Flavor and Food Choice: When Healthy Tastes Good
How many fast food advertisements have you seen juxtaposing their mouth-watering product with (shudder) a boring ol’ salad? An insidious myth has snuck its way into our culinary culture: food that makes our bodies feel good is not delicious. This approach turns healthy eating into a chore and a sacrifice we make, day after day, at the expense of enjoyment and pleasure. Here’s why healthy food that tastes good could be the solution.
It’s Important That Healthy Food Tastes Good!
The flavor of healthy food is often relegated to the back burner, as Science Daily discusses; according to their findings, simply talking up the taste of healthy options on menus makes people more likely to choose them. Yet we tend to let flavor be eclipsed by discussions of nutrients and health benefits, as though the enjoyment of healthy food is secondary.
After all, who hasn’t experienced the challenge of trying to make sure healthy food tastes good? From sprinkling insufficient spice over a dish to hours spent sweating over a pot of homemade marinara sauce, those of us not equipped with the time or knowledge to engineer vibrant flavor out of healthy staples can be left relying on pure willpower to stick to an established way of eating.
Try as we might, study after study has shown that the key to maintaining a gut-friendly eating regimen isn’t just willpower. Creating healthy habits does involve discipline; however, the secret to sticking to routines involves actually enjoying them. If you’re trying to improve your gut health by cutting out certain foods (which you may love) and replacing them with what feel like bland, tasteless options, you’ll likely find it incredibly difficult; at best, it will be a challenge, and at worst, it will create an endless cycle of returning to old habits, experiencing the consequences, and then trying again. Ensuring that your chosen foods are flavorful is an essential step in actually wanting to eat them. That’s the importance of taste.
What If Everything Smells and Tastes Bad?
This can become even more of a challenge for two reasons: sometimes, it’s a case of not knowing how to season or flavor your food; other times, it’s a case of literally not being able to. How do you keep things flavorful when everything smells and tastes bad?
This can be the case for people experiencing parosmia, and especially parosmia after COVID. Defined generally as a loss of sense of smell (one of COVID’s earliest reported and most mysterious symptoms) leading to an alteration in the perception of taste, people affected by parosmia after COVID often find themselves confused and wondering “why does everything taste bad?” Many common foods including chicken, fruit, coffee and onions don’t just lose their signature scent, but actually smell and taste rotten to those experiencing parosmia. For many, this condition can be anxiety-inducing and isolating, as the smell of once-loved foods (and often, the foods that made other food delicious, such as onion and garlic) makes them physically sick.
Parosmia after COVID is believed to last three to six months, and longer for some. As the resource AbScent states, “eating well can be difficult” for those experiencing these symptoms. So the question becomes, what to eat when everything tastes bad from parosmia after COVID? One of the best ways to benefit from flavorful food is to find pre-made sauces, marinades and seasonings to spice up even the most regular old meal, which are clearly marked as free of irritating seasonings like onion and garlic.
Whether you’re experiencing parosmia after COVID, you want to stick to healthy habits, or you just want to improve your cooking game, flavor is your ally! Making your food taste amazing doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming; you just have to find the right go-to products to have on hand, and you’re ready to go.