I’m letting the real me shine here, because I’m about to tell you a pretty terrible story. I should say I’m going to relay a story to you terribly, because I can’t just make stuff up for readability. I don’t make stuff up when it’s convenient, okay?! This is exactly what I’d do to express this same sentiment if we were having a conversation and it steered in this direction IRL.
IRL stands for “in real life” if you didn’t already know. I’m always pretty late to pick up on new acronyms myself, but I love using them in my day-to-day, and I’m really trying to give you all a taste of who I am IRL. Blog Caitie is the same Caitie you’ll chat with on the phone if you feel so inclined.
No idea where I heard this from, and of course I only remember bits and pieces, but here’s how it goes: a health-conscious parent’s children came home from somewhere (school? a party?) with sugar-laden processed treats. They gave their kids the choice on whether or not to eat them, but first shared this analogy: suppose you had a bunny and you knew that to keep it healthy and strong it needed to really limit candies and learn to enjoy healthy rabbit foods. Otherwise, it could get sick or feel crummy or die early. What would you do? Supposedly the kids chose not to eat the treats, because the parent asked them to care for themselves like they would care for the little bunnies… or something like that.
Whether or not that creates any kind of unhealthy food relationships down the line for those kids, I share that story because this is the conversation I want to have with many ADULTS. Treat yourself as if you were a precious creature you were responsible for. It’s not just a reframe, it’s the truth. Kids have the excuse of not knowing better. We’re hardwired to prefer sweets and are easy victims to the processed and packaged foods designed to be addictive. But as adults, we all know the basics (don’t we?!): drink water, have less sugar, avoid processed foods, have more veggies.
Eating is complex. It’s emotional and is influenced by tons of factors. A lot of what I do is help people who know better (for the most part) but can’t figure out why they just can’t bring themselves to consistently implement what they know.
One hurdle we have to get over first are excuses like these: “I just don’t like drinking water” or “Ugh, I hate green veggies.” These are the things I hear and read in forums constantly that make me want to tell people the bunny story.
And then, since we’re adults, I’ll also throw down some knowledge bombs.
If you drink beer, hard liquor, wine, or coffee you know all about acquired tastes. As humans we aren’t so keen on bitter flavors, some more than others (genetics). The same is true for many veggies, especially green leafies. You might not like the first bites or sips, but you’re chasing some kind of benefit (a buzz, caffeine, nutrition) so you swallow it down anyway.
A 2010 study found that it can take up to 9 introductions of a food before you acquire a taste for it.
If you don’t want to force-feed yourself, fine. Go ahead and ease in slowly. Throw a little honey on baked green beans, delicious! Or use yummy butter in some cooked spinach. Enjoy raw nuts with a bit of chocolate. Transition to herbal teas before switching cold turkey to water.
When you take an effort to add healthier choices to your diet, you’ll naturally crowd out options that aren’t doing you any good. It will snowball to make further improvements that much easier, because your palate will change. You’ll notice certain veggies can satisfy a sweet tooth or you actually don’t need so much sugar for things to taste good any more. Just be patient with yourself.
I’ll wrap up by sharing that while yes, I am asking you to be an adult here (drink water and eat your damned veggies!) you’re not going to like everything. That’s okay! You don’t have to suffer through cauliflower rice for the rest of your days if you give it an honest try and it never appeals to you.
Preparation matters too, so get creative with recipes! If you need any guidance, I’m only happy to help. It’s also my job 🙂
*that one’s lots of love, not sure if it’s actually a thing lol**
**that one is laughing out loud (except I wasn’t actually, just smiling)