You CAN Train your Taste Buds to Enjoy Veggies!
Without exception, everyone wants to feel their best and thrive, yet the path to this state of nirvana is highly debated with all of the quick-fix diets out there. In my over 26 years of experience in the food world, I’ve found there to be one essential strategy that is frequently ignored: Having a good set of taste buds. You can train your taste buds to make choices to support eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
As a health coach, if I tell you start eating as many green veggies as you can, it might bring you to tears if you have never been able to stomach spinach. You have to begin by changing what you crave, and the way is through your mouth. If you build your house with powerful nutrition, you set up a proverbial fortress, guarding against oxidation, degenerative disease, and atrophy.
Can you Choose Broccoli over Brownies?
Imagine choosing broccoli over brownies? Carrots over cake? Kale over potato chips? It’s possible. There is a process to firm up those flabby taste buds. Your palate is pretty much set by the time you’re five years old, and if you’ve grown up eating tons of sugar and refined, processed foods, chances are you were left to languish in the land of colorless foods, such as hot dogs, mac and cheese, hamburgers, fries, and pancakes. Blame it on your parents.
The good news is that it’s never too late to rotate your plate and train your taste buds. Reconditioning your palate to crave health-boosting foods is a formula. Taste buds are highly complex structures. Thousands of them respond to temperature, and the physical sensations from food or drink coupled with smell send signals to the brain and ignite a perception—savory, sweet, acidic, acrid, bland, salty, balanced, and the range in between.
Conditioning Your Taste Buds
The average person is born with about ten thousand taste buds, which explains why certain foods may taste stronger to children and why accepting different flavor profiles can be so challenging. Just like muscles, those taste buds need to be conditioned, tested, and strengthened so they can take on abroad spectrum of those flavors.
This doesn’t mean you have to quit the less-healthy foods you love cold turkey. It simply means you’re diversifying and developing a taste for more nutrient-dense sustenance. Flexing your taste buds means retraining them with the same focus and energy that you would use if you were strength training at the gym.
By developing a taste for the sour, bitter, and umami—that fifth taste profile that is often described as meaty or savory and results from a combination of amino acids—you’ll learn to love foods such as spinach and other nutritious greens, celery, seaweed, citrus, mushrooms, and tomatoes, which will forever change how you eat and will help you naturally fight disease.
You can transform how you build your meals, reset your taste buds, and refine your waistline to head into a new decade, armored up.
Get Your Taste Buds Back on Track
1. Build your plate starting with non-starchy veggies.
Any of the veggies from my “All You Can Eat Buffet” are suggested. (Some of these include artichokes, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, fennel, leeks, turnips, and more.)
2. Start in the morning with good quality protein and mostly plant-based fat, and avoid sugary foods to stabilize your blood sugar.
This can include any of my egg dishes, chia seed pudding. (Yes, you can have pudding for breakfast!), or smoothies made with mostly green veggies and a handful of low-glycemic fruit like berries and apples.
3. Combine protein, fat, and complex carbs in every meal.
Focus your meals on bitter, sour, and umami flavors.
4. Eat smaller reconditioning meals every 3 to 4 hours.
Eating smaller meals to keep your energy high, rev your metabolism, and sustain your blood sugar so you never feel hungry.
See the Taste bud Reconditioning Flights (in Eat Like You Give a Fork) for more. The flights include at least five bites or sips of the following ingredients daily for eight days: tomatoes, mushrooms (other than white button), dark leafy greens, celery, avocado, and toasted seaweed. Non-meat eaters also include at least one of the following: quinoa, seaweed, pickled foods, tempeh, miso, edamame. Meat and seafood eaters can also include items listed in Eat Like You Give A Fork.
5. Enjoy at least one raw or mostly raw meal a day.
This helps you get the maximum benefit out of your nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics without cooking them off.
6. Drink the Real Vitality Tonic.
The Real Vitality Tonic is a warm, raw apple cider, cinnamon and ginger drink. Drink this for eight days after your first meal of the day and again with your other meals.
Drink cold water in between meals instead of with your food.
7. Give your full focus to your food.
Sit down, put aside the technology and eat slowly, tasting every bite and knowing each forkful is building your house to greatness. This is your time to fall in love with flavor again.
Mareya Ibrahim is an Author, Chef, and the Founder of Eat Cleaner. Text FITFOODIE to 22828 to get her free 7-Day Reset and more information about the book, Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive: eatcleaner.com.