When is Eating “Cauliflower Everything” a Problem?

Cauliflower, a vegetable I don’t remember eating until I was in my 20’s, can now be used as a substitute for just about anything. It can be used as pizza crust, gnocchi, rice, bread, mashed potato substitute, steak, and so much more. Cauliflower is popular as a substitute because it’s lower in carbohydrates than the original food items and contains additional vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
It can be fun to experiment making new foods out of cauliflower. Some foods are going to taste good, and some most likely won’t be to your liking. But it’s up to you to make these choices for what you’re eating. We all know of people being shamed for eating “unhealthy” foods like cakes and ice cream, but it’s also true people are being shamed for eating food substitutes. Some people are very vocal about their dislike of these food substitutes such as cauliflower crust pizza, so you may feel like there’s something wrong with you or you’re not eating intuitively if you like these foods. Some of these foods, after all, are associated with dieting.

One of the many cauliflower images going around social media. Original credit unknown.

You might want to evaluate your food choices if:

– You can’t go back to eating the regular mashed potatoes because you’re afraid they’re going to make you gain weight or somehow detrimentally affect your health, if the thought of eating a regular pizza sends you into a panic attack, or if eating the regular rice puts you over your arbitrary calorie allotment for the day.
– You feel superior to others for eating these foods. This is pretty similar to a dieting mentality when you feel like you’re better than everyone else because of your ability to eat “good” foods.  Your food choices do not make you better or worse than anyone else.
– You don’t actually like the way these foods taste. Enjoying your food is a huge part of healthy eating and if you don’t like cauliflower, trying to disguise it in other food items isn’t going to work.
– You’re counting on the cauliflower alone to help treat or prevent disease. Cauliflower is a vegetable with a lot of great health promoting qualities, but substituting cauliflower for everything in your life is not going to magically heal all of your health woes.

But keep on eating cauliflower everything if:

– You genuinely like the taste of cauliflower as a substitute for other products or if you have a medical condition that makes cauliflower the perfect substitute, then keep eating these foods and let the haters hate.

(Of course, this applies to all food trends, not just cauliflower.)

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Struggling with your relationship to food and your body? Recovering from an eating disorder or chronic dieting and in search of an experienced eating disorder registered dietitian in the Centerport, New York area or virtually? Send Christina an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!

Published by Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT

Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving the Long Island, New York City, and New York State areas helping clients with eating disorders and disordered eating recover their relationship with food and their body. She utilizes a Health at Every Size® approach and supports Intuitive Eating and knows that while she is the food and nutrition expert, you are the expert of your body and life.

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