The Power of the Tongue and Nutrition

  In the book of James chapter 3, we read about taming the tongue.  It is obvious that the physical tongue is not evil or wild, however it is forced to act upon that which the soul is or is not trained or tamed in.  As James points out, with the tongue you have the ability to bless God and curse people (which is wrong).  Your tongue has the ability to get you in to all sorts of trouble.  I will never forget when I was a boy sticking my tongue out at my mother in anger and protest.  She made sure I never forgot about it, too.  It’s amazing what a bar of soap did to tame the use of my tongue in that manner.

Imagine if your tongue had the power to stop you getting into trouble. Well, it can!

When it comes to nutrition, the tongue is a part of the body that can be trained to form healthy eating habits over the more favoured unhealthy ones.  You may be thinking, “I’ve done the whole diet thing and the pressure of temptation is just too much”, or “my life will become one big bore that I will never be able to maintain”.  Here lies the root of the problem, and the need for a bit of biology.

10,000 Reasons

We know that the mouth has 10,000 taste buds, or receptors, which are mainly on the tongue, but also on roof of the mouth and in the throat purposed to identify different tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, etc.  Those little buds are used to tell the brain what it is we are eating so that it can regulate the body during the digestive process.  For the most part, unfortunately, the tongue is not able to control what we eat.  That comes down to our soul – our emotions, experiences and  senses stored as memories in our mind – creating somewhat of a relationship with food.  As a result, our bodies crave the foods that our mind has stored with our good memories.  Let’s face it, if we are feeling let down, we will all turn to someone or something, or both, to help us overcome the negative feeling – a tub of ice cream, anyone?

What our tongues validate as good food is also formed by our consistent diet which is usually shaped by our culture and or environment.  All you have to do is talk about food with people from various parts of the world to find out what I mean.  Or, you can now watch hours and hours of “Foodie” vloggers travelling the world to taste the varieties of cuisine. 

When my wife, Faith, and I first married, we had a conflict when it came to the food we ate.  Faith grew up eating rice with every meal.  I grew up with potatoes, bread and pasta as the main starches and rice was my least favourite.  I quickly learned that rice was the main starch in our house and I had to forgo the joys of bread and potatoes.  I was used to a beef roast for a Sunday meal.  Faith was not.  Why? Our diets were based upon what our cultural and agricultural experiences dictated.  Over time, our taste buds have come to a mutual love of the same foods. 

Training the Tongue

How many of you think of salad as a garnish on the side of your plate or rabbit food?  How many of you would have a piece of cake and not even blink until you have had one or two more (and then carry the guilt around, so you have one more piece to help you with the guilt)?  Your cravings for the food you consume comes from the soul, yet the taste of satisfaction comes from the tongue.  What if I were to tell you the best way to tame the soul-cravings is to train the tongue?  It is true! You can train the tongue to crave healthy food!  (If you have food allergies or have diabetes, heart disease, etc., be sure you consult your doctor before you try this.) 

I did just that! Within an eight-week period, I discovered that if I cut out sugar, salt, white bread, flour and rice, sweets and deserts, store-bought fruit juice, all sugary/fizzy drinks and alcohol; eat with a dash of salt, and only drink water and black coffee or tea, my cravings changed because my taste-bud receptors changed!

I could taste the fructose in vegetables like broccoli, and in fruit like lemons.  The world of natural flavour became a reality, and I found my body’s regulatory systems become balanced and I felt so much better! My energy levels were up, I could think clearer and had a more positive outlook on life. Weight-loss was inevitable.   I noticed the change to my body the moment I tried to drink a can of Coke.  One tiny sip gave such a surge of sugar, my body reacted with the onset of a headache.  From that day on, I do not really crave soda pop – which is one of the unhealthiest drinks you can consume (even if it says sugar free or diet). 

Rewards not Rights

Ask yourself what you desire more – do you want to eat to live or live to eat?  Having healthy eating habits is a discipline that will give you great rewards!  Does it mean you cut out the foods you love to indulge in?  By no means!  I still go out for a meal with the family.  I love pizza, chocolate and crisps (potato chips).  What I did is I considered those favourites of mine as rewards or small treats and not entitlements and rights.  It is true that you have the right to eat what you want, but it does not mean it is the right thing to do.

I know someone who did a calorie-based diet still based upon what he desired, or felt he had the right to eat.  One day he ate a Big Mac from McDonalds.  That was it.  Bad food, bad calories and his entire being suffered.  It didn’t take long for him to forgo the entire diet because he had not taken the time to adjust his thinking on rights and rewards.  Again, just because you have the right to make unhealthy food choices – even on a calorie-based diet – does not mean it is the right thing to do.


I encourage you to do some research on what to eat, put together a nutritional meal plan that includes your self-indulgent foods as rewards or treats – not feasts! (if you struggle with how to balance out a treat or snack – ask for help!)  Recognize that you may just need a taste of a desert, but not the whole thing.  My wife and I began to share deserts or have smaller portions of it.  Why? We realised that the food was not meant to comfort us, but to be enjoyed and to energise us.

I want to encourage you to empower your tongue to tame your soul. When it comes to nutrition and developing a fit and healthy lifestyle, take the time to detox the tongue and allow it to develop healthy receptors.   Practice self-control. Educate yourself.  Be consistent for the goal.  Training the tongue will produce in you a power that will be felt by you and noticed by others.

written by Aaron Hornback, founder of HHN, Feb 2021