Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Two Flavors

So....yesterday night was hard.

Supper was green beans, rice, and slow cooker chicken. It was yummy! The chicken was especially good, and I enjoyed a whole leg, which is a lot for me. I usually have just a bite or two of meat with my meal. (Yeah, I know that's pitiful.) I knew I didn't need to save room for dessert, so I filled up. I even had seconds on rice, which is another unusual occurrence for me. (I've developed a habit of skimping on the good food so I have plenty of room for a big dessert. One reason I knew I needed to do this "sugar fast." ...This look even worse in print.)

At the end of the meal, my tummy was full, but my tongue wasn't. I roamed the kitchen like a crazy girl, looking for something sweet I could eat. I'm so accustomed to that sweetness to finish off a meal! I finally settled for a dried fig.

Here's a list of foods to help satisfy that sweet ache:
Dried figs or prunes
Dried fruit, if there's no sugar added (hard to find, with some brands)
Blueberries, 'specially good if they're frozen
Nuts can help, too, though they aren't sweet

I've come to a definite conclusion. Americans are programed to enjoy only two taste sensations; sweetness and saltiness.

Think about it - almost every food we eat has sugar added, from pizza sauce to bread. The foods that aren't sugar-enhanced are the savory type, and they all have salt added. Canned veggies, soups, lunch meat, chips, etc., all taste strongly of salt, but unless you're used to eating those foods without salt, you don't notice that flavor. The flavor you expect from canned beets, for instance, comes mainly from the salt in the can. We think that's "beet taste," but if you cook up a garden beet and eat it, then take a bite of canned beets, you immediately notice that you aren't tasting true "beet" from the can. You're tasting salt. Our tongues automatically expect to taste either sugar or salt in every mouthful of food we eat. We don't even notice it any more. We think salt or sugar equals flavor.

Even if salt and sugar wasn't so disastrous for your health, wouldn't this still be a sad state of affairs? There are MILLIONS of flavors in the world - why mask them with the two we've been programmed to like best? These other flavors are milder, and with a tongue accustomed to the strong bite of salt and the pervasiveness of sugar, it's hard to pick up any deep taste, but once you avoid sugar and salt for awhile, I've been told you taste everything else much better.

Wouldn't it be worth it to avoid two flavors for the sake of experiencing zillions of others in their place?

...Not that I'm ready to give up salt and sugar entirely. I think some in moderation is enjoyable. But I am hoping that through my "experiment" these two weeks I will be able to enjoy some richer flavor in the foods I eat.

What do you think? Are we over-salted-and-sweeted?


SoulsforChrist7 said...


This was very interesting. This isn't the best time for me to join the challenge, but I will definitely keep this in mind as I choose the snacks that I eat. (By the way, thanks for making me feel guilty about the salted popcorn I had tonight. :) ) Your comment about the deepening of other flavors intrigued me. Sometime, I just might try the challenge, when I have more time.

Thanks so much for your sweet comment! I'm wondering, what is this version of NaNoWriMo that you are doing? Have you ever done the "official" Nanowrimo?

Amber (Nee Lulu)

Amber said...

Amber - I certainly didn't mean to make you feel guilty! :) :) I tend to get on soap boxes a little too loudly when it comes to nutrition. Bear with me, please - I promise I'm not as intense in person. :):) I promise I won't hold it against you that you aren't doing a challenge right now - none of my family members were quite willing to do it, either, so you see you're in good company. :) :) :)

I've never done the official "NaNoWriMo," but a few months ago I picked up a second hand copy of the book about it, and found the idea facinating. I've incorperated different ideas from the book into my writing habits, for the book I'm working on now, and I plan to do an intense period of writing some time in November. That's my current "version" of NaNoWriMo. :)