I’ve always loved my vegies. I know, weird, huh? I was lucky to grow up with a mother who didn’t boil the crap out of them before forcing us to consume half-cold, grey tasteless mashy stuff on a daily basis. Instead, she cooked us honey carrots, zucchini with garlic and butter, cauliflower cheese, broccoli and green beans in white wine and garlic. The list goes on. The point is, the vegies tasted fantastic, so we ate them up. But I’ve recently discovered something unexpected while making meals on my diet and it’s changed my eating habits forever.
It will come as no suprise to you that my diet meals don’t have lashings of garlic butter all over the zucchini. As tasty as that is, clearly the health implications for somebody trying to lose weight means that vegetables must be reduced to their bare state – not necessarily raw, but without all those fabulous trimmings. Sure, I’ve had steamed vegies before, but compared to all those lovely other flavours that could accompany them, the healthy version came a very poor second.
Except that it didn’t.
I honestly didn’t notice this until some time in the middle of week 3, when I was sitting down to a plate of grilled chicken with some pesto on the top of it, and a mountain of steamed vegies including Brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli and beans. My first mouthful was half a sprout. Then another, then a bean and a carrot then another bean. Before I’d really paid too much attention, I’d eaten almost all the vegies on the plate and ignored the chicken.
This is not normal for me. I like eating the tastiest bits first and finish up with the lesser items so that when I’ve had enough, I can leave those on the plate. But as I sat there, eating one mouthful after another, I began to pay attention to the flavour of the vegetables and I was very surprised to discover that they actually tasted really, really nice. I mean, the actual flavour of the vegie was good. On it’s own.
Shocking, huh? The chicken was good too. As were the subsequent meals I ate. I admit, I wasn’t expecting it, so I probably paid more attention than normal as well. It just hadn’t ever occured to me that food might taste better once you stripped all the fatty flavours from it. Now when I eat steamed vegies, it feels like the fatty flavourings were actually obscuring the flavour of the vegetable, which is amazing to me, given how much I’ve always liked vegies. I can’t help wondering how many other foods are having their flavours suppressed because of things we add without thinking.
Now, even if I’m not eating a perfect diet meal, I’m longing for those steamed vegies, partly because they’re good for me, but mostly because they just taste great.
Do you like the taste of vegetables without the trimmings? Or are vegies tasteless without them?