Sunday, January 24, 2010

Taste

The other day I was on the hunt for chocolate fruit dip. Why I don't know, but that is what I seemed to be craving. A part of me thought that this was a positive sign. I was indulging my craving versus holding it back like if I'd been in ED Land. However, another part of me was slightly worried about the calories still and opted to stay on the safe side and find something low calorie, not fattening (Even if I am in recovery, those pesky ED thoughts still like to worm its way into my brain).

Well, then I found this:



ED part of my brain thought I'd scored! Zero everything, my gosh, how I could eat whatever of it and not feel GUILTY.

Once home, I tried it, and it was utterly, absolutely GROSS! Realistically, how could I have thought anything with just zeroes on its label would have any taste at all? I took one spoonful, spit it out and never touched the stuff again. I suppose if I have been really adamant about my chocolate fruit dip, I could have added sugar or fat or something to make it slightly palatable But by this point, my craving indulgence had passed and I was onto something else.

This lesson reminded me about taste. Often times those with eating disorders cannot judge taste well. Studies have shown that taste is simply not rewarding in that part of the brain like it is for other people. Another study has also shown that individuals with restrictive eating disorders have a reduced number of taste papillae on their tongue which alters their taste response and food preferences.

While I think all this research is true, I still think that when I was in the worst throes of an eating disorder, I "convinced" myself these really low calorie/no calorie food was good, that I could eat it without so much thought or guilt. Because where was the guilt in eating nothing substantial?

In recovery, not only have I been trying to "taste" more which includes eating foods with fat, but I've also noticed that my taste receptors seem to be more "aware" if we want to give it a voice. In general, I have done fairly well with including foods like peanut butter, ice cream, avocados, ice cream, pizza, etc. which used to be on "Tiptoe's Do Not Eat Food List" which is progress from several years ago. Though these foods with the exception of peanut butter are still not something I eat on any kind of regular basis, the fear has lessened a little. Don't get me wrong, it is still there, but just not to the anxiety provoking capacity of excuse making if I was invited somewhere or endless amounts of exercise to rid myself of that glutton.

I guess the reminder of this post is that in order for something to taste "good," there must be substantial nutrients in the product. Otherwise, what is it that we are really eating?

Note--*This is only my opinion of this particular brand. Who knows other products may be good but it is doubtful that I will be trying them anytime soon.

6 comments:

I Hate to Weight said...

i have, indeed, tried many calorie-free, fat-free, but sadly taste-free product.

it's fantastic that you've added some truly tasty foods back onto your list.

i don't know exactly how my taste buds changed. mostly,nothing will ever be taste sweet enough, after thirty years of sacchrine.

and i don't know if you did this, but i could handle lots of low-cal condiment mixing -- mustard, ketchup, balsamic vinegar? it doesn't sound or look like an appetizing combo -- but i lived on it, with or without anything else.

i've re-introduced many food but in, unfortunately, very small quantities.

Kristina said...

For me, I think the calorie-free, fat-free items just make me want something REAL that much more. I've been much healthier and happier by eating and drinking products that are more 'natural' and less processed, even if they have more fat, more calories. It usually means they have more taste, and then I feel sated.

One last thought - the idea of "taste" as more metaphorical. Have you been able to savor and taste more of life in general?

Kim said...

I really can't do the "fake" foods anymore. I just go for the real thing and feel fine with that these days :) My default is to think that those labels are the ideal, but then the taste is just so awful!

Cammy said...

I have tried these, and other foods from this brand, and I totally agree with you. It's something instead of nothing, I guess, but doesn't work as a substitute for the real thing and ultimately just leaves you craving something "good" even more than before.

As I've made progress in recovery I've started cooking with more "real" ingredients (adding olive oil to pasta, for instance, actually following directions on packages instead of omitting adding milk, eggs, etc), and am amazed at how much more satisfying it is, that is one novelty that has yet to wear off.

Eating Alone said...

This might be too much for some, if you think so delete it please.

When I was on my "diet" (medicaly supervised fast). They let me stay on it for longer than was called for, 9 months with no solid food, just these shake things. My tounge started feeling weird, the doc looked at it and told me my taste buds were atrophing (dying from lack of use). I didn't know they could do that but I could see someone with ANA or severly restricting their food choices going through the same thing. But without a doc to let you know you just kind of deal with it and go to less and less.

Tiptoe said...

Lissy, oh yes, I was definitely into the whole low-cal condiment thing for awhile. I had a specific thing with honey mustard sauce. I still like honey mustard a lot, but it is not exclusive anymore on everything! I've known quite a few other people with EDs who have had similar experiences in that area.

Kristina, I agree about the satiation factor. My food/hunger/full cues are still sort of screwed up, but it is getting there slowly but surely.

As for "tasting" life, right now, it's been slightly stressful with getting everything for work done, having to dog sit at the last minute, and deal with some other issues. Hopefully, when things are up and running, I'll have a little more time. It's just been crazy lately.

Kim, I so agree with your default. It is very rare to find one that falls into that category and tastes good!

Cammy, yeah for cooking more! It helps to add in ingredients that help spice up food and are actual foods. It's amazing the difference.

Eating Alone, that is an interesting experience about your taste buds shrinking. It makes sense, similar to like a stomach shrinking with starvation. Hopefully, those taste buds are coming back though.