When I was obese, I spent a lot of my food calories on very sweet foods. M&M’s, Oreo cookies, Breyer’s ice cream, cake, homemade chocolate chip cookies, candy, cokes, and brownies.
And when I say I spent a lot of my calories on sweets, I’m not exaggerating. Probably half of my food calories were from sweets and the other half was restaurant food. Not a good existence.
I even sweetened fruit, because well, fruit wasn’t sweet enough by itself. A ripe cantaloupe and honeydew slice was okay but it didn’t burst with flavor like M&Ms did. In pictures, the fruit tasted like this. Pale, uninteresting, just okay.
I thought the fruit was bland so I increased its flavor by adding sugar. That added sugar satisfied my palate and I enjoyed the fruit.
Once I started losing weight and reducing my dependence on sugar, fruits began to taste a little brighter. A little sweeter. I stopped adding sugar and the flavors started to sing and brighten to me.
Fast forward 15 years and this experience I wanted to share with you today brought home how far I had come and what a detrimental effect sugary foods and fast foods have on our health.
Earlier in the week I had purchased a cantaloupe and a honeydew from the grocery store and left them sitting on the counter. After a few days I realized that they were both sending out the “I’m ripe,” smell. (You know what I’m talking about?)
I cut them open, sliced them up, and served them with our breakfast of homemade whole wheat pancakes. I am not the biggest pancake fan, so I had half a pancake and a slice each of cantaloupe and honeydew. They were so sweet I could not believe it. In picture terms, they were this sweet:
They were bursting with flavor and two slices was enough sweetness for the entire day. Seriously.
When I compare the intensity of the sweetness I can perceive now as opposed to my inability to accurately discern the sweetness in foods when I was 305 pounds, I am still astonished.
Not only was I doing myself and my health a disservice by eating so much refined sugar, but I was also missing out on the natural goodness of whole foods. Interestingly enough, this did not apply just to fruits. Spices tasted more intense, fried food became unpalatable to me, and I was able to appreciate the complexity of flavors in whole grains and nuts much more fully.
If you are struggling with needing to have your “sweet fix” every day, I want to encourage you that if you give yourself time away from the intense sweetness of candy, cakes and brownies, you will see your palate become more sensitive to the wonderful flavors of whole, natural foods.
Have you noticed that your perception of sweetness and other flavors intensifying as you lost weight and changed your diet? Diane