Have you ever been psychologically or emotionally bothered by your food cravings? Have diet “experts” and food focused “health” nuts led you to believe that you’re gluttonous, lazy, dysfunctional, shameful and wrong for your preferred food tastes? Do you feel food, feeding, eating and dietarily broken?
Desire for a particular food or food group is a feeling. A feeling is a higher order sensation. Taste is a sensation. A sensation is intended to direct our actions. Thirsty is a sensation that gets us to drink. Tired is a sensation that gets us to rest. What happens if you decide to deny these sensations, and not act according to your feedback?
How does taste work?
The tongue has taste buds, about 10,000 of them. Each taste bud has between 50 to 150 chemoreceptor cells to gather a better chemical sense of our bodies, food and environment. Taste buds communicate with gustatory areas of the brain via nerve impulses that are transmitted along the VII, IX, and X cranial nerves.
There are 5 general taste sensations, sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. The chemical compositions of food allow us to sense these distinctions. We can also gauge our chemical (food) needs through our craving tastes for these sensations. In other words, taste does more than inform us about the state of our food, but also the state of our body.
Umami is associated with savoriness or protein richness. Can you imagine your body wanting to tell you it needs more protein? Of course you can.
Bitter is associated with poisons. For instance, many plants have poisonous compounds that we would sense as very bitter. What do you do when you taste bitter? You tighten your mouth and stick out your tongue. You expel not ingest. One possibility might be that our body seeks bitter substances to temporarily aid a heightened awareness of potential poisons. I know a person who was in such critical condition in the hospital they were given a 20% chance to live. The only taste craving and sense they had was for bitter. Wouldn’t near death be a good time to be particularly sensitive to poisons?
Salty and Sour are connected to salt and acid balancing. It’s highly useful for our body to send signals that automate our seeking foods that better regulate our acid and salt levels. Every cell of your body depends on tight regulation of both.
Lastly, we come to sweet. Sweet seeks caloric density. It’s all about energy. What’s one thing we cannot function without? Energy. Every process of life is dependent upon energy. We must have it! In order to create it, we must consume it. And if we need to consume it, we absolutely need to sense for it.
Your cravings aren’t wrong, and they most certainly don’t make you a bad person. They are simply reflective of the states of your body, and indicators of what actions need to be taken.
Taste doesn’t make you faulty. It makes you functional.
Follow your tastes.
Free your mind
and you’ll begin finding greater health.