Trials and Tribulations With Taste
I’ve been joking around that I’m on some kind of Atkins diet here. The taste thing just kind of cracks me up – I’m not at all upset by it, like I was afraid I might be. I feel pretty confident that my taste buds will get back to normal in a few months or, hopefully, within a year. But in the meantime, I’ve discovered that of the things I can taste well, I really savor them. The things I can’t taste or that taste too bland to really register with me, I don’t mourn at all. And this is a girl who loves her bread and carbs!
The one thing that still tastes fantastic to me: coffee. I’m feeling well enough to be back to drinking my usual 2 cups in the morning. Dave custom-roasts green coffee beans that we buy online, and we brew our coffee using a vacuum pot. It is so good, so incredibly much better than store-bought coffee beans or already made coffee, and I was kind of worried that coffee would now taste terrible to me. On the contrary, I can taste all the nuances of the different beans and the different ways they are roasted. Every sip of coffee covers my tongue with absolutely delicious flavor. I am not kidding when I tell you that I completely savor my coffee now!
I am eating a lot of fresh fruit, which so far packs a lot of flavor in every bite. Something about the way fruit is eaten, or at least the way I eat it, means that the food hits the back and sides of my tongue where my taste buds are not disturbed. And again, things that would normally not be very exciting to me, i.e., apple slices, are now delicacies. Dave brought home two different types of apples from the store and I can distinctly taste the differences between the two.
I can taste sweet and salty and spicy things. Every day I have a sugar-free, fat-free Jell-o pudding cup. I can taste it and it’s not too fattening – it’s a great snack or component of a light lunch for me.
I can taste soup – Dave made really delicious baked potato soup with onions and bacon the day after my surgery, and that was delicious for dinner and then later for lunch.
Cheese is so-so. I’ve tried wedges of cheddar (mild) which had no flavor, and mozzarella string cheese which is just alright – I don’t really taste it, I just get a salty sensation from it.
We barbequed the other night – hamburgers and spicy chicken sausage. Although I can open my mouth with no pain at all, so eating a sandwich would now be fine, I asked for a hamburger with no bun. I absolutely can’t taste bread, no matter where it lands on my tongue. Rolls, sandwich bread, toast, buns – it’s completely tasteless.
I tried toast with butter, rolls with dinner, a grilled cheese sandwich – all unsuccessful. So I had a really delicious hamburger with no bun – I just cut it up and dipped it into ketchup, and could taste everything. That same dinner I tried corn chips (generic Fritos) and barbequed potato chips. Again, pretty much flavorless. I really love chips and they are a weakness of mine, but now that I can’t taste them I don’t crave them at all. Isn’t that weird?! It’s completely different from being on a diet and not eating something because you know you shouldn’t, calorie-wise. If I can’t taste it, it’s like the food becomes dead to me. I don’t miss it. I never expected this!
I do love bread. Dave makes really delicious homemade bread, pretzels, rolls, etc. A piece warm from the oven with butter on it – pure heaven! So it’s not like I didn’t really care for bread to begin with. Maybe by the time warm weather rolls around and he starts baking bread again, I’ll be able to taste it.
Pasta is a gray area…I’m Italian so I could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love it. We ordered out one night and I got baked rigatoni – I could sort of taste it and it was enjoyable, but not as flavorful as it used to be. I’d still eat pasta, just probably not as much as I used to quantity-wise. I gave about ¾ of my dinner to Eric to finish.
We had pizza last night – although the crust had no flavor, Dave put lots of spices and toppings on so I could taste that along with the pizza sauce. It was actually more enjoyable than I expected it to be, so that was a nice surprise!
Cereal is kind of okay – it has to be pretty sugary for me to really taste it though. Oatmeal isn’t bad – we have the apple cinnamon kind and I can taste the apples really well.
Yogurt is delicious – fruit with yogurt is probably going to be a big part of lunch and/or breakfast for me for a while!
I am still not feeling up to making dinner yet although today is a MUCH better day than any previous. I’m really glad that Dave enjoys cooking as much as I do – we have always kind of taken turns making dinner so he’s not at a loss if he’s got to cook.
So every day we play with our food now, looking for things that surprise my taste buds. It’s kind of fun, actually. Dave made a really tasty dessert last night – light ice cream with fresh peaches on top, kind of mashed a little bit so they were in a bit of their own syrup. Yum! Another success: Italian ice. I can taste it pretty well and it’s a nice, refreshing late-night treat.
Another surprise: Dave bought little bite-sized cookies yesterday. Cookies are another can’t-resist kind of food for me…I usually don’t keep them in the house because I love them and will eat them all!! I tried one and blech…tasteless. Paige actually laughed out loud and said she’d never seen someone make a face like that when they ate a cookie! So there was a little container of cookies on the counter that had absolutely NO appeal to me. How funny!
I’m a really picky eater, by the way – I don’t like fish, raw vegetables, salad or salad dressing, mustard or mayonnaise. I won’t eat potato salad (or any kind of salad, other than fruit salad), cottage cheese, sour cream, parmesan or romano cheese. I eat my sandwiches plain, no condiments. My hamburgers – just ketchup. It’s always been really difficult for me to follow specific diets with menus because I usually won’t eat 75-85% of what they tell me to.
So my biggest fear – that I would lose all sense of taste, or that things would taste metallic or just generally awful – did not come to pass. Even with the taste disturbance that I did end up with, I’m able to see the benefits because I’m eating a little healthier now than I used to, and I’m really enjoying every darn bite of food that I take! Isn’t it weird how things work out?!