Are you in a food rut?
Cooking everyday for a family and even just yourself can leave you food fatigued, bored with what you are eating, unmotivated to cook, and even not interested in eating your own food that you have cooked.
Loss of interest happens all the time, we all experience it regularly in everything we do. That initial motivation is always high at the beginning of a new project, relationships are a great example, or change that we’ve instigated. Then it starts to wane as we get used to it and it’s the same old same old.
Seasons can allow us to mix things up a bit, or they would do if we weren’t used to eating the same foods month in and month out. The problem our supermarkets have created is food all year round, and we have lost the idea of cooking just certain foods during a season. Therefore this can leave us with no real flavour changes. Instead we expect peppers and tomatoes even in winter, so the excitement of having them during their proper season in the UK and Ireland just doesn’t happen. But finding foods specifically in season can help to inspire new dishes to try, and add a whole new dimension to the foods that you are making. I quite like finding a new recipe with unknown ingredients, then shopping to try and find it! It becomes like a new adventure, often not only do I end up with a new dish to try, but also a whole new place to shop in for foods with different ingredients.
We become lazy, my mum had to go from shop to shop for all the different aspects of her meals when I was a child, now it’s all under one roof, making us rarely go out of our comfort zones to find new things. We often have to wait until the ingredients become mainstream for the supermarkets to stock them.
Making minor adjustments though to your diet can bring new energy to the foods that you are eating, variety is the spice of life remember! You don’t have to move full scale into overhauling your diet, just making small changes can make a great difference and reignite the fire.
So for instance adding superfoods to your smoothies, change which ones you are using, you can get green powders with more berries and fruits, or more vegetables, or they can be more detoxing, or more alkalising, some come with more greens, some with more mushroom powders. A chance to review and find something a bit different, change the taste and see how your health changes with the new choices.
Try using new spices and fresh herbs that you’ve not used in a while, these can be used in dressings for your summer salads, and there is nothing more lovely than fresh herbs in a salad. Instead of cous cous try quinoa, or millet. Noodle salads can be made with bean or soba noodles rather than wheat based. We often get in a rut with dressings, but making your own with a change in oils for instance using hemp oil instead of olive oil will give a nuttier taste, or flax oil, rather than lemon try lime freshly squeezed or even orange. Tahini and tamari with ginger makes a great dressing for baby potatoes. So salads don’t have to be boring with just balsamic vinegar!
Oats can be soaked overnight, and changed with quinoa, millet, seeds and nuts, coconut milk, or oil, nut milks, and different fruits added, grated apple or pear, or berry compote. Spices can be added such as cinnamon, or nutmeg. You don’t have to do them all in one go, just add one change and see how the palate responds.
Even I get the recipe books out, and I go through phases of buying lot’s in to inspire myself, it tends to happen about 2-3 times a year when I find new approaches, and then go on the adventure of making them. Some I win, some I lose in regards to whether they are a wider hit with the family. I’ve been making raw cakes most recently, but I’m not the best at the presentation part of things, although they sure do taste nice as long as you have your eyes shut to the Eton Mess I’ve pretty much managed to concoct with each one so far.
I put at least one new meal into the menu planning each week, 52 new ideas to try a year, this tends to be a lot of smoothies, raw energy bars, tonic drinks, and one pot meals for me. But it mixes things up and means I enjoy my foods far more and making a single change in only one of my meals each week doesn’t feel too hard for me to try, and often leads to variations on themes.
So consider introducing a change for yourself if you are starting to feel food fatigued. Variety isn’t just the spice of life, it’s also the way to get a wider variety of nutrients into your diet.