Anosmia and Artificial Flavoring

As aforementioned, I acquired anosmia versus being a congenital case. Therefore, I understand if those of you who have had aosmia your whole life either understanding or not understanding some of my posts about this condition regarding food and eating.

I have never loved food. The reasons are a whole different story. However, there are things I enjoyed before I had anosmia. There are some things about my former life that I have realized are still part of who I am and my preferences.

You would think that artificial flavoring would not affect anosmics, because we only taste from our taste buds and miss the 95% of “taste,” which is flavor. Here’s the thing. There are foods that have taste condiments, which offer more sweet, sour, salty, and occasionally bitter. Chocolate is the closest food to tasting as it was. HOWEVER, chocolate flavoring versus genuine chocolate DO NOT taste the same. I would think this is more known to us, as there is probably a way to offer the aroma of chocolate giving the one eating fulfillment, as flavor is a huge facet in eating to most.

Due to this realization of imitation chocolate flavoring, I have come to understand that artificial flavoring does matter. The point of this is that reading labels or what is written in fine print is pertinent if you are seeking to enjoy what you are eating. Furthermore, understanding that flavoring is not the same as the genuine food offering tastes is not the same. Therefore, at bare minimum understanding this can keep you from feeling disappointment that the food does not taste as you remember.

I do understand that hardly anything tastes what it did before becoming anosmic; however, understanding limitations along with having a moment of some pleasure eating is better than always being down in the mouth (pun intended).

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.

A New Perspective for Eating

It has been just shy of eighteen months since my accident, falling twenty feet and obtaining a traumatic brain injurty (TBI) along with anosmia. I hate to admit it, but life in general has become bland. It is ironic how my life was seemingly more flavorful when I could taste and sense flavor versus not being able to smell and having flavors removed from my eating.

 

I have been in and out of searching for answers for myself along with all my fellow anosmics. I feel their pain, whether anosmia is a result of an accident or whether it has been a part of life since birth.

 

Within my search, I have talked to friends, family, chefs, counselors, etc. I have learned smell is the sense linked to emotion and memory the most. To not have that is saddening and filled with much loss. So the question is what do we do about it regarding eating  with the loss of both smell and no flavors? My sister-in-law told me that if I am eating a certain food, remember what it was. Tie the memories and emotions into the food. After all, eating is both bland to the palate and to the emotions, whereas to most eating touches the heart and gives satisfaction to the tongue while filling the stomach.

 

I decided to do this. Before my accident, my husband and I would eat at various restaurants and we had come to order desserts on occasion that often were chocolate with amaretto drizzled on the dessert. Yesterday, I requested this be ordered with our Valentine dinner. Part of me was disappointed.. disappointed because I already knew it would not be the same. The other part kept telling myself to remember.. remember the dinner.. remember the romance.. remember how wonderful it was to eat this dessert together with my husband. The result is it was less bland than it would have been. If I had not tied this memory into what I was eating, it would have been full of grief, sadness, and loss. It would scream everything I had and how it is likely to never return.

 

I know not all anosmics are that way from accidents but from birth instead. However, all of us with cognitive skills and abilities have memories of love and bonds. Most of us have our sense of touch, sight, and hearing. Due to this, even for congenital anosmics, this is still a viable way to eat and make at least some foods more amiable and pleasant… to remember and rexperience the love and bonds we have with our family and friends while eating can help. It may not give our mouths flavor; however, it can minister to our hearts. Thank you, Linda, for your insight. I am glad you mentioned this idea, and I am proud to say it is better to eat this way even if on rare occasion than everything being a fight to eat.

Habanero Jelly with Pomegranate Seeds for 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…)

Habanero gives heat.
Jelly is sweet with a silky texture.
Pomegranate seeds are sour tasting that are crunchy with juice that gushes from the seeds.

Homemade Tapioca with Pomegranate Seeds for Those 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…)

Wednesday was National Tapioca Day, so I ventured and cooked and chilled my own from an altered recipe along with adding pomegranate seeds to the top of every dish served.

3 cups whole milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 cup quick-cooking tapioca (I used rice flour)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together the milk, tapioca, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 5 minutes longer.

Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Stir the egg mixture back into the tapioca until well mixed. Bring the pudding to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer until the pudding becomes thick enough to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. The pudding may be served hot or poured into serving dishes and refrigerated several hours until cold.

Tastes:
Sweet – Custard
Sour – Pomegranate Seeds

Textures:
Creamy – Custard
Crunchy – Pomegranate Seeds
Gush of Juice – Pomegranate Seeds

Original recipe

…along with the idea of pomegranate seeds.

Eating with No Smell (Anosmia) with Sensations

For those of us who are anosmiacs, we have challenges with consumption of food. As I stated in an earlier post, texture is one facet. The other facet is sensation. I will categorize what I eat and the sensations they offer, for it is one more thing we may have overlooked. However, events and conditions change us.

Acidic:
Tomato sauce, Pineapple, Citric fruits (oranges, lemons, kumquats, tangerines..)

Heat:
Chilies, Ginger, Buffalo Sauce

Cool:
Dairy Products like sour cream and ranch dressing, mint

Burning:
Soda

Warmth:
Cinnamon, caraway

Day to Day Life with Anosmia (Loss of Smell)

Losing my sense of smell has been quite a hurdle to jump. For one, I have been a wife and mother for twenty-five years.Being those have been my roles, I have been the head of cooking and cleaning. When you cannot smell, you cannot know when your child starts a load of laundry and it sits then gains mildew. You also cannot taste food but 5% of what everyone else tastes. The only thing we can taste is sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. We have sensations down our throats due to heat (through chilies), cool (through sour cream or ranch dressing), and burning (through sodas). When one defines oneself by cooking and/or cleaning or even supervising either or both those, our deficits are emphasized, and we often feel like failures. Furthermore, the joy of eating or even serving food is gone. Eating is a chore, and so is preparing and cooking foods for those we love, being we cannot agree that what we prepare is worth their time and energy.

Upon researching anosmia, I have read that we often die within five years of the event that causes our loss of smell. I believe this is largely due to lack of education. For instance, I was never told it was possible that I may find I cannot smell. Furthermore, when I asked my doctor about it, he simply stated that is the way my life will be. There was never any talk of the dangers of not being able to smell.

I have accidentally swallowed bleach thinking it was water with lemon. I have burned beans and not smelled the smoke nor had my eyes water, let alone my lungs even being affected. Not having smell is so important! My goal within at least the next few posts is to teach what should occur to live a more precautious life after it is known one cannot smell.