I’ve got a new healthy habit for you. It’s developing the habit to continuously experiment on yourself.
I’m one to totally dig the value of routines, but there’s equally a place for trying new things out and pushing out of your comfort zone for healthy growth in all areas of your life.
Interestingly I wouldn’t be sat here writing this blog if I hadn’t started experimenting with changing around sugar and really challenging myself around some of my toughest sweet habits.
So what benefits do we get from experimenting?
It’s all learning
When you experiment with health or food changes, you learn, no matter what the outcome.
You learn about you and your bodies response to sugar e.g. when you feel sick after eating that cupcake.
Alternatively you learn that your body doesn’t scream at a cupcake’s worth of sugar but the guilt rush lends you to go home and have a ‘sod it’ day where you munch on other sweet things that you really didn’t nee.
This is where conscious, mindful experimentation can work it’s wonders – you can learn so so much about yourself.
Remember, your body, appetite, tastebuds and behavioural patterns are completely unique to you. You’re the only one who’s going to know exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Our ability to buy such an array of foodstuffs these days is a luxury so why not make the most of it?
Getting a a wide range of colourful ingredients in your diet helps increase the chances that you’re packing in loads of essential nutrients.
If you can experiment with a wide range of healthy foods, you get the health benefits of lots of ingredients over time and you learn which ones you respond well to or give you more energy, better skin etc.
Keeping it fun and interesting
Although food is a necessity, it doesn’t have to be boring, even when you seek to eat less sugar and taper down your tastebuds to sweetness.
Having an open, willing and light hearted attitude is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself because it means you’ll be a bit daring in what you try and make yourself more likely to find delicious winning savoury combinations that you’d have never known existed!
Why not chuck in some broccoli for breakfast or carry some boiled eggs around as snacks for a change?
Laughing about it and not taking yourself too seriously, brings fun to whole process.
What low sugar experiments could you try this week?
So now I challenge you!
Pick something a bit out of your comfort zone and plan an experiment this week. Here are some of my best suggestions:
Eat savoury things for breakfast
Some parts of Western culture really aren’t used to everyday savoury breakfasts – I know I wasn’t. We love our cereal, fruit, salad, smoothies and granola right?
However, this is one area to really open yourself up to in terms of experimentation as it can do wonders for shifting down you sweet cravings and adjusting your tastebuds overtime.
A few years ago, I travelled in Asia. I was repulsed by the thought of a spicy something first thing but over time I mustered up the courage to try a curried roti canai for breakfast (a kind of pancake with curry sauce).
Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it and ever since have made an effort during Asia travels to really embrace some of their breakfast savoury options.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still places where I draw the line (greasy whole fried fish – not yet!) but I’ve loved the adventures of this experimentation journey (see a rice ginger spicy savoury porridge from Bali below).
New and adapted recipes
Experiment with adapting your own recipes!
Now I know there tends to be different cookery camps here – those that follow a recipe to the ‘T’ and those that just improvise (I’m very much more in the latter group).
Improvising and adapting recipes can yes go wrong at times (had my share) but can also lead to new healthy discoveries. Many of the recipes from my website have materialised like that.
One thing particular is to adapt them to become ‘sugar-free’.
Many recipes sneak in a little sugar when it just isn’t necessary – like this haddock in tomato basil sauce.
I expect you wouldn’t really miss the sugar if you removed it and you’d barely be able to taste the difference.
Don’t discount experimenting outside of recipe instructions to make some of your favourites more sugar friendly or create your own new variation.
I made this adapted broccoli mash with walnut rosemary granola for breakfast once!
Buy a random ingredient
How many ingredients are there in the vegetable aisle that you’ve never tried before or never put in your own basket?
Fennel? Kale? Romanesco broccoli!?
We live in the privileged age of the mighty Google, so there really is no excuse for not knowing what to do with an unusual ingredient.
Why not pick up something this week that you’ve walked past 100 times and never even considered.
Try something you thought you didn’t like
When I was younger, at some point I decided I didn’t like quiche, hard boiled egg yolk, lamb chops and mushrooms (what a selection!).
I think much of this came down to texture at the time.
Years later, when I decided to try these things again, I was shocked to discover I didn’t really dislike any of them at all and I’d been missing out on juicy butter fried mushrooms – what a crime!
Sometimes we can grow up thinking we don’t like something, but we’re in fact just depriving ourselves of wonderful tastes and nutrients. Give your dislikes a second chance, especially if they’re over a decade old!
There is it…
Experimentation certainly is a healthy habit to develop.
Try something new each week and by the end of the year, you’ll have 52 knowledgable insights about yourself and what you like/don’t like or what works/doesn’t work.
Chances are there’ll be a few epic discoveries and some stick around habits.
Anything you’ve ever challenged yourself on or experimented with that surprised you?