When I reminisce about my childhood, I honestly don’t remember if I was a picky eater or not. I want to say I wasn’t, but I’m fairly confident my mom would bring up all kinds of examples proving me wrong.
What I will admit to, is being picky about meat. I just didn’t like it. I didn’t like the taste. I didn’t like the texture. I didn’t like the smell. It was not unusual for me to sit at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished eating, staring down at a hunk of dead animal.
One of Kristin’s favorite stories about my childhood, is when one night, while at dinner, I shoved all the meat on my plate into my mouth, left the dinner table (pretty sure I didn’t excuse myself…hard to talk with your mouth full), and ran outside to spit it out in the woods next to our house.
Must have been pretty obvious to my dad, as he went out a different door, and caught me in the act. Scared the living daylights out of me. He thought it was funny. I, however, did not. I ran back into the house bawling. Yep. Great memory.
Anyway…since adopting a 90% whole food, plant based diet (but always vegan), I have definitely become an experimental eater. What follows is a list of foods I didn’t know existed, or at the very least, if I had known they existed, never tried. Awfully glad I finally did.
And I think you should also give them a try. Your body will thank you. And your taste buds will lead the way.
Definitely a game changer for me. Years ago, the mere thought of eating a date made my tummy turn. In my head, they were a close relative to a prune. And who eats prunes? Exactly. Little did I know, dates could be used to make caramel. And sweeten my lattes, hot cacao, and power seed pudding. And when paired with nuts? Best raw desserts ever.
Stop wrinkling your nose. I mean it. Tofu is the food of champions. And you want to be a champion, don’t you? Talk about versatility! Tofu can serve as the protein in a meal, as well as the base for desserts. But make sure you know the difference between extra firm and silken tofu. They are not interchangeable. And my husband understands that now.
Never a fan. I could stomach them, but they had to be a tad bit on the green side. There was nothing worse than a mushy banana…until I discovered that mushy bananas are a healthy sweetener in baked goods. And have I ever mentioned banana ice cream? It’s a sad day at the Hovie house when there aren’t any frozen banana pieces in the freezer. BTW…banana ice cream does not taste like bananas. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t.
Or call them garbanzo beans, if you prefer. Same thing. Bake them with a drizzle of oil and sea salt and you have a crunchy treat that rivals potato chips. Want a sweet option? Best cookie pie I’ve ever eaten uses chickpeas for the base. They are mighty tasty in coconut curry. And you just can’t make hummus without chickpeas. And I eat a lot of hummus.
Remember last year? The year that I declared October (Okay…I started in September) the month of pumpkin? Yeah. It’s not that I didn’t like pumpkin. It’s just that pecan pie > pumpkin pie. And that’s the only way I knew of to eat pumpkin.
After deciding I really wanted to like pumpkin (‘cuz it’s so dang good for you), I started experimenting. It worked. In fact it worked so well, that last year I dedicated a whole month of recipes to pumpkin: lattes, pancakes, bread, oatmeal. I even wrote an “Ode to Pumpkin”. Sounds a little over the top now that I look back at it.
And as a bonus (lucky you!), 4 spices that have changed my life:
Despite the frequency in which I use it, I still can’t pronounce it. Turmeric is this beautiful, golden yellow spice that I add to my tofu scrambles, eggless salad, and ginger tea. The piece de resistance is Gena Hamshaw’s Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Tahini Sauce. Look up incredible health benefits in the dictionary, and you would find a picture of the turmeric root. I wouldn’t kid you about that.
Even if the only thing I put ginger in was ginger tea, it would still be worthy of making the list. However, it just so happens I use it in a lot of other things as well. My spicy peanut sauce would not be nearly as delectable without ginger.
Fresh garlic blows garlic powder out of the water. The discovery of garlic cloves changed my life. It gets minced or pressed into just about everything savory that I make. You just can’t beat the smell of garlic sizzling in a pan. Want to know what else? I have not even seen a vampire since I started using fresh garlic.
Curry has become a bit of an obsession for me as of late. My favorite Indian dishes contain curry. My favorite Asian dishes contain curry. I even use curry in my lentil soup. I absolutely adore the spicy hot taste of a good curry.
And a couple of other things you just need to try:
Didn’t even know this existed. Nutritional yeast gives food a cheesy taste. It shares the spotlight with cashews in my mac and “cheese”. I add it to my broccoli soup, I sprinkle it on my steamed greens and tofu scramble. I don’t eat it by the spoonful however, ‘cuz that would be a little weird.
Think cocoa powder, only less processed. I use this to make chocolate. Add a bit of coconut oil and some maple syrup, and BAM! Chocolate.
So there you have it. Live a little. Walk on the wild side. Don’t be a wuss. Start making your shopping list.