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BLOG — Simple foods to retrain the palate

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It’s Day 11 on the cleanse regimen of vegetables and fruit, and I’m putting myself to sleep each night dreaming of chocolate cake layered with silky ganache. Given the choice, I generally choose salt over sugar. But this purification party has me searching for the quickest path to a glycemic rush, and in my mind that means diving headlong into dessert. But instead, the best I can do is pineapple, nature’s candy.

It turns out that after a week of eating very simply, fruit does begin to taste like candy, with very deep flavor. Oranges taste like a soda pop factory, and pears are like French custard. I find that vegetables such as celery have their own salt, and that parsley has a peppery taste that feels like it scrubs as it goes down. But after several days of renewed gratitude for the simple and singular taste of asparagus, or butternut squash, I relapse into seeing each food as an ingredient rather than an end unto itself. Instead of cabbage for dinner, I want Russian cabbage stirfry with caraway and mustard. Instead of a tomato I want gazpacho with garlic and cilantro.

You can retrain your palate, but it takes more than the 21 days I’m giving this cleanse to make your mind forget the alluring complexities foods can create when they marry. These are some that worked within the parameters of the cleanse. I think they strike a good balance between appreciating the integral taste of each ingredient and lifting the spirit with a combination that’s more exciting than one thing can create on its own.

Russian cabbage steamfry

2 T olive oil
1 small head green cabbage, rough-chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced (half cooked, half smashed with salt and kept raw)
one bunch kale, beet greens, or other greens, stems finely chopped and leaves rough chopped
one bunch parsley, minced
½ t fennel seeds
1 t caraway seeds
2 t mustard or 1 t mustard powder
1 T lemon juice
1T olive oil

Saute the cabbage and 1/2 the garlic until just beginning to wilt (5 mins.). Add kale, seeds, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook uncovered until softened (10 mins.) Remove from heat and add parsley, salty garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.


1/2 onion
4 large tomatoes
1 large green pepper
3 large garlic cloves, smashed with salt
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 T lime juice
2 T olive oil 
1 avocado

Mince 1/3 of all the vegetables and put in a bowl. Put the rest in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add to bowl and mix with garlic, cilantro, lime and olive oil. Serve with chopped avocado sprinkled on top.

Brussels sprouts with ginger

3 C Brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
1 T fresh minced ginger

Trim sprouts and cut each in half.  Steam fry in olive oil with ginger.


3 Responses to “BLOG — Simple foods to retrain the palate”

  1. Corrine Bayraktaroglu says:

    Never mind, I checked your previous blog entry 🙂

  2. Corrine Bayraktaroglu says:

    I haven’t tried this in a concentrated way, although I have been eating less and less meat and more simple meals, (with the occasional splurges at a gathering or pizza for my birthday)).
    I agree about retraining the palate, my taste buds are leading me more away from a desire of those tempting splurges).
    Are you following your own plan or using a specific plan?

  3. Debra Shaw says:

    Bravo neighbor! It is a challenge well worth the effort. Amazing what a week of eating plants can do for your constitution but amazing how few people have ever done it! Even if we can do it for a meal a day, or a day a week, or a week a month, or a week a year….it can make a noticeable difference.

    My experience started with serious symptoms, tons of tests and an eventual IBS diagnosis, the catchall for many digestive problems. Finally I tried a three day fast which made rice and veggies for the next week seem like a smorgasbord. The impact of resetting my digestive system did what no gastroenterologist could do for me in two years of treatment! Proof that my body could heal if I would just give it a chance!

    Since then I have preached the gospel of eating plant foods and tried my best to practice what I preach…although not always successfully.

    Keep it up Lauren, you are an inspiration for the rest of us! Its time for a springtime cleanse…

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