Intuitive Eating, Videos

How to Get Yourself to Crave Vegetables (and how I went from hating veggies to loving them)

For most of my life, I HATED vegetables. But over the last few years, I’ve turned into a vegetable enthusiast. I often even enjoy them raw with nothing on them. (I can be seen biting into a plain beet or cauliflower, and even having plain arugula, on a regular basis…)

In today’s video, I go over how I went from hating to loving vegetables, and how you can too! Featuring the results of scientific studies (citations below).

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As a kid, I HATED vegetables. My parents wouldn’t let me leave the dinner table until I finished my meals, and I often opted to sit for hours rather than eat my salad.

I only started eating vegetables in my undergrad years out of desperate attempts to lose weight, and even then I still didn’t actually like them. They felt more like a punishment.

I started to somewhat enjoy them about 6 years ago when I started eating a high carb low fat diet, and noticed that some foods (like sushi bowls) just happened to taste better with vegetables. And then ~5 years ago I magically started to find salads somewhat enjoyable rather than boring torture. (It also helped that I learned how to make vegetables more exciting with better recipes!)

And then, about 2 years ago, I started completely focusing on intuitive eating instead of following any diet. I stopped caring about weight loss, and started caring about having a healthy relationship with food. I just ate whatever I craved, whenever I wanted to.

And inexplicably, a huge chunk of the time, what I naturally craved was (and is)… VEGETABLES!

Now that I was fully eating according to my cravings, I could see just how much I craved healthy food. And I noticed I naturally stopped liking sugary or hyperpalatable things as much.

Now I can down this entire jar of my pickled veggies in a couple of days…

So how did I have such a dramatic shift in tastes?

Based on all the studies I’ve read on diet science, I have a feeling that it was because of gut bacteria.

First, we know that what we eat changes our gut microbiome, by changing the types and relative quantities of different types of bacteria. And those bacteria do a lot of our digesting for us. For example, studies show that eating more plants changes our gut microbiome to have more plant-digesting bacteria, which then makes us more efficient at digesting plants1.

Second, there is evidence that our gut microbiome can actually influence what we crave2, and even how much we eat3.

So what we end up with is a feedback loop where eating more vegetables changes your gut microbiome to have more veggie-loving bacteria, and those bacteria then make you crave more vegetables.

On the flip side, it can also be a vicious cycle, depending on the food: if you eat a lot of processed food, you get a gut full of processed-food-loving bacteria, which then makes you crave more of it.

The key is to get yourself into the cycle you WANT to be in. And to get into a vegetable-craving cycle, the first step is to just eat more vegetables. (A mix of both raw and cooked, ideally!)

I suggest doing this in the most palatable ways you can manage so that you’re not having to force yourself to eat them. You don’t want to associate vegetables with torture. For example, you can try hiding vegetables in other foods: add spinach to your smoothies, riced cauliflower to your normal rice, and greens in your chili. (If you want to get extra creative, you can add pureed mushrooms to soups, chilis, pasta, etc… that’s how I get my husband to eat them, since he hates their texture!) I have more suggestions in the video too.

And at some point, I bet you’ll naturally find yourself naturally liking vegetables even without having to hide or disguise them.

(Another tip: if you fall in love with vegetable gardening as much as I have, you’ll discover that vegetables are actually pretty magical 😛 )

Recipes

Easy Thai Red Curry Lentils (Vegan, WFPB)

In my neverending quest to find recipes that are quick & easy to make, super healthy, AND also budget-friendly, I’ve found that lentil-based recipes often check all those boxes. Especially for bulk cooking, which really cuts down on the time needed per meal.

These lentils may be one of my easiest recipes yet… especially considering how flavorful they are. I know it sounds unusual to use Thai curry paste with lentils, but they taste really good together. These lentils work well on their own as a stew, or paired with rice to make them last even longer.

(I will admit, I have made even faster meals on occasion: when I needed a 5-minute lunch to bring to work on especially busy weeks, I used to just toss lentils and rice in my rice cooker, and add frozen spinach and seasoning salt. But that’s not delicious enough to write a whole post about 😉 )

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry brown or red lentils, washed
  • 5 cups water
  • 15oz can coconut milk
  • 10oz bag frozen spinach
  • 10oz sliced mushrooms; I used frozen
  • 4 tbsp red curry paste (make sure it’s vegan–I use this kind)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the lentils and water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Optional: sauté mushrooms in a separate pan with a splash of soy sauce (or water + salt) until they start to get tender. (If you don’t feel like sautéing them, you can just add the mushrooms raw in the next step)
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, frozen spinach, mushrooms, curry paste, and tomato paste to the pot with the lentils. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and it’s a curry-like texture, for about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve on its own or with rice, and enjoy!

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Videos

Study: Vegan Omega 3 is BETTER Than Fish-Based? Plant-based ALA vs EPA/DHA

Mainstream nutrition media loves to talk about how the type of omega 3 that comes from fish is way better than vegan sources of omega 3… but the actual science seems to say otherwise. I found a study that looked at blood levels of omega 3 in 5,000 vegans, vegetarians, fish eaters, and meat eaters, and go over it in my latest video!

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: How Chocolate Can Make You LOSE Weight

Diet culture likes to demonize chocolate, but what if I told you that eating more chocolate can actually make you lose weight? There are a surprisingly large number of scientific studies on this (at least 35), finding that just adding chocolate to people’s diets made them lose weight–but it does depend on how long they ate the chocolate for, and the type and dose of chocolate.

I go over all the details in the video on how you can use chocolate to lose weight!

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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