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Get Out of the Box

A couple of weeks ago, while at the farmers' market, we experienced a flashback!

A friend of ours generously bought an Eat REAL Cookbook for some friends of his because they were just starting their REAL food journey.  Literally, this couple was starting their journey, right there at the farmers' market!  Due to some recurring health issues, they had been told they needed to stop eating processed foods and drinking soda.  The wife had a look of desperation and said, "I have no idea what to eat!"

This used to be us!


I even said, "we used to be where you are, eating the same meals over and of our go-to meals was tater tot casserole."  She replied, "we just had that for dinner two nights ago!"

Believe it or not, we used to live "in the box."

We were literally eating meals "from a box," and were also stuck in a rut, eating the same things over and over.  We didn't give much thought to taste and nutrition...we just ate because it was time to eat.  And, we were eating foods that weren't necessarily good for us.  I often tell the story about how there was a time when my husband, Scott, did not like eggs, tomatoes and pickles, among many others.  And, mushrooms?  We were NOT a fan!  OK, so we thought we did not like these foods.

When we started to eat more REAL food and branching out, our tastes and cravings began to change.  A lot of this began when we changed the preparation methods for many foods and when we focused on local, in-season ingredients.  This is why we always say that learning how to roast vegetables absolutely changed our lives!  It's very true that, once your eating habits include more REAL food, and foods made with REAL ingredients, you begin to stretch your tastes and, as a result, your cravings will change.


Can this really make us happier?

In an article from a site called Summer Tomato, Darya Rose describes the phenomenon of "experience stretching" from Dan Gilbert's book, Stumbling on Happiness.

This is when our definition of happiness expands and changes relative to our experiences.  Gilbert says, "Once we have an experience, we are thereafter unable to see the world as we did before.  Our innocence is lost and we cannot go home again."  He is obviously explaining the negative side, but the upside with food is as you experience more great tasting REAL food, your tastes and cravings can – and do – change.  You will prefer these foods over the fast food and other unhealthy processed foods you used to crave.

This is exactly what happened with us, and we have heard firsthand how this has happened to so many others!

  • Recently, my mom even confessed that she tried avocados after many years of thinking they were "gross mushy green things with pits in them."  (Guess this explains why I NEVER ate an avocado growing up and THOUGHT they were disgusting!)  After all those years of avoiding them, she has now discovered she likes them – this is going to open up a whole new world of enjoying Avocado Egg Salad, Simple Guacamole, and Avocado and Spicy Mayo Stuffed Burgers!
  • And, just last summer, after trying the Zucchini Pizza Boats at a cooking demo, a corporate wellness participant told us, "I have gone my whole life thinking I hated zucchini until trying these pizza boats!"  Guess what – the next time we saw her, she was at the farmers’ market buying fresh zucchini for her family!
  • We have also heard people say, "Oh, I don’t like sweet potatoes."  Then, after experiencing the Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, they say things like, "this went against everything in my being when it comes to flavors to put together, and never in a million years did I think the kids would eat this, but it's really amazing…the whole family loved it!"


How it happens!

When we started getting out of the box, we began to make lots of new recipes with new foods we had never tried before.  This gave us the confidence that we could actually make great-tasting meals -- and they were good for us!  (Of course, there were a few meals that we messed up along the way, but this is part of the learning process!).

The farmers’ market also had a lot to do with us getting out of the box.  Many times we would ask farmers "what is this?"  Then, we would go home and find and adapt a recipe.  Stretching and getting out of the box is how we came to love foods like beets, spaghetti squash, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, and Swiss chard, among many others.

Plus, these new discoveries led us to try those foods that we always thought we disliked!

Once we experienced all of these foods, we were forever changed and now we can't go back.  We now love all those foods we used to avoid, husband now says he can't imagine life without eggs or tomatoes, and my life literally wouldn’t be the same without mushrooms and avocados!


Is there a food you think you don't like?

Zonya and I strongly encourage you to get out of the box.  We have so many ideas for you to try!


Eat REAL America is here to help with the thinking and planning for great-tasting meals made with REAL food.  We hope you will take this as an opportunity to get out of the box, or help others with their experience stretching to help them experience the life-changing benefits REAL food can provide!


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4 Responses to Get Out of the Box

  1. Growing up I only ever had Brussels sprouts boiled. Not my favorite! A few years ago I tried them roasted (with garlic and olive oil), and recently I’ve been using them sautéed. I can’t believe what a difference cooking method makes!!

    • I tried the massaged Kale salad last night, it was real good and I loved the Balsamic dressing lots of flavor. It also keeps well I had some today for lunch.

    • Jennifer – How funny, growing up, I thought the only way you could cook Brussels sprouts was in the pressure cooker! (Which of course made them soggy little cabbages!) We love them both roasted and sautéed – absolutely delicious! Who knew?! Thank you for the comment!

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