We pick up where we left off in the previous sensory balance post by exploring the opportunities to be found in our fifth and final outer sense—taste.
Taste: A diverse mix of flavors—salty, sour, sweet, bitter, creamy, crunchy, juicy—adds zing to my days.
I left the sense of taste until last in this exploration of the outer senses for a reason. It’s because so many of us gorge this sense with too much poor-quality food, hoping to distract ourselves or fill fear-shaped voids that overeating or consuming junk is never going to fill. By walking through the other four outer senses first, you are beginning to understand where and how you could better feed your senses of sight, touch, hearing, and smell instead of gorging your sense of taste.
If NASA employed superior design in building a state-of-the-art space vehicle and then cut corners by putting junk in the fuel tank, it wouldn’t matter how sophisticated the engineering of the rocket: it would never reach its destination. So it is with human beings. You are a unique and precious cocreative expression of the Divine here to do a big job: tuning in to the Universal frequency so you may channel love and light to reveal and advance the highest good for all, in all, through all. When it comes to food, it’s not about deprivation and starvation. It’s about creating the optimal rocket fuel for the rock star you are!
The key to achieving and maintaining balance in feeding my sense of taste, as with all of the outer and inner senses, is mindfulness in each moment. What’s my objective? What’s the optimal path? How am I doing? The five attributes of constructive core energy and all of the other inner and outer senses converge in the evaluation of each sense. Do my objective, path, and progress embody love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude? Am I employing all of the sensory tools at my disposal: a variety of nutrients, textures, colors, and scents? Is my presentation creative? Is my timing optimal? Am I demonstrating consistent commitment to my welfare by investing my energy in advanced planning, shopping, and preparation? Do I remain mindful and committed to fueling my sense of taste nutritiously at both ends of the emotional spectrum: celebration and disappointment?
There are scores of programs on nutrition and healthy eating. I was introduced to Weight Watchers in the 1980s when I wanted to lose ten pounds and they were using their original “exchange” structure. I had experienced anorexia in the 1970s and never wanted to go there again. Weight Watchers is not a fad diet for dropping pounds fast; it’s a way of life, one based in mindful self-care, not deprivation. Its focus is to understand the principles of balanced nutrition, figure out where and why your relationship with food has gotten off track, and determine how to restructure your partnership to support you in being healthy and fit for life.
It’s not about following the eating plan that worked for me. It’s about mindfulness and self-love. Invest the energy to figure out what works best for you. I was a sugar addict, so I now avoid refined sugar wherever possible. While not hypoglycemic, based on my chemistry and makeup, I find my optimal approach is eating small meals every two to four hours that combine lean protein, whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and fresh fruit and vegetables. When we go too long without food, our bodies’ primitive starvation monitors kick in and send the message to slow down metabolism for survival. It can take a while to get your rate of calorie burning back on track.
I discovered two additional reasons to drink lots of water, especially before and after meals. Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, even though we ate a short while ago, we’re actually dehydrated. This makes sense because our bodies use water to process our food. Try drinking a glass of water and see if the feeling you were tagging as hunger disappears. I also begin each day and each meal with a big glass of water with fresh lemon. It kick-starts the hydration, digestion, and fullness registration processes. One of the reasons we tend to overeat is because our bodies generally don’t register “enough food” and turn off the appetite switch until about twenty minutes after we’ve eaten. Starting with water, eating at a reasonable pace, and paying more attention to nutritional quality and portion size than how full you feel are great habits to help you avoid overeating.
A couple of years after I gave up refined sugar in my food, I also gave up alcohol. It was the right decision for me. It is essentially concentrated sugar, so it sent me up and down the glycemic roller coaster and continued to feed the sugar addiction I was trying to be free of. For me, alcohol had insufficient nutritional value; it fueled mindless eating, slowed my metabolism, and had always been a depressant. Even one drink could produce depression that would still be evident the day after. Add to that a family history of alcoholism and, as a therapist once warned, for me, taking a drink was like putting a loaded gun in my mouth. Unsafe, unwise, and unnecessary.
I am not against alcohol or sugar or any particular food or drink. I am for mindfulness and self-love. I trust and respect you enough to know that, when fueled by love, you’ll figure out what works best for you. Clear yourself of fear and trust your intuition. Once you are fueling yourself with constructive core energy based in love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude and you are feeding all of your senses in balance, you will find that what, when, and how much you eat falls into place just like everything else in your life.
As we bring this exploration of your sense of taste to a close, I’ll share an interesting aside. I have found that in terms of the members on my personal board of directors, it’s my muse, Bee, who has the greatest interest in food as a source of entertainment. When you learn more about the roles of the sage, guardian, and muse in chapter 6 of my book Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, the muse’s perspective on, and potential obsession with, food will make greater sense. For now, just note that it is the muse who, if you are not feeding all of your senses in balanced ways, will sabotage the healthy eating process with junk food for the brief high it offers. Yet another reason to focus on feeding all of your senses if you wish to align your eating habits with optimal nutrition.
You matter. You are the only you we’ve got. Invest your energy in feeding your sense of taste optimally. You are worth the effort. There aren’t enough cookies or french fries on the planet to smother anger, blame, shame, and self-loathing. Nothing you can eat or drink will fill a fear-shaped void. The good news is that nothing tastes as good as being healthy and fit feels.
In the next sensory balance post we’ll turn our attention from the outer to the INNER SENSES with a two-part consideration of the sensory balance opportunities of the first of our four inner senses—creativity.