General chatter - I Hate Being a Picky Eater (Meat Rant)

04-30-2012, 02:02 PM
In all honesty, I don't think I'm a horribly picky eater. I can eat just about any vegetable or fruit these days, and I love a variety of meals. My one real issue though is meat. I can eat chicken breast, burgers, lunch meat, or hot dogs all day without any problem, but when it comes to anything else? It turns my stomach to see the fat, tendons, bones, anything that reminds me it was once a living, breathing creature . . . I mean, the thought of putting that stuff in my mouth literally makes me sick. I'm not sure why I can deal with the disconnection of chicken breast, ground meat, etc., but can get an anxiety attack watching someone else eat a steak with any pink in it! And I've always been like this; it's not as if I've even been able to handle being a vegetarian . . . I tried that for about 6 months several years back and my body definitely craves meat!

It was a struggle getting through dinner when I was growing up. I can recall chewing and chewing whatever the meat of the night was, unable to swallow, until my mom would actually tell me to leave the table and spit it out since my chewing was driving her nuts and I was clearly having problems making myself eat it, no matter how hard I tried.

Anyway, to get to my current situation, this Saturday me and the hubby were invited to the in-laws for a cookout. We usually end up bringing our own chicken breast for them to add to the grill since I'm the only one in the entire family that actually likes it (everyone else finds it to be too dry), or I sometimes have a burger if that's part of the menu. But this time, they said they were picking up chicken breasts for me so not to worry about bringing anything.

I really enjoyed the chicken, so when we were invited again yesterday after being told they'd only cooked half the meat they'd bought, I was looking forward to another chicken breast. And what was set on my plate looked all globby and slimy to me . . . I realized it was not a breast, but a thigh. I tried to be polite and carefully cut away at it, but kept noticing all the fatty, slimy parts. I ended up just handing the plate to my husband since it made me lose my appetite. :( All they had other than that was carne asada (bleh, can't handle that either), a "salad" (consisting only of lettuce and broccoli, no dressing or any other veggies), and beans (which I normally love but for some reason didn't like the way these particular ones were prepared). I prepared myself a meal at home several hours later once we got back home.

I was later apologized to . . . they said they didn't realize they had used up all the breasts the night before and were down to cooking the thighs, but my paranoia told me that they figured it shouldn't matter to me to begin with. But who knows. People often seem to think I'm just being a prissy, uptight food snob, but even though I'm eating healthier, that really has nothing to do with it. I can't help it when something grosses me out! It's also annoying for me to deal with on a strictly social level and is embarrassing to try to explain it, yet at the same time, I have no real intention of ever adjusting my meat palate. I don't eat many burgers, hot dogs, etc., and I'm perfectly fine eating chicken breast on a regular basis, as well as getting protein from non-meat sources to complement my diet. But last night was extremely frustrating and made me feel like I was being uptight and prissy. :(

I once read that there is an actual condition called "carnophobia" and I'm wondering if I have it. :?:

04-30-2012, 02:18 PM
I'm sort of the same way, I can eat fish sticks, some chicken, etc. but if I bite into fat or anything that doesn't feel right, that's it. I won't eat it. I've had chicken salads with some fatty chicken in them that I've completely refused to eat after biting into the fatty part. I just can't take it, I gag and almost throw up. I wasn't always like this but somewhere along the line I started to avoid most meats altogether. So I feel your pain. =/

04-30-2012, 02:34 PM
I grew up eating animal parts I won't mention because they'd be insensitive based on this thread. But I'm a pretty picky eater when it comes to onions. I don't mind if the onions (in a moderate amount) are completely blended (with a blender) into the food as long as I can't see them. But if I see them, or heaven forbid bite into them (raw or cooked), it's over. I physically cannot make myself eat it. Although once to be polite, I swallowed down my uncle's (aunt's husband) veggie/onion omelet. I actually took each bite and washed it down with water like a pill. No chewing. So yeah I empathize.

And I agree it's really inhibiting. Sometime's a meal that would have otherwise been a treat RUINED by the addition of one ingredient.

04-30-2012, 09:55 PM
I can't help it when something grosses me out! It's also annoying for me to deal with on a strictly social level and is embarrassing to try to explain it, yet at the same time, I have no real intention of ever adjusting my meat palate. I don't eat many burgers, hot dogs, etc., and I'm perfectly fine eating chicken breast on a regular basis, as well as getting protein from non-meat sources to complement my diet. But last night was extremely frustrating and made me feel like I was being uptight and prissy.

If you think you have real phobia and you want to do something about it (or at least get it confirmed), you should probably make an appointment with a shrink who specializes in phobias. Whether you have a full-blown phobia or some other (non-clinically phobic) issue with meat, an appropriately skilled therapist could probably help you at least become more comfortable around people eating rare steaks, even if you never choose to eat a wider variety of animal proteins. If that were something you were interested in. Getting an anxiety attack over other people's food choices doesn't sound like much fun. :(

I think your feelings about bone-in (rare, etc.) meat are understandable. Some people just don't have a very high tolerance for the more visceral aspects of life. Maybe you're one of them.

However, since there is no moral difference or major taste difference between breasts and thighs, the confusion/annoyance your hosts displayed at having an adult guest who will eat one but not the other also seems understandable. Frankly, I think that if I had a meal with someone who refused meat because the bones were still in, my instinctual interpretation (before my socialization and empathy kicked in) would be to view the behavior as drama queenish - a bit like a teenaged girl who claimed to "love animals" having a negative, illogical, and overly theatrical response to the innocuous presence of an "icky" animal like a snake or mouse. (Of course, I like snakes and would love to learn how to raise and butcher my own livestock, so my opinions might not be worth putting too much weight on.) It also probably wouldn't leave me very impressed if my dinner guest also refused all the other things I had on offer (even if they were boneless/meatless), although maybe I'm reading that part of your post wrong, and I think it's waaaay better to not eat when we're not hungry than it is to eat just to make other people happy.

Something else that occurred to me as I was writing this - from the way your post was written (which possibly doesn't reflect the breadth of your meat choices, and even if it did, how would your in-laws and other people know that?), the meats you do feel okay eating seem to be very soft and dry (no challenging or slimy textures), mildly flavored (generally speaking - obviously they can be spiced up), and short, they seem like "kiddie" foods. I'm NOT saying you're immature or anything like that, but because it does seem like an exceptionally restricted and bland menu (given the great diversity of animal proteins that humanity can eat), I wonder if people who don't understand how bothersome the sights and textures of meat can be to you sometimes perceive you as being somewhat childish or unwilling to get outside your comfort zone when you decline what they're serving or partaking of themselves. That wouldn't be fair to you, but since most people are more comfortable with meat (within given cultural norms), I can imagine that it might be difficult for them to understand the discomfort experienced by someone who finds meats that haven't been highly processed/well-cooked sickening. Just a thought.

05-01-2012, 03:05 PM
Nadya- I know it's a pain to deal with, but I'm somewhat glad I'm not the only one that goes through this. :hug: The fatty parts are typically the worst for me! I hate the texture so much! :dizzy:

toastedsmoke- My husband is the exact same way with onions as you are! If it's blended away into something and doesn't have that onion texture, he's fine, but seeing/feeling actual chunks of onion and he's done.

I can talk about animal parts just fine, my only real issue is eating them and (sometimes) watching other people eat them. My dad actually grew up on an old-fashioned farm and had to help slaughter and clean the animals as a kid, and while I never experienced anything like that as a kid myself those stories gave my nightmares :o

theox- I think you've hit the nail on the head with a lot of your post, and the first thing that comes to my mind is that yes, it's embarrassing because I know I come off as being childish. My friends and immediate family know and accept it, but outside that little circle, it can get weird. It seems more socially acceptable to dislike any or even most veggies!

And under normal circumstances, it isn't an issue for me. I'm typically buying, cooking, and ordering my own food, not relying on someone else's choices. But I was staying with my aunt and grandma for a week in January, and while shopping at the mall they wanted to go to one of their favorite restaurants and get a big order of buffalo wings for all of us to share. But . . . I can't deal with the little gristly parts and connective tissues on the bones; whenever I do order "wings," they're boneless. But that particular restaurant didn't have that option, and since they do know I like chicken, I didn't have an excuse. So I just told them them I don't like chicken "on the bone" and got some really weird looks! And one night my aunt fixed some roast for dinner, and I suffered through it out of politeness, just as I suffered through most of the meat dishes my mother cooked us when I was growing up. I felt just like a little kid again, and not in a good way.

And at my in-laws' house? Sigh. That household is a completely different culture when it comes to food and there's also the language barrier; they're Mexican, speak primarily Spanish, and eat a lot of traditional dishes I'd never heard of before. MIL thinks I'm weird for wanting to put cheese and veggies on tacos since real tacos only have meat, and has laughed at me for always using a fork; they pick up their meat, beans, cheese, and many other foods with torn-off tortilla pieces and I'm not very comfortable doing that (plus I don't want the simple carbs in the tortillas anyway). They often eat items such as goat, beef tongue, and soups with with huge bones right there in the serving bowl. Yes, I've sampled the goat, the tongue, and just about anything else that admittedly looks "weird" to me, and typically dislike the flavor and/or texture. I do try to be open-minded when I try something new. The tongue is spongy! I didn't think I'd enjoy the pork tamales but I actually prefer them over the chicken tamales. And I guess I should point out that the flavor of most meat is too much for me anyway . . .

So perhaps my palette for meat never grew up, as you've implied? Chicken breast certainly doesn't have a strong flavor and I prefer the dry texture. The thighs just seems greasy and really gross to me. :( When I have a burger, I request for it to be extra well done and need to have condiments for it. I want it to be dry, and if I don't have condiments, I don't like the strong taste of the burger itself. Well, it's more that the flavor is just too much for me after a bite or two. I'm like that with steak; I can never order a whole steak because it's just too much meat flavor for me after one or two bites (plus I can't deal with the fatty parts anyway). My husband often orders steak, and sometimes he'll offer me a bite, being conscious not to give me any pink or fatty areas. And if I'm in the mood, I'll take that bite, and each time I marvel that I indeed like it a lot, but that the one bite is quite enough. It would be too much for me to try to eat any more if it, if that makes any sense, as the flavor is sort of overwhelming. I do like pork sometimes but don't eat very much. I've had venison and rabbit, neither of which I cared for. I've never liked the dark meat on turkey but love the white, as far back as I can remember. I like small amounts of bacon but the flavor quickly gets overwhelming. I've also had buffalo, ostrich, and pheasant, all of which seem to have an overwhelming flavor that's just too much for me. When it comes to meat, I always go back to something bland, dry, and virtually flavorless I guess. Oh, and I used to enjoy seafood, but became allergic as a teenager.

So when we head to the in-laws for any kind of visit, MIL is always offering me food! But I typically can't handle their meat dishes, I rarely drink soda, can't have seafood, can't have anything with apple juice (most of the juice mixes they drink contain it and I'm allergic), can't have diet drinks (I've got a bad reaction to aspartame) . . . and on top of all that I'm trying to diet. Add the language barrier to the mix and trying to visit can be a nightmare. Sometimes I feel like they're trying to bend over backwards in order to cater to me, or that they must wonder how on earth I can weigh so much when I barely eat anything at their house. I certainly don't mind bringing food that I'm more comfortable having, especially when I can share. I've been known to bring big bowls of fruit salads, vegetable salads, or a casserole for everyone (whether or not anyone else eats any is a different story) and as I stated before, even my own meat. But . . . food is such a huge issue there, and I don't want it to be. :( They even make a big deal about what to give me to drink when I've already made it clear how many times that I'm just perfectly fine with water.

The other night was just the worst though, feeling embarrassed and even rude over not being able to stomach the chicken they'd gone out of their way to fix especially for me, and me not really having any other options for dinner but to wait until we left. I could totally understand an outsider to the situation thinking I'm just being a drama queen, but at the same time I feel like they should know me by now as I've been a part of the family for five years.

BTW, I love animals in general and I do like snakes. ;) Back in high school, I was the only one in my biology class that would hold Matilda, our teacher's boa constrictor. :D But when it came to having to dissect frogs in the same class, I was able to do it (even got an A on that anatomy test!), but was the only one of my classmates that cried in the process of cutting the outer stomach open. I even cried when I had to slice into a live planeria (a flat worm that can regenerate) for a class assignment even though the slice wasn't going to kill it; even though it was a brainless little worm I really didn't want to hurt it. While I was genuinely interested in anatomy, there was no way I was taking the next class up as I knew I wouldn't be able to handle dissecting a cat. :( I'm an extremely sensitive person in general; for example, I would prefer to catch a spider so I can let it go outside rather than kill it. So maybe that's part of my problem? I need to feel detached from seeing a piece of meat sitting in front of me as a dead animal, and have trouble with that unless it's processed beyond all recognition. Otherwise, I can't stomach it.

Hmm. Maybe I do need to see a therapist.

05-01-2012, 03:20 PM
So what if you don't like everything. I personally wouldn't be offended if you showed up at my house and don't like everything I have to eat. It's YOUR body.

People attach way too much social acceptance to food. Never feel obligated to eat anything to make someone ELSE happy.

BTW, I don't eat dark meat either. In fact, I don't eat any meat that you eat with your hands - ribs, wings, etc. I certainly wouldn't see a therapist for that, and wouldn't expect you and the millions of other people like us to see one either.

Can you imagine the conversation? "Therapist - why are you here? Me - I don't like dark meat."


05-01-2012, 03:33 PM
I should add, and I'm not talking about you personally, there is something out there called "sensory development disorder" that sometimes people with Autism or Asperger's have.

My son has it with food and with sounds. He only eats things that are a certain texture and gags when they are not. He's also extremely sensitive to sounds. It's somewhat of a "hyper response" to certain things.

I get really mad when people try to force him to eat something out of his range. It's none of their business, but people do, "are you SURE you don't' want some ice cream, come on just try it." So he try it to please them and I get to clean up the subsequent mess when he gets sick.

Theox describes how people view it as childish, but they're flat out wrong and it irritates me to no end. (can you tell?)


05-01-2012, 06:17 PM
Sounds like a texture issue to me.
Like the stings in raw celery always make me gag.

I admit I kinda giggled at the point of the Mexican family eatting with tortillas. We do this too. (growing up with my mexican side of the family.) It's kinda like how people in the middle east eat with their hands (with flatbread)

I only eat dark meat as I find the white meat of the breast too dry. Like stuck in my throat and choking me, dry. and unless I want to smother it in something that most likely won't be healthy, I just avoid it alltogether.

I really don't see a problem with this issue unless you find it becoming a big part of our life. Like your always obsessing about if your going to be able to have the right kind of meat. if so, then maybe you might want to look into finding someone to talk to about it.

You did hit a peeve of mine, though you know your food came from an living thing. But too often i hear of people who can't eat food if there was any evidence that it came from an animal. (like still being pink or having bones or fat.) it's like they want their meat to look like it was plucked from a tree or something. I think that if they can't accept that their food was once a living creature they shouldn't eat meat to begin with. Meat proccessed so far that it hardly looks like food shouldn't really be eatten anyways.

not that this is you... just ranting.
No I think for you it is a texture thing. it seems to me you could eat meat off the bone if you didn't have to chew tendons, squishy fat or crunchy cartilage. it's like eating something with a uniform texture and suddenly hitting something that isn't the same texture, you can't help but want to spit it out. (like eating eggs and suddenly crunching into a bit of shell)

05-01-2012, 06:35 PM
I have an insane aversion to raw poultry. Everyone in my family makes fun of me for it. If I'm going to cook chicken or turkey it's a HUGE ordeal, or someone else has to prep it for me.

When I first married my husband I wanted to make him a nice Thanksgiving turkey, because it's his favorite meal of all time. I literally made myself throw up 3 times before the meal was ready. I suffered through, and did it, though. He'll never let me live that down...but now he preps my poultry for me.

I feel your pain...

05-01-2012, 07:04 PM
Vex- I'm often under the impression that my MIL takes it personally when I don't like something she makes. As I said in a previous post, it's an entirely different culture than the small Midwestern community I grew up in. To us, Mexican food was hard shell tacos with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, shredded cheese, and tomatoes (which they laugh at), bean burritos, and tortilla chips with salsa. I had no clue what chorizo, adobado, al pastor, cabeza, or birria were. :dizzy:

Your second post really struck me as I have a history with agoraphobia and anxiety issues, something I still struggle with from time to time, which can make me extremely sensitive to sounds and spatial issues whenever I'm agitated or not feeling well. In the past I've had anxiety attacks over what to eat or not eat, which is one of the main reasons I'm still not a calorie counter . . . when I start tracking them, I reach a point of obsessiveness that's counter-productive to having a healthy mind and body.

Heh, I've already had enough struggles with food outside of trying to consider others whenever I eat, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating when I get shocked expressions or condescending eye-rolls from people for not wanting ribs, steak, chicken wings, etc., as it does not compute for them since I'm not a vegetarian (which also tends to weird people out anyway). Yet sometimes I do feel like something is wrong with me, but I'm not sure how to explain that without getting into all the emotional baggage I've struggled with in the last ten years. I have noticed that the more relaxed and in control I feel with myself, the more comfortable I am with eating dark meat. Heh, does that even make sense? And it does bother me to some extent that have the issues in the first place.

Sakai- You could be very right about the whole texture thing, because I know I've never liked the rubbery texture of animal fat ribbons/tendons/gristle. I can recall eating various meat cuts when I was a little kid, and cutting a good half an inch away from the fat (and the bones!) because I didn't want any part of it. And my parents would scold me for not eating "the best part."

When I was a kid I loved the salmon patties my mom would make from canned salmon, which included the little bones. And oddly enough, the little bones were my favorite part to eat! :lol: Anyway, I feel silly about the whole issue over not wanting to eat something that looks like it came from a living thing, because I'm cool with the whole "circle of life" idea and don't have any problems with the concept of consuming meat, and hold nothing against those love to eat the parts that gross me out. It's just that . . . certain parts do indeed gross me out, and I feel I'm whining about a "first world problem."

I don't exactly expect my meat to look like it was plucked from a tree, lol . . . again, as you've said it's probably more of a texture issue. I recall having a conversation with a friend a few years back that was talking about the concept of test tube meat. He thought it was a great idea that scientists were working on developing forms of meat that could be grown on its own, so an animal would not have to go through the slaughtering process for us to get our meat fix. To his surprise, I thought it was an absolutely horrid idea. I mean, the very concept of growing "meat" that hasn't been the muscle or any other natural part of an animal, not forming through life and movement and nutrition just sounds completely Frankenstein-esque and made me wonder how we could even expect our bodies to digest that kind of monstrosity. I think we already have it bad enough with processed foods as it is, but that's probably for another discussion altogether. And perhaps the whole morality of eating animals is best left for another discussion as well, simply because I don't have a problem with it personally but I know that others do.

Again, it's frustrating and it makes me feel like something is wrong with me. But speaking of celery? I have to cut it up in little pieces because the strings bother me too. ;)

ValRock- That's another thing!!! As much as I love chicken breast, I can't handle it raw! Other parts of the chicken are even worse! I must have been about 9 or 10 when my mom decided it was time to teach me how to prep a chicken bought from the store. It was so rubbery and scary to me that I felt sick the whole time. I didn't throw up, but it was a good month before I could even think about eating chicken ever again. My husband knows what it does to me so he handles and cooks nearly all the raw chicken breast I buy, otherwise I get it pre-cooked in some form so I don't have to deal with it. I haven't even attempted anything like a turkey . . . we go to the in-laws' for that on Thanksgiving (lucky for me their Thanksgiving celebration is traditionally American). :D But I'm totally ok with handling and shaping raw hamburger, steak, chops, etc. . . . heh, go figure. ;)

05-01-2012, 07:21 PM
I'm not as extreme as you but there's some textures of meat I absolutely gag at. I hate biting into a piece of chicken and getting a chunk of that hard cartilage. I immediately have to spit it out. I also don't like eating the thick fat layers of steak (I cut them off). It's more of the texture thing that bothers me, not the fact that it was once a living animal.

05-01-2012, 07:28 PM
I too think it's a texture issue. I have the same thing with boiled eggs whites, straight pasta, pasta without lines, and animal fat. For me, it's a LACK of texture - my body can't handle it if it's too smooth and dry. My mom would force those foods on me as a kid - it was horrible. My family thought I was faking for years - until when my daughter started eating solid food and developed the same issues independent of me.

05-01-2012, 08:26 PM
You don't sound at all fussy or unusual to me, no one likes everything and I can see your problem with the food :)

I'm slightly biased on this topic I suppose as I'm vegetarian since forever, but if I'm forced to handle or look at meat I'd much rather it be a very well cooked steak etc. People assume I'd choose fish or chicken if I wanted meat but those are my 2 most hated/sick inducing meats. The stringy, tendony and spindly bones, oh and the smell.

I guess I'm similar with certain foods, cheese is a big one. I love cheese, but I will never eat it melted on anything-stews,pizzas,potatoes,pasta because I find it melts into a really slimy plasticy consistency which reminds me of slugs. The same with pasta-I love it but I won't touch spaghetti as I always think of worms when I see it and can't touch it. I'm not sure why I think of slimy bugs when I see these foods but....:)

05-01-2012, 08:31 PM
I don't think you are horribly picky, if certain types of meat make you sick, you should definitely avoid them, there is nothing wrong with that. Some people hate broccoli, my boyfriend can't even stand the smell of fish, let along eat it. People should respect your taste and if they're organizing a cook out, they should make sure there's something to eat for everyone.

05-01-2012, 08:48 PM
Elladorine - Snakes are awesome! :D I figured your situation was probably kind of complicated, and relationships with in-laws can definitely be complicated (from what I hear, anyway). Maybe eventually you'll get through to them. :)

BTW, I don't eat dark meat either. In fact, I don't eat any meat that you eat with your hands - ribs, wings, etc. I certainly wouldn't see a therapist for that, and wouldn't expect you and the millions of other people like us to see one either.

Can you imagine the conversation? "Therapist - why are you here? Me - I don't like dark meat."

I didn't suggest the OP consider therapy because she said she doesn't like meat. I suggested she check out therapy because she said her meat issues (that sounds kind of weird) give her anxiety attacks, have caused her social problems, and she already thinks she might have a phobia. Those things don't go hand-in-hand with not liking a particular type of food. They're social/psychological issues that can often be managed with some good guidance and a lot of effort.

05-01-2012, 10:40 PM
didn't say you did Theox - elladorine said it at the bottom of her post. :)


05-03-2012, 09:50 AM
I know how you feel. I used to have a very strong aversion to fish, the smell and the taste. Once, I was at a school function banquet at a nice but very small restaurant- before the banquet you could choose vegetarian or non-vegetarian options, and since I'm not a vegetarian, I chose that. Imagine my surprise when they brought out the first course, and it was not a salad, but rather a plate with two of the biggest sardines I've ever seen. They were HUGE- I didn't know sardines could get this large but that's what everyone else at the table was saying they were- maybe 7 inches long each. Head on. Eyes in. Glistening scales. Plus, with everyone else at the table eating them, the smell was overwhelming. I had to excuse myself. I thought I was going to vomit at the table. I tried to be very delicate about it and just said I was going to go outside and smoke without saying anything about the food, though I did indicate to my friend next to me to have the waiter take it if he came back.

That said, I do think people are offended when you indicate their food is unacceptable to you. Chicken thighs are good enough for us, why aren't they good enough for you? type-thing. Even though I know that's not what your issue is, it's not the "quality" of the meat, I think people and maybe your in-laws could see it that way. Of course, fat and cartilage are not things that most people enjoy actually eating, but maybe you could practice spitting it out and moving on? Though I still wouldn't want to eat one of those head-on, whole sardines, I have started making myself eat seafood on a regular basis because it's so low-cal and good for me and I felt like there were social situations where I felt like a baby for saying I didn't like it. Especially at first, it wasn't my favorite, but really, I eat a lot of stuff that isn't my favorite. Not everything I eat has to be the most delicious thing ever. And the more you eat it, the more you get used to it, and now I even really do LIKE certain kinds of seafood (though I know you said you're allergic, I'm just using this as an example). Maybe you could just practice with some kinds of meat before you are confronted with a plate full at your in-law's. Not to say that you'll love dark meat all of a sudden, it's not my favorite either, but there does seem to be a lot of incentive for you to be able to at least stomach it.

05-04-2012, 12:14 AM
didn't say you did Theox - elladorine said it at the bottom of her post. :)


My bad. :dizzy: