The other day on Facebook I posted some quick thoughts on retraining your taste buds. You may not guess it now but I vividly remember one summer in my college years where I had all these coupons to Taco Bell for a buy one, get one free Nachos Bell Grande. I would devour one and pick at the next. During that time I also loved grande, white chocolate mochas from Starbucks. It was like drinking liquid sugar! Well, it actually is but that is beside the point.
At the time these things tasted amazing to me but they sure did not make me feel all that great or do any thing to help me maintain my physique. But I was 20, and always had my volleyball training in the fall that would whip me back into shape with double day during hell week.
When my senior year was over, I had this moment where I realized that I would not have volleyball training to fall back on and I would have to make some adjustments. Plus working out to be able to eat more is not a game I like to play anyways. So I gradually started to eat healthier. More fruits and veggies. Less fast food. Less Starbucks. No more Taco Bell. Ha! I have pretty much trained my taste buds to where that kind of food is no longer appealing at all and I have a much simpler palate. And when I have richer foods, I go for the good stuff and enjoy every bite of it.
Choose general healthy eating before you try paleo, gluten free, or any type of detox.
Remember being bloated and having unpleasant digestive issues is not the norm. I have clients who say they feel like they need to go paleo or detox because of this but when I look at what they are eating, it is eating out or at fast food, 5-8 meals a week! I encourage you to try a general healthy eating plan first before doing any thing more extreme.
Eating whole, natural food, like meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs etc is almost like a detox in itself, especially if you are coming from a high processed, high sodium diet. These foods help balance blood sugar levels and provide a consistent flow of nutrients to the body that help manage energy, hunger and cravings.
Train your taste buds. More quality foods, more often.
Do I eat “processed” varieties of foods or food from packages. Why yes, yes I do. But for the most part I eat foods in their whole state. Eating is not about being perfect, it is about being consistent. And if you start by trying to be hardcore, strictly organic, never eating anything that comes in plastic or cardboard, you are going to drive yourself crazy.
The thing is once you develop a healthier way of eating, more consistently you started to crave healthier foods. And once you start to crave healthier food, the greasy, uber sweet food will not be as appetizing.
When I sit down to eat, I get as excited to eat my big ass salad as I do to eat a chocolate chip cookie. Food is not good or bad. Food is not all or nothing. Food is not cheat or no cheat. Food is information for our bodies that will help determine how we feel and how we perform each and everyday.
How to transition your taste buds.
- Add a little yummy to your salads. Eating salads does not have to be ice berg lettuce with carrot strips and a drizzle of olive oil, bleh! Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, avocado, olives. I use the OXO salad chopper and will add spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper and chop it up super fine restaurant style. I then add diced chicken, avocado and some feta cheese with a light dressing. It tastes amazing!!
- Order your grande Starbucks mocha with 2 pumps of sweetener instead of 4! Yes, that is a start. It will not taste as sweet but I bet you will still enjoy it.
- If you get one of those packets of taco seasoning, get the low sodium kind and only add half the packet.
- Try changing one of your meals during the day. Tell yourself that no matter what you are going to make sure you have at least one healthy meal a day and go from there. That doesn’t mean you have to let go at the other meals, but if all else fails you will have eating one healthy meal each day.
- Change the way you prepare things. Eating vegetables does not have to be steamed broccoli and raw celery if you do not enjoy it. It does not have to be bland and unappetizing. The other day I baked asparagus fries that came out slightly crispy and delicious and put a small handful of spinach in my protein smoothie. Couldn’t even taste it!
These are little changes that will make a big difference. I promise you will feel so much better and you will start developing a palette for more natural foods. And then you will actually enjoy and crave a healthier way of eating.