How to Retrain Your Taste Buds to Enjoy Healthy Food

Does eating healthy mean that you have to eat bland food? At first it does!

You see…the reason that healthy food doesn’t taste as good as junk food to many people is that their taste buds are a bit out-of-whack. Overly processed foods and artificial sweeteners create tastes that aren’t present in nature. When you get used to eating this type of stuff, natural wholesome food tastes “boring” in comparison.

woman eating strawberries
[Nikky eats strawberries in between sets of sit ups. The owners of the gym get angry about how messy her workouts get.]

Is Your Tongue Used to “Aggressive” Tasting Foods?

I consider foods like flavored tortilla chips an aggressive food. In the U.S. we have these chips called Doritos with flavors like Nacho, Taco, Extra Spicy, Salsa, etc.

They taste like these flavors to a certain extent, but multiplied by 10. Have you ever had Watermelon candy? I have never had a watermelon with a flavor that intense. What about grape flavored? Even things as simple as canned chicken noodle soup are an “aggressive tasting” version of the homemade stuff.

Try to Back off On Aggressive Tasting Processed Flavors

I have been avoiding processed foods as much as possible the past month. I have even cut out diet soda and other zero calorie diet foods with artificial sweeteners. I made a really healthy organic salad the other night with romaine lettuce, carrots, peas, and cucumbers.

For a salad dressing I used a combination of rice vinegar and flaxseed oil. I thought it was going to be brutal, but it actually tasted wonderful! I enjoyed the nutty taste of the flaxseed oil and the natural carrot and cucumber flavors. I even enjoyed chewing on the lettuce.

We Need to Retrain Our Taste Buds to Enjoy “Real” Flavors

About a two weeks into the doing the strict one meal per day Warrior Diet, I had a “cheat meal” of just fruit (you are allowed to have fruit only meals every now and then).

For some reason the fruit tasted outstanding! Seriously, it was by far the most amazing tasting fruit I had ever eaten. I though it was the fruit, but quickly discovered it was me. I had avoided all candy and artificial sweeteners for two weeks and my taste buds had adapted.

We Were Meant to Enjoy Foods in Their Natural State

We weren’t meant to be bored by these natural foods. These are suppose to taste wonderful to us. An apple or a piece of pineapple should taste amazing to you.

You should enjoy eating lettuce with little or no dressing. Bell peppers, onions, celery, carrots, nuts, honey, vegetables, etc…all of these foods should really stimulate your taste buds.

Attempt to Go on a 30 Days Without Processed Foods…You Won’t Go Back!

You will begin to taste subtle flavors in foods that you have never tasted in the past. Man made flavors have nothing on natural flavors! I bought some organic whole grain granola naturally sweetened with honey. I have this stuff handy when I feel like a dessert at night. It blows away any candy I have ever had.

Not only does this stuff taste better, it digests better and you feel much better after eating it. Someone who is used to eating sugar filled cereals would probably be really bored with this snack. They may even say it tastes like “saw dust”. It isn’t the cereal that tastes bad…the person eating it has “bad taste”!

“Fitness People” and “Health Food” People Are a Different Group

Typical health food stores attract men and women who focus on “outdoor activities” like camping, biking, marathon running, etc. They don’t really care about appearance for the most part (a lot of these women don’t wear makeup). I don’t like to stereotype, but it is true for the most part. I actually believe that each group could learn something from the other group.

I’m a “Fitness Guy” who wants to learn to get healthier off of a natural organic foods instead of relying too much on supplements, but I want to look ripped as well. I don’t want to grow a full beard and wear tie dye. I also like hanging with sexy girls who wear at least some makeup and are into the newest fashions. Let’s make health food stores “Sexy”…they need it badly!

Fitness Tip: Shop The Perimeter of the Store

Most grocery stores are setup in a way that all the natural foods are located around the perimeter of the store. I try to do 90% of my shopping in this area and avoid the aisles as much as possible.

In the particular store I shop at they even have a special Health Food area right near the produce. I can do almost all of my shopping in this area now.

I also shop at a health food store, but the grocery store by my place is cheaper.

32 thoughts on “How to Retrain Your Taste Buds to Enjoy Healthy Food”

  1. I have to mainly agree with maya, as long as the girl doesnt take the natural look back to hairy pits and legs amd still bathes regularly and doesnt smell like petchulli (sp?). My girlfriend is trying to teach me the benefits of healthy food and I have been eating better, she neclver wears make up and only colors her hair when some gray comes in. I think the hair dying is done bc she doesn’t like to draw attention to herself and we as a couple (white 25 y/o male and african/white/native american/carribean 41 y/o female) tend to getclooks anyway when out in public. I am really liking the natural flavors eating a lot more fruit and making sure any meats are organic and free from antibiotics and hormones, still working on the veggies. Since starting to read your blog Rusty, I have lost 13 lbs 3% bf and increased all of my lifts. I like to do low rep low volume heavy lifting followed by 12×5 hanging power cleans or 3×100 hindu squats (I hate running and love leg lifts adding yoga to keep leg muscles long and lean and I dont lift legs more than once every 2 weeks) then after the weights and HIIT I do an extra 3×5 of bicep curls and one arm military press or dumbell press. I am currently 5′ 10″ weighing 165 at 14% bf starting to see where the abs are under this blubber! Lol. I do know that I need to add some lean mass, my goal is to get to 170 lbs 8% bf. Do you have any suggestions to tweak my workout? I do a 2 day split on lifting with the leg lifting once every other week on a typical rest day. Last time I ran at all my foot came down where a brick was missing on the sidewalk and I partially tore my anterior tibius. I am admittedly a little gun shy about running again.

  2. You don’t even see the irony of your own statement. Just as we need to train ourselves to appreciate natural foods by eating only natural foods, we also must train ourselves to appreciate the natural human body. If girls stopped covering their faces in powders and goops and stopped getting surgeries and extensions and all this awful stuff, women would be truly beautiful again. Women these days are just like those doritos. They are a million times exaggerated from their natural state but also have less substance and a mechanical, unnatural feel to them. How do you not see the clear, obvious similarity between those two things? If you truly want to appreciate this earth and nature, instead of processed human waste, you need to view makeup and surgeries and human alteration as the processed by-product that it is. Very few people these days really know what hair looks like without colors and gels and sprays. Or what skin looks like without a fake tan and oils and waxing and bleaching. You only ruin the experience for yourself, just as with food.

  3. I agree and am planning to blog about this topic also. When I was younger I ate a lot of processed foods and rarely drank plain water without adding Koolaid or some other kind of drink crystals. Over the years I have gradually weaned myself off these salty, sugary food and beverages. After eating healthy for many years, I actually find those artificial foods somewhat repulsive. It is amazing how marketers have convinces such a huge portion of the population that food is not good enough the way nature made it!

  4. I totally agree with this article. On my long quest for weight loss and better health I had gone all organic for a time, and I had cut out processed sugar for health problems. Even though now I’m not so strict about being all organic, it’s changed the way I eat forever. I love just salads with simple homemade dressing, along with meat and fresh bread and other foods. YUM. Real food is delicious. 🙂

  5. Mmmmm.. this is reminding me of all these yummy salads that I like.. they’re not boring at all! They feel like a treat to me when I am eating them.. I usually like to use spinach or mixed greens leaves.. the darker, the better.
    almonds, strawberries & feta cheese salad w/ a creamy poppyseed dressing
    apples, craisins (dried cranberries) & chicken salad good w/ a mandarin vinegarette dressing
    hard-boiled egg, bacon, cucumber, cherry tomatos, feta cheese & balsamic vinegarette dressing

    I love eating frozen fruit too.. great replacement for ice cream. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & mangos that melt on my tongue.. yum!

  6. You are absolutely correct about people having “bad taste”.

    I ate nothing but processed and junk food when I was younger and “healthy” food was b o r i n g.

    I now eat almost no processed food, no candy, no sweet drinks. It is amazing how good real food tastes. On that rare occasion when I think I want candy, I find it to be overwhelmingly disgustingly sickening sweet, not at all like I remember it tasting. And things that used to be boring are amazing, even salad with no dressing.

  7. Dang Rusty, I forgot about Grape Nuts! This is great, I love grape nuts. Maybe I’ll mix grape nuts with Kashi.


  8. Patrick,

    Kashi might be okay, but rice cakes have been shown to shoot up the blood sugar big time. You know what is good…Grape Nuts.

    An occassional Vitamin Water is okay. I had one yesterday and I think it was 125 calories. I would avoid liquid calories if possible, it is just an added source of calories that you don’t need. The only exception for me is the occassional beer…but I plan for that by eating less leading up to gong out with friends and having a beer.

    Love Cinnamon Toast Crunch, by the way…but it is basically a dessert, not a meal.


  9. Hey Rusty:

    I’m assuming that something like Cinnamon Toast Crunch would not be a clean, unprocessed food. In addition, Raisin bran is probably not as healthy as something like Kashi flakes with raisins thrown in?
    In General, do you think Kashi would qualify as a relatively clean cereal?

    Also, do you think that vitamin water is clean? (I’m guessing no… By the way, I only drink it because it tastes good, not for any “vitamins”… It’s basically instead of soda… I probably drink 4/week, but I’m thinking about cutting it out completely.

    Thanks a lot!

  10. hawkeye,

    Yeah…the organic food stores are starting to attract a much younger and hipper crowd…especially on the West Coast…as well as Miami and New York as far as from what I’ve read. I live in downtown Seattle which is basically just a smaller version of San Francisco. You have a good gig working at an organic food store…I must say I’m a bit jealous.

    I am starting to see tons of readers from the Bay Area as well as San Diego, New York, and Miami. I think the coastal regions of the US. are influenced by European fashions and styles more than the larger cities of the mid-west and south like Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Antonio, etc…consequently I don’t have quite as many regular readers from those cities.

    I do have a decent reader base from Vegas and Austin, but I think it is because of those cities get transplants from all over the world.

    The bulky look is dying a slow and painful death…I’m just trying to put it out of its misery…LOL!

    Thanks for the compliments!


  11. hey rusty,

    i, as well as all of your other readers, swear by this site. i dig where you’re coming from on essentially everything you offer. the bloated muscle look is dead, and you are serving notice that an evolution is immenant.

    i myself am 24 years old, and cut out all processed food about three years ago. consequently, a fuji apple with some peanut butter tastes like a miracle every time!

    i might add that this is especially easy for me as i work at a small organic food store in downtown san francisco, where yes, girls wear little makup but are sexy and hip as hell. a typical snack for me around there is a handful of brussel sprouts, green beans and pumpkin seeds. nothing boring about that, i say.

    anyways, you’re the man, keep inspiring.


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