In today’s Guardian on line, there is an interesting article called ‘Healthy food: can you train yourself to like it?’ Here is the link:
In the article, the idea is to wean outselves off junk and onto healthier foods by taking small steps. So instead of snarfing down 4 biscuits, we snarf down 3 and 15 minutes later, we’ll will be just as satisfied as if we’d eaten 4. When it comes to eating up our greens, instead of concentrating on the loathed bitter taste, make the horrible green stuff tasty by adding spices – or even a few currants, an excellent way of adding a little sweetness that we all crave.
The underlying idea is that we get used to what we eat all the time, so if we drink coca cola, we learn to love first the sweetness and then the complexity of the flavour. If we suddenly cut out sugar completely, in a valiant effort to become less of a lard arse, when we resume eating sweet stuff, it tastes extraordinarily sweet. I well remember once cutting out everything sweet in order to get my poor guts working properly again, and after that regime was over eating some pineapple. It was so sweet, I found I couldn’t eat it. And then there was the time a client, who had been sticking to his regime, had a tough day at work and thought, ‘Enough. I’m having a chocolate biscuit!’ He had to spit it out, it tasted so disgusting. Interesting stuff, hey? And this is the point, increase the good stuff, wean ourselves off the rubbish and in due course, the rubbish tastes like what it is. Horrible.
It is an idea gaining credence, that to make any permanent change involves taking little steps instead of going for it all in one fell swoop.
So when it comes to dietary changes, if every time we try to reduce our cake tummy, it works for a while, then we resume Death By Chocolate gobbling with avengence, it is certainly worth trying the little by little approach. To learn to love the greens really will involve making them interesting and palatable rather than going for the ‘steamed with no salt or butter’ approach straight away. 1
But, added to the above, it is worth bearing in mind the following three points:
- To make any change at all involves energy. The brain uses roughly 25% of our daily calories,2 , and more if we are really having to concentrate. So to do anything differently requires the brain to think more, which requires this extra energy. If we are feeling tired all the time, then this has to be addressed first or all attempts at permanent change will fail, no matter how minute the steps.3 In fact, what I do as a trainer is put new clients on a very powerful multi vit that improves energy levels in 3 days flat, so people can start to make the changes necessary to meet their goals. This speeds the whole process up nicely.
- Greens tasting bitter can stem from a lack of omega 3 oils in the diet. Omega 3 is found principally in oily fish. Taking fish oils will help – and more than one gram a day! Do make sure the fish oils are healthy. If they are manufactured in Norway, they are reliable. Otherwise they are either laden with heavy metals or with nasty solvents used to clean the oils of heavy metals.
- Bear in mind that the more manufactured a food is, the more taste bud zinging chemicals it contains. So unadulterated food does indeed taste a bit boring in comparison – an extremely good reason to add either hot or sweet to self cooked foods. Weaning ourselves off the Pringles involves careful forethought. The adverts say it all; ‘Bursting with flavour’. ‘We’ve packed in even MORE flavour , with explosive results!’ How on earth is a steamed sprout to compete with that? All I can say is that if we do manage to get off the wretched things, after a while of eating real food, the false stuff hits the tongue with a punch like Sugar Ray Leonard. And it carries quite an after taste, which serious Pringle noshing leaves us inured to.
To love healthy food involves a multi pronged attack: weaning ourselves off unhealthy food; making the healthy food tasty and increasing our energy levels. In due course, a chocolate Hobnob will indeed taste as disgusting as it actually is. However, a home made chocolate Hobnob will always taste good. Fortunately it takes energy to make home made biscuits regularly. And to increase energy levels, we need to get off the unhealthy foods. Can’t beat a good circular argument.
- In fact, all greens should have some healthy oil like butter or olive oil added to them to aid uptake of their nutrients. And add salt to them – for the vast majority of us, salt is healthy. [↩]
- 25% of our daily calories is slightly misleading. In fact the brain is about 2% of our body weight, but uses 15% or our cardiac output, 20% of the oxygen in circulation and 25% of the blood glucose. All food gets turned to glucose. If we are starving, then the brain uses ketones for energy. The other energy source it can use is actually glutamine. [↩]
- Why we feel tired all the time is complex. Principal cause: poor nutrition, so a vicious circle for most people. However, getting enough good quality sleep comes a close second. So if we are not going to bed early enough, and feeling tired, then that is daft. Poor quality sleep – or getting loads of sleep and still feeling tired – are signs of poor nutrition. Contact me or your local Poliquin Biosignature practitioner and we’ll really sort it all out. [↩]