Even if you know your kale from your collards, most of us have a few dietary imperfections—like you’re nutrition-bar dependent, still sipping a diet soda a day, or the Chinese takeout place knows your order by your phone number (whoops!).
Pooja Mottl can relate. The Natural Gourmet Institute graduate and professionally trained natural foods chef once found that she was hooked on foods that didn’t serve her health. Her cravings told her to reach for sweet, salty, and carb-y, not whole foods and leafy greens.
So Mottl devised a method to help “reset” the body’s food cravings and get her clients on the healthy food wagon (instead of ordering lunches from the taco truck), which she explains in her new book, The 3-Day Reset: Restore Your Cravings For Healthy Foods in Three Easy, Empowering Days.
“Processed foods desensitize your taste buds, so it becomes harder to find whole foods yummy,” says Mottl, whose book offers ten resets to remind your taste buds of the amazing flavors of whole foods.
And if three days sounds crazy easy and hard to believe (which it kinda does), it’s born out by Mottl’s own clients. “I found that three days was the right amount of time for people to stick to something that required their 100 percent attention.” And it can take 72 hours for foods to be fully digested and metabolized by your body, she says.
Got some unhealthy hangups? Here are a few of the resets from Mottl’s book that might just work for you. You should know by the end of the week:
1. If you drink diet soda
You know it’s not exactly green juice, yet you can’t stop. Mottl says that’s because processed sweetened drinks—even if they’re not full-on sugar—communicate the same “must have more” message to your body and they change your palette. And this makes it harder for us to kick them and enjoy the taste of minimally-processed, unsweetened drinks, like black coffee or green tea.
If you like your coffee sweet, Mottl suggests you try to getting caffeine the whole way—coffee made with a French press. She also gives the recipe for a homemade soda alternative, like a lemon-lime soda made with sparkling water and fresh lemon and lime juices, as opposed to Diet Sprite.
2. If takeout or “heat & serve” meals are your weakness
Mottl’s not suggesting that you never order in again, but she wants you to realize how much hidden salt, sugar, and oil are in those perfectly-packed boxes and microwave-ready packages. By preparing some of the book’s homemade takeout alternatives, like tomato and onion chicken curry or Chinese peanut noodles, she hopes that you’ll train your kitchen knife on some veggies instead of punching numbers into the phone or microwave tonight. “You cannot live a healthy life without cooking,” she says.
3. If you eat a nutrition bar for breakfast…all the time
Nutrition bars are sneaky, so are the tons of boxed cereals, scones, muffins, and pastries lining the route between home and work every morning. In her book, Mottl says that a lot of them are engineered to make us buy (and want) more. Instead, she wants you to whip up a something like a smoked salmon pita or tofu curry scramble. “Fresh and whole tastes better…it always tastes better,” Mottl says. It’s just a matter of reminding your taste buds. —Molly Gallagher
For more information, check out The 3-Day Reset