When I first meet with people they often tell me that they don’t like a lot of the foods I’m telling them to eat – tomatoes, broccoli, maybe even beef and most definitely liver (I don’t really tell people that they have to include liver in their diet, but I do mention it because you really can’t beat it for nutritional density. Seriously, I’ve made the spreadsheet, looked at the numbers and I cannot find a single food – including the beloved kale or collards – that match the nutrient DENSITY of liver.) But I tell them that’s OK, because they will. I then get this response about how they really doubt it because they’ve never liked it before. Again, I say that’s OK, you will. Cue the this-lady-is-crazy look.
But you know what, eventually I’m right. Eventually that food that they didn’t like suddenly has new appeal. It might not become their “favorite” food but it does become a food that they find some enjoyment in. This is because our flavor preferences are not set in stone forever and ever and ever. You probably liked different food as a kid and you will probably like different food in 10 years; maybe it’s not a radical change, maybe it’s so subtle that you don’t even notice it, and if you don’t eat a lot of “real food” it can be hard to see the change, but it does happen. And once you start to eat “real food” – predominately veggies, meat and fruit – those preferences start to become clearer. What is more, you might even find that those preferences change more often, perhaps seasonally, or in relation to what your hormones are doing (this is most obvious in women, but certainly happens in men – y’all have hormonal cycles too!) or how much you trained the day before, or whatever.
And that is nutritional wisdom at work (if you don’t know what I’m talking about check out my post on The Dorito Effect.) Once you strip the diet of false, corrupt flavor signals (i.e. man-made, man-flavored food-like-stuff) your own nutritional wisdom can start to shine and you will find that foods that you used to find unappealing, you start to crave.
>A quick story about this from my life: there are a few things that I have tried to like and have found ways to make them tolerable but eating them is never a source of pleasure for me – two of them are the aforementioned liver and endive. And yet you will find that I’ve discussed how I eat liver and how I like to prepare endive on this website. Why is that? Because even though they are not foods that I find pleasurable to eat, I still find myself craving them from time to time. Even though I know that I will most likely not deeply enjoy eating them, my body knows that there is something in them nutritionally that I need at that time. My body’s own nutritional wisdom can override my pleasure seeking behavior and lead me to eat these things – not in great quantity and not all the time, but occasionally, when I need to. And in the end they do provide pleasure, I can say that there has not been a single time when I have eaten liver or endive that I didn’t end up with a “nutritional high” after ingestion. The eating part may not be “pleasurable” but the after effects sure are.<
What do you do with this information? Two things –First, once you are giving your body nature-made flavors, you can start listening to your own cravings (unless you are craving man-made, man-flavored food-like-stuff, then know that your body is still responding to a corrupt single and you need to use the override button), and know that these cravings will change. Second, try new foods, try old foods, try foods that you long gave up on ever liking, try foods that scare you, try different ways of cooking foods, try different food combinations. You may find that you like something today that you didn’t like yesterday.