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By Leisa Wheeler N.D.
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A Change In Taste

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How do you feel about vegetables? Brussel sprouts? Broccoli? Rocket? If these foods are not on your yummy list, do you just choke them down because they’re good for you or do you avoid them all together? What if I were to tell you that you could actually and easily come to love them…

When I was a child, pumpkin, mushrooms and zucchini made me want to vomit. I’m serious, it wasn’t just like a childhood dislike for vegetables, I literally wanted to puke. I used to smuggle pieces of vegetable from my fork to the lip underneath the dining table and leave them there. When Mum and Dad got a new dining table years and years later, they flipped the old one upside down and discovered all these little shrunken, fossilized pieces of vegetable lined up on the table seams. Ooops.

Anyway, the years went by and I started noticing a change in my tastes. Mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper became one of my favourite things on toast, I eat zucchini more than any other vegetable, and roasted slices of pumpkin really are little pieces of heaven! I am not sure what causes these changes, just perhaps growing up and maturing, but none the less, those nasty vegetables suddenly became somewhat of a treat!

But tastes don’t necessarily need years to change. I see people reset their taste buds in a single week through our Embracing Health Detox Retreats. They arrive at breakfast on the first morning, and I can tell you, there are not that many people who wax lyrical about that first morning detox juice. In fact one beloved client actually held her nose through the first 3 days of juicing! It was quite the spectacle! But then by the end of the week, we start hearing people talking differently about the juices. Saying how delicious they are, and how they are going to start making this one or that one at home. Our dear nose-holder even graced me with a “You know, this one’s not bad” on the last day, as she drank her juice with nose unblocked. The juices had not changed, the produce had not changed, it was her taste buds.

I know this, I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but I guess I always just thought that although the guests taste may have changed a bit, they were also pretty enthusiastic about any kind of food, making the juice taste better than perhaps it did. Maybe they were just hungry?

As a naturopath, I know I now have pretty ‘weird’ tastes. The first time I ate buckwheat pancakes I thought they were foul. I actually remember thinking I’d prefer not to have pancakes at all rather than these disgusting pieces of cardboard. Same goes for soy milk, gluten free pasta and rice bread. But the longer I had these items in my diet (out of necessity and a desire to be healthy), the more I started enjoying them. I am now at the point where given the choice between a buckwheat pancake or normal pancakes, I’d choose buckwheat every time for the taste alone. My tastes changed.

This was highlighted again for me the other week. I had just completed a 3 week detox that was completely free of anything processed. I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but I will sometimes have things like crackers and store bought hummus, salsa, or an organic frozen veggie patty. My detox consisted of 100% freshly prepared organic foods. No leftovers, no frozen foods, nothing I hadn’t made myself. After coming off this detox I found myself hungry one night with nothing in the fridge. I cooked myself one of those brown rice and vegetable patties (something I had always enjoyed) and started to eat it. It was awful. I could taste the ‘frozen-ness’ of the vegetables, the fact that the rice had been cooked, frozen and recooked. Without being to melodramatic, it tasted like dead food. After 3 weeks of nothing but fresh and whole foods, eating something processed and frozen (albeit a healthy option) really rocked my taste buds.

This showed me that my taste buds were numb to certain foods. I started imagining how the average Joe feels when those squeaky Maccas pancakes taste like a delicious treat (why do they squeak when you chew them???). What must that persons body be used to when healthy whole foods taste disgusting, and the addictive, chemical laden processed junk tastes delicious and nourishing?

I recommend everyone should experiment with their taste buds. If attending one of our juice fasting Detox Retreats is a bit too much for you, why not challenge yourself to 2 or 3 weeks of clean, homemade, fresh food. No packets, jars, mixes, sauces, just good old herbs, spices and fresh whole food produce. The changes may just blow you away! Oh and did I mention you’ll also be healthier? Bonus! If you need some tasty recipes or guidelines, feel free to email me or organise a consult. I’ve got lots of tips to share!



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