What can you do when you have serious health and fitness goals…but you just don’t like vegetables? First, know that you’re not crazy (and you’re not alone). Next, try our 3-step formula to go from spitting out to seeking out the veggies you used to hate.
You should eat your vegetables.
“Eat your veggies” is a childhood mantra, a government agency slogan, and a lesson that almost any health or fitness coach will eventually teach their clients.
Even newbies know they should be “eating the rainbow” (though they don’t always know how).
Yes, vegetables are good.
- Vegetables are full of nutrients that your body loves. Vegetables are bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. These nutrients help keep you healthy and avoid deficiencies (which make you feel really bad).
- Vegetables have a lot of volume, but not a lot of calories. So, they fill up your stomach without adding a lot of extra calories. This can help you control energy balance (calories in vs calories out), and help you maintain a healthy body weight, or lose body fat without feeling too hungry.
- Vegetables add fiber. Fiber not only helps us feel full, it feeds our intestinal bacteria, helps push things through our digestive tract, and helps to excrete unwanted waste products.
- Vegetables add water. Staying hydrated is good. The extra water also helps the fiber do its job.
- Vegetables add variety. With so many different kinds of veggies to try, learning to enjoy them can help you stick to healthy eating.
Of course, in theory, you could eat “too many vegetables”… but for most people, that would mean eating several pounds a day. (And lots of bathroom unpleasantness).
Most people, of course, have the opposite problem: barely eating any vegetables at all.
3 steps to really love your veggies
Regardless of where you’re starting — never eaten a green thing ever, or just want some new ways to eat plants — there is a simple formula you can use to make bitterness less intense, more palatable, and much more enjoyable:
Find a bitter food, something that requires a special effort, and something that you won’t normally just eat.
Psych yourself up. Put on your ragiest, peppiest music as a soundtrack. Do a primal scream.
You’re going to TASTE that kale! YEAHHHHHHH!!! BITTER BEAST MODE!!!
See what happens.
You may hate it… you may love it… you may just think “meh”.
Either way… you have now been brave, and at least tried it.
Research suggests that we may need to try new foods many times before we’ll tolerate or like them. So, challenge yourself regularly. You might be surprised about what happens.
Building on the complexity of flavor perception, almost all well-developed recipes use a kind of “flavor harmony”.
In this case, it means pairing a food or aromatic with your vegetable to push several taste/flavor buttons at the same time.
We can actually predict some of this harmony in advance now, using complicated measurements like gas chromatography. But generally, we rely on chefs — who often have amazing intuition about “what goes with what” — to do it for us.
Pairing bitterness with certain flavors can magically turn its volume down.
On your tongue, you have a variety of receptors that bind to the chemicals in food. When these receptors get a chemical signal, they send information to the brain about what you are “tasting”.
(Variations in the number and type of these receptors help give us our innate flavor preferences.)
Chemical signals are like cars on a roadway. Sometimes the road to the brain is clear, sometimes the road can get jammed.
Sweet and fatty flavors, in particular, can jam up the road and interfere with our brain’s perception of bitterness. Even the specific types of sugar and fat can matter (for instance, butter versus olive oil; glucose versus fructose, etc.)
So, after we have chosen our Challenge food and a Complement, we find a Cushion.
Excellent Cushions for bitterness include honey, maple syrup, oil, almonds, and butter.
Don’t freak out if those sound calorie-dense. We just need balance, not a cup of oil or a pound of bacon.
Now, check out the matrix below.
- Pick one challenge.
- Pick one complement.
- Pick one cushion.
Pay attention to the simple cooking methods, which help you preserve the vegetables’ texture (mush ends here, people.)
As you become more comfortable, experiment with combining more flavors — up to one item per category. The different combinations are endless.
Read the full article HERE.
Buy In: 750 Meter Row
10 Pull Ups
20 SDHP 95/65#
Cash Out: 750 Meter Row
5 Plank Up Downs
Special K 1814
Jason P 1726
J Herder 2123
P Diddy 1659
K Herder 1540
Kyle G 1636
Sarah W 1718
Aimee F 1709
Jeff L 2009
Jen L 1811
Ryan H 1928
Jen C 1941
Jen S 2204
Tessie 1920 *Welcome