I’m an over-thinker by nature. It has its perks and its downfalls. I carefully consider everything and tend to make more informed decisions. This is good when it comes to the big important stuff, like where to go to college, what to study, whether I should take a gap year or not, etc. It’s also helpful in terms of not embarrassing myself or doing something stupid.
It’s not good when it comes the the little insignificant things. Whether I should eat that piece of chocolate, how many squats to do at the gym, which socks will match my outfit the best even though no one, including myself, will see them (yes this is something I do).
At first, living in Slovenia was a struggle when it came to eating healthy. I was bombarded with family giving me food, demanding that I eat it. It was often food I didn’t usually eat, like salami, bread, and various sweets. But I ended up eating them anyway.
Upon arrival to Ljubljana, I was so ready to start eating the way I was used to again. It didn’t happen as fast as I would have liked it to.
This did not fly with me, because as I mentioned before, I overthink everything, especially what I eat. I have history with wanting to eat perfectly all the time and when I don’t, it has the potential to stress me out. This was much worse about three years ago and I have grown a lot since thanks to counseling and practicing positive self talk, but it’s not completely gone.
There is still a little voice in the back of my head that likes to tell me I should worry about what I just ate. Sometimes I listen to it. Sometimes I’m able to let it go. Sometimes it doesn’t affect me at all. Other times I have to give myself a stern lecture on why I need to stop worrying because it’s just not worth it. It really depends on the situation.
The internet doesn’t help this matter because I often stumble upon sponsored fitness accounts and healthy wholesome meals on instagram while simultaneously eating slices of salami. And since I am my biggest critic, things aren’t always smooth sailing in the mind of Megan at that moment.
I also have a gluten intolerance and used to be a hardcore vegan. Being gluten free here is as hard as I imagined it to be, sadly. My mom, who is also gluten intolerant, would always cheat while here and I would almost scold her for it. I understand her struggle now. As for being vegan, it’s something I could do if I really wanted it, but I figured with my obsessive personality, it’s best that I let it go and drink my coffee with cow milk and have some eggs and salami here and there (I found out that I actually won’t die, go figure).
It’s true that with different cultures come different food, and some of the things I eat are just not commonly consumed here. The peanut butter jars are tiny and I’ve only found them in one store (which is not even a grocery store) and don’t even get me started on hummus.
My eating habits themselves are not common here, but as I’ve adjusted, I have found a good balance in terms of eating food that I like and prefer, but also being flexible enough to eat the food that others prepare for me.
While there have been areas of difficulty for me in terms of food, there are also some aspects that I really enjoy. There is a strong cafe culture here. I find myself sitting at cafes by the river in Ljubljana, sipping on coffee or tea, maybe a pastry nearby, and enjoying the view. Or eating ice cream from a little shop and walking the streets of old Ljubljana with friends, just talking and enjoying each other’s company.
Overall, my food journey here thus far has helped me put into further practice an exercise I did in counseling three years ago. And that is to eat something I know isn’t very healthy, and make a conscious effort to not care, which is by no means easy for someone like me. But I practice and practice and practice, and reassure myself over and over and over so that I may be able to enjoy life more abundantly and not stress over the insignificance of eating too many potato chips.