Food is delicious. Well, most food is delicious. When you have dietary restrictions ― for health reasons or to slim down for summer ― you usually miss out on the most flavorful food, opting instead for bland or boring dishes that provide nourishment at the expense of taste.
However, even if you can’t add calorie-rich sauces, gravies, and dressings that boost food’s flavor, you can still live a flavorful life. Here’s how.
Buy Organic Only
The produce sections in today’s grocery stores are absolutely space-age. In past eras of human history, seeing such large, bright meats, fruits, and vegetables was exceedingly uncommon. Yet, as impressed as our precursors would be with the look of our produce, they would be equally disappointed with its taste.
The majority of our fresh food is overfilled with pesticides, preservatives, dyes, and all sorts of unnatural additives that enhance its look while shrinking its flavor ― and its nutrition. The result is bland food, even in fruits and vegetables that are supposed to explode with flavor.
The only solution is buying organic. Though organic farms are not completely faultless ― for example, many still employ chemical pesticides, but at rates much lower than conventional farms ― they do tend to focus on healthy practices that enrich food nutritionally and flavorfully.
Plus, organic farms often grow heirloom varieties that aren’t much different from the produce of the past. Thus, you can get healthier flavor by shopping organic only.
Use Alternative Flavor Enhancers
Thanks to all sorts of advancements in gastronomy, you no longer need to rely on old-fashioned (and decidedly dangerous) flavor enhancers like salt and sugar. Today, there are safer methods of adding flavor to food that don’t endanger health or derail fitness plans.
For example, at your local grocery store, you can find dozens of alternatives to sugar, including familiar substitutes like Splenda and Sweet’N Low. However, these chemical sweeteners can cause almost as many health problems as regular sugar; instead, you should search out Stevia, which is a naturally sweet plant (like sugar cane) with an astounding zero calories per serving. Stevia comes in all shapes and sizes, from granulated varieties to liquid drops, so you can replace sugar in almost everything you make.
Salt is harder to replicate. Though some companies offer low-sodium salts, the better option is to exchange salt for different seasonings altogether. Different spices and herbs provide flavor and little else, and mixing your own seasonings is a rewarding way to find new flavor. However, experimenting in the kitchen isn’t for everyone; those who lack the palate can look for healthy seasoning providers, like Flavor God, for pre-mixed options.
Unfortunately, the above solutions aren’t available to everyone. Some people have such extreme dietary restrictions that any flavor whatsoever can be dangerous. Still, it is possible to live a flavorful life ― with aroma. A significant portion of your ability to taste arises from your olfactory senses, meaning your nose. Thus, by saturating your environment with pleasing smells, you can continue to enjoy flavor.
There are several ways to add aromas to your space. Scented candles are obviously some of the most common, as you can find thousands of varieties in stores and online. Another typical solution is scented lotion or perfume, which allows scent to follow you no matter where you go.
An option you might not have considered is vaping, which consists of inhaling water vapor imbued with flavor and aroma. The growing vaping community has ensured millions of different “e-juice” mixtures, from coffee to apple cobbler to breakfast cereal milk, so you can smell some of the most esoteric flavors you might be missing in your food.
If none of those options satisfy, you can try aromatherapy. Though aromatherapy is slightly more limited in its scent options than candles or vaporizers, its aromas are usually more potent. Essential oils are the most common tools of aromatherapy; these are particularly refined oils that carry intense natural scents, including citrus, almond, lavender, eucalyptus, and hundreds more.
Long-time practitioners of aromatherapy claim different scents have restorative effects, so you might begin to feel stronger and saner by enjoying aromatherapy. However, it is important to remember that aromatherapy is unregulated, which means you should understand the limitations of the practice before you begin.