Let me preface this by saying that I grew up on hamburger helper, icing straight from the tube, icecream sandwiches, lots of bread and homogenized milk. You wouldn’t catch me eating anything green except for an occasional salad with lots of cheese and drenched in ranch salad dressing so I couldn’t really taste the lettuce.
So I’ve been where you are when you say you don’t like vegetables.
However, I still don’t believe you 🙂
I started a new health journey when I turned 30. I knew that I had already been taking care of my father since I was 23 and that I’d be doing so for the rest of his life. However, I wasn’t going to be doing ANYthing unless I got healthier and was physically capable of doing all of the chores and things he did (like chopping wood).
As I started getting more physical with daily exercise and eating healthier, I ran across the Paleo diet and of course the subsequent Whole30 challenge that lets you reset your “system” by cutting out pretty damn near everything for 30 days.
During this process of discovery and learning, there was an analogy/example of sorts that really stuck with me given my history of poor eating and my dedication to turning my life around.
The concept is basically this:
Your body knows what it needs to feel sated. If you sit and eat a pound of meat and veggies, likely you are going to feel sated, full, happy, and your body is thanking you for the nutrients. However if you sit and eat a pound of oreos, more than likely you can eat the whole damn thing and not feel sated, full, or even like you just ate a whole freaking pound of oreos. There’s simply no nutrients in Oreos that your body needs, so it’s still craving more and more until it gets those nutrients (especially good fats).
It really made sense to me, because honestly I’ve probably sat down and ate a whole pack of oreos and never once thought about how it never made me feel full. I just simply got tired of eating oreos.
Another thing that people don’t realize is that aside from sugar being as addictive as cocaine, it’s also masked and even burned into our taste-buds so much that we simply don’t know what taste is anymore. We’ve masked all of our food with sugar or fake sweeteners that we don’t know how to taste anymore.
This is why I really loved the Whole30 diet. My husband and I were completely dedicated to giving this a legit shot. We read every label for 30 days, learned about what was in our food, and had absolutely no sugar of any kind of 30 days.
The change in our taste-buds was pretty dramatic. So much so that we decided to continue with a paleo or primal style diet from then on. At this point I was eating sweet potatoes, brusselsprouts, fried cabbage, broccoli, though I still haven’t found a way to eat kale yet that I like.
There are still occasions where I’ll eat something sweet or bad for me, but I really taste the difference in how sweet it is and how awful it makes my body feel. I acknowledge that this does not make me feel good physically, but emotionally or psychologically I’ve fulfilled something I thought I wanted (and I really didn’t). That’s how sugar works.
The point is, we are fully capable of liking vegetables. I firmly believe that everyone can like vegetables and eat a healthier lifestyle. You simply have to give yourself at least 30 days to make that transition by cutting out sugar completely and really experimenting with things you might like. You need to reset your system and break that sugar addiction to really let yourself taste again for the first time.
The easiest way to do this is, before you start, find some recipes you think you will like. For example, I fell in love with sweet potato fries that I make myself. I could eat these every single day. Experiment with a no-bean chili (I have a great recipe for this). Find a nitrate, sugar-free, uncured bacon (you can literally buy this at Aldi’s). There’s so many delicious things out there that will help you get through this first month, you just have to dedicate to it and transition into the mindset of enjoying the foods you CAN eat instead of complaining about the foods you CAN’T eat.
Once that 30 days is done, experiment with some new things. Brusselsprouts Au Gratin is one of my favorite dishes of all time. Fried cabbage and Kielbasa cooked in grass-fed butter is a staple in my house. Roasted root vegetables is an absolute treat.
Fill yourself with good fats, try new vegetables once you’ve let your taste-buds heal, and let your body finally enjoy what it really needs and wants rather than what you brain tells you.
I think you’ll find you like a lot more vegetables than you thought.