Adjusting Your Tastebuds, Part One

It can be overwhelming to try to start cooking new, more nourishing ways. Not only do you have to learn new kitchen skills, but you have to learn to adjust your taste buds. It can be discouraging to feed “healthy” food to a hungry family and find that they don’t even like it. While there are some dislikes one can’t overcome, I have found that our taste buds are much more adaptable than you would think. Adjusting your palate, doesn’t always happen overnight, but it can be done!

But why should you care?

If you eat like most Americans, you are used to high sugar, refined, MSG loaded food. If you want to eat food that is nourishing to your body, you better learn to adjust your taste buds. But even if you eat relatively healthy, you may find, on the quest for better eating habits, you have to learn to like new foods. Knowing how to adjust your tastes (and knowing that it is possible) will be important for your success.

I wanted to share, for your encouragement, some personal examples in my life of how I was able to change what types of food I appreciated. It has worked for me . In part two, I will share some more practical solutions and details in what has helped me.

On a Cleanse Diet

When I was 16, I had my first experience of adjusted taste buds. With some health concerns I was having, I was put on a cleanse (and no, it wasn’t following Nourishing Tradition principles, it was before it’s day *smile*). I was only allowed to have brown rice syrup for sweetener, no meat, and only some fruits. Within the two weeks I was on the cleanse, my brown rice syrup cookies started tasting wonderful. Although I would have hated them in comparison to sugar cookies, since I was strictly following a no sugar/honey/frutose diet, I found them sweet and ……good tasting (believe it or not). I grew up on milk, so real milk was definitely my leaning. But since I couldn’t have milk on this cleanse, I had rice milk. By the end of two weeks, I hardly even minded it. I really was amazed how much I adjusted in such a short amount of time. Two weeks isn’t very long to learn to appreciate new food, but I did. I learned early in life that we aren’t as controlled by our taste buds, as we think.

On the Body Ecology Diet (beating the sugar cravings)

But that hasn’t been the only example in my life. More recently I went on a very strict health diet. I wasn’t allowed any type of sweetener, no fruit, no gluten, and very limited dairy. It was hard to learn how to cook for myself, but I quickly learned to appreciate new foods, new tastes, and new ways of eating. I did crave sugar for about a week, but soon my very sweet tooth, disappeared! I was amazed. Even though I have added fruit and maple syrup back into my diet, I find that my sugar cravings have stayed away. It is such a blessing.

Going without Dairy

I have always been a dairy girl and so has my sister in law, but we were both taken off of dairy recently around the same time. All of a sudden, we like coconut milk a lot more than before. Coconut ice cream was something I have always loved, but my sister in law didn’t like it that well …until now. Now that she is off of dairy, she loves it! Now that butter is knocked out of the game, coconut oil works wonderfully and I have learned to appreciate it so much more than I used too.

Adjusting to a New Cook

My husband is another example. When we first got married he came with his own set of likes and dislikes. He liked his mom’s salad dressing, white rice, and bacon and vegetables. I made a lot of bacon for the first few months and very gradually (without really thinking about it), I added in things that I liked to eat, or thought were healthier. When we first got married, my husband would have been sad to think about going without white rice, but now he eats brown rice without a second thought. My husband liked his mother’s less pungent salad dressing, but adjusted to mine and now prefers it! My husband is half Japanese, and so didn’t appreciate ( actually stuck his nose up at) Italian rice salads, or butter on rice, but ate his with soy sauce only. But now? Italian rice salad is one of his favorites to eat, and he definitely likes butter on rice (with soy sauce, of course!).

In fact, my husband used to be pretty picky and like the same types of food all the time. But he married some one who LOVES to try new things, and he has adjusted incredibly over the three plus years we have been married. Neither of us would have guessed that he would become so flexible in what I served him.

I hope that these little examples will give you hope that you two can change your likes and dislikes. Because I have had to learn how to adjust to different foods a lot, there are certain principles I have learned that have really helped me. I will share that in my next post, so stay tuned for more on adjusting your taste buds!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Edi says

    One thing I find is that you cannot change everything at once.

    We’ve pretty much given up on white rice, white potatoes, white bread and pasta. Amazingly the kids do not complain and dh and I both love the whole grain stuff.

    It does take some time to get used to the way foods taste – and we are all having to adjust our taste buds a bit. There is still some unhealthy eating – but it’s going down.

  2. Linda says

    I’ve only recently begun to read Nourishing Traditions. I’m loving your blog. I’m just curious as to why you changed to dairy-free. Do you feel this is healthier or did you have health problems that forced you to change this aspect?

    • KimiHarris says


      Dairy seems to bother both Elena (my two year old) and me, though raw dairy not as much. That’s the only reason. 🙂

  3. Rachel says

    Recently found your blog and have really enjoyed reading it. I grew up eating a lot of white stuff and very little raw veggies. My husband is a completely different story. He grew up eating very healthy. He put up with my cooking for a while but he would often stop at the store to grab some veggies to go with our meal. Now I am actually craving salad and can’t stand white bread or pasta! Our two older girls six and three love veggies and a dessert consisting of a piece of fruit is fine by them.

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