3 steps to really love your veggies – Precision Nutrition
Regardless of where you’re starting — never eaten a green thing ever, or just want some new ways to eat plants — there is a simple formula you can use to make bitterness less intense, more palatable, and much more enjoyable:
Find a bitter food, something that requires a special effort, and something that you won’t normally just eat.
Psych yourself up. You’re going to TASTE that kale!
You may hate it… you may love it… you may just think “meh”.
Either way… you have now been brave, and at least tried it.
Research suggests that we may need to try new foods many times before we’ll tolerate or like them. So, challenge yourself regularly. You might be surprised about what happens
Building on the complexity of flavor perception, almost all well-developed recipes use a kind of “flavor harmony”.
In this case, it means pairing a food or aromatic with your vegetable to push several taste/flavor buttons at the same time.
We can actually predict some of this harmony in advance now, using complicated measurements like gas chromatography. But generally, we rely on chefs — who often have amazing intuition about “what goes with what” — to do it for us.
Pairing bitterness with certain flavors can magically turn its volume down.
On your tongue, you have a variety of receptors that bind to the chemicals in food. When these receptors get a chemical signal, they send information to the brain about what you are “tasting”.
(Variations in the number and type of these receptors help give us our innate flavor preferences.)
Chemical signals are like cars on a roadway. Sometimes the road to the brain is clear, sometimes the road can get jammed.
Sweet and fatty flavors, in particular, can jam up the road and interfere with our brain’s perception of bitterness. Even the specific types of sugar and fat can matter (for instance, butter versus olive oil; glucose versus fructose, etc.)
So, after we have chosen our Challenge food and a Complement, we find a Cushion.
Excellent Cushions for bitterness include honey, maple syrup, oil, almonds, and butter.
Don’t freak out if those sound calorie-dense. We just need balance, not a cup of oil or a pound of bacon.