Retraining our Palette

So many people that I meet want to improve their eating habits. They are keen to make healthier choices. Often the cause of their failed attempts is blamed on willpower. Sadly, it’s a bigger hill to climb. When sugar, fat and/or salt are combined in foods they create a chemical reaction in our brain that leave us wanting more. It’s an addiction that is equal to consuming drugs like heroin. To our brain there is no difference. Eating these types of foods feels good so more is craved and consumed. The cycle goes on and on until we decide to make a change.

I believe awareness is the first step to improving eating habits. Review everything that you’re eating. Question whether you’re feeling a craving or if you really need energy that the food provides. If in fact you are addicted to certain foods that are really not contributing to your wellbeing it’s possible to reset your palette. It starts with cutting out the foods that your taste buds have grown accustomed to. Plan on a month of eating differently. Make choices that feed your body instead of your addiction.

If going cold turkey scares you cutting back a little at a time works too. It takes longer, but it works. Here are some ideas to help you make the change:

  • Read the food labels and purchase products with the least amount of sugar, fat and/or salt.
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Stop adding salt to food after it’s cooked.
  • Choose “No Added Salt” options when purchasing canned goods stewed tomatoes or canned beans – or go for the frozen version.
  • Use herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt.
  • Cut back on the cream and sugar you put in your coffee.
  • Switch to using milk in coffee instead of cream.

I’m not going to lie, making these types of changes will initially make the food you’re eating taste lousy, boring and bland.  At first your palette won’t be used to it. Once your palette adjusts you’ll find eating a whole new experience.  I can pretty much guarantee that if you make the change you will find that food doesn’t really taste like food when it’s full of all that extra stuff that we don’t need.

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