For the first 20-ish years of my life I did not eat a vegetable. No joke. I ate bread, cereal, chicken, iceberg lettuce with a lot of vinegar and as many gummy candies that I could get my hands on. Perfect diet for a future dietitian right? My mom told me I was a picker eater like her and I agreed since all foods sounded pretty gross. Then for some reason which I am still a little unclear on, I started getting more and more interested in food and nutrition. I actually started my graduate degree in Nutrition and Physiology not really liking vegetables. Ridiculous, but very true.
So what happened? Why now do I love all veggies and will eat just about anything? During my second year at school I learned about supertasters, which are genetically picky eaters. The taste buds of a supertaster are so sensitive that most foods are such an explosion of flavor in their mouth that they are drawn to more bland foods. I was convinced this was me! However, I took the test and I was not a supertaster. What gives? After thinking it through, I finally figured out that my mom is a supertaster ( I made her take the test) and growing up I did whatever she did. She only liked bland foods so I followed her footsteps and only ate what she ate. If she didn’t eat something I wouldn’t touch it. Pretty crazy how behaviors can affect your entire life and perspective.
Are you a supertaster? You can get yourself tested by buying a kit. The test is simple. If you are a supertaster putting this piece of paper on your tongue will taste horrible, while those of use who do not have hyper sensitive taste buds will simply think it tastes like paper.
Do you hate vegetables? Do you have specific food aversions and feel badly that you do not eat a healthy diet? Do not give up hope! Take the time to figure out how to make it work for you. Try a few foods cooked in different ways and discover what you can eat that will taste decent and will allow you to eat a healthy, balanced diet. My mom had to do the work – we figured out what vegetables and proteins she can eat and created a wonderful plan for her. She is doing great and I am so proud of her!
Anyone can change! Please know that. Do you have a child that literally will only eat sugar? They are not destined for unhealthy food habits. It may take 20 times of incorporating a food into the family meal for them to like it but you can change the eating habits of your kids. It takes awareness, determination and a tantrum or two (for the child or maybe the parent!) but we all can eat in a way that is nutritious, balanced and tastes good for us.
There is hope for all of us! Phew!