I believe three things.
- Tastebuds are not necessarily your friends. Manufacturers and chemists are making large profits by entertaining our tastebuds for a few moments at a time. We are no longer using our tastebuds for pure survival, but for recreational reasons and for emotional support.
- Different people are born with different experiences of taste sensitivities. There are super-tasters - people with a much greater concentration of taste buds on their tongues. They taste more intensely than the majority. Did you know that within the general population there is a wide range of taste experiences. And taste includes sensations of heat, texture, and pain - such as heat from chillies. As bitter foods are avoided and sweet, salty and creamy foods are actively pursued this impacts food choices, and this in turn impacts health. So your taste buds play a role in your health.
- We can no longer depend on our taste buds to keep us out of trouble and to point us in the direction of where our best choices in food lie. With the advent of refrigeration, irradiation, and sell by dates, with the growing lucrative market that panders to our food taste and sensation preferences - in the form of sweetness, saltiness, oiliness and creaminess ( high energy foods that were once necessary for our survival as a species ) -,and with the development of non-biological or man-made additives to, on, or in our foods which to all intents and purposes are tasteless, odourless and nutritionally valueless, we can no longer rely on our senses to help us make optimum food choices for our health. Nature and evolution have hardwired us to seek out high energy foods to ensure that we are fit enough to reproduce. Once we have satisfied this urge nature has little more urgent use for us. Eating a high fat, high sugar, high salt diet is good for survival of the human race in general and us in particular in the shorter term but it does us, as individuals, no good in the longer term,and leads to chronic degenerative diseases.
But, as I say, a month can refocus us, change our energy and attention, change our motivation. So I'm looking to make some changes over the next month. The timing is not optimum - there's holidays coming up and lots of commitments where I'll not have full control of what I eat and do with my time. But that's life. It's never going to be optimum for change. Waiting for the right time is like waiting for Godot. Pointless. So knowing that now is not a good time, I commit to refocusing myself on healthy lifestyle choices. I started last month. As so many do. And I have made some very positive changes. I'm just committing to doing the same this next month and consolidating and building on last months. And I'll doubtless do the same thing the month after.
Awareness is knowledge, and knowledge is power. With the best of intentions I will live Today mindfully, to the best of my ability. And, I'm going to acquaint myself with my taste buds today.
What do I hope to gain ? Health. Peace of Mind. Energy.
So for the next month I will go easy on myself. I'm apt to be very critical of myself. I could have done better last month, but then I did my best in the circumstances. There is no point in regrets or recriminations. It won't change where I am.. The longest journey begins with one step. And I can only take one step at a time. My legs won't stretch further than one span. It's one step at a time. No negotiation. No possibility of anything else. This is true for me. And as author Kathy Freston says, " Progress, not perfection "
There is a very interesting podcast available for download from itunes that talks about our taste buds. It's the All In The Mind podcast entitled " Mmm...that's tasty " (March 4th 2011) . Host Natasha Mitchell interviews psychologist Linda Barloshuk on March 4th 2011.