Exercise your Palate

If I were a betting person I would take on any overweight person, any sugar addict for sure, that you are eating the same few foods with very little variety. Most people have their fixes of choice, though they might be willing to venture into say new cookie territory, they try very few new foods. Our brains have latched on to the biggest bang for the buck foods and sees no reason to go far afield from those foods with the greatest sugar-fat-starch kick.  While I have been guilty of this, too, I always liked to try lots of different foods, though I always left room for dessert. (Dessert is an eating mindset I still work to get over.)

Now that I generally stay away from the unholy trinity of sugar-starch-artificial sweeteners, I find it is amazing how good some foods taste that I used to not pay  much attention to, especially in the vegetable arena. I try to buy mostly organic which makes a huge difference in root vegetables in particular; conventionally grow celery tends to be bitter since it  is mostly water it holds all that chemical taste from herbicides and pesticides, while organic celery is sweet and wonderful as a place for almond butter, soft cheeses, or in a light saute to serve alongside chicken or fish.  I now buy vegetables I used to ignore, like red swiss chard, and find they are mostly wonderful and very easy to prepare.

My partner  says he eats the green stuff first just to get it over with, but even he has complimented me on some new and interesting veggie dishes I’ve found in the last couple of years. He especially likes when I make ribbon noodles of summer or zucchini squash and top them with meatballs and marinara sauce. There is so much more that is tasty and healthy than sweets that tend to dull the palate as badly as smoking.

In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal article by Barb Stuckey, she writes:

We also may be altering our brain chemistry by eating more and more sweeter and sweeter foods. New research shows that the excessive consumption of calorically dense foods changes the way that our brain responds to future foods. The effect is akin to a drug addict’s need for more and more heroin to satisfy his craving.     (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304840904577422761220716518.html?google_editors_picks=true)

To make this trying of new things a bit more exciting it’s a good idea to say: I’m going to try something new to eat this week!  This makes the routine business of eating more of an adventure, and nowadays all you have to do is type in your major ingredient into a search engine and come up with dozen tested recipes, or look through those great cookbooks you probably already have in your kitchen.

Also an advantage for you parents of young children:  My daughter’s favorite market has places in the produce section where you can weigh and label your own items;  she learned that her girls, starting about age 4-5, would eat anything they got to pick out weigh and label, thus they learned early to enjoy many vegetables and fruits most kids won’t touch. Now in their pre-teens years, they are far more adventurous eaters than most young people, certainly more than I was at that age.

Breaking out of the sweet rut , exercising our palates to new tastes, will open all kinds of new and healthy foods that will help keep us on our new path.

Yours in the adventure of new and better foods for our hungry bodies,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

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