Understanding the link between flavor and nutrition

You might be surprised to learn this, but you have an exceptionally well developed palette. 

You have hundreds of flavor receptors on your tongue.

Over 400 smell receptors in your throat and nose.

And you, with your incredible human body, is able to distinguish between trillions of unique aromas

Why do we come with that kind of equipment?

 Historically, flavor was the language of nutrition.

All of that equipment allowed us differentiate and remember the many different foods we eat.

Imagine seeing a ripe strawberry still attached to the plant. It’s irresistable, you have to eat it. The smell is unmistakable. Nothing else smells like a strawberry. It’s tart, tangy, sweet, and earthy. As soon as you eat it, that one of a kind flavor signals to your body that a wave of carbohydrates, sugars, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals are on their way.

For thousands and thousands of years, eating a nutrient dense diet kept us healthy and our bodies learned to associate specific flavors with specific nutrients.

The problem we have today is that most of us are eating a lot of processed foods. And it messes with our internal nutrient filing system.

For example, a person 200 years ago eats a strawberry. They get all of the nutrients of a strawberry. Body remembers strawberry = vitamin C, vitamin A, etc.

When that person 200 years ago ate strawberry ice cream, it was made with real strawberries. Like a bucket of real fresh strawberries.

And so he received the familar nutreints that come with strawberry, plus dairy and sugar that made the ice cream.

Today, strawberry ice cream is not made with strawberries. We’ve identified the specific combination of chemicals the creates the flavor of strawberry and added that to the ice cream. Now that’s great for keeping costs down. The company doesn’t have to deal with actually growing and harvesting that many strawberries.

But when we eat strawberry ice cream, the nutrients that usually come with a strawberry are gone. It’s only dairy and sugar.

So our body thinks sometimes strawberry gives me nutrients but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes strawberry means vitamin C but sometimes it means corn and msg.

What used to be a clear language of flavor and nutrition, is now all jumbled up and flavors have completely different meanings depending on their context.

When I decided to cut out processed foods from my diet 5 years ago, I thought I would save some money on food by cooking at home, I'd have more energy, maybe clearer skin.

What ended up happening is that I learned how to observe and analyze the connection between my food, my body, my mood, and my energy levels.

I’ve learned to trust what my body is telling me.

That is what has brought more joy, more excitement, and so much more fun into my kitchen.

Today I want you to ask yourself, are you tuned in to the language of flavor your body is trying to use? What kind of relationship do you have with your cravings? Do you trust what your body is telling you?

You can only move forward by understanding where you are right now.

Mollie Williams