Reset Your Palate to Crave Healthy Foods

Sometimes, I just CRAVE something salty. Something fatty. Something sweet. And that’s totally fine!

But when one cupcake turns into 3…

Or when a small bowl of Doritos suddenly becomes an entire bag…

I wake up bloated, skin littered with blemishes, with indigestion that makes me want to stay home all day.

I assume this happens to everyone once in awhile. In fact, this was my life for several years; wash, rinse, and repeat, day after day. Days turned into months and finally my cravings turned into a way of life. I didn’t think anything was wrong until I developed a health complication that forced me to realize that I needed to change something.

But I had been indulging in these hyper-palatable foods for so long that nothing else really tasted good to me anymore. What I needed was a reset.

 

Here is how you can Reset Your Palate to Crave Healthy Foods:

For reference,

  • 1 serving of veggies = 1 cup
  • 1 serving of leafy greens = 2 cups
  • 1 serving of fruit = 1 small to medium piece of fruit, or about ¾ cup

There are two ways to start:

Slow Method:

This method takes about 5 weeks to reset your palate.

One by one, introduce an item of produce into your diet. Start with one item that you like (or can at least tolerate) each day, and slowly build up your servings of fresh produce from there. For each serving of produce you add, remove one serving of junk food. 

What this looks like (feel free to sub in whatever produce you prefer!):

Week 1:

  • 1 serving of carrots per day
  • 1 less serving of junk food per day

whole carrot on white cutting board

Week 2:

  • 1 serving of carrots per day
  • 1 serving of broccoli per day
  • 2 fewer servings of junk food each day

whole carrot and bunch of broccoli on cutting board

Week 3:

  • 1 serving of carrots per day
  • 1 serving of broccoli per day
  • 1 apple per day
  • 3 fewer servings of junk food per day

whole carrot, broccoli, and an apple on a white cutting board

Week 4:

  • 1 serving of carrots per day
  • 1 serving of broccoli per day
  • 1 apple per day
  • 1/2 of a large orange per day
  • 4 fewer servings of junk food per day

whole carrot, broccoli, an apple, and half orange on white cutting board

Week 5:

  • 1 serving of carrots per day
  • 1 serving of broccoli per day
  • 1 apple per day
  • 1/2 of a large orange per day
  • 1 serving of spinach per day
  • 5 fewer servings of junk food per day

carrot, broccoli, apple, orange, and spinach on white cutting board

At this point, you have officially reached the recommended 5 servings of produce each day, and you’ve greatly reduced your intake of junk food! Eventually, you should try to add other produce to your diet as well – cook some potatoes or asparagus with dinner, or try a green smoothie during your lunch break.

 

Quick Method:

This method can reset your palate in as little as a week.

Go to the store and buy at LEAST 4 different kinds of fresh produce – enough for 1-2 servings of each, every day for a week. Blast your diet with these healthy foods. Even if they don’t taste that great to you, eat all of your servings every day (at least 5 total servings per day).

Once you’ve picked out your produce, choose what junk foods you will allow yourself to eat this week. Limit yourself as much as possible, no more than 1-2 servings per day, and ideally, opt to not have ANY of your junk foods around to tempt you.

What this looks like (again, feel free to sub in whatever produce you prefer):

Week 1:

  • 1 serving of carrots per day
  • 1 serving of broccoli per day
  • 1 apple per day
  • 1/2 of a large orange per day
  • 1 serving of spinach per day
  • 5 fewer servings of junk food per day

carrot, broccoli, apple, orange, and spinach on white cutting board

You’ll notice that this 1-week Quick Method is identical to week 5 of the Slow Method.

 

Comparison:

Slow Method:

Pros:

  • Introduces food slowly to reduce negative effects such as constipation and indigestion
  • Lets you develop a feel for what you like and don’t like when it comes to produce
  • Creates a habit of healthy eating over the course of 5 weeks

Cons:

  • Takes a lot longer

Quick Method:

Pros:

  • Forces you out of your junk-food habits very quickly
  • Resets your palate after just 1 week
  • Since it only lasts 1 week, you have no excuses to not stick with it!

Cons:

  • You may not fully form a healthy habit in just 1 week
  • If you don’t ensure proper water intake, you may suffer from constipation or indigestion

 

Here are some produce items that tend to be easy to start with:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Bananas
  • Snap Peas
  • Berries

These foods are generally quite palatable and are easy to portion into serving sizes. If vegetables sound impossible to you, start with several servings of fruit each day, and then ease into sweet veggies, like carrots and snap peas.

Remember: When you first start introducing produce into your diet, is is very important to ensure you are drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water each day. All the fiber you are introducing into your diet can cause constipation if you allow yourself to become dehydrated. Once your body is used to all of this produce, you’ll notice easier trips to the bathroom compared to before you started.

Whether you choose the Slow Method or the Quick Method, you should begin to notice you have:

  • Clearer skin
  • Decreased bloating
  • More energy
  • Weight loss
  • Decrease in junk food cravings
  • Shinier and less oily hair
  • Fresher breath
  • Less sensitive teeth
  • Increased energy levels

Note:

Some of you may be in areas that are considered a food desert – an area with very little access to fresh produce. This may be a good time to befriend a neighbor with a garden, or you can also use frozen or canned fruits and veggies in place of fresh produce, though fresh is ideal.

 

Share your thoughts – have you tried a similar method to increase your consumption of fresh produce? Would either of these methods work for you? Let us know in the comments!

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