Changing Our Food
As you are looking to make changes to improve your health, there really isn’t anything more foundational than the food and drinks you consume. Every bite and drink you take can either fuel, replenish, and heal or it can create inflammation and have a negative impact on your health. If you’ve been following us long, you know we don’t expect or even practice perfection ourselves. For the most part, we follow an 80/20 rule, unless we are dealing with a specific condition that requires a strict protocol for treatment. This means 80 percent of the time you stick to nutrient dense foods that work for your body, and the other 20 percent of the time there is some wiggle room. As a staff, we all stick to a whole foods, nutrient-dense diet, ensuring we load up our plates with a variety of vegetables, starchy and non-starchy, and including healthy fats and clean sources of protein in each meal. We do this because the research has shown those who live the longest and healthiest lives with the least chronic diseases consume diets similar to our paleo, hunter-gatherer, ancestors. Often people think that changing their diet is like a switch, you can remove the processed foods from your cupboard that have added sugars and unwanted ingredients in them and replace them with more nutritious options. However, if you’ve tried it before, you know it isn’t that easy. Let’s discuss one of the reasons why.
If you’ve been eating things like crackers, yogurt, cereal, granola bars, and other processed foods you find in a bag or box, unless you are very careful about reading the labels and looking at the ingredients, you will find these products have added sugars in them. This is done intentionally by the food industry to make their foods highly palatable. When you eat these foods you ignite the reward center in the brain and it releases dopamine, making you feel good in the moment. Unfortunately, the feel good feelings are only temporary, which then leads you to crave more. Both Lay’s Potato Chips and Pringles let us all in on that little secret with their slogans years ago saying, “Betcha can’t eat just one,” and “Once you pop, you can’t stop.” However, we took those slogans and normalized consuming large amounts of these foods instead of getting angry that they created these addictive foods that didn’t nourish our bodies.
When you switch to a whole foods diet, it will take time and patience for your palate to adjust. Vegetables tend to be more bitter, and although fruit is sweet it isn’t the high intensity sweetness of a candy bar or a Yoplait yogurt. Knowing this information can help you as you make changes to your food intake. One way to help you as you make the change is to allow yourself to try foods multiple times before you write them off as “gross”. Roasting vegetables can help bring out the sweetness in them which can make them more enjoyable as you shift your palate. Another tip is to add spices to your dishes. Cinnamon can help with the sweet taste you are looking for and other spices like oregano, basil, cumin, cilantro, garlic, onion, turmeric, and paprika can add great flavor to proteins and vegetables. Be patient with yourself. This takes time.
As we’ve talked about before, set small goals for yourself to help you find success as you make the change. Maybe you try one new vegetable for the week, trying it multiple times to help adjust your palate. Or maybe it is trying a new spice or finding a new vegetable recipe. Finding new recipes has never been easier with the internet and reviews! If you are looking for more support with making dietary changes like these, please contact our health coach, Brynn. She has experience both in making these changes herself and in helping her clients as they navigate the barriers and challenges that arise from trying to make changes.