This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.
Modern foods are designed to seduce your taste buds. You have been manipulated by profit motivated food manufacturers. We all have. The artificially concentrated flavors that the processed food industry uses to stimulate the brain’s pleasure center are designed to increase and retain sales. Tragically, the result is that they lead people’s taste buds astray. Artificial, intense flavors cause us to enjoy natural flavors less. Our taste buds become desensitized, and the more we succumb to the heightened, artificial flavors, the less appealing natural, whole foods become. Salt also desensitizes our taste buds, but the extra sweeteners and artificial flavors combined with the flavor enhancing qualities of salt are all addictive.
Fortunately, by practicing this eating-style, your taste buds are bouncing back. However, it might take more time to reset your receptors to appreciate the more subtle flavors of whole, unprocessed foods. Hang in there, and keep up your healthy eating! It’s the only way for this to happen, and it always does. It might take longer than six weeks, but your taste and flavor sensitivity will improve tremendously over time.
Realizing your impediments and gaining knowledge about great health are tremendous first steps, but they are only 50 percent of the overall solution. You must put into practice and repeat your new beneficial behaviors over and over until they become part of you. Repetition will make these positive actions feel more and more natural. It is not enough simply to know what to do. You need to practice preparing recipes, eating super-healthy meals, noticing the changes, and affirming yourself, until eating for health naturally satisfies you.
Developing a burning desire for optimal health will help you in the process of re-sensitizing your taste buds. Stay with the program and your taste buds will actually line up with your desire, your behaviors will line up with your beliefs, you will cease to crave flavor enhancers and highly seasoned food, and you will transform into a person who actually prefers to eat healthfully. As you learn more recipes, you will be able to substitute similar, healthy foods for those old, unhealthy options. For example, my healthy sorbets and ice creams are the perfect substitute for your craving of cold sweets.
It is not easy to develop new habits, and there is no such thing as a quick shortcut to developing new skills and expertise. When you do something over and over, it creates a pathway in the brain that makes it easier and more comfortable to repeat again. That is one reason why it is so hard to change bad habits. However, if you are motivated to persevere and keep trying, the change becomes considerably easier. The more you make healthful meals and the more days you link together eating healthful foods, the more your brain will naturally prefer to eat that way. Of course, feeling better and losing weight is a great motivator, but through this process, your taste for a different way of eating can be established. It has been shown that a new food needs to be eaten about 15 times for it to become a preferred food. Keep in mind that the more days you eat healthfully, the more you will lose your addiction to unhealthful, stimulating substances, and, with time, you will look forward to, and prefer, a healthy diet. Don’t give up. The only failure is to stop trying.