adulthood,” dietician David Wiss actually talks some science behind why picky eaters might be stuck in their ways.
Processed foods like Pop-Tarts and Lunchables that kick up the pleasure hormone dopamine in the brain with sweetness or sodium train the child to want those flavors.
Avoid veggies long enough, and their bodies can even lose the ability to break down plant matter.
And if they even try to eat something green, their tongues rat them out to their brain. “The tongue is able to detect right away if something is highly palatable (like quesadillas) or fibrous and foreign (like Brussels sprouts),” he says. “That’s why picky eaters usually blame the texture of the food.”
Counterpoint: Did you know there’s this marvelous invention called a food processor? In a matter of seconds, texture can be completely eliminated without sacrificing nutrition!
Just a thought, for those looking to avoid obesity, heart disease and other problems that are much bigger than choking down a piece of broccoli every once in a while with all that meat, potatoes, pasta and bread.