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Changing Tastes

on May 2, 2012

I’m starting to notice some differences in the foods I like and don’t like or that no longer seem to like me.  I’m not eating a humongous variety of food items yet, so it’s a little hit or miss, but when I actually notice that a taste preference has changed, I remember.

A week or so ago, I made those gnudis — like the inside of a spinach and ricotta ravioli without the pocket of pasta.  Prior to making that dish, I’d never sauteed spinach.  I’m not a big fan of it raw in salads or sauteed with dinner.   Usually, I just like like it in a couple of preparations where, quite frankly, the spinach really doesn’t taste like spinach.  Take spinach and artichoke dip for example where there’s no one overriding flavor, but a blend of the veggies with the sour cream and mayo, accented by parmesan cheese.  I love spanikopita — Greek spinach and feta cheese pie — but, honestly, the spinach really serves as something green to separate the layers of buttery filo pastry, right?   Between the pastry and the sharp, yummy feta, who can taste the spinach?

I actually thought about skipping the spinach in the gnudi recipe, but at the store decided I’d go for the authenticity.  I dreaded buying a bunch of mature spinach and going through the whole multiple rinsing process.  Then my attention was caught by a container of organic baby spinach leaves.  “Washed 3 X” proclaimed the label.  “Oooooh,” I thought.  “Organic and clean, with no help from me!”

I brought home the package whie the olive oil heated, cautiously sampled the smallest leaf.  It was delicious.  I ate another and, suddenly, couldn’t wait to taste the sauteed variety.  I used it in the gnudi and have now made sauteed spinach two more times as a side dish with dinner.  Cooked baby spinach is a new favorite food.

In the past, I’ve loved butter like Paula Dean loves butter — although I used a lot less of it than she.  Still, I’d slather it on bread, waffles, French toast or pancakes.  I’d melt it to pour over popcorn or corn on the cob.  Butter in mashed potatoes, butter on steamed veggies, butter in the pan when cooking just about anything.  Did you see the movie Julie and Julia?  In it,  Meryl Streep as Julia Child smells a sizzling pan of fried fish, inhales and proclaims in awestruck adoration, “Buttterr.”  I could definitely identify.

Not so much these days.  It’s not that I’ve grown to dislike butter, but I’m just not head over heels for it the way that I used to be.  Granted, I haven’t had popcorn or corn on the cob yet, but I don’t have the compulsion to slice off a healthy pat and spackle it onto a hunk of bread.  Sometimes, the butter tastes off to me — but it isn’t the butter that’s bad.  My taste buds have changed.  I’m sure of it.

This is not a bad thing.  I’m sure my arteries are quite happy with the turn of events.  I’m also not as big a fan of bread anymore when, believe me, I could have lived on it — the better baked, the, well, better.   Mentally, I still think I want it.  Even though I’ve cut way back on carbs, my mind sometimes tells me that I’d like a break from the morning protein shake so I slip a slice of bread into the toaster.  When it pops, I apply some peanut butter and no-sugar-added jam, happily anticipating the treat.  A few bites into it and I’m scraping the peanut butter onto one half of the slice and then onto a quarter.  Yes, I still love the PB&J, but I’m content to split the rest of the toast between my two dogs.

I usually pack lunch but yesterday forgot.  I thought it would be a real treat to have half of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  I figured eating the smaller portion would be okay since I don’t indulge in this very often.  (Yesterday was actually the first time since my surgery.)  I ate slowly, focusing on the filling before the bread.  Unfortunately, I could barely finish even half before my stomach started to ache.  I thought that, perhaps, the stress of the last week was contributing to my less than stellar stomach.  The ick feeling stayed with me for the rest of the day.  However, I was still sure it was a reaction to circumstances and I anticipated all would be well when I heated up the remaining half for today’s lunch.  Sadly, I experienced the same reaction.  This leads me to believe that this is a meal that I need to cross off my list because it no longer agrees with me.

For the most part, it’s interesting to experience the changes in my likes and dislikes.  I’m not mourning the loss of sandwich bread from my life if, indeed, that’s what’s happening.  There are plenty of other foods that I still enjoy and that are better choices for me anyway.  I’d be much more sad if I no longer liked chocolate or steak.  I’m waiting for the night when I have dinner with friends and someone orders a really fresh, locally-caught piece of fish.  All of my life, I’ve hated the taste of fish, even shellfish.  Logically, I know it’s a healthy protein source and it would be great if I could learn to like it.

Maybe, like spinach, that will be one of the things I now enjoy.  We’ll have to see.  If it happens, I’ll report back!

**Edited to add:  I forgot that I’m also not drinking hot black tea the way that I used to.  I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I used to always start my day with a hot cup of tea and usually had one or two additional cups throughout the day.  Now it’s no longer part of my daily routine.  Sometimes I stop for a cup, but most of the time it isn’t even on my radar.  Weird!

3 responses to “Changing Tastes

  1. pinkpelican says:

    When we were going through the approval process for surgery, the folks there (& in the support group) told us that tastes often change, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ways, after surgery. You aren’t alone in this. Also, each of us has different reactions to the kinds of food we can eat.

    My husband and I both had the gastric sleeve surgery, about a month apart. He has discovered he no longer cares for chocolate; nor does it care for him. I’m still fine with chocolate, but I’ve discovered it has to be GOOD chocolate. I used to adore M&Ms. Now? Not so much. Too sweet, too cheap tasting.

    My husband has a lot more trouble with bread than I do. Flat breads, thin pizza crust, he can handle. Sometimes he can manage some homemade bread. I can fix a home-made dense cake or we can do banana bread and he’s okay, but sandwich bread doesn’t work at all for him. I don’t have any problems at all with bread, although I no longer have the urge to go face first into hot yeast rolls like I used to.

    I still enjoy desserty types of things, but the TYPES of things I prefer has changed. Used to go for chocolate baked goods & candies & such; now, I tend to want less sweet baked goods. Cinnamon rolls (without glaze) are a much bigger temptation now than cupcakes ever were.

    I’m also finding my tastes for vegetables is changing. I used to despise carrots & beans with a deep and abiding passion. Now, I find that I like them better, certainly to the extent that I’m including them in a wide array of recipes, both as flavor and as ways to get in extra proteins & nutrients. I used to only care for tomatoes in sauce form; I still have no interest in eating them just by themselves, but I’m finding I like them as ingredients in a much wider array of recipes and combined with a much wider array of other ingredients.

    It’s kind of fun, and kind of strange, discovering how my tastes have changed. It’s definitely an interesting adventure!

  2. Marti91257 says:

    Maybe it’s an “age thing”. I’m saying this because, with the exception of baked potatoes and broccoli, butter has an “off” taste to me lately also… For baked potatoes I’d eat it anyway but I’ve started sautéing my Broccoli with garlic and red bell pepper instead! I’ve recently switched to Earth Balance Whipped “buttery spread” which tastes better than butter (to me)! 0 cholesterol and mostly organic with a great taste = win/win in my book! Also I’ve never liked fish or shellfish (with the exception of shrimp, but I haven’t eaten them since the Gulf spill!) – it’s nice to know I’m not the only Island Girl who doesnt like seafood!

    I wonder if your changing taste is a result of your mindful eating approach and that fact that you are taking the time to REALLY taste the food, or is it somehow connected to the surgery?

    • Mary Stella says:

      It’s hard to say. Given the timing, I think it’s somehow connected to the surgery. Maybe the part of the stomach that’s gone, which included the area that secretes much of the hunger hormone, was somehow influential to the taste buds, palate or whatever. I honestly don’t know. I’ll have to post the question on the Obesityhelp.com forum and see what other people say.

      Oh yeah. Never have liked seafood, much to my parents’ dismay when I was younger. The most I would stomach was fish sticks swimming in ketchup. Once Vatican II happened in 1968 and Catholics could eat meat on Fridays, I wouldn’t even eat those. I’ll catch fish but someone else is welcome to the catch as a meal.

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