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elinox

Picky Eater Considering Paleo

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I'm interested in trying the paleo diet, but have been hesitant to start so far because I am also a picky eater. Well, that and I love my processed sugars (cookies, cake, bread, pizza, pasta) and am not sure I could give them up 100%. But maybe giving it a try, even temporarily, would aid me in my weight loss goal. 

 

Some background: I count calories and have successfully dropped weight using this method. It's been working for me since 2009, so I'm hesitant to change it up too much. I eat 1200 calories M-F and then have a blow meal (whatever I want) on the weekend. This eventually turned into: 'eat whatever I want F-Sun'. With my Nerd Fitness challenges though I've managed to limit my sweet treats to about 2-3 times per week (doesn't include weekends, unfortunately), all within the limited calories I'm supposed to be eating. However, I recognize that eating things like Twinkies and bread is not healthy for me. I want to cut down, but my sweet tooth is always calling me!

 

That being said, not only do I love my sweet junk food but I am a picky eater. We're talking 5 vegetables that I can eat here (green beans, carrots, corn, potatoes, red beets). {Do not comment on how corn and potatoes do not count as vegetables: I only like 5 of them so just gimme those!}

 

If it doesn't look or smell good, chances are, I won't like it. I'm also big on texture. For example, I enjoy the taste of onions, but hate the texture (I hate the surprise crunch of onions and the sliminess of cooked onions is just gross). I've gotten better at simply trying new things, but since I grew up in a household where salt and pepper were the only spices, I'm not sure how else to branch out.

 

I know fruits and veggies are good for me, but how can I enjoy them as much as I like my processed sweet treats? Is it just a matter of weaning myself off chocolate until I no longer have a taste for it? 

 

I'm not sure if I want to go all-out paleo, or just give it a try next challenge instead of doing 1200c/day. 

 

So I'm looking for advice. As a picky eater, and a calorie counter who loves chocolate, what can I do to make vegetables not taste bad? Green ones are a particular nightmare of mine (the smell of broccoli makes me nauseous!).

 

Also, does trying the paleo diet sound like something I should go for based on my dietary restrictions?

 

Thoughts are appreciated!

 

 

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Disclaimer: I am Paleo, it has solved many health issues for me and helps me to keep the sugar down to a minimum.

 

That said, I'm not sure you need to go Paleo, if what you are doing is working. If it isn't then yes, inching your way to Paleo is good. 

 

I find that going 30 days without sugar ( added sugar not fruits) really helps me to reset my tastebuds. When I am constantly eating sugar, I find that nothing else tastes as good. Veggies don't taste sweet enough. Right now I'm Paleo and I limit my sugar consumption, most the time to about one sweet a week. Now with Christmas, the sweets are happening more often though. I'll most likely do a 30 days without sugar in January to hit my reset button.

 

Being picky- just pick one veggie and try it different ways and see if you like it. Start slow and just start adding one more veggie a day. Roasted veggies is my favorite. http://nomnompaleo.com/ http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/ has lots of great veggie recipes

Also, it is nice to find some veggies you love, but sometimes you just need to tell yourself it will help you meet your goals and eat it even if you don't love it. You can pass on veggies you hate, but ones that you are  are so-so on, just keep eating them. Sometimes it takes a while for you tastebuds to get the message that  roasted broccolli is really delicious.

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That said, I'm not sure you need to go Paleo, if what you are doing is working. If it isn't then yes, inching your way to Paleo is good.

Granted, I know my calorie counting plan has worked, but I've been really lax about it for several months now and can't seem to get re-motivated in an effort to drop about 10lbs. I've been trying to think of different things I could try and I keep coming back to paleo simply because it's what humans used to eat/are still supposed to eat. I know processed sugars are terrible for me!

 

 

I find that going 30 days without sugar (added sugar not fruits) really helps me to reset my tastebuds. When I am constantly eating sugar, I find that nothing else tastes as good. Veggies don't taste sweet enough.

That's an interesting idea! I've heard, many times, that every 7 or so years your body just sort of resets itself, including allergies and tastes. Sadly, I've never found this to be the case for my sweet tooth: I've always loved chocolate and generally disliked 90% of vegetables! I had hoped there might be some way for me to re-learn liking things I currently don't (and really never have), but now I'm thinking that simply cutting down, not deleting entirely, is the way I need to go for sweet treats.

 

Also, it is nice to find some veggies you love, but sometimes you just need to tell yourself it will help you meet your goals and eat it even if you don't love it. You can pass on veggies you hate, but ones that you are  are so-so on, just keep eating them. Sometimes it takes a while for you tastebuds to get the message that  roasted broccolli is really delicious.

Most veggies I'm already so-so on. I generally love potatoes, corn and beets and am already kind of 'meh' on the carrots and green beans I do like.  :upset:

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Granted, I know my calorie counting plan has worked, but I've been really lax about it for several months now and can't seem to get re-motivated in an effort to drop about 10lbs. I've been trying to think of different things I could try and I keep coming back to paleo simply because it's what humans used to eat/are still supposed to eat. I know processed sugars are terrible for me!

 

 

That's an interesting idea! I've heard, many times, that every 7 or so years your body just sort of resets itself, including allergies and tastes. Sadly, I've never found this to be the case for my sweet tooth: I've always loved chocolate and generally disliked 90% of vegetables! I had hoped there might be some way for me to re-learn liking things I currently don't (and really never have), but now I'm thinking that simply cutting down, not deleting entirely, is the way I need to go for sweet treats.

 

Most veggies I'm already so-so on. I generally love potatoes, corn and beets and am already kind of 'meh' on the carrots and green beans I do like.  :upset:

Have you tried different ways of cooking them? Maybe you will find a way you really like them. Or if you have room try growing your own. Or just getting them from a farmer's market. Fresher vegetables taste better to me.

 

Also a different thought on the 10 lbs. Seems like most people (including myself) always say they need to  get down  10 lb for their perfect  weight. But  you have to ask yourself about the costs of that vs the reward. If you are healthy and it is just looks, is it worth it to you to laser focus on your diet and cut out all sweets? For me, I decided to be just happy with the weight I'm at, and still be able to occasionally indulge in sweets and wine. Yes, if I never had sweets I could lose the 10 lbs and keep it off, but I fit into clothes and am strong so I'm ok with where I am now.

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Have you tried different ways of cooking them? Maybe you will find a way you really like them. Or if you have room try growing your own. Or just getting them from a farmer's market. Fresher vegetables taste better to me.

Not really...I'm just skeptical of veggies in general. Which is part of why I've been hesitant to try paleo in the first place. I could never go vegetarian!

 

 

Also a different thought on the 10 lbs. Seems like most people (including myself) always say they need to  get down  10 lb for their perfect  weight. But  you have to ask yourself about the costs of that vs the reward. If you are healthy and it is just looks, is it worth it to you to laser focus on your diet and cut out all sweets? For me, I decided to be just happy with the weight I'm at, and still be able to occasionally indulge in sweets and wine. Yes, if I never had sweets I could lose the 10 lbs and keep it off, but I fit into clothes and am strong so I'm ok with where I am now.

I definitely came to that same conclusion about 6 months ago. I got down to about 137lbs and was like 'screw it, I want cake'. But after vacation and just being lazy, I've gone up close to 10lbs: which, I realize isn't terrible, but I want to do better. I realized that even at my lowest I still wasn't happy with how my body carried weight and that I'll never be "ripped" (nor do I really want to be!) but part of the end-goal here is to also be healthy. And being healthy means little-to-no sweet junk foods. Hence, my interest in at least testing the waters of paleo. Perhaps it's simply not the right one for me, but I wanted to at least check to see if there were options for picky eaters. I'm guessing not really, but I had to check. ;)

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Not really...I'm just skeptical of veggies in general. Which is part of why I've been hesitant to try paleo in the first place. I could never go vegetarian!

 

 

I definitely came to that same conclusion about 6 months ago. I got down to about 137lbs and was like 'screw it, I want cake'. But after vacation and just being lazy, I've gone up close to 10lbs: which, I realize isn't terrible, but I want to do better. I realized that even at my lowest I still wasn't happy with how my body carried weight and that I'll never be "ripped" (nor do I really want to be!) but part of the end-goal here is to also be healthy. And being healthy means little-to-no sweet junk foods. Hence, my interest in at least testing the waters of paleo. Perhaps it's simply not the right one for me, but I wanted to at least check to see if there were options for picky eaters. I'm guessing not really, but I had to check. ;)

Another aspect of paleo beside veggies is more fat instead of grains. Maybe instead of focusing on veggies you can focus on less grains and more fats via things like coconut oil, avocadoes, eggs, olives. etc.

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All veggies taste better when cooked in bacon grease.  Cook some chopped-up bacon (real bacon, not turkey), scoop it out.  Leave the grease in the pan.  Add spinach and chopped-up garlic.  If that is tolerable, you can try chard, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, etc, all the same way.  Cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and pretty much every other vegetable works well this way too.

 

Also, sometimes your body needs to learn that something is good for you before you start liking it.  I tried a high-quality liverwurst a couple of times because liver is so good for you.  I wasn't all that impressed.  At some point my body realized how good it is, and it was suddenly the best thing I'd ever eaten.  Now I buy it every couple of months and it is absolutely amazing for about half the package.  It took time for my body to realize that there are important things in there that I need.  When I have enough of those things, it stops tasting all that good.  Anything that is an "acquired taste" can be like this- lots of vegetables, certain types of cheeses (stinky bleu cheeses are actually really good for you in some ways), caviar, etc. 

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Ditto. 

 

A few years ago, I volunteered at a local organic farm and forced myself to eat what they served that lunch.  I rarely liked it, but it really helped get me over the anti-veggie hump.  I still don't enjoy vegetables and rarely cook them myself, but I can force myself to eat them at restaurants.  

 

I don't like to buy vegetables because it will be a waste of money and waste of vegetables.  :-/  I've been searching for inexpensive cooking lessons so I can taste the vegetables and recipes before I try them at home.  

 

Anyway, last spring I tried doing one 95% Paleo day per week.  I found that really helped to get my foot in the door. Perhaps, you could reverse your weekends and do Paleo weekends assuming you have more time on the weekend to prepare food. 

 

I've stopped buying white and brown sugar (except icing sugar, because it is specialized and not used very often).  For everything that requires sugar, I use a mix of honey and maple syrup.  I often reduce the amount called for in recipes. If you can go 4 days without added sugar, you'll find that the cravings start to go away.  Expect headaches, etc as you go through withdrawal, but you'll feel much better after that. 

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So... You like potatoes, have you tried turnips?  In soup, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference---except that the turnip has a better texture.

You like carrots have you tried parsnips?  Like carrots, only sweeter.   I actually find them to be a little too sweet for my taste and add something savory to them when I eat them.  But you say you like beets too, so...

What about sweet potatoes?  I never (I mean never) ate them until I went paleo.  Now I eat them pretty regularly.

 

Cooking everything in bacon fat is definitely a good suggestion.  Brussels sprouts, an onion, and a package of chopped bacon all fried up together is one of my favorite things.  I also suggest soups and stews to get new veggies into your life.  You can try three or four at once in a home made soup, and if you're making the stock yourself, you get the added bonus of feeling really connected to it by using say... a whole chicken carcass.  

 

Sidenote: I'm in a paleo household of five, so you can imagine what my grocery bill looks like, especially now in the middle of winter when my garden isn't producing.  I find that roasting two whole chickens on the weekend provides a lot of meals.  We'll kill one just eating it for dinner, another will get carved up and put in the fridge.  The bones and scraps from both will get roasted and then made into stock.  I'll get a lunch or two off leftover chicken before I'm bored of it and then whatever is left goes into the soup pot with the stock where the whole family will eat dinner again with enough left over for a couple of us to have lunch the next day too.

 

Back on topic:  What about fruits?  I wasn't a huge veggie guy when I started on this, but I do like fruits.  I would eat a lot of them at first.  Both for the sweet aspects but also the fiber.  Start small.  Take some raw baby spinach and cut up a pear over it.  Throw some blueberries, or some strawberries (or both) on top and a hand full of almonds.  Right there you've got a 100% plant based meal or snack, a couple of super foods, and nothing terribly offensive about any of the ingredients.  I might throw a crumbled up boiled egg and a couple of slices of crumbled bacon in there and call it breakfast.   Yeah, it seems a little weird at first, but you get used to it quickly and your taste buds will want you to branch out.  Not everything will be a winner, but you'll be surprised how many things you're sure you don't like, you end up reaching for.  

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I have never tried turnips or parsnips, but both sound like great suggestions! Particularly since I've been wondering if I can make the carrots I've been eating for lunch sweeter. Parsnips might be added to my next grocery list!

 

And good on ya for having a household of paleo eaters! Thanks for the ideas! :)

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Roasting is another way to really bring out the sweetness in veggies.  A little bit of olive oil (or coconut oil), some seasoning, and then roasting will mellow a lot of the flavors of veggies.

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Potatoes are a legit vegetable. They totally count. Even in paleo, depending on who you listen to. 

 

Corn, on the other hand, is actually a grain and a heavily GMO grain at that. If it doesn't mess with your gut and you don't overeat it when it's on your plate, feel free to keep eating it... but don't let it push legit vegetables off of your plate. Make it the grain serving in your meal. 

 

 

Our stories are actually really similar - I'm a recovering picky eater who went through years of calorie counting (lost 75lbs but was never "done" losing weight, put 60lbs back on with a pregnancy, now have about 40lbs to lose to get back to pre-pregnancy weight). At some point during my calorie counting journey I decided I needed to learn to like vegetables, and made it my mission. I started with things similar to vegetables I already liked and slowly branched out from there. Roasting seasoned vegetables is the best way to get good, non-vegetable-y flavor. Grilling vegetables also yields nice flavor. Tossing veggies in a well seasoned soup is an excellent way to get a lot of veggies that taste mostly like whatever soup you're eating. I do not recommend steaming unless you actually like the flavor of the vegetable in question - even if you add seasoning you're still going to get a very vegetable-y taste.

 

Also, I'll say this in favor of trying paleo:  While I liked a variety of fruits + vegetables before going paleo, doing my first Whole30 really made a dramatic difference. When you cut sugar in all forms from your life, it is amazing how good real food begins to taste. I pick up carrot sticks now and eat them plain without thinking twice... because I can actually taste the sweetness and natural flavor in them. Salad tastes a zillion times better with real, full fat, homemade, simple, delicious dressing than it does drenched in watered down, sugared up "diet"  salad dressing.  Butternut squash almost tastes like candy to me.. I find it so sweet that I really only eat it as my breakfast vegetable. I didn't eat much fruit on my first Whole30 but I did attend a wake in which the only options for me were raw vegetables and fruit... I popped a piece of pineapple into my face (I liked pineapple before doing Whole30) and was positively floored at how damn sweet it was. 

 

At this point I will pretty much try any vegetable and I can eat almost anything that is served to me that is vegetable-y, which is a blessing as a former picky eater. I still hate onion texture (but can deal when someone else has prepared a dish with onions) and I usually mince the shit out of onions when preparing a recipe that calls for them at home - all the flavor, none of the texture. 

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If texture is an issue, perhaps branch out into blended soups?  Parsnips go amazing in those (they add a bit of sweetness to a roasted pumpkin soup, f'ex), and adding spices and rich stocks and perhaps some fried bacon or something to a soup can really help disguise flavours you're not a fan of.

 

Herbs and spices are amazing, too - though it's daunting to start with.  I'd say have a look online for some recipes, and try to pick up some pretty common flavour combinations (f'ex, parsley/oregano/thyme in an Italian dish with mince), and start using the ones you like.  Then, just experiment!  Add paprika to a parsnip soup and see what it does.  Put turmeric on your roast chicken, or add cloves to your roast veggie tray, and see if you like the resulting combination.  Pretty soon you'll have a handle on what spices "do" to dishes, and it'll get easier.  Plus, spices like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, even some varieties of paprika, can really help a dish taste sweeter.

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