So You Don’t Like Vegetables
Peter J. Weiss, MD FACP – More Health Less Care
Pretty much everyone knows that eating more vegetables, less meat and less processed food would be a healthier way to live. It’s just hard to do it, and when we don’t want to try something, we often turn to excuses.
A common one is, “I don’t like vegetables.”
When I hear someone say that I spring into action. “Really,” I ask in return, “which ones?” “Oh, ALL of them,” is the typical reply. Then I ask the individual to list all of the vegetables they have eaten more than once which they don’t like. “Please, write them down,” I ask.
So they start writing – carrots, beets, onions, celery, cucumbers, peppers, sweet potatoes, etc. By the time they’ve identified about ten or so they’re running out of steam. With prodding many can eke out another five or ten. So that makes maybe twenty or so vegetables that they “don’t like.”
Then I ask them to take a look at this list of vegetables:
Alfalfa sprouts, Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Avocado, Bamboo shoots, Bean sprouts, Beets, Bell Peppers, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Chickpeas, Chile peppers, Chinese cabbage, Chives, Collard greens, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive Garlic, Green beans, Green onions, Green peas, Greens, Horseradish, Jicama, Kale, Kidney beans, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lemon grass, Lentil beans, Lettuce, Lima beans, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Navy Beans, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potato, Pumpkin, Radishes, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Sauerkraut, Shallot, Snow Peas, Soybeans, Spinach, Split Peas, Squash, Sweet potato, Tomato, Turnip, Water chestnuts, Watercress, Yams, and Zucchini
Impressive, isn’t it. (I know some readers are taking me to task because, technically, some of these are fruits. True, but they’re usually thought of as vegetables.) And this is actually a pretty short list. Many more are local delicacies or staples in far away locations – seaweed in Japan, for example.
After reviewing the list, we cover ways of preparation – raw, steamed, roasted, etc. What ways haven’t they tried? Have they tried stir-fry, or vegetable stews or soups? How about Indian or Middle Eastern vegetable dishes? And so on.
Two things generally happen: 1) they realize how much variety is available, and agree that perhaps there might be some individual vegetables and dishes which will appeal to them, and 2) we usually stumble over one or more things that they actually do like – perhaps hummus, minestrone, or corn. Aha! We’ve got something to build on.
Now they’re ready to end the “I don’t like vegetables” mantra and begin a journey of discovery in search of healthy and tasty plant-based foods. This really works. If this is you, why not try getting started with what you do like. Then push the boundaries a little every month and see where you go.
Are you still resistant? Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “No. Really, I don’t like vegetables – any of them!” Perhaps that is so. You would know better than I about your taste for veggies, but let me suggest that you
learn to like them. Check it out for yourself. Perform an internet search on “learning to like new foods” and see what comes up. You’ll find all kinds of advice.
My suggestion is a simple one – just keep eating the things you know are good for you but may not be the most enjoyable. If you persist you will learn to like them. Gradually your taste preferences will adjust. Soon you’ll be thinking, “this isn’t so bad” and then it’ll be a short step to your actually liking it.
Don’t believe me? Consider beer. I admit beer is not a vegetable, but very few people like beer the first time they taste it. Yet they keep trying it because they like how it makes them feel. Eventually most adults learn to enjoy the taste of beer. Often, the very same bitterness that turned them off at first becomes part of what they look for in a good beer.
Similarly, if you eat more vegetables (and less of the bad stuff), you will like how it makes you feel – healthy and alive with energy. Of course it will take longer to feel the beneficial effects of vegetables than the effects of beer. So give it some time. Eat your veggies. You really will feel better, and very soon you’ll enjoy the flavor.
You can do it!
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