When I had to seriously restrict my diet which eventually became vegan, I thought at first I would be eating bland food forever. I quickly learned to replace the taste of animal fat with interesting spices like paprika, garlic, raisins, nuts, ginger, cinnamon, and Marsala.
I make my own bread, so now the taste of store-bought bread is slightly repulsive. It’s tacky, chewy, and actually kind of bland.
Since I don’t like the taste of soy milk, I started drinking my tea plain, and discovered I like my tea better that way.
I discovered—I guess not surprisingly—that eggs taste just like chicken.
I went to Wendy’s.
Avi and I were out-and-about. I needed a break from whipping together a meal. It was cheap. She loves fries. I got a salad with mandarin oranges on it, some chopped almonds and fake Asian crispy thingies. I gave the chicken on top to Avi. She didn’t eat it. But we both ate the fries.
My initial bite was slight revulsion. It tasted pretty gross. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had fast food fries since starting this whole vegan thing, but I usually go for Chick-Fil-A which are cooked in peanut oil and are really yummy. I have no idea what Wendy’s cooks in but it’s gross. What was funny, though, was with every fry I ate, they tasted more and more yummy….
It was strange.
And I looked around at the packed restaurant. At all the people who eat this crap multiple days a week. And I mourn for their taste buds. They no longer know how to recognize truly delicious food. In fact, if I were to place homemade bread in front of them, they’d ask for the butter and jam before even tasting it. Many of them would decide they don’t like it simply because they are so used to the taste of chemicals and animals fats. Anything lacking that additive tastes revolting to them…just like chemicals taste revolting to me.
And sometimes I wonder if I should blame fast food for the tummy dilemma I am now in. Because although I swore off fast food and red meat for most of my life, when I got pregnant it was my best friend. I craved the fat and salt constantly. I was commuting an hour each way to work so even though I ate a snack before leaving the office, I would get hungry half way home, just in time to stop at McD’s for fries. And then when Avi was born, she was a terrible sleeper so I would stick her in the car at lunch time, drive until she fell asleep, go to the Burger King drive through and then park and eat while she slept. It frequently felt like my only complete meal of the day.
And now, here I am. With a unexplained leaky gut. And I can’t help but blame the chemicals and red meat.
The benefit, of course, is that I’m learning to taste again.
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