Oh my gosh, how many times do we hear this, “you eat with your eyes” or “my eyes were bigger than my stomach”? I’ve heard it a million times and said the latter more than a dozen times. More recently though I’ve been fascinated about what triggers my appetite and how I perceive the food even before I eat it. In her book, “Understanding Food”, Amy C. Brown starts off by describing how sight is the first sensory that eats when you have a meal. She states facts like “color can denote the ripeness, strength of dilution and even the degree to which the food was cooked”. Color is also something that sends triggers to our brains in which we start to formulate how the food is going to taste even before we have smelled the food.
So what flavor do you think that candy is up there? Cinnamon, berry, punch? What if I were to tell you that it was peanut butter? Now it’s not those are actually red hots but the point is when you first saw it you saw something that your past experiences told you was a certain flavor, so your brain had you prepared to taste that flavor and not something completely different.
So how about this one? Banana, lemon, vanilla? What if I told you it was chocolate? That is what it actually is, but just at a quick look again your brain has sent a signal and then told you how it is going to taste. Some may even taste vanilla when they try it because their brain has told them that is what it is.
Alright now something else, how about these two apples?
Which one would you choose? Me personally I’m going to go for the one on the left, it is a beautiful color and looks like it is at it’s peak in ripeness, the one on the right looks like it would be mealy and starting to go bad. Now what if I told you that the one on the left was genetically modified and actually had color added to it and a wax put on it to make it appear that way and the one on the right was from an organic farm in the Illinois? Does that change your perception on which one you are going to eat?
So what’s the point of all this? I’m not going to say go out and buy all organic, that is expensive and probably not in everyone’s budget, I understand this. My point is try to rework your brain to see foods in a new light, stop seeing the browns, whites and tans as great tasting foods. Yeah you heard me browns, whites and tans. Next time you go into McDonald’s and get some food, besides the ketchup and mustard what colors are there? Even better, start tricking your brain with the food you make, take your favorite food and use those colors to create an even better for you meal. The boyfriend looked at my meal the other night and wanted it was actually angry that I didn’t make it for him. When I told him it was mung bean pasta with tomatoes and gluten free chicken nuggets with arugula pesto he went “belch”. Yet when I told myself I was eating fettuccine with chicken cutlets I devoured it.
My friend one time tricked her husband into eating cauliflower mash in the shepherds pie instead of potatoes and he can pick out hints of flavors from a mile away. The reason was his brain told him that it was potatoes so he ate potatoes, I did the same to my boyfriend and he couldn’t believe it wasn’t his most favorite food. My boyfriend didn’t even realize he had been eating organic until I told him, our budget allows us to spend money on food and I buy all organic or the highest quality possible.
Looks delicious huh!! Almost sinful and something that would totally be on a “cheat” day. Well that crust is made out of cauliflower and is completely clean eating.
Try it out sometime, trick your brain and see what healthy and delicious things you start to eat. Don’t forget to splurge sometime and really enjoy what you eat.