Dietary Diversity - but what if you just don't like stuff??
My last post was about dietary diversity, especially in the range of fruits and vegetables you eat which are a fantastic source of fibre to feed your good gut bacteria.
To re-cap, this is important for health on so many levels. Fruits and Vegetables are low in fat & calories yet high in essential fibre for our digestive health. A diet high in fruits & vegetables has been shown to reduce overall mortality rate across populations as well as reducing specific disease such as cancer, heart disease & diabetes. Across all “Blue Zone” populations one of the significant factors about all their dietary habits is their high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Whilst the UK Government recommends 5 a day servings of fruits and vegetables the ideal is 8 – 10 a day!
So; what do you do if you just don’t like stuff??
We all have our personal likes and dislikes surrounding food. It’s what makes us individual. Some of us are naturally more adventurous in our food choices and will happily try new things. Other’s only have a very limited range that they enjoy and are completely averse to trying something new.
There may be many reasons you don’t like a food which can be deep rooted back to childhood experiences. The same goes for the action of physically trying new things and tastes. It may have been that you didn’t enjoy how something was prepared, cooked or served? There is nothing more likely to turn you off a food than a bad memory of smell or taste – school dinner halls stinking of sulphurous over-cooked cabbage or badly washed salad riddled with aphids or worse a caterpillar – no wonder you don’t like the idea of it!!
But, key here is to remember that was past - dive in & give it another go! Be brave, you just might surprise yourself! Remember that your tastes change as you get older & even varieties of vegetables have been changed in flavour or texture. For instance sprouts have been bred & new varieties developed to be sweeter and less bitter than traditional varieties.
So how to start? Buy things individually or at a push, in small portion pots (lack of food waste should weigh off the plastic) just in case you still don’t like it. It’s not as daunting when there’s a small serving. Make sure things are prepared & cooked properly. No sulphur odours or soggy sprouts here! Wash salads well & invest in a salad spinner so the leaves are not wet & wishy-washy. Make sure to de-string beans, mange tout & sugar snap peas or run a swivel peeler over the back of tougher stalks of celery to remove the stringy ribs that can get stuck in teeth – eewww! A good cookery book or on line site will give you loads off tips on cooking & preparing all types of vegetables, fruit & salads.
Next, back to the internet & books & get trawling for some interesting recipes (or check my site & social media for ideas!). Vegetables & fruits need not be forsaken to a side dish or snack. They can be the star of your meal in wonderful salads, chilli’s, bakes, stews, & smoothies. There are so many options and varieties and café's & restaurants are no longer resigning vegetarian & vegan food to a brief afterthought. Most veg takes well to some careful spicing so try curries & tagines for an easy way to ease in to trying a new variety.
What about a veg box? You generally get what is available and seasonal so not only will it taste tip top you automatically get some things you may not usually buy. Most companies will provide advice on how to prep, serve & cook things to really make their produce shine.
Take time over presentation & serving so it really looks appetising. Garnish with herbs, lemon, toasted seeds & even invest in some pretty new kitchenware?
Finally, don’t give up. It can take time to learn and enjoy new tastes and textures. Enjoy exploring the wonderful diversity that is available to us now and give yourself time to experience new tastes.