Seven ways to reclaim your taste for nutritious foods
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Pump up your selfcare skills.
Look for other things you can do that are just as, if not more than, effective at giving you the comfort or high you seek. Cultivate other avenues of pleasure besides food, without necessarily cutting food out as an avenue altogether. Friends, sports, concerts, museums, outings, nature, volunteering, and family all count.
Explore alternatives that provide taste you love.
Adore sugar? Try a nearly-too-ripe peach, apples dipped in honey, hot cacao sweetened with stevia, or use spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg in foods. For a savoury fix, try miso, seaweed, umeboshi plums, mushroom stock, and spices with bite: black pepper, dill, basil, onion, ginger, coriander, and cumin. Go for full fat organic milk rather than skim milk full of anti-caking agents and synthetic antioxidants.
Eat mindfully, especially for those first few bites.
That way you can see if the food is delivering on its promise. As you become more attentive, you may find the next few bites less and less rewarding. This knowledge can help you tone down your cravings and better understand what your body really feels like at any one time. And if that happens to be a Snickers bar, you’ll probably enjoy it more and need to eat less if you eat mindfully.
Pay attention to the whole experience of food rather than focussing on the in-the-moment pleasure of taste alone. Whether you’re at a family brunch or a movie outing, take notice of the scenery, sounds, smells, company and ambience. Eat with all your senses, not just your tongue.
Check for deficiencies.
A blood test may reveal that you’re low in protein, Vitamin B12, cholesterol, or iron. Chromium supplementation is often indicated in severe sugar cravings. Hormonal or neurotransmitter imbalances can explain sugar cravings. See your health professional if you suspect a nutritional deficiency or imbalance.
5People who are very familiar with food-producing animal systems often eat less meat and enjoy plant foods more as their knowledge increases their social and environmental consciousness. Good for the planet, good for you!
A helpful overall goal may be to re-educate your palate to appreciate a wider range of flavour sensations and tone down the cravings that may be causing you harm.
Finally, keep in mind that the best approach toward eating is not one of denial and restriction.
The best approach is one that cultivates pleasures and honours food and the act of nourishing yourself. By becoming more attentive to and respectful of your food and the eating process, you will be drawn to more wholesome choices, learn to better appreciate the flavourful nuances of nutritious foods, and be able to better hear your body’s signals of hunger and fullness … all of which, in turn, help you to maintain the healthiest, most sustainable, and most comfortable weight for you. n
Casey Conroy is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, nutritionist, yoga and Acroyoga teacher, and naturopath-in-training who loves avocados and schisandra berries in her green smoothies. She is the founder of Funky Forest Health & Wellbeing on the Gold Coast, and advocates a practical, fun, and pleasurable approach to nutrition.