Pushing Your Food Horizon


Recently I was speaking with our chefs (Nate Wright and Paul Jewett) that make Green Mountain at Fox Run’s cuisine as good as it is satisfying. We began to discuss the differences between preparing meals here versus in a restaurant.

They both mentioned the fun of stretching creatively working with whole grains (like quinoa and Colusari Red Rice) and fun vegetables (braised fennel and rainbow chard), as well as making comfort food delicious and nutritious. But what they found most remarkable is the genuine appreciation the participants express when they find that pleasure can be returned to eating. They often receive standing ovations, which is certainly good for a chef’s soul.

This made me think some more about expanding the mind through the palate. Let me explain. Green Mountain’s program expands women’s ideas about themselves and what they think about themselves (ie body acceptance issues), what they can do and how it feels to “be” in their body (ie activity), and lastly, giving up the “diet mentality.” And that last piece is what makes expanding your palate so much fun.

Just like our health behaviors, a lot of our food preferences are determined by our families influence. For example, I despised liver and onions all my life because my mom told me horrible stories about having to eat it as a kid (because if it was “good” for her). I tasted some a few years ago (the first bite) and I love it…so a lot of times we have opinions that are based on things other than facts, but we believe them to be facts.

In the same way, Paul and Nate have workshops where women can taste all the things that they don’t like, and often times find that they do like it, especially when the “good for you” branding has been lifted. Paul mentioned that he’s had women thank him for giving them the opportunity to eat and enjoy fish – Nate remembers when he made several different kinds of mushrooms (we’ve all had button or white cap mushrooms, but what about shitake, crimini, porcini, oyster or chanterelles) and challenged the women to find one that they liked – everyone was able to find a mushroom that tasted good to them.

Although I can’t back this up with research, and this is strictly my opinion based on my anecdotal observation, I note that women with the most restrictive food behaviors (long lists of things they won’t eat), tend to have the most difficulty with maintaining a healthy weight, struggle more ferociously with dieting and yo-yo to higher weights, and tend to be very unhappy with food, even if it’s exactly what they want! Here’s a quote from an article I found that touches a bit on this idea,

“Erratic eating also promotes weight gain because a person does not get regular delivery of nutrients, said Stice, which can alter a person’s physiological responses and disrupt a person’s normal appetite pattern.”

My layman and unscientific conclusion is that they have labeled food into “good” and “bad” categories for so long, that they no long enjoy the few things that they think they like. Their taste buds are bored near to death, and the only way they can get “taste” or “flavor” is through use of excessive amounts of artificial sweeteners, salt or some other conventional (read “boring”) types of condiments. Tearing down ideas of “good” and “bad” food opens them up to try new things, and let’s them enjoy eating again, finding that there can be wonderful tastes in the food, not just in what’s poured over it.

They are able to satisfy their “inner eater”, and find that weight and health management is easier, once the entire world of food has been opened up.

So whether pushing the food “horizon” for you is trying a vegetable other than broccoli, or if you’re ready to try crystallized rose petals (which are fantastic, by the way), start to actively think about getting more flavor from your food – you’ll be shocked at how satisfying it is.

4 responses to “Pushing Your Food Horizon”

  1. Cindy says:

    My dad hated raisins. When I was little he told me eating a raisin was just like biting down on a dead fly…nice one dad! (We won’t get in to why he would know that). The other thing your post reminded me of is how we are apt to forget how good healthy alternatives can be. I’m so into humus right now…I forgot how much I love it. Half a bagel w/ some humus, what a great snack. Beats a bag-o-chips any day. 🙂

  2. Lee negroni says:

    Can’t believe these commetns about the food at green mountain fox run — i just returned from there and the food was awful. Incredibly, for a weight loss spa (so-called), they served pizza one day and mac-and-cheese the next! A huge salad bowl everyday (very monotonous) and virtually no fresh vegetables, no meat of any kind, fish one night only (out of 6), and terrible coffee. Even though they serve mac-and-cheese, you couldn’t get half-and-half for your awful coffee, nor whole milk. The whole set-up was farcical — obese women who’d returned for 3 or 4 years in a row — obviously this program (captioned “eat what you want”) is NOT working for most of the participants. Accommodations also rustic (NO hot tub, massages only after dinner [ugh], no spa services). Not even shampoo or bathrobes in the rooms. Anyone who raves about the food here couldn’t possibly have been exposed to good food. Try the Four Seasons at Los Colinas instead.

  3. Lori says:


    I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience during your stay at GMFR. It sounds like you were not a good match to their program and did not fully investigate it before you went. Their website is very clear about what is provided and what is not.
    I’ve been there many times (am probably one of those obese women you are referring to – LOL – I’ve been called worse) and I love the food. I’ve been exposed to many new foods that I would not have tried and have incorporated them in my life. One of GMFR principle’s is to show women that you can eat whatever want and it is ok to do so as long as you eat it mindfully. The rewards for me are not measured in weight loss but in how I feel about myself. No hunk of beef or massage before noon or hot tub is worth trading that for.
    Obviously, you are still in the diet mentality and I hope that someday you will see that this is not a healthy way to live your life.
    But, for all of those women who may be considering going to GMFR and reading Lee’s post, please go; if you are looking to ditch the diet mentality (which we all know doesn’t work) – it is the best thing you can do for yourself. GMFR is not about the amnenities – it’s about the bonding between women to face eating issues that we have battled are whole lives and to learn how to love ourselves.


  4. Kir says:

    I think the proof is in the pudding! I’ve tried a lot of the recipes from Green Mountain and all were fabulous, and my sister has had great personal success from the program – yes, including weight loss! She returns on occasion as a way to take time out for herself, which is a healthy thing to do. I’m glad that she wasn’t there when Lee was – I think that her negativity helps nobody least of all herself!

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