Are you bored of food or suffer from food fatigue? Food boredom is very different from a loss of appetite which mostly related to a medical illness like cancer, stress or medication. Food boredom is essentially a psychological condition. It is a lack of enthusiasm for food, no matter how much you have liked it in the past, even your favorite foods. It can be frustrating and quite upsetting. But this psychological condition has easy to understand causes and relatively simple solutions.
MAJOR CAUSES OF FOOD BOREDOM
Worn out taste and smell receptors
Just like a car, after a while our taste receptors gets bent out of shape. Covid has also affected many peoples taste buds and smell receptors,often causing permanent damage. So, we add more salt but that is a no no these days so we cut it out which makes the food taste even more bland. Salt is only a problem if you eat a lot of processed food. According to this Cleveland clinic article females lose their taste sensation in their 40s and men in their 50s.
Bad cooking habits
Some people through no fault of their have limited cooking skills. According to this article Americans really don’t know how to cook anything but eggs. This is not issue when you are young. But after 20-30 years of boiling vegetables and adding some salt and pepper it gets tiresome. Most people overcook vegetables which destroys all the nutrients. So even though you are eating enough vegetables you are actually not getting any of the nutrients. It’s the same with meat and even worse with fish.
Lack of Variety
Yes you can save money by cooking at home but restaurants and visiting friends for a meal serve an important purpose. They introduce you to a variety of food cooked very differently. Humans are amazing creatures. No two people cook exactly the same. In crowded Asian cities the vast majority of people eat at restaurants everyday because it is cheaper, faster and better. Plus you get a huge variety of food at every price. So food boredom is not such a big issue. But in Western countries where most people eat at home food boredom is higher risk. Problem is they don’t know how to cook, have no time to cook and then resort to fast food with low nutritional content. Americans in particular have a wide array of prepacked food. If you go to Singapore for example you will find a Kaleidoscope of fresh healthy food offered by a vast army of restaurants at a very reasonable price. So boredom is rarely an issue.
Lack of Nutrients
Many people stick to a set range of vegetables, meats and carbs they know how to cook. Eventually you hit diminishing marginal utility in nutrient absorption. Meaning the body just cannot cannot extract the same level of nutrients from those foods anymore. This is when the mind says enough. Food boredom sets in. You need to change things.
Some people have been lucky and have been exposed to a huge variety of food from a young age. As a result, they are less likely to fall victim to food boredom. But for people who are used to a limited range of food, boredom can strike at a much higher rate.
When you get struck by food boredom it is your body telling it needs certain nutrients and is unable to get it from the food your are eating. How could this be when you have been eating all the right foods? This is because even good food starts to become progressively less effective. The body needs nutrients in different combinations. So even if you are getting Vitamin C from a healthy helping of Yellow Bell pepper (which is very high in Vitamin C) it maybe time to get your Vitamin C from Mustard Spinach.
Sometimes combining a nutrient with another ingredient helps better absorb that nutrient. For example, to better absorb non-heme iron (plant-based iron), you need to pair it with vitamin C. Cooking tomatoes with a bit of olive oil, has shown to enhance the body’s absorption of the photo-chemicals. Black pepper makes the beneficial compounds in turmeric more bio-available. Vitamin D helps better calcium absorption from the foods you eat. A dash of oil over your vegetable is the best way to unlock vitamins present in the veggies. Drizzle toasted sesame oil and Tamari sauce over broccoli or bok choy instead of just salt and pepper and stop overcooking vegetables.
Food boredom can also be caused by bad gut bacteria which thrives on sugar. So when you are presented with a lovely array of tasty food, the mind rejects it, instead gravitating towards sugar rich foods. Nothing that is offered seems enticing unless it is sugar coated and loaded. But we need a huge variety of bacteria to maintain a healthy gut.
HOW TO GET RID OF FOOD BOREDOM
1) Lemon and Lime
This is one of the easiest ways to make enticing food and reduce food boredom. As we age our taste buds becomes worse, especially around the side of the mouth. Lemon and to a greater extent lime are capable of stimulating these receding taste buds. Add a generous dose of lemon or lime to food or to your water.
2) Herbs and spices
Both herbs and spices enhance the taste of food. But you have to learn how to combine herbs and spices in the right way. For example Ceylon Cinnamon can be used to create savory recipes (especially good to make your taste buds explode with delight) when combined with lemon, lime, orange, tomatoes. According to his article Cumin, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Chili Peppers, Turmeric and Caraway are the best spices to make food taste great. But there are a lot more spices you should explore. Add fresh herbs like Rosemary, Basil, Cilantro, Oregano and Thyme to add sparkle to your food.
Some people cannot handle chili but you don’t have to use lots of chili. For those who are not used to chili just a sliver will do. A friend taught us that adding a Serrano chili to bland Miso broth really kicks it up a notch. Get some Sichuan flavor chili oil and add that to bland boring pasta dish. Or you can try some Sri Lankan chili shrimp paste to mushroom stir fry. Indonesians have Nosi Goreng paste which really is great to make some fried rice. People often use black pepper, but in tiny amounts. Next time add a whole lot extra to a beef stir fry.
Food boredom can also be caused by the lack of exercise. While exercise also helps a poor appetite it has a greater effect on food fatigue or food boredom. This is because exercise uses up all the vitamins, mineral and proteins in the body. That means your body cannot be so fussy about food. It’s kind of like tricking your body. More importantly exercise stimulates all the sensors including the taste receptors. It improves blood circulation, gets all the fluids in the body moving and expels toxins all of which makes food taste better and eliminates food boredom.
4) Rotate food
Next time you go to buy food don’t buy anything you have bought in the last two weeks. It will be tremendously challenging yet refreshing. Never had Swiss chard? Now is the time to learn how prepare it. How about some Chinese vegetables like Yao Choy? Steam it for exactly 9 minutes and drizzle some Tamari sauce and toasted sesame oil. Don’t keep buying chicken breast only. Buy the whole chicken, go clean it and make a nice Thai Masaman chicken curry with it. Never had chicken liver? Pan fry in coconut oil with salt, pepper and onions. How about squid? Bet you never had a squid curry gently simmered coconut milk at the end. Ever tried making Hungarian Goulash with Hungarian Paprika? Visit the Japanese store get some Salmon Sashimi with soy and wasabi sauce. Inevitably you are going to have a bit too much wasabi sauce which will burn you nostrils. It will only last only a few seconds but you will be giggling with delight and discover your taste buds have a new swagger to them. Boredom out of the door.
5) Raw food
Eating cooked, often overcooked food can be a grind. Many people especially as they get older gravitate towards mushy overcooked food. This can be terribly boring. What you need is some fresh raw food, preferably some hard food. Chew on a raw carrot. Make a fresh salad. Slice those cucumbers and dip it Wasabi sauce. Eat those bell peppers raw, because cooking them also reduces the Vitamin C content anyway.
6) Change the cooking method
You can cook the same food in many different. Grill it, steam it, fry it, barbecue it, slow cook it, bake it. Ideally you should be using each of the methods at least once a month or on a weekly basis if you can manage it. Despite some methods like steaming being healthier sometimes we need that a fried crunchy food to add taste. You can use coconut oil to fry instead of vegetable oils. Use fresh ingredients as much as possible. The aroma and taste of fresh garlic is so much better than garlic powder. A little fresh Cilantro, Parsley or Rosemary does wonders for the taste. Mustard seeds, sesame seeds, fresh peppercorns just to mention a few adds a further layer of taste.
Ever tried dipping hot bread into a Balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture ? Absolutely fantastic. But vinegar like salt, lemons and limes are a great flavor enhancer. There are many a varieties of vinegar these days from apple cider to red wine vinegar, balsamic, rice wine, and herb-infused vinegar to improve the taste of meat, fish, vegetables and especially salads. Many people massively overlook vinegar in their cooking.
This is one of most amazing things to get you out of the rut of food boredom. And we are not talking about the garden variety American Gerkin pickle which is plain boring. Expand your horizons to pickles from around the world. There is Kimchi from South Korea, lime, mango and onion pickle from India and Sri Lanka, Sauerkraut from Germany, Kyuri Zuke from Japan, Torshi Left from Israel just to name a few. Pickles have good healthy bacteria needed for our stomach and add some much taste. Visit ethnic stores in your area for some great pickles or learn how to make your own pickles which will save you money.
9) A shot of alcohol
This is a last resort but it seems to work in two ways. First it seems to clean your palate especially if you drink some plain brandy or whisky as opposed to beer. Second the liquor will make very hungry. Now if you have been clever and prepared a nice tasty meal this will reset your boredom. Maybe you will have a bit of a hangover the next day and your backside will be on fire from all that chili and you might even be bent backwards in the toilet, but it will most likely create a nice reset and flush out all the bad gut bacteria to boot. Of course alcohol should only be used in extreme moderation and should never be daily habit. Maybe twice a month.
10) Eat internationally, locally and seasonally
Buy your groceries from different stores because each store sources from different regions, countries. These days you don’t have to restrict yourself to eat locally. But this dramatically exposes you to a wider variety of healthy gut bacteria whether it is cheese from Italy or Mango pickles from Sri Lanka. Visit many different ethnic stores if possible because the sheer variety of food from different cultures these days is simple astounding. It bound to get your excited about food.
11) Clean your teeth and brush your tongue
Your mouth carries a lot of bacteria. If you have been lax in oral hygiene your tongue can get be coated with bacteria that covers your taste buds. This prevents you from experiencing the true taste of food often dulling the experience. If you get bored with food this actually the first thing you should do. According to this Cleveland clinic article tongue scraping can do a better job at removing plaque and bacteria off the tongue’s surface. Spend some time carefully cleaning your teeth scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper. You can take it one step further by spraying some diluted Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil (dilute 12 drops Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil with 2 oz’s of water in a glass spray mister bottle, shake well and spray mouth). Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil is a powerful antibacterial and gives a fresh, spicy and sweet taste to the mouth and will make your taste buds come alive.
So there you have it. Some neat tips to get over your food boredom. In the olden days people had beautiful recipe books. These days they use food apps and YouTube videos. And a plethora of spices from all corners of the World. Use what is convenient. Go fresh as much as possible. But don’t get trapped in food boredom. Because once you get bored with food it is followed by a cascading avalanche of health issues. We have seen it with our customers time and time again. Besides food is the center of our being. Without it we cannot function. We might as make it a religion, an art, a science and the very fabric of existence. Nothing wrong with that.