Sauces, seasonings, and spices should help. First you need to identify the flavors you like. I don't like most southwestern / Tex-Mex seasonings. I love continental and French foods... so I use a lot of those sorts of spices: tarragon, chervil, parsley, thyme, sometimes rosemary or marjoram. Being in the restricted-carb community, I also love sauces, like lemon-dill, wine reductions, cream sauces, etc. Bearnaise is a hands-down favorite! yum. I also like oriental flavors. I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, although I'm not sure there's any advantage in regards to salt with that - I haven't checked. I love teriyaki sauce (careful with the sugars!), hoisin, sesame, ginger, and the like. In fact, my favorite marinade for flank steak combines these flavors and we never have any leftovers!
Once you know what you like, perhaps try something different, just for experimentation. Try some different cooking preps - like nut meal and Parmesan crusts for oven-fry meats and seafood. Poach some chicken in herbed broth. Try some packet-cooking with your meat and veggies and herbs in parchment paper, or those bags made for such uses. Make some sauces from the pot liquor with a bit of wine or cream.
Boredom is curable! you just have to brainstorm it a bit. That can be fun.
Edited by: EXOTEC at: 3/11/2014 (11:41)
3/11/14 9:12 A
I swear by hot sauce... I put it on plain baked chicken, eggs, anything. And, I think the really strong flavour/spice makes me feel full faster because my taste buds get that strong kick.
I do low carb, which is different than low fat, but cutting the salt and sugar happened immediately, and I missed them, and had to wait about a month for chicken to be salty, and berries to taste sweet.
I did do low fat ( diabetic diet ), and lost some weight, but I did not like the taste of the food, so I cheated. High fat food just tastes better, so now I get by with garlic, and black pepper, and not much else. No matter what I did to the low fat food, it did not taste as good.
The salt and sugar is one thing, but if the actual food itself is not to your liking, then you won't stick to it for the rest of your life.
I agree about the idea of going cold turkey. Just throw away the salt, and sugar containers, and be patient. Your taste buds will adapt. So if the only problem is seasoning, this is the fastest way to adapt. Pay attention to added sugar in food like yogurt. Plain yogurt with fresh fruit added to it, is probably better than the fruit flavored yogurt in terms of sugar. They just add fruit juice, and some of the yogurt has more sugar than pop. So read labels. Some of the food we think of as healthy has been altered. This could be a huge problem if you are trying to stop craving sugar.
please don't cry, i used to put 2 Tablespoons of sugar in each cup of tea i had and each bowl of cereal. but it took me about a year to wean myself off of that until fruit actually tasted sweet. but it sounds like i started with a much higher sugar tolerance you. as far as making your food taste better i agree that spices are the way to go. when i am being particularly lazy with bean and rice type dishes i just add the dipping sauce that i bought for sumai and wontons. it's peppery and spicy and a little goes a long way. if i'm not being particularly lazy i'd start by sauteeing some onions and peppers [and celery if i needed to use any up], adding some cajun seasoning and then the black beans. once cooked, i'd serve it over the quinoa, perhaps with a little salsa. alternately i would do a mushroom type roux [with rosemary, thyme and garlic] and add the black beans and quinoa. of you could add a nice curry sauce. or peanut sauce. or a spicy orange sauce.
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
3/10/14 8:46 P
I'm sorry to say it took considerably longer for me before I noticed a distinct difference. More like six or seven weeks until I noticed that processed sweet things were tasting pretty bad, and fruit suddenly pretty good. (Though my taste for it still comes and goes, go figure.) But then I never did lose my taste for the healthier nonsweet things on my daily menu, so I may not be typical anyway. I will say that cravings for the junk food went away really quick for me, just a few days before it was out of sight out of mind. Regardless, patience! The taste buds recover.
3/10/14 6:07 P
I'm with everyone else in strongly recommending herbs and spices, and I would add vinegars (red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider), citrus juices, and flavoured oils to the list. Your taste buds will change back again in time, but these are all things that I love to play with.
For your quinoa and black bean mix, you could try:
- a quick saute in toasted sesame oil, with a handful of toasted almonds, a dash of nutmeg, and some fresh dill so that you have the dark nutty background with a bright note of the dill
- mixing in a quick bruschetta of chopped roma tomato, onion, olive oil, and garlic along with some basil, sage, and oregano and adding a splash of red wine vinegar (heat this before you mix it in to get less sharp taste) - a 1/2 oz of grated sharp cheddar or gruyere or feta is really nice with it, too
- mixing it with a lemon white wine sauce (you really only need a couple of Tbsp to get a lot of flavour)
- mixing it with a cherry merlot sauce (this is generally a bit sweet, but would play really well with the beans)
Seriously, go to any of the recipe sites and see what piques your interest and what flavours sound interesting. The possibilities are endless!
3/10/14 5:55 P
Thank you everyone for the feedback. I know it will take time but it's frustrating! It's comforting to know it's a common phenomenon. I just hadn't experienced it last time! The two week time period mentioned will help as well--gives me an end in sight.
Many people (in weight loss) report that it takes about 2 weeks for there to be a decrease in the cravings for the salt and sugary foods. It usually works best going cold turkey.
Then the cravings seem to decrease and the desire for those fruits and veggies increases.
Becky Your SP Registered Dietitian
3/10/14 5:35 P
Herbs and spices!
I'm a hot freak - I put a lot of red pepper and hot sauce in my food to jazz it up.
Think about an herb garden this spring (if possible) - even a few sunny widow sills will allow you to grow rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, chives, etc. ;)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
3/10/14 5:29 P
You could try NOT cutting salt at first -- just about anything you could add yourself to homecooked meals is going to be less than you'd find in the junk food already, so you'd still be ahead of the game. Salt doesn't have calories, either. :) So it wouldn't derail your goals in the same way that not cutting sugar would. And you'd still get some of the flavor you were habituated to. Then cut salt once the sugar issue is licked.
Try herbs and spices! Compare a typical "diner" version of chicken parmesan, with its overabundance of salt, sweetened tomato sauce, excess of fat, and near-nonexistence of taste otherwise, to what you might be able to make at home with a ton of basil and oregano and just the right amount of salt. Hit up various ethnic cuisines for recipe ideas, to introduce your taste buds to new flavors that don't lie in that "junk food" area. If the recipes you find aren't healthy enough, find yourself a "diet" version of the same thing, then add back in all the spices and seasoning of the original, plus as much fat as you can fit into your calories, and you'll probably wind up with something you can actually taste. :)
Those are just some ideas, no doubt there will be more from others and you'll think of some too. (Ooh, in-season fruits and vegetables, yes. Asparagus is in right now I think, if you like that. So actually is citrus fruit. In-season stuff, whatever it is, is always going to be more flavorful.)
This is a problem that resolves itself given time, so have faith you will learn to taste normally again. Good luck!
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
3/10/14 5:26 P
The spice aisle is your friend. Things like rosemary, thyme, and basil work well on practically anything. Some lemon juice on top of steamed broccoli is good too. Also try things like sweet chili sauce or siracha.
Reshock your system back to the healthier ways. I did that and now too much salt, too much sugar really makes me feel ill. How about other spices such as garlic, cinnamon, cumin, rosemary, thyme, dill, etc. I also like to use pepper more than salt.
Easy to say, not as easy to do- don't buy the junk food. Have snacks prepared in the car for long errand days. Prepare meals before hand so that you don't go to chinese buffet. I would suggest stopping the coke cold turkey. I couldn't wean myself off diet soda. I just had to stop.
It may take several weeks to get your body back to where it was. When I first went raw, several years ago, I suffered from the worst headaches. I had no energy. I just wanted to sleep. A few weeks later, I found that I didn't miss the sugar. I didn't miss the salt. I had energy that I could hardly contain. Now when I eat crap, my digestive system yells at me.
Retrain yourself. You can do it.
3/10/14 5:16 P
Let's see if I can describe this properly: I shared on another board here recently that I gained back what I had lost and then some in 5-6 months. To gain back 20 pounds in a short amount of time, I was eating horribly. Oreos, chinese buffet, cokes, whatever.
So, i am trying to get back on the track, and here is my issue: I am finding healthier foods not as tasty and I think I got myself accustomed to salt and sugar. This wasn't a problem before because, to be honest, my eating was never as bad as it was for those 5 months with the weight gain. I am dying for all the tastier fruits to come back into season because it's a struggle to not pour salt on everything or go after sugary foods.
I guess I became used to certain foods-- is that possible? It's not even totally a craving, rather, I am finding other stuff less satisfying. I used to enjoy the healthy bowl of quinoa and black beans (my dinner as I type this) but now...not so much.
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