Funny Things

Tastebuds are funny things, don’t you think?

I mean – we may start out hating one thing, but before you know it – we’re in love. In a way, I think this is a good thing. We can “train” our tastes to prefer less sugar, less sodium, more fruit and more vegetables and reap the benefits from the change.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to cut back on the sugar I consume that is in food. I mean – I’ll never dismiss my love for spooning maple syrup or date syrup over a couple of pancakes, or preference to have a sweet fruit over a vegetable snack. And I’m okay with that. But little things, like sugar in peanut butter or almond milk? Well, those can be eliminated and still enjoyable, right?

My initial answer was a flat-out “no,” it couldn’t still be enjoyed. But considering the fact that I’m not about to chuck an entire jar of peanut butter or carton of almond milk, I got over it and eventually realized I do enjoy it.

Peanut butter that’s just peanuts and salt? Mreh…was my response at first, as I’d add it to any sort of baked good I could in attempts to get rid of it STAT. My response now? Well, lets just say I’ll use any excuse to spread it on something.

And I disctinctly remember telling you all how much I disliked the unsweetened almond breeze. But, I’ve kept with it – and now? The original sweetened kind is too sweet! My mom picked it up for me the other day thinking it was the kind I used – and of course I used it – but plain? Too sweet.

Pancakes? Oh, I’ll have them sweetened with some banana if I’m in the mood, and always a little drizzle of maple or date syrup on top – but I’m noticing that I love the natural sweetness and nuttiness of the whole grains themselves whether or not there’s anything on top.

Not to worry – by no means have I gone to extremes, nor am I starting some sugar free diet. I am just enjoying the simplicity of foods not too sweet or overly seasoned, I suppose. Like this cranberry-orange bread I made from a recipe the wonderful Tatianna shared with me. It is hardly sweet, with only a little bit of honey and a wonderful orange essence, neither of which mellow down the tartness of the cranberries. Spread with a little bit of almond butter, this is a perfect snack.

And as we talk about molding our tastebuds, expanding mine has been another mission I’ve been on. I used to always try a new fruit or vegetable while at the grocery store, but lately I’ve mellowed out.

I don’t want to be mellow!

It may take me five minutes to decide what shape pasta I want – but it took me five seconds to land a yucca in my cart. I didn’t know what it was, the sign offered no explanation, and I had absolutely no plans, but apparently picking up a yucca root on a whim is my idea of living life on the edge these days.

Apparently, I should have just asked my mom before I did any research, because when I told her it was a yucca that I was slicing and dicing, she spouted off all sorts of informationa bout it “being a medicinal cure for foundering horses, originating in Arizona.” There you have it. Apparently I’m a foundered horse.

That didn’t tell me much about what to do with it, so Google was my friend and a quick search told me that yucca, also commonly called cassava, “is very rich in starch and contains significant amounts of calcium, dietary fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin b6 and vitamin C.” [source]

Oh, and that they are commonly made into fries, too.

I wasn’t sure I was a fan at first – but by the time I had my fourth or fifth one, I definitely was. They are very similar to a white potato, but better – my common complaint with white potatoes is that they’re too dry. The yucca fries didn’t have that complaint.

Oh, and those green things?

Collard greens – another veg I’d (embarrassingly enough) yet to try. GabrielaΒ inspired me to finally try a green other than kale and spinach, and I’m glad she did! I loved these collard leaves as “wraps,” with baked beans inside. I wasn’t brave enough to try them raw quite yet, and instead “marinated” them with a bit of lemon juice and salt before running them under some super hot water for a couple seconds and then really quickly pan-frying them once stuffing them with the beans.

Speaking of beans…no, they didn’t help the B’s last night. Bummer.

Other things:

  • I’m really glad I’m not the only crazy one with a computer screenΒ  bigger than my television.
  • A lot of you were wondering what I stuffed my hummus crepe with, and silly me for forgetting to say! I don’t know what I was thinking, but apparently I had too much a. bruins and b. iMacs on my mind. But, inside my hummus crepe was boiled tempeh, iceburg lettuce (blech) tomato and a pickle. Oh, and red onion.

Have you tried anything new lately?

What’s something you’ve noticed your tastebuds adapting to lately?

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28 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch

28 responses to “Funny Things

  1. Oh I totally agree with you about tastes changing – I used to only have sweetened soya milk, now it’s all about the unsweetened. I’m always shcoked at how sweet a Starbucks is now! Likewise with cereals and all that, I used to looove the sugary stuff…now, hell no. I tried a spoon of my sister’s Special k the other day; foul! SO sweet, like pure sugar!
    Saying all that – i’m now going to go have my nightly 2 squares of (90%!) dark chocolate πŸ˜€

  2. It’s funny how taste buds can adapt if you give them time! Usually when I first try new things, I absolutely hate them. Then when I give them another go, I fall in-love instantly. I think it’s because the first time round I don’t know what to expect so when the flavour isn’t what I was expecting, I’d think it was gross. But the second time round I would know what to expect! This happened to me with banana oatmeal, would you believe? Initially, it was disgusting to me! Now I eat it all the time (although not recently since it’s summer here and it’s too hot for oatmeal).

    BTW, I’ve been reading for ages and I thought it was about time I commented πŸ˜›

    xxx

  3. Ahhh that is so good! I’ve been off of sugar for AGES, and now I never get cravings:) I hope this posts encourages more people to do the same!

  4. I love trying new fruits and veggies. It’s so funny that you just tried yucca because at the store today I was about to get one but didn’t know how to cook them! Now I will have to try making fries out of one.

  5. I don’t eat much processed sugar (although I do bake with it!) Now with most of my sweet goodies, I can only take a bite or two before I shout, “Enough!” I like my pancakes with just fruit for sweeteners and maybe a dab of honey. I have never tried yucca before…I need to experiment with some new veggies. I hope you have a great week, sweet girl!

  6. I feel the same way toward the unsweetened varieties of milks and the biggest thing that irks me is that it’s so hard to find the smaller quart containers of unsweetened (they don’t exist in my town actually) so I either have to buy the gargantuan ones or the sweetened stuff. The campus store sells the sweetened stuff and it’s only 1 tsp sweetener / entire cup, so I get over myself and make the best of my food dollars, but as soon as I’m off the meal plan I’m determined to get the unsweetened stuff. If you try a smoothie with each and compare you can taste the flavors of the fruits and such a lot better with the unsweetened milk… or at least that’s just me.

    As far as peanut butter goes, I added just a touch of honey to my latest batch along with, thanks to you, clementine zest. Now I have peanut butter with this sweet kick of orange flavor it in and it’s fantastic on everything!

    I also tried coconut milk recently and swiss chard for making the same kind of wraps you speak of (got the idea from Choosing Raw) and I must say I really like both.

  7. I DEFINITELY used to like everything sweetsweetsweet, if the amount of junk food I ate as a kid is any indication… I gag just thinking of it. I mean, yeah, I like things sweet. But I don’t like to feel like my teeth are falling out of my head!

    Lately I’ve been feeling very sad that I can’t seem to find any “new” vegetables!! Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places?!

    ❀ ❀

  8. I definitely notice my tastebuds changing… like you, I’ve started to love “plain” nut butter (just nuts and salt). It’s probably a good thing!!

  9. I should switchto naurual peanut butter but I love me some creamy Jiff or Skippy! ahah
    and I know what tiy mean though! Sometimes I just like the plain stuff and I can barely have dessert anymore…it just makes me sick smelling it! Its weird!

  10. I used to put sugar in everything but slowly I decreased the amount and now I hardly ever use sugar… Oh and by sugar I mean any kind of sweetener. It is a strange thing! I never quite thought about it until you pointed it out!!

  11. No one believes that you can train your tastebuds! My body CRAVES fresh vegetables now and I have been able to use less and less stevia to sweeten plain greek yogurt or oatmeal. It’s a great thing!!

  12. Ever since I’ve cut the sugar out of my diet, I don’t crave it anymore. I found, like you did, that I enjoy the flavors of foods more, like grains – I love plain oats! I just do. I love the “nuttiness,” as you described it. I had a tiny taste of angel food cake a while back, and it was WAY too sweet for me. I used to be a milk chocolate fan, but I now love Bakers Chocolate 100% — I love it’s deep, bitter taste. And I now crave fruits and vegetables.
    Thank you for your wonderful post. πŸ™‚

  13. It’s so true how our taste buds adapt. I used to hate plain yogurt because I found it too tangy, but now I love it!

    My grocery store is really limited in its produce selection, so I haven’t tried any new fruits or veggies lately. I did try a new to me organic acai yogurt today, which was delicious!

  14. yucca fries sound sooo good!!! I know I have branched out with foods lately, but I can’t pinpoint anything!

  15. You know I didn’t know there was a “sweetened” almond milk until 6 months ago? I can’t imagine a sweet version, but maybe that’s because, as you said, my tastes buds have adapted to the less sweet version.

    I think tastes can adapt (I mean, how many of us continually gravitate to foods just because it’s what we ate as kids?), but I do think there are foods that I will never like no matter what.

  16. teenagehealthfreak

    i’m the same way with sugar..i”m not a huge fan of it. i like everything plain..so when i make cookies..i have to make “normal ones” and the way i like them…but i’m okay with that. i’ve looked a yucca so many times..but never tried it..i may have to live life on the edge a little next time i see it!

  17. I’ve never bought sweetened peanut butter but I can relate to the “less sugar is better” campaign. I like eating a big slice of cake or a handful of cookies and I can’t do it if I am sick of the sweetness after the second bite. Most of the recipes I use are modified to fit my taste and the people who try the result say it’s not sweet enough. But who cares if I like it this way?

    My taste in general has changed a lot recently and I’m wondering if I still hate figs. You make them look so appealing and maybe I must give them a second chance πŸ™‚ .

  18. my tastebuds change ALL the time… i have never tried yucca! it looks interesting though! the newest thing I tried recently was probably goji berries and macadamia nuts!

  19. It’s funny how that happens, and, I think, especially with milk – if I’m not over-philosophising here…I’ve been through that now-I-love-it-now-I-dont with no-fat milk and full-fat milk back when I drank that, and again with the rice, soy and nutmilk…funny.

    Plus, cassava is really just one of those things that you go hmmm, I don’t know… at first bite – but if you like it by fourth bite you don’t think you can live without it. For me, the same happened with dates, kale chips, tahini and pumpkin. Tastebuds are funny buggers…like when “my” kids fuss over something that they “absolutely hate” eating until they try it and they just light up, uh, now I like it! Hahaha πŸ™‚

  20. I must be really boring, because I can’t remember anything new that I’ve tried recently!! I have tried some new combinations though- like the collard wraps. Thanks for the shout out!

    I’ve heard that body chemistry changes every 7 years and our tastebuds get new favorites. Still hoping one day they change to like mushrooms!

  21. I am so with you on this! I prefer natural unsweetened peanut butter now and the other stuff is too sweet! I need to try yucca and I want to make up with collards (scars from childhood). I also want to try parsnips, which I have never had before. I don’t know that I have tried anything new lately other than to prepare things a little differently. I smoked an eggplant and beets not too long ago and loved the flavor that smoking gave them.

  22. When switching from sweet -> unsweetened peanut butter, I added a ton of cinnamon to the unsweetened to liven it up a little.
    I still do it just for the taste…
    Like a lot of cinnamon.

  23. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    I’ve been eating less sugar lately too, and even less stevia, partly in hopes of training my taste buds to tolerate, if not prefer, less-sweet foods. Sounds like it’s working for you, at least with some things!

  24. Colleen

    I need to work on reducing my sugar intake as well, though I already have begun. I’m cutting out many processed foods, and ones not containing high fructose corn syrup; but it’s amazing when you think something is SO healthy, and then among the few ingredients is high fructose corn syrup πŸ˜› Currently I am obsessed (though I’m always obsessed with) Crazy Richard’s peanut butter (chunky). The only ingredient is peanuts and it is TO DIE FOR! I have also discovered Chobani greek yogurt. That too, is incredible. Sorry for rambling πŸ™‚
    Pancakes and bread look incredible, as always πŸ™‚

  25. This is SO true. I cannot eat regular peanut butter. I actually spit out a reese’s yesterday bc I’d rather make my own. I couldnt believe it!!

  26. I HAVE to have the natural peanut butter because I can’t stand the sweetness of the others. I also just tried brussel sprouts recently for the very.first.time. I know. Right? http://asideofsimple.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/i-didnt-go-to-brussels/

  27. I’m so with you on the less sugar! I did do sugar-free last week but I decided that instead of that I’ll just start eating less sugar.

    I’ve only been eating peanut butter with peanuts and salt for a while now and I tried some JIF the other day and it was waaaaaay too sweet for me, you’ll get used to the unsweetened pb!

  28. I have missed your posts Jess! I’ve been swamped and just now catching up πŸ™‚ … thanks for the shout out, and I am so glad you enjoyed it! The orange makes a pretty awesome add-in, doesn’t it?!

    I’ve been eating all types of new things here at school, sadly they aren’t very interesting or exotic. The best was probably this curried bean dish that we had the other day. You know how much I love my curry !

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