Healthy Foods: More Than a Matter of Taste

By: Mary Pat Baldauf 

In a recent blog post, Liking Healthy Foods is a Choice, Leo Babauta asserts that liking healthy foods is a choice.

“Food tastes bad because we’re not comfortable with them; they don’t meet our expectations. But what if we got rid of our expectations? ” he says. “What if we said, ‘Food doesn’t need to taste like anything. Let’s see what this tastes like.’”

I remember when I was a little girl, I somehow got a piece of coffee-flavored candy. As soon as I got it unwrapped and in my mouth, I spit it out. I wondered how grown-ups drank that stuff and vowed that you’d never catch me drinking coffee. Fast forward twenty years, and I love my morning coffee.


In the last three years, my tastes have changed. The things I eat on a regular basis are light years away from what I used to eat, and my healthy pantry includes things I wouldn’t have touched three years ago, including:

  • Soy milk
  • Tofu
  • Kefir
  • Blueberries (Never hated them, per se, but now I eat them like candy!)
  • Figs
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta (I used to think it was tough, now regular pasta seems like pure mush to me.)
  • Greek yogurt (First time I tried it, I tossed it because I thought it had soured.)
  • Spinach (My favorite go-to smoothie ingredient.)
  • Chia seeds (Those were things you bought and grew on heads, not a food.)
  • Nutritional yeast

I’ve also all but given up many things that were a mainstay of my diet, such as:

  • Artificial sweeteners like Equal and Sweet and Low
  • Bacon cheeseburgers
  • Slim Jims (Ugh, the mere thought of them makes me throw up in my mouth now)
  • SpaghettiO’s
  • Sodas
  • Hamburger Helper (The lasagna was my favorite)

While my eating habits have changed considerably, I’m far from perfect. In particular, I’m still working on getting more vegetables into my diet. I think I’ll take Leo’s advice to heart, and try to change my expectations.

What are some things you used to turn your nose up at, but now like? Are there some foods that you need to leave your comfort zone to try?

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