Shift your buds to be satisfied with whole, natural sugars.
What better time to retrain your taste buds than the holidays? Wouldn’t it be great if you actually didn’t WANT to eat the sugar-loaded treats? What if healthful, delicious, whole food did the trick and it was easy to say NO to cookies, cakes and other treats?
You can actually retrain your taste buds so sweetness is heightened when you eat real sugars like fruit. The average lifespan of a tastebud is about 10 days. In that time, if you eat less sugary foods, you’ll need less sugar and consequently, you’ll crave less sugar and appreciate foods that have less (because they are tasting sweeter to you). As time goes by, foods taste sweeter (and saltier too) than they did before.
Here’s how to reset your taste buds:
- Cook at home. When you make food you have full control over the ingredients and know exactly what you’re eating. There’s no guessing. So, get into the kitchen and make something delicious. You’ll be cutting out lots of sugar, preservatives and processed ingredients.
- Avoid the BIGGIE problems: lots of wheat, dairy and refined (white or chemical) sugars. These ingredients are inflammatory and contain sugars you don’t need. They are prevalent in our culture’s diet and we eat them too much. Stick with real clean ingredients. Thankfully, there are tons of alternative substitutes that work just as well. For wheat, sub in some nut or other gluten-free flours. For dairy, nut-based milks work wonders. For sugar, my go-to is maple syrup or honey.
- Watch alcohol. A beer has 25-ish carbs per serving that break down to sugar. That’s a lot of extra sugar swimming around the system causing blood sugar swings. When we have blood sugar swings, cravings are harder to control. Switching to vodka soda with a lemon helps minimize sugars.
- Focus on what’s ON your plate, not what’s NOT on your plate. A goal of 5 to 10 different colors per day is lofty and will keep you busy chopping and munching on fruits and veggies, which give us vitamins, minerals, fiber antioxidants and lots more. One day at a time, your body will chip away at the need for higher sugar foods and be happy with the taste that whole foods provide. It takes time, but it works.
- Make time for breakfast and eat periodically throughout the day. I know it seems crazy but those after-dinner sugar cravings are directly related to NOT eating breakfast and NOT eating at regular intervals through the day. If you set up the beginning of your day with a protein and fat-rich breakfast, your feelings of well-being, energy and overall balance will fall in line.
Once you focus on lowering your overall sugar load and follow these steps for a few weeks, you’ll notice a difference in what you crave. You’ve successfully retrained your taste buds for the better.
For more info on blood sugar balance, good energy or feeling your best through smarter food choices, please contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle, but we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body.