Smell Training – One. by Debbie Jinks

Well I’ve been for my Smell Training with Chris Kelly, and as promised, I’m back to tell you all about it. If you haven’t read my previous post ‘Spring back to life’, it’s probably a good idea to do that first or you may not know what the heck I’m talking about. I’ve decided to break it down into separate posts as it was very involved and intense so there isn’t really a way of shortening or simplifying it. I think if I tried to do that it would take away the significance of it as an important chapter of my life in words for me.

(Photographs courtesy of Chris Kelly smelltraining.co.uk).

My training lasted all afternoon and involved eating & tasting, sniffing, talking, documenting and walking, (with Chris’s lovely dogs). The eating side of it involved what I could and couldn’t taste, whether it tasted good, or bad, texture, colour. Taste was the first thing we looked at and Chris used various types of smoothies for this to gauge my reactions – what could I taste, was it good, bad, nothing. She had also very generously made a salad for lunch, with lots of taste, texture and colour variations to make the food more interesting. For all my Anosmic buddies reading this, the salad was made up of – various salad leaves, thinly sliced fennel bulb, avocado, pomegranate seeds, roasted figs, and pine nuts. With warm fried goats cheese coated in breadcrumbs. Give it a go my friends!
There were a lot of taste sensations combined such as tangy, salty, sweet and slightlybitter, meaning that I was getting varied flavours rather than the one flat or often horrible taste I was used to. The different textures made it even more interesting, the goats cheese didn’t taste of anything except salt, but the texture made up for that, with it being soft inside then crumbly and slightly crisp on the outside. I can honestly say I enjoyed it. The only thing that didn’t sit well with me were the pine nuts as they had an unpleasant aftertaste, which was my Parosmia kicking in. I don’t get on with the taste of nuts much anyway so I half expected this. But that was part of the point identifying what I could/couldn’t eat or taste, and recording it.

Chris asked me what I was experiencing while we ate so I ended up talking with my mouth full quite a bit….how uncouth! But the experience was great as it was the most interesting food I’d had in a long time almost like reawakening my taste buds. I’ve made the salad at home since and its still good, very exciting for me! Its made me want to try harderand experiment with food more, instead of being complacent about it which is definitely how I had become. What a good start to the afternoon.  Watch out Ruck I might be taking over the cooking again at this rate!

 (Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Debbie for opening up about her experiences with Anosmia. Many people live with conditions that most would never see, experiance or understand but to read about them allows us to open our minds to situations we cant comprehend. To read more from Debbie you can visit her personal blog (icantsmellathing.blogspot.com) or check out her author page here.)
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Appealing Foods to People with Anosmia

For all of you readers who do not know what anosmia is,it is the condition of not being able to smell.If one cannot smell, we cannot sense danger that everyone else can, and 95% of taste is gone, as smelling is a valuable facet to tasting. I have more posts to educate those who have anosmia as well as those who know people like us along with help the culinary arts field, as texture is underrated; however for anosmics it is largely the highlight of any dish along with sensations (cool mint, hot salsa…)

 

Sandwiches with Coleslaw or Potato Chips. Coleslaw adds crispiness and crunch, while potato chips offer crispiness.

Croissants with Melted Chocolate or sliced almonds in an almond paste- Flaky croissants with gooey melted chocolate. Sliced almonds offer a crunch along with creaminess of almond paste.

Pineapple Uside Down Cake – The pinapple glaze offers silky moisture while the cake is moist.

Boston Creme Cake/Pie – Chocolate ganache, pudding between both cake layers. Three textures: crunchy (or gooey depending on the temperature of the cake), creamy, and spongy.

Buffalo Loaded Fries – Blue cheese offers a bitter flavor, and the buffalo sauce gives heat.

Habanero Jelly – Sweet with heat.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (like Nutella)

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream – Note: Ben Cohen and his partner began their partnership after Mr. Cohen obtained anosmia. They partnered to compensate for Mr. Cohen’s loss. Their original business was an ice cream parlor. Now we have their goods, AND MR. BEN COHEN approves each recipe. If you read the descriptions and ingredients, there is a high emphasis on texture!

This post was started on July 25, 2015; however, there have been updates as my venture continues for all anosmics.

Spring back to life!

I’m going for some Smell Training with Chris Kelly, smelltraining.co.uk, this weekend.  You may well be wondering what this is so I’m going to try and explain it to you!

The problem is it’s not that easy, even the people who teach it aren’t quite sure how it works, but basically, researchers have found that ‘similar areas of the brain are stimulated when both detecting and imagining particular scents’. This being the case, if a person can imagine a certain smell from their memory, for example a rose, when they attempt to smell it it’s possible that eventually by imagining the smell and repeatedly trying to smell it, they will start smelling it properly. In the case of Smell Training,strongly scented essential oils are used, the recommended ones being rose, eucalyptus, lemon, and clove. A patient will smell them daily for several months in the hope of retraining the brain to remember how they smell and eventually be able to smell them again. It’s not guaranteed of course but ‘in clinical studies, evidence suggests that patients who did this fared better in identification and discrimination of smells that those who didn’t’.  So for me it’s worth a try!

I have sourced this information from the ‘Fifth Sense’ website, which is a charity dedicated to supporting Anosmics and researching it also. It’s a brilliant resource for Anosmics and those who want to learn more about it. If you want to have a look, the website address is fifthsense.org.uk

I’ve got to be honest when I say, I’m more than a little nervous about going for my training.  I have every faith in the lady who is teaching me, she is Anosmic herself and through self training has regained the majority of her sense of smell back.  But what if it doesn’t work on me, what if I come back and nothings changed? How will I feel?

The fact is I suppose I wont know until I’ve tried, and I’d end up kicking myself if I gave up now.  I have to carry on being the strong me, like I’ve been rattling on about in my previous posts!

So I’m going to go now and psyche myself up…..sorry for the short post but we are leaving at 7am tomorrow morning as its the other end of England!

Now I need my beauty sleep, if I get much sleep that is, this is a big day for me tomorrow.
Night, night I’ll let you know how it goes.  Oh heck!

(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Debbie for opening up about her experiences with Anosmia. Many people live with conditions that most would never see, experiance or understand but to read about them allows us to open our minds to situations we cant comprehend. To read more from Debbie you can visit her personal blog (icantsmellathing.blogspot.com) or check out her author page here.)

My Joy! by Debbie Jinks

There is a certain little person in my life that helps ground me and takes me away from my misery that is Anosmia. When I’m around her I’m too busy laughing and smiling to get into those difficult thoughts that drag me down. My niece, Lauren, is my joy.
When I first found out that I had Anosmia, I was a mess.  I had no energy but still had the need to run, which I know was a bad idea, but I’d always been a runner and I was determined not to stop. It was one day when I ran to my mums, or tried, that I realised that I couldn’t run anymore. I got to the house exhausted, nearly collapsed, thought I was going to be sick, then had a good cry and rushed off into one of the bedrooms to isolate myself from the world.  I stayed there for most of the afternoon, as I was so unhappy that I didn’t want to see or speak to anybody.

Then there was little knock at the door and in walked my mum with Lauren. She said “Lauren wanted to know what was wrong with you so I explained you were poorly and couldn’t smell or taste anything at the moment. She’s very upset and has asked if she can come and pray for her Auntie Debbie”. Well what could I say to that? In fact I was so overwhelmed that I started to cry again…good grief!  Anyway she closed her eyes, put her hands together and asked God to make me better, and that she loved me and didn’t like me being ill, it was lovely and made me forget about my problems for a change! The rest of the day was nice after that. I went and played with her and she raced around saying ‘can we colour in, can we play hide and seek, can we play with play dough’, and make a mess everywhere, actually I said that bit once it had been trampled into the floor, squashed onto the table and ended up stuck in her hair! But that wasn’t the end of it, her next idea was to play with her dolls house, yes she has one of those wonderful old fashioned things, in fact it used to belong to me and my two sisters when we were kids and even had our Cindy and Barbie dolls still with it. Ahhhh I feel old! She just about managed to exhaust me once again, but it was ok this time as she is my joy so it was different.

I could quite happily tell you about her all day, as she has me wrapped around her little finger, but I wont. Oh and one more thing, (told you), when I’d come over for lunch, well attempted lunch, if she was there, she’d wag her finger at me, put her hands on her hips and say in a very stern voice “Auntie Debbie you have to eat” then she’d put on this cute little frown, and I’d try…. just for her.  I couldn’t eat a lot but it was better than nothing.  She still checks up on me when I see her and if I am feeling really low, it doesn’t last long, as I cant help but smile and feel good when I’m around her. Auntie Debbie is a big old softie!

So back to me for a titchy bit, sorry. Remember in my last post that I said I was going to give you a little snippet of information about Anosmia in each post well this is my latest. Referenced from the ‘Anosmia Foundation’ website. Anosmia originally came from the Greek work Osme and is the stem word for medical definitions of smell i.e. Anosmia, Parosmia etc. There are also specific names for taste disorders, and again the name derives from a Greek word, Geusi, meaning taste. These are Ageusia – the absence of taste, Hypogeusia – a decreased sense of taste, andDysgeusia – an unpleasant sense of taste.

(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Debbie for opening up about her experiences with Anosmia. Many people live with conditions that most would never see, experiance or understand but to read about them allows us to open our minds to situations we cant comprehend. To read more from Debbie you can visit her personal blog (icantsmellathing.blogspot.com) or check out her author page here.)