Make your food more flavorful.
I talk a lot about sugar, so I wanted to share a bit about taste and how our bodies interpret taste. One of the ways you can start making food more appealing is to use more flavors that light up your pallet. Making food flavorful will help you feel more satisfied as you move away from sugar and sweet flavors so much.
Did you know your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body? Well, it’s true. And it’s where you taste your food as well as move it around in your mouth and down your throat rather than your windpipe.
Your nasal cavity is connected to your throat and that’s why you can mouth breathe when you have a stuffy nose. By the way, I love this saying, “Your mouth is for eating and your nose is for breathing.” Have you ever heard that one? So, if you are a mouth breather, I would suggest you have that examined, as it’s not how the body is designed to function.
The importance of the sense of smell.
Your nose is also essential in smelling your food. Food that is flavorful smells amazing and your nose helps you to taste your food. As the food enters your mouth, your nose smells it and all that info is sent to the brain where it computes that you’re eating a banana.
I had a patient once who had no sense of smell. She was born that way and as a result had no desire to eat food. Your sense of taste is about 80% what you smell. Her tongue could distinguish different basic flavors such as salty or sweet, but she didn’t have any ability to distinguish the subtle differences between different fruits, for example. Of course, she ate her meals, but she did it out of need and routine rather than joy and pleasure. As a foodie, it was hard for me to comprehend such an experience.
Receptor cells and brain wiring.
The tongue has receptor cells that signal info to your brain. There are several taste types that are picked up by the receptor cells. They are sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Umami is a savory flavor like miso and MSG.
So why do humans love sweet so much? Well, it’s the way your brain is wired. Sugar, salt, and fat are needed for survival. And, as I shared in my earlier segment about sugar, too much is not a good thing.
Taste can also warm you of something not safe to eat. Some plants that are toxic to humans have a very bitter taste and are not flavorful at all. I remember when I was pregnant, I could only eat really fresh food, no leftovers whatsoever! My poor husband was in charge of consuming the leftovers. If it wasn’t completely fresh it didn’t taste or smell good to me; even if I ate it just earlier in the day. My mama bear hormones were on overdrive.
I find that cooking with the freshest ingredients is still my preference. It’s so lovely how the house smells when I’m sautéing garlic and onions. So simple and yet so yummy.
The thing about taste.
The other amazing thing about taste is, your pallet is pretty well established by the age of 5, but it can be changed with repeated introducing of foods. So, if you have kids, do your best to introduce them, repeatedly to various food flavors. My son is 13 and loves all types of foods because I never fed him a “child’s meal.” He always ate whatever I was serving for dinner and he enjoyed such foods as Chinese, Indian, and Thai.
Try adding some butter to your broccoli or just a teaspoon of miso to your soup. It’s fun to make your own salad dressing as well. Use good olive oil, for the fat, and vinegar or lemon juice. I like using lemon juice for its sour flavor. Add some salt and pepper along with some spicy mustard for it’s bitter flavor. Your umami could be some garlic powder and some honey for sweet. And there you have it. The salad dressing will hit all the flavor notes your pallet will love. You can use it on any cold, sliced veggies or dress your salad tonight at dinner.
Playing with flavors is a surefire way of spicing up meal times (pun intended!). Why don’t you try new flavors and let me know in the comments section below?