I didn't like veggies. Why? Mom overcooked everything to mush and was very limited in the veggies she mushed. She was known to put a spoonful of sugar in the boiled carrots.
What changed? 1. I grew up and discovered steaming.
2. I started ETL and discovered all kinds of salads, micro salad, blended salad, green smoothies.
3. I started roasting many veggies. Yumm.
4. I kept trying different recipes for different veggies and eventually developed a "like" for them.
I read a blog recently where a commenter suggested adding sugar to veggies while lightly cooking so they'd taste better. The commenter must have lived in the states. Most chefs tell us to add salt to bring out the flavor. I'm not sure that's much better. So perhaps we should mix sugar with salt in the salt shaker-- maybe at a 40:60 ratio??? Hmmm. Don't we do something like that already with meat tenderizer? Just leave that by the stove and give a shake for veggie flavorizer.
My younger sister chose the menu, including sides for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner since she had invited 4 friends from Australia who wanted to experience a traditional Thanksgiving meal. After the turkey, the side items were all either high starch content, or high sugar added: sweet potato casserole, brown bread with raisins, crescent rolls, packed fruited jello salad with cool whip, mashed potatoes, gravy. And the SAD green bean casserole. (not sure if it fits here but there WAS sugar in the french fried onion topping and mushroom soup) Her dessert pick was pumpkin crisp.
My addition to the menu was mushroom-onion soup in vegetable broth with my Oats N Eggs N Friends with 3 seeds on top cooked crisp and cut to cracker size, just so I would be able to get some veggies. (mushrooms, onions, spinach, zucchini,carrots).
I added carrots, onions and celery to the gravy and everyone loved the gravy.
I added celery and onions to the dressing and my sister noticed, negatively. What's up with that??
Guess who ate the raw sugar snap peas, celery, carrot, and onion sticks? The Australians and me.
And while this is off the veggie topic, hindsight says I should have reserved a bowl of fruit before adding the jello. That would have been very much ETL: apple, banana, peach, cherries, blueberries, figs, dates, walnuts.
1. Many of us come from a culture where a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down so much, that we expect it to be in everything we think is delicious and equate that with things our body needs (erroneously).
2. Our tastes CAN change.
3. The learned rules CAN change. The Australian friends keep sweet tasting things till the end for what we'd call dessert. Once they start eating sweets, like the fruited jello, they are done with the meal. So they probably wouldn't put apples on a green salad. They never came right out and said it, but I think they secretly called the meal AFTER the mushroom soup and crackers as the dessert course.
4. You can get people to like the weirdest things if you start at a young age. The Australian friends were having withdrawal from Vegemite. The teenagers explained it as a black spread that is extremely salty, fermented yeast product much like our bouillon cubes would taste if you could spread them. It is spread on a sandwich very sparingly, and people who try it and don't like it put it on too thick. Kids love it on their sandwich much like kids in USA like peanut butter and jelly. They go through a time when they don't like it, but usually return to liking it in a few years. (changes in taste buds?? hormones??) And the teenagers were getting homesick for vegemite because they hadn't found it anywhere on their world tour. I asked them if it was like miso paste but they hadn't had anything but miso soup and thought it was very different.
I understand the feeling, because it is very hard to find unadulterated fruits and veggies when I'm away from home, say at a restaurant in town??
5. We are trained by family, social media, friends. We are taught by science. The trick is to understand WHAT to TRAIN those around us to do. and then HOW to get the TRAINING to sink in.
6. You know the old adage, You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink? Most horses like to drink water when they need to, unless something is wrong with it. I don't subscribe to adding sugar to veggies to get the people we're cooking for, including us, to eat it. Aromatic veggies like mushrooms, onions, and garlic, Herbs and spices would be my healthier choice to get people to repeatedly try veggies you've cooked.
7. While we CAN learn new healthier habits and actually find them very tasty, it is easy to yearn for our old ways. My sister and I are both proof of this. We both seek out healthy fruits and veggies to varying degrees and we both have our moments when we want something from the wasteland of our SAD that we loved when we were growing up. My sister mainly chose mashed potatoes and hot dogs when she was little. She continues to request mashed potatoes. Mom continues to eat hot dogs, though she cooks them in the microwave now.
8. I find it interesting that Mom has lived to be 89 with an amazing lack of veggies, and high intake of hot dogs and a daily fast food fish sandwich for lunch. However she does have diabetes and high blood pressure now.
9. It is amazing that our brains even function and that I still remember my name. Can't remember where I put my keys, though. And mom and I have difficulty coming up with the word we want to say. Soon that won't be a problem because I won't remember what I want to say, so a single word will no longer present a problem.
Oats N Eggs N Friends recipe:
Update, Nov. 7, 2020. On Nov. 9, I will celebrate my 9th new birthday, because I was on chemotherapy for 4 years and stopped that Nov. 9, 2011. I recently started WFPB (Whole Foods, Plant Based, with NO oil or added salt, relatively little processed food). Mom is now 95, still eating hot dogs, corn dogs, and few veggies. I get her to eat fresh fruit, and vegetable soup. She takes 11 pills a day, mostly for diabetes and high blood pressure. She had a mild stroke 2 years ago, but gets around with a walker.
April, 2020, mid pandemic: I was headed to the same place, with blood sugar and pressure creeping up. And up. My doctor recommended that I follow a WFPB diet. I didn't know what that was, but I looked it up, and I really only needed to omit the oil, and a few animal products which I was eating about 3 meals a week. It was NOT difficult after all the work I had already done with Spark People, Eat to Live, and Dr. Li's antiangiogenic food list. And I have lost 50 pounds since April. I love what I get to eat. I love that my blood sugar is below 100!. I love that my blood pressure used to be 165/86 and it now is 108/68. And I love feeling great, sleeping better. And that is a wonderful way to look at dessert for a journey which I began 9 years ago.
I am still cancer free, except for skin cancer. Maybe Dr. Li will suggest a set of foods to improve the damage I did to my skin I the Florida sun years ago, pre sunscreen.
I'll end with my philosophy about nutrition: Just because you want it doesn't mean your body needs it. Give yourself a month with no added sweeteners or salt, and drinking only water.Lots of water. You will be amazed at how wonderful an apple, boiled potato, or steamed broccoli looks, smells, tastes, and chews. And your body will be jumping up and down because you FINALLY gave it its just desserts.
Here to your just dessert choices for your health.