Liking What You Eat vs. Eating What You Like

My last post was an attempt to convince those who “don’t like vegetables” that there may be some that they do like or might enjoy. Honestly, I really believe that this is the case for most people. But I know that at least a few readers are probably thinking, “No. Really Pete, I don’t like vegetables!” This post is for you.

The good news is that you can learn to like them, and it’s not all that hard. Your mind and body are created to be ready to enjoy all types of food. Let’s think through this a little bit. We can all agree that people tend to eat what they like. What I am suggesting is that by eating something enough, you will start to like it.

Consider all of the various cultures of the world and the wide range of cuisines with which you’re familiar – Italian, Chinese, French, Mexican, German, Thai, Japanese, Indian, and Creole – just to name some prominent ones. Despite their vast differences, all of these cuisines are enjoyed by the people who live in their respective locales. Indians like Indian food; Germans like German food, etc.

Now Chinese people don’t like Chinese food simply because they are of Chinese origin, rather they like Chinese food because that’s what they were served as youngsters. Little children do not survey world cuisine and select their preferred foods. They simply eat what their parents (and culture) serve them. In the end they like it! That’s the way we are created. We learn to like the food we eat.

Our problem here in the United States is that we’ve learned to like “American food,” and the American food industry has not been helping us with healthy choices. The flip side is that we have not learned to like alternative healthier foods, such as vegetables, because they haven’t been served to us as children. Once we’ve grown up our food choices have hardened, and we can stay stuck in unhealthy eating patterns because we like it.

But are we really unable to change what we like? When is it that we are no longer able to learn and grow – physically, mentally and spiritually? Never, but it is a choice. Choose wisely. Begin to eat more vegetables and other healthy foods even if it’s not all that enjoyable at first. If you persist, you will learn to like them. Gradually your taste preferences will adjust. Soon you’ll be thinking, “This isn’t so bad” and it’ll be a short step from there to “This tastes great!”

Don’t believe me? Perhaps I can appeal to your own experience. Consider beer and coffee. Do you like either of them? Did you always? I admit beer is not a vegetable (coffee is closer), but very few people like beer or coffee the first time they taste them. Yet they keep drinking it because they like the feeling they get from beer or coffee. Eventually many (perhaps most) American adults learn to enjoy the taste of beer and/or coffee. Often, the very same “bitterness” that turned them off at first becomes part of what they seek in a good beer.

Similarly, if you eat more vegetables (and less of the bad stuff), you will like how they make you feel – healthy, and alive with energy.   Of course, it takes longer to feel the beneficial effects of vegetables than to feel the effects of beer or coffee! So give it some time. Eat your veggies. You really will feel better, and very soon you will enjoy the flavor.

Veggies: less calories, tastes great!

Comments

  1. Eat to live or live to eat. Seems to dovetail in with your other posts of choosing, temptation, eating well…
    However, with all of the ‘choices’ available, the question is ‘how’ do I overcome the temptation to choose the ‘quick and easy’ method of McD’s or processed food vs. making the necessary time to eat and plan better? Given, being a single working dad with demands from 6AM to 10PM, sometimes the ‘quick and easy’ is just that!

  2. Peter Weiss says:

    Lynn,
    Yes it is hard to do something that is different and healthy. If it was easy, we wouldn’t have a national epidemic of obesity. One suggestion is to plan and prepare healthy and easy-to-put-together meals over the weekend. Have the components ready to go in your kitchen for those stressful and hurried weeknights. Just a few different options ready to go can make a big difference.
    Pete