People can lose their sense of taste for many different reasons. For me, it was because of radiation treatment to the mouth for oral cancer. At first, I grieved my loss of taste, and sometimes I still do. But I came to learn that there are actually advantages to the situation! Here are the top 10:
- If someone in your house inadvertently buys gross food, you can save the day. Cherries too sour? New flavor of sports drink disgusting? Lima beans in the mixed veggies? You can come to the rescue!
- You will probably spend less money going to restaurants. Why pay those prices for food that you can’t taste? You can also spend less money on food in other places. Don’t splurge on that special movie-theater popcorn. Skip the snacks and have enough money left over for another movie!
- You will be a lot less picky. Your spouse’s special recipe that everyone loves but you? Serve it up! Never liked the fries at a certain fast food restaurant? No objections now! Everybody else wants to order from that pizza place you hate? Why not?
- When you cook, you are no longer responsible for how things taste. Not salty enough? Not your fault. Way too spicy? It’s the recipe, not you! (Hint: fix this by having everyone add their own spice at the table.) If you don’t like to cook, this makes a good excuse!
- If the store is out of the brand you are used to (or the more expensive brand), it’s no problem. Hello to generic cereal, store-label peanut butter, and cheap granola bars.
- You don’t have to add unhealthy extras to your food anymore. Oatmeal that’s just water and oats? Peanut butter that’s just ground peanuts? Those taste the same as the versions with salt and sugar. Plain veggies taste the same as the ones with the butter sauce. No-sugar added juice goes down easy, as does no-salt V8. Make the switch to unsweetened almond milk instead of dairy milk.
- The other side of #5, you can throw in healthy additives and not have to taste them. Chalky, tastless protein powder? Mix it in. Kale in your smoothie? Go for it. You can also eat weird but healthy combinations of things, like tomato juice with your applesauce.
- No one will ever again ask you to taste questionable leftovers to see if they are still good.
- When you want a snack, you will start choosing easy things instead of tasty things. And lots of healthy snacks are super easy: a piece of fruit, a can of green beans, a store-bought smoothie. Without taste in the equation, you will start to go by how your body feels after eating different things. You will feel a lot better after you eat a spoonful of plain peanut butter than a bag of chips, and that will make the choice even easier.
- Dessert will no longer tempt you! (Your heart might hate this one, but your body will love it.)
Bonus: New things to love about food!
- Texture becomes really attractive. The smooth, squeaky-feeling of olives, the sandiness of a pear, the squares on a waffle–experiment with textures that please you. You can also mix different textures together: apple slices and peanut butter, refried beans and lettuce, avocado and sliced cheese.
- Temperature is something else to enjoy. Cold cottage cheese, hot biscuits, iced tea vs. hot tea. Mixes of temperature can be really appealing: cold sour cream on a hot burrito, cold milk on hot oatmeal, a spoonful of hot soup followed by a drink of ice water.
- While your sense of smell may be altered, a lot of things will probably smell like they used to. Put your nose near a basket of strawberries and enjoy them that way. Same with fresh tomatoes, hot chicken noodle soup, just-baked cookies. Go to a coffee shop and revel in the scents of all the different drinks. You might find that your favorite foods are not completely lost to you after all.