Okay y’all I am officially in the best mood I am capable of experiencing. Well, okay maybe not quite. I think my best possible mood would occur if I were on a tropical beach basking in the sunshine, reading a beautifully crafted work of prose, and eating fresh Haitian mangoes. However, I can declare with absolute certainty that my mood is a solid 9.33/10 on my happy mood scale.
You see, I have just visited the town of Ithaca, home of my alma mater, Cornell University, this weekend and the weather was positively sunshineful. I journeyed to the Ithaca Farmers Market on the first opening Saturday of this year’s market season and I purchased the most gloriously fresh organic kale, spotted an array of boldly hued bouquets of flowers, and enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice as I walked around and relived old memories of Saturdays at the market. Fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables make me happy and given the plethora of plant foods I was able to surround myself with at the market, happiness engulfed me whole. I view fruits and vegetables like I view flowers; they are colorful gems to the eye that are not only nourishing to our cells, but nourishing to our souls as well. Nature and its ability to provide visually appealing edibles that are delicious to eat and salubrious to our bodies is a gift that I will never tire of.
My love of plants runs deep and I wish that my veneration and appreciation for them would spread like a wildfire in a very dry, windy forest. Not everybody was raised on a plant-based diet like I was, but this doesn’t mean that people used to eating standard American fare can’t begin to love the taste, smell, and beauty of plant foods in the same way that I do or view a trip to the farmers market with the same euphoria. I do believe my delight in the organic plants for sale at the farmer’s market are similar to the pleasure the majority of us get from eating a slice of pizza with our favorite toppings. I am not kidding.
Most people in America were not raised on plant-based diets, but are instead used to foods laden with sugar, salt, oil, artificial flavors and animal products. As such, appreciation of the subtle flavors of natural spices, herbs and plants such as those I saw at the market has been lost. The fantastic news here is that our taste buds are marvelously adaptable and my dream of plant domination of our diets is entirely feasible!
Ample research has shown that when our taste buds don’t have access to the foods they usually love, they begin to love the foods they’re with. As creatures of habit, we enjoy foods that we are used to eating. However, when we change the foods we are accustomed to and give our taste buds a bit of time (translation: as little as two weeks), the new foods become preferred. Score!
If your taste buds start to take a bath in more fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole-grains, herbs, and spices, they are going to begin to say, “Hey give me more of that!” pretty quickly. And if you begin to reduce your exposure to oil, salt, sugar, and all foods that come in packages and at fast food restaurants, in precisely two weeks (multiple studies have shown this is how long it takes), you will not be missing those old foods or flavors.
It really is amazing to learn that we Homo sapiens adore the things that we are exposed to and cease to desire the things we don’t surround ourselves with, food included. I delight in dishes made with fresh, organic kale, cherry tomatoes, mangoes, apples, squashes and other farmers market goodies because I’m used to eating them. My taste buds never experience the taste of potato chips or hamburgers, so I will continue to view them in the same categories as I view a piece of cardboard or plastic. They don’t even look like food to me!
Fresh Ithaca Farmers Market plants, on that other hand, will continue to make me go gaga with glee. Hello handpicked strawberries, you make my day!
Cheers to more sunshine filled, farmers market and gardening-worthy days to come!
CLICK HERE to read a great article about our ability to adapt to the tastes and textures of new foods and flavors. Xo