Can I really eat this way?

“Is this food going to taste good?” That is often the first thing we hear after asking people to change their diet to include more health-promoting whole foods. And that makes sense. Who would choose to feel deprived for the rest of their life? Is that even sustainable without eventually craving all sorts of “goodies?”

The Whole Foods Diet states that Whole Foodies are healthier—feeling significantly better than they have in years with tons of new energy, and also that they are happier—truly enjoying their new repertoire of delicious foods. Some people find that hard to believe. However, after spending a little time explaining how much the way we think affects the way we feel, it becomes much more clear.

Of the following two people, who do you think will be more likely to succeed with their new diet? The person always comparing the new healthier versions of a food to old familiar flavors, trying to prove that he can taste a difference or prove that he is going to be missing out on the old foods. Or the person comparing healthier versions of the same dish, trying to prove that she can get used to these new tastes, convinced that she will quickly forget about the old more familiar ones as they get replaced with healthier bounty?

The first key to success is adopting the positive mindset of the second person above. Wanting to be successful and happy and to enjoy the food goes a long way. Most foods can taste really good or really bad; it’s more a matter of what you compare a food to than the binary thinking of trying to determine if a food is actually completely delicious or completely awful. There are times when any food can taste pretty good. For example, a can of baked beans by the campfire tastes pretty good after a long day of hiking. However, during a late night binge, the ice cream baiting you from the freezer will likely be chosen over those same baked beans.

The second key to success is just giving your body a chance to calm down. Your taste buds are over-stimulated from all the concentrated salt, sugar and fat in the foods that you’ve been eating up until now.

It’s like trying to enjoy a conversation with the people around you while loud music is playing in the background. Your body has to adapt to the music so your eardrums don’t burst, but in the process, you won’t be able to hear the conversation around you. As you start to turn off the background noise, at first you still can’t hear the people conversing around you and it may even feel off and sound too quiet. That’s because your ears haven’t adjusted yet, but in time they do and the conversation will sound like it’s getting louder (even though it’s not).

What’s exciting is that your taste buds behave in the same way that your ears do! Avoid the interfering background noise (heavily processed, junk and fast foods) and they too will adjust. At first when you stop the over-stimulation of your standard American diet, the food may taste a little off but over time, the food begins to taste delicious.

Cravings, simply put, are as much in our mind as they are in our taste buds. What that means on all levels is that we have more control over them then we think.

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It’s helpful to remind ourselves that we have lots of old habits that we can change if we put our mind to it. This is just as true with food as it is with anything else. For example, in America we’re used to driving on the right side of the road. When we drive in England or Australia, we must adapt to using the left side of the road. While it may take a period of adjustment, we don't question whether we’ll be able to do it. We just do it.

Our challenge to you is to think of your Whole Foodie adventure in a similar way. Commit to healthier eating because you know it’s the way to go. Whether it’s driving on a different side of the road or eating from a different side of the supermarket, the potential to feel better and happier is in your hands. Find your inner persistence and perseverance, put your mind to it and give yourself a little time to get used to your new choices. You may be surprised to see how quickly you adjust when you are open to the possibilities.

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