Can adults overcome picky eating?

Is it possible for adults to overcome picky eating? I think so, it takes a bit of patience, a tweaking of your cooking skills and a willingness to try.

There was a point in time where I hated mushrooms. I mean HATE. I would pick them off pizza, refuse anything that was cooked in mushrooms, always mentioned it when people asked me what my food preferences were when invited for dinner parties (yes, I know, Diva move).Then all of a sudden, one day in the not so distant past, I started to like them. And I mean, really, really like them. To the point where they are actually something I order on a menu, or gravitate to if I see a recipe with them. So weird. I attribute this to being pregnant with my second child. For whatever reason when I was pregnant with him, I all of a sudden started to crave them and eat them. I fully expected it to go away after birth, but that didn’t happen.

Same thing happened to me with lots of other foods. The #1 thing I hear a lot of is that people just don’t like certain foods. Or if they see me with a green smoothie I hear “Ugh, that looks gross”. (And to that I inwardly smile, knowing that I’m nourishing my body with the best foods). I hear comments about how eating healthy is hard, or they just can’t give up their favourites (bread, dairy, sugar).

If you have a read of my Client Corner, Christine talks about this. She wasn’t convinced that she’d like any of the foods I recommended and resisted it (well, it’s change, right? and we all pretty much resist change in one way or another, even if we initiated it). But she gave it a go and to her surprise found that she actually liked these new foods, especially now that she understood them more and learned how to cook them properly. And even more when symptoms she didn’t even know she had started to go away. She developed a roster of recipes that suited her condition and family and has not looked back since. 


Why you might not like stuff:

The way it’s been cooked – I bet my booty that it’s because you’ve had it cooked in a way that was pretty gross. Like over boiled, or with no seasoning. Or you were made to eat a ton as a kid and are just frankly sick of it. 

“Healthy” Negative Connotation – It could also be that you’ve avoided anything “healthy” for so long that your taste buds have become accustomed to artificial sugars and flavourings that when it tastes something natural it tastes too earthy and not sweet enough.

I had that problem. A comfort food for me would be a toasted sesame seed bagel, with a ton of butter, 2 slices of processed cheese, then microwaved so that the cheese melted and the bagel was soft. This was something I grew up on. My dad owned and ran a catering truck and this was the type of food available to me all the time. Veal on a bun, sticky honey crueller, bagels and cheese, beef patties, pop, gum…etc. So to say that I was a picky eater is an understatement. I never ate vegetables except corn and tomatoes. 

Sugar Addictions – Sugar was my go-to vice. I wouldn’t eat something unless it was sweet. I now know that was because I was feeding Candida overgrowth (which lives on sugar). The candida overgrowth caused so many issues in my body: arthritis, migraines, brain fog, moodiness etc. Once I started to cut back on the sugar I noticed a significant reduction in these symptoms, and started to really feel better for the first time in my life. 

Sugar is a hard one for people to get over.  We are meant to crave it from birth. Breastmilk and formula are sweet, milk is sweet, we’re given fruit as first foods, then cookies to appease and calm our tantrums, ice cream when we’re good, lolipops at the doctor, cotton candy at the summer fair. It’s no wonder we’re addicted. 

The strategies I had in place were to at least cut out the worst offending sources of sugar, including white breads, pastas and rice; then onto any sauces (Teriaki etc); reducing my quadruple quadruple* to a single single* (that was probably the hardest). Slowly weaning off sweet foods by having less and less each time I consumed it.

The foods tasted so bland. So boring. So beige. But slowly, as I started to experiment more and find new foods and new ways of cooking I retrained my taste buds so now I actually reject things like cake. It just tastes way too sweet for me. And I don’t miss it at all now. When I started this journey I entered into it kicking and screaming where food is concerned. “No thanks” was my response to most new things. But then I discovered that once I ate it a few times, my taste buds changed. Dramatically. Now instead of craving bread (and more bread) I crave leafy greens (for real).

Healthy eating is boring – I think another resistance factor is the thought of having to not have fun anymore where food is concerned. I mean, who wants to not eat cake if they want to, or have that chocolate bar at the end of a long day? I get it. But if you were to go on a diet, you would likely be deprived of this, and much more, right? So at least my strategy includes keeping some of your favourite foods, but just making them healthier.

Childhood conditioning – it’s possible that food was always a negative issue in your home growing up. Being forced to eat everything at your table, threats, bribes etc. These actions can have negative lasting impressions on us, so explore that and see if that’s where your resistance is coming from.

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So tell me

What veggie do you absolutely hate? Or, have you been wanting to try a food but just don’t think you’re gonna like it? Or are you still unconvinced that what we eat has an impact on how we feel? Whatever your reason is, I ask you to just this once step outside your comfort zone and go and try one new thing. Nobody needs to know, you don’t have to post an image on Facebook or Instagram (unless you want to – in which case post it in my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram @thekrishayoung). 

Let me know in the comments below! Share your story.


*In Canada, when we order coffee we ask for it either black (no cream/sugar), or double double which would mean 2 sugars and 2 creams. Quadruple quadruple is quite obviously 4 sugars and 4 creams. Yuck. 


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