Posted by: Andi Angel | September 18, 2009

Are You a Veggie Hater?

Someone recently asked, “Is there a way to stop being picky about my veggies?” It made me stop to reflect on my own conflicted relationship with vegetables.

I used to hate most veggies. It does take a while, but you CAN adjust your tastes and start liking (or at least tolerating) things you used to hate.

Disguise #1: Dressings, vinaigrette, dips, sauces, peanut butter.
Disguise #2: Chopped really small into spaghetti sauce, on pizza, scrambled into eggs, in soup with other ingredients you like. Make a fruit smoothie and drop in a little cooked carrot. Pizza is how I started to like bell pepper and onions; soup is how I started with spinach. For some strange reason, soup somehow transforms things I hate into something tasty. I had a cream of spinach soup one time when I felt adventurous…
Disguise #3: Get adventurous. Challenge yourself to try things you think you won’t like. You can take a small bite, you can be discreet and if no one is watching spit it out, you can stop breathing thru nose and swallow quickly if you’re with someone and can’t politely spit out. Have a drink handy to wash flavor out in case you hate it. The worst that can happen is you experience something unpleasant for a few seconds. The best is, you could start adjusting your tastes to enjoy power foods.

Sometimes simply having something prepared a new way is all it takes to start a little tickle in your taste buds… I used to hate tomatoes. Then I had a salad from the Macaroni Grill that I adored… Oh, and salad is something I learned to like through dressings. Now Caesar is my favorite… funny enough, proper Caesar has anchovies in it.

I’m still not fond of seafood… but I learned to like it by eating mild fish (such as fish sticks are made of), and fish sticks are breaded (one disguise), I’d squeeze lemon juice on them (chemically reduces fish-y amines), then use lots of ketchup (always loved tomato products, even though I hated tomatoes whole).

It has taken me years, and my main obstacle now is that I don’t trust my own cooking, and I’m busy, stressed, and lazy… but now I have a liking for many more veggies, and a tolerance for most of the rest.

Two last tips: when you’re hungry, everything tastes better.
And they say watch your mindless eating, but if you’re eating a veggie you don’t care about but want for its nutritive properties, then I say take that bowl of buttered spinach or green beans with onion and dill and sit in front of your favorite TV show, and just chow down.

Oh – one last thought: roasting or grilling. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars (much less sugar than fruit, but some veggies have 4g sugar per serving – who knew?) Soooo delicious cooked these ways.

I have years of experience hating veggies, dearly wishing I liked them, and searching for ways to get them in me – and I still struggle with it! But I share all this with the thought that it CAN be done, we CAN change, and sometimes our anticipation of an experience is sometimes far worse than the actual outcome. So go ahead and try something different – because if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.


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