A few years after I married my husband, a meat-and-potato eater, I started inserting more veggies into his diet to help him feel less sluggish in the middle of the day. I was brought up in a culture where vegetables were always part of a meal, water was the main source of hydration, and sweet was considered a treat instead of an entrée. My, oh my, I was faced with reluctance, lots of bargaining in the kitchen. I became defensive. His idea of including vegetable into his diet went as far as pumpkin pie and carrot cake. Salad didn’t get equal space on his dinner plate. When he asked me what I was cooking for dinner, my defense antenna started to go up and my tone of voice started to change – you-eat what-I-prepare-or-you-cook-yourself type of attitude showed up. I was frustrated, “Why wouldn’t you embrace good, healthy food with joy?” I thought. Little did I know, his taste buds had been trained and programmed to only consider meat and potato, bread and butter, Diet cola and chocolate chips cookies.
Just like food, other things we do in life that have become habitual, will settle in and become internalized to the deepest part of our being. It is automatic and welcomed as common. When you push through the revolving door of an office building five times a week, the front guard knows that you work in that building. When you drive to work using the same route day in and day out, you can zone out at the wheel and still arrive at work, so to speak. When you lounge on the sofa watching TV for hours, getting up makes you feel sore. Our muscles record everything and embrace comfort. The more we push someone to change, the more defensive one becomes. I understand change takes time. I had to look for new strategy to insert vegetables into my husband’s diet. I stopped telling him what was in his meals, just mentioned the generic dish – pasta (even though I mixed it with zucchini), minestrone soup (loaded with various veggies he couldn’t even see whether there was meat in it), then spiced it up. Slowly but surely his taste buds got used to welcoming healthier foods, and without realizing it, he now craves vegetables. Who would have guessed?
It takes time to change. At first, be ready to feel uncomfortable. When I was a young girl, my grandmother trained me to eat the healthiest food first, the ones I love last. That way, the tastiest one lingered. And she would tell me stories why each ingredient was good for my body. I was sold by those stories. I could eat bitter, sour, or not-so-tasteful foods with ease knowing they were good for me. My mind was trained to see past the taste and went straight to its benefits. Over time, the food became tasteful. Good nourishment can do magic in our body. When we feel great, foods taste great. When we’re not well, we lose our ability to smell and taste the food.
My friend posted the picture above as part of her course, “Healthy Meals, Healthy Families”. And I said to myself, “My, how gorgeously delicious that food looks.” And my husband agrees. Kristin Clague Reihman is a board-certified family doctor, who brought herself back to health after she was hit by Lyme disease in 2011, through her Comprehensive Elimination Diet. When you can taste healthy food just by looking at a picture, you’re on the right track. Give your being a chance to experience good-healthy foods. Be patient in your journey. Change takes time, and it may feel uncomfortable and tasteless at first, but it won’t last. When your taste buds are awakened by healthy food, you’ll be grateful you’ve taken the step to nourish your whole being with whole food, that not only looks gorgeous, it tastes so as well. And you’re transformed.
Let healthy change begin this year, and let it begin with you. Check out Kristin’s course here — https://mailchi.mp/752807abcdfe/winter2020
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