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Tabitha Kirkland was interviewed in this article, from The Daily, about diet and self-perception

Excerpted from the Daily

Your eating habits may shape your self-perception

What does your diet mean to you?

Alyson Podesta, Feb 15, 2018

Some people put hours into cooking and carefully choosing food every day; to others, food is barely more than a biological necessity. Food, in itself, is obviously a common factor in all lives, but our individual relationships with it are highly varied. Diet is a personal thing; what you choose to eat, in many ways, can define you. It can be difficult to create a healthy, happy relationship with food.

Tabitha Kirkland , a social psychologist at the UW, pointed out that many people choose to make their diet an apparent part of their identity by referring to themselves as “a vegan,” rather than stating that they “only eat vegan foods.” This separates followers of these diets into distinct, minority groups, thus bonding members of these groups closer together.

“Part of this has to do with what social psychologist Marilynn Brewer called ‘optimal distinctiveness:’ basically, the idea that we want to both fit in and be unique, so we often choose group memberships or labels that are kind of a sweet spot or a compromise between these needs,” Kirkland said. “We get to fit in to a niche group, and experience belonging because of that, but we also get to be unique and different because this group isn’t too large. So vegans and vegetarians are more likely than people who aren’t following these types of diets to think of their diet as a core part of their identity, something that defines them as people.”

Read the entire article here .