Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Changing Taste

I've been studying nutrition as a part of my study on herbs. Our family is learning and discovering we had a long way to go to truly follow a healthy diet. So we're making little changes here and there. For some of us it's hard and others find it easy.

I'm having a hard time because I can't figure out what to fix for dinner! The main change we are making is to add more veggies to our diet. You would think that would be easy, but I don't like most veggies. So I'm having to sneak them in on myself. How do you do that?

We had smoothies for breakfast a few times and added spinach. No one notices a difference. I'm thinking we should add some other veggies and see how that goes. But it's gotten kinda cold and a smoothie isn't the greatest thing on a cold morning.

I discovered a while back that if I put all the veggies for soup through the food processor and just mush them all up before I put it in the soup, it cooks down to just a broth and we all love it. So this last time I made soup I added some extra veggies and no one could tell the difference. I think I just added cauliflower this time, but also there were carrots, celery, onion, and garlic as usual. It used to be the kids would eat the broth, noodles or rice, and chicken, but skip over the carrots and celery. Now they get it all without really noticing and they love it! I don't lie to them. They know it's there. But they don't mind because there are no "chunks."

I'm trying to serve raw veggies as often as possible. It seems to be popular. It helps that we no longer buy any crackers, or other "white flour" products. We've been avoiding msg for quite some time. And we're back to home-made whole wheat bread.

There has been a little resistance from some of the kids. Mostly one in particular who had been getting candy outside the house for a while. She knew better, but figured she was trying to gain weight so it was okay. She missed the little bit of junk she used to eat. But I've shared things I've learned and fed her good healthy food and apparently she's coming around. She told me today that she doesn't even want the Skittles she used to love. I agreed. I recently ate one of my old favorite candies and was very disappointed. It has a processed taste.

Yesterday and today we were out all morning and on the way home stopped at Dollar General for lunch. I got some plastic spoons, applesauce, nuts, crackers, dry cereal, dried fruit, and cookies. That was yesterday. The applesauce, nuts, and dried fruit were the most popular. Today when I stopped for more I was told NO dry cereal since we never even ate the cookies yesterday. And please get lots of fruit and applesauce. So I did. Again, the healthier stuff was scarfed down, the crackers were tolerated and then we moved on to the cookies. We actually threw some away!! I heard comments from my children such as "These aren't as good as I remembered them." and "Anyone want the rest of my cookies?" Same thing with the processed cheese dip with crackers yesterday. We all used to love that and now it's just gross.

Roger made some salsa last week from all raw ingredients. There is some tweaking he wants to do to the recipe, but it was good. He ran out though and hadn't made more yet so he went back to the store bought brand of stuff he loves. He called me to say it went bad. I said no way, it was new. So we checked it again last night and it was fine. But his taste has changed to where the fresh stuff was just so much better he didn't care for the old favorite anymore.

So now my family is mad at me because they are ruined. They no longer like the junk they used to love. All they want is real food that tastes good. Not the fake flavored stuff or overly processed stuff that we used to think was great.

The real shocker to me is that we're spending less. I'm buying a LOT of fresh produce and we're chowing down on that. And it's kind of expensive. But apparently when you fill your body with nutrients, it gets satisfied and you don't feel hungry as often. You actually start to eat less food. You know how you can eat chips or ice cream, or how there's always room for J-E-L-L-O and you just hardly ever feel full from those things? I've learned that our tummies have sensors in them that send messages to the brain alerting the brain to feel full only when we've received a good amount of nutrients and/or fiber. So if you eat something that is useless to your body, that message doesn't get sent. Your tummy just stretches to make room for more food while waiting for those nutrients that it needs to keep your body running right. The calories will add up and register all over you, but the body needs nutrients. You'll feel a lot more satisfied after eating healthy stuff. So while I'm spending more on produce, I don't spend anything on "fillers". We don't even really snack anymore. If someone needs something mid-day I offer carrots or fruit and it works.

Think about it. Which costs more? An apple, or a candy bar? You can buy an apple for 25 cents or so. Need two? That's okay. You can eat as much as you want of fruits and vegetables without feeling guilty. So for the price of a single candy bar (I'm guessing at 75 cents here because I haven't bought a candy bar in a long time. Hope this is close.) you could eat 3 apples!! You would skip the empty calories, fat and caffeine from the sugar and chocolate and instead nourish your body with fiber, vitamins, and minerals--plus all those things in fruit that science hasn't even figured out we need yet. And who wouldn't get full from 3 apples? Most people would stop at 1 or 2 which saves you money. And I'm guessing if you need 3 or more, you'd have bought more than 1 candy bar--or at least the jumbo size.

So beware. If you start to eat healthy food, you'll become a food snob. Your taste buds will wake up to the flavors that God created and you'll only want Real Fruit instead of "real fruit flavor." You'll find that the healthy stuff isn't boring at all and actually your tongue was just numbed by all the chemicals it had been taught to eat as food. And the worst thing of all is that you'll gain energy, health, and actually save money on your grocery bill!!

Now if only I could grow some produce myself. I'm trying again with a grow light this time, but that's another post for another day.


Zoey's Mom said...

Good stuff, Melissa. Are there any candies you allow? I'm just curious. At Jason's they offer lollipops that say they are natural, organic and have no corn syrup. I don't know if that makes them ok, but I've been letting Zoey eat them.

It all makes sense as far as your improved diet and changing taste. But getting to the point of being willing to eat veggies would be hard for me. For one, messing with grinding up the food would have me quitting before I started. But I do like smoothies, so maybe we're onto something there. Of course, Fred uses the blender to make his own salsa and it never seems to smell clean enough to put fruit in it after that... LOL...maybe I should buy a second blender...

The Nelsons said...

Julie - save money and wash the blender.

Melissa Nelson said...

If I comment back do you see it?

Roger made salsa last night and I wasn't sure if he used the blender or not. We had smoothies for breakfast and I was a little scared of mixing tastes. But he must've used the food processor.

When I make soup I use the food processor to cut up my onions and garlic. I used to then switch blades to slice the carrots and celery, but now I just do them all with the bottom blade thing that pulverizes it all. So for me it's now easier.

As far as candy goes, I bought Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops at and they are soooo good!! I don't know about corn syrup. We bought them because they have no dyes. I trade the kids when they get something at church or where ever. Last night I bought some dried fruit for my stash to trade them when they get candy. They love dried fruit.

And since candy is a rarity I really just watch for chocolate and dyes. They get white tic tacs, Werther's originals, Brach's caramels, Trident original--although it has aspartame so I will be phasing that out. Sometimes I can find white candy canes and will stock up on those.

The hard part is making myself throw away the stuff they bring me for trade. It's getting easier though since I'm finding the candy I give them tastes a lot better than the stuff they bring home.

Ok, I checked. The Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops in my cabinet have vitamin C in them, but no corn syrup.

jen said...

Hey Melissa :) It's Jennifer from Friday School. :) You can also sneak veggies into a meatloaf and it tastes great! I added a half cup of frozen mixed veggies into our meatloaf and it still tasted great! Would you share your recipe for the wheat bread? I'm trying to make fresh bread and somehow it smells fantastic but doesn't taste as good as it smells. It's not bad, just not great.

Anonymous said...


I have been a silent reader of your blog for quite a long time. I enjoy and admire what your family is doing very much.

As I read this particular entry today, I find it interesting that overall poor health has finally brought me to the realization that my eating/drinking habits are at the core of my problems.

I was told by my Dr. to get off of refined sugars and white flours. I have spent the last two weeks or so reading a few books and gaining an understanding of how food relates to what is going on with me. I am finally at a point and age (48) where I am ready to make the necessary changes to live a healthier lifestyle. I have been off of refined sugars, white flour, and most yeast for a week now and I am starting to feel better. The yeast is a temporary thing while I try to get my body in check.

I am struggling to learn to cook and eat better. It is hard to re-learn and change habits from a lifetime. My family is resistent, but in time . . .

Best of luck to you.

Missi said...

Good post, Melissa. I know the other day we were short on time and as I tried to think of fast food that I really wanted to buy, I just couldn't. None of that sounded good. And, if I'm going to have candy, I prefer it to be good quality candy without all the fillers. Same with ice cream. Now, if only I could get the kids to feel the same way ;)

Zoey's Mom said...

No, Melissa, I didn't get your follow-up response sent to me. I had to check back to find it, just so you know. However, I do see below that I can check a box and have follow-up comments sent to me. I must have missed that last time.

We don't have a food processor (and no room or desire for one), just the one blender, and I would never use it after the yucky stuff Fred puts in there for salsa! So it would be a 2nd blender or nothing!

John Gieniec once told me that his definition of being rich was being able to afford the things you want but don't have to have, even if they are insignificant to others. I don't know why that stuck with me, but it's true here. I am rich enough to buy a second blender instead of sanitizing Fred's!

Switching out candies is a good idea. I've seen those lollipops at the health store. At Jason's I always wish I could fill my purse, but I restrain and just get one!

We almost never eat fast food unless we're in dire straits. It's gross to us. Zoey tried a McD's cheeseburger once and hated it. No point in training her to like it!

Anonymous said...

Hello Melissa! Very neat to see your haircut day as today is the scheduled day for everyones haircuts here too. Grandparents dropped by, so we'll see if we can still accomplish that task. So much easier doing it all at once every two or three months!

I LOVE reading about the changes you're making in regards to food. We're enjoying smoothies just about every day now and I am wondering if that's why we haven't gotten sick for so long.

I'm trying to work on a menu plan to share wwith others. Should be on the blog within the next few days. You're SO right! It IS cheaper eating from scratch!

I picked up a few items at the produce stand today. Cabbage was on sale for .29 per pound, red delicious apples were 2.99 for 5 pounds, and I bought a 1 pound bag of carrots for .69. Tonight is beef brisket with the above veggies and onions over rice. Thanking the Lord for great deals!