At some time or another in our upbringing we learned early of the foods that we like, the ones we love and the ones that we would rather not eat, or better yet, flat out avoid. As we age, often times our tastes change as we get exposed to different cultures, experience illness or vast burst of wellness. However, sometimes our food aversions to the healthier foods like plentiful fruits and vegetables are not always grounded in any true traumatic experience, but rather have been a long repeated pattern of behavior that many of us have never really questioned and or analyzed.
A vast majority of the time, these patterns of food aversions stems from when we were children and we were able to convince our parents to not make us eat a particular fruit or vegetable, nut or seed. Now this would fall outside the realm of it for being for religious reasons or food that causes a true food allergy that could lead to severe illness or even death; or even foods that people avoid for moral or ethical reasons. No, these cases of food aversions are those ones that just simply went unchecked or unregulated and often to the lack of our health benefit as we age. And when we think about this a little bit deeper the vast majority of food aversions that many people have are related specifically to the green sector of vegetables (although of course people have aversions to many other types of vegetables, fruits and herbs.)
As people age and realize that they may want to make a change with their health, they will often seek out a holistic practitioner or even a standard nutritionist for supports and insight. If the person is not able to fully understand that the change has to be a change in lifestyle and thought process with how they see food, often times they get frustrated and give up altogether due to being unprepared and having unrealistic expectations about the process. But these food aversions can be dealt with and can be reworked through auto-suggestion.
Advice from a Naturopath to Practitioners with Clients with Food Aversions.
If you are in the field you already know how frustrating it can be to get clients to shift the way they feel about challenging their food aversions. This is a very common problem that is faced that Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Nutritionist and Health Coaches have to deal with on a regular basis. Here are some simple suggestions and recommendations that can be put into practice in your sessions:
“It Makes Me Sick.”
Sometimes a person will connect a particular healthy food with a one-time episode of ill health that caused them stress. That one time episode doesn’t mean that the food could never be eaten again; they have attached a traumatic event with a food when they were younger. If you are working with a person who says this, just dig deeper and actually challenge if those thoughts are serving their health. While those beliefs may be reasonable to hold as a child, they are not reasonable to hold as an adult; especially if the food in question doesn’t have any present ill health consequences for them. If they are against the texture, remember these can be made into soups; food does not have to be bland or lifeless. Spice it up and allow them to reward themselves with a non-food every time they have the soup.
“I Don’t Like Fruits.”
Usually people who have a strong and sincere aversion to fruits, have a physically cold constitution (i.e. Traditional Chinese and Unani Medicine). You can suggest trying eating them warm or in some cases cooked or grilled. Fruits like pears, apples, bananas, avocados, and melons can be baked, roasted and even grilled for a unique taste. If they like breads, many of these fruits can be mashed to make spreads or even blended into the dough of the bread itself. Of course fruits can be juiced for a healthy treat.
Food addictions and body image are almost mostly never about the actual food itself, but are about unsettled issues in people’s lives. There are many caring holistic therapist and psychologist that specialize in helping the person come to a place of self-love and acceptance and to look at food in a different way.
It’s normal to not have a preference for something that may not be of our taste. It’s important to be able to differentiate what is actually not our taste verses a whole aversion to all vegetables, fruits and herbs altogether.
-Dr. Daud Scott N.D; CHNP.