In my last post regarding adjusting your taste buds, I shared some of the personal successes I have had learning to like new foods. Today I wanted to share some of the principles and tips I have learned.
One step at a time
Most of us don’t need to make dramatic changes all at the same time. The majority of us will probably do better with gradually change. As we learn new principles in the kitchen and slowly implement them, it gives our palate time to adjust. Here are a few examples of how to move gently towards nourishing cooking.
Steps towards whole grain food
If you are trying to incorporate more whole grains into your diet, don’t make the change all at once. Mix brown and white rice together or add one cup of whole wheat flour at a time to your bread.
Steps towards soaking whole grains
If you don’t soak any of your grains yet, start with soaking rice, millet, quinoa, overnight. It’s as easy as putting water and grains together in a bowl the night before and won’t effect the taste. Then, when you have gotten used to that, learn to soak pancakes and quick breads before moving to sourdough. Before you know it, not only will you be soaking all your grains, but everybody will have adjusted to your new way of cooking.
Pick one thing
You can also pick one thing to concentrate on at a time: using better sweeteners, taking out toxic cold cereal, soaking grains, adding in healthy meats, or whatever else you think needs the most work.
Don’t Force Food
I have found that it is not good to force food, instead, introduce food. Too often, when food is forced on another, or you force yourself to eat a lot of a new food, you grow to dislike it even more. If it’s a very different taste for you, just try it. , If your family is adverse to it, just have them try it, but don’t force it down their throats. This is especially true for strong flavored, unusually textured foods. One acquaintance had the misfortune of having a dad who was convinced he could help him overcome food aversions as a young child. If I remember right, when his dad found out a food he didn’t like, he would make him eat it every day for a week. He grew to hate all of that food even more. Don’t force it.
Instead, Introduce food (21 times)
I, myself, was a VERY picky eater. But my mother was always trying new recipes and having us try new things. My dad also loved trying ethnic food, and breathed on us his enthusiasm for trying new foods. Because of their gently and subtle influence, I grew out of picky habits. By the time I reached my teens, instead of retaining my limited palate, I was urging other friends to expand their horizons with foods! If there is hope for the little girl (me) that survived off of yogurt and crackers in her early years, then there is hope for you and your family too.
But that’s not to say I like everything I want to like. There are certain foods that I am still training my palate to like (I am doing this because of the health benefits of these foods). They say that you don’t know whether you really like a food or not until you have had it 21 times. If you just try something once and give up, you are giving up 20 times to soon! Make a small portion and just have everyone try it (21 times), and then decide whether you like it or not. This may sound like a lot of work, but I have found that sometimes it just takes a few times of “trying” to change into “liking”.
Talk positively about what you are doing
Sometimes it may be better, especially if your children are young, to not say anything and just gradually change their (and your) diet. But if you know changes are going to start an uproar. I really encourage you to talk to your family about why you want to change things. If their minds can grasp your reasons, they will be much more likely to have a good attitude about it. Be positive about what you are doing, keep a sense of humor when a meal didn’t turn out like you hoped, and consider how to make the transitions easy for them.
If you don’t have a family you are cooking for and only have yourself to consider, it is equally important to keep a positive attitude. If you start making changes with the mindset that you are going to hate your food, you probably will. Keep positive about your adaptable palate and it will adapt!
Drastic steps for drastic change
And, finally, while it works well for a lot of us to gradually change things, some of us do better with drastic steps for drastic change. Let me explain. If you are eating a donut every other day, your palate will have a hard time adjusting to your whole wheat, soaked, delicately sweet muffin the other days. If you eat French bread everyday for dinner, you may find hardy, sourdough toast at breakfast to heavy for your tastes.
Sometimes the most effective way to change your palate is to completely remove white flour, white sugar, MSG seasoned food and other junk food. Yes, it will be more painful at first, but, and this is exciting, your palate will probably adjust ten times faster. Like when I was on my cleanse diet, in just two weeks I was enjoying food I would have thought less than edible just a short time before.
I would encourage you to take out all fried and processed refined foods, and preservative and MSG laden food. And then go from there in adjusting your family’s palates.
Making important changes aren’t always easy, but they are worth it! You know yourself and your family best, consider how to best make changes for all of your health’s sake without making it overwhelming for you or them.
It is possible, doable, and fun. Don’t dread it, but embrace the changes you are making for your better health. You are more adaptable than you think.
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