Retrain Your Taste Buds

Here is an interesting thought…
We have 5 senses right? Let’s focus on taste for a minute. Your taste buds contain taste receptor cells (gustatory cells) which detect the five elements of taste: sour, salty, bitter, sweet, and umami. A combination of these elements is what gives unique flavors to foods.

But your taste buds may very well be desensitized to these flavors, especially the sweet. All the sugar and artificial sweeteners we’re getting in desserts, candy, sauces, granola bars, cereal, and pop, have desensitized our taste buds to the point that naturally sweet things like fruit and honey aren’t sweet enough to satisfy us.

Why does this happen? When sugar and artificial sweeteners (which can be up to 500X sweeter than sugar) bind to our taste buds, the bond is inherently stronger which makes the taste that much sweeter. Over time, your senses become duller as the receptors are chronically bombarded with the super sweet molecules.

Good news, though! It takes only a week or so to reverse the desensitization. You’ll have to give up processed, sweet foods and artificial sweeteners and replace it with real food though. Shocker, I know!

But why should we care? Look, sugar has no protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or fiber…it has no soul. In a normal healthy human, eating a diet high in sugar can cause a myriad of negative health effects. I’m not a doctor, so you’ll have to do your own research, but just look around at the people in the grocery store checkout line…yes, the ones with bags of chips and white bread in their cart…not the picture of health you were imagining?

As for artificial sweeteners, there are enough reports to convince a person with half a brain that there is something going on here. Do you have headaches, migraines, arthritis, GI problems, memory problems, and neurological issues? Look at what you’ve constructed your body out of. Is it ramen and Diet Coke? Or Poptarts and MickeyDs? Honestly, what do you think your body is made of? Do you think that food just passes through you and nothing is incorporated into your bones, skin, tissue, organs, and cells? #realitycheck

Your Monday morning protocol: Everyone starts their new life-changing habits on Monday, so I’m going to start calling my actionable items list, the “Monday Morning Protocol,” catchy I know.

Here are your steps to reactivate your taste buds:

1. Reframe your mindset. You can’t give up processed junk food if you don’t see yourself as the person who doesn’t eat it. What do I mean by that? If you say to yourself, “I’m lazy, I can’t cook, all I can eat is junk food because it’s cheap, I’m not worth the organic meat and vegetables, I’m a failure so why bother;” then no you aren’t going to succeed at this, or anything at all.

Change your mindset to, “this is the only body I have, it’s worth every dollar I invest in it”, “my body is an expensive, high end car, I’m going to fuel it like one,” or “I love the way I feel when I eat whole foods” you are setting yourself up to succeed because you believe that you are worth it!

When you see yourself as someone who eats whole foods and loves their bodies, then you don’t need to rely on will power to overcome junk food cravings. It’s already who you are, there’s no pretending.

2. Give up all processed sugars and artificial sweeteners. Look at the packages of chemical soup as the enemy. Someone is actually trying to kill you with this crap. Don’t buy it, in fact if you have any in the house (such as chips, lucky charms, kit kats, gogurts, or gushers) arrange a funeral and bury them in the trash.

(P.S. the funeral is not for the junk food. It’s for the part of you that loves junk food that has just died…that’s right, it’s dead. Now the real change can happen)

3. Minimize the added sweetness. Use only very small amounts of natural sweeteners on your foods (Stevia, honey, and agave) and eat fruits for desserts instead. Also use spices in place of salt and sweet sauces.

Within a week you will notice that fruits taste extraordinarily sweet and flavorful, heck even baked vegetables will taste sweeter!
Remember this process to optimal health and good feelings is long and slow. Don’t give up, every habit changed is worth a thousand happy days. Good luck to you on your journey to better functioning taste buds!