There IS a healthier hope for us!

My whole life I have been a picky eater: Pretty sure I could've used this book growing up (probably still could, actually ;o) As a kid, I detested every vegetable on the planet with the exception of corn (plain, with butter) and carrots (provided they were swimming in butter and brown sugar, that is). Although I did learn how to swallow my peas whole with a spoonful of applesauce, the majority of vegetables invoked a gag reflex strong enough to call for some drastic measures. I became a master at discreetly disposing of the detestable vegetable on my plate at  suppertime. It went into the napkin first, then into my pocket or sometimes even my sock. If I couldn't pull that off, I was happily enabled by a lovely oak breakfast room table with its own handy-dandy hiding place [a shelf, in actuality] directly underneath the tabletop. This system served me well all the way up until college, when my parents moved and my mother decided to use that table as a place to organize and box things up. Although I was away at school, I'm sure the look on my mother's face was priceless when she pulled those leaves apart to discover a veritable mountain of crumpled napkins holding the skeletal remains of the "ones I forgot to throw away" hidden underneath (sorry mom ;o)

While it was totally socially acceptable for a kid to hate veggies, my pickiness got harder as I got older. Soda was a major issue, as it was often the only available drink on the menu at football games, dances, etc. Pizza was a problem too. What teenage kid doesn't like soda or pizza, right? Well, that would be me. While I didn't like pizza at all, I absolutely loathed soda. I didn't like hot chocolate, chocolate milk (plain white, please) or tea either-either. Nor have I ever liked fillings (e.g. pie/cake), condiments, gravies or sauces. The only kind of soup I would eat is Campbell's canned chicken noodle; no stew, gumbo or chili for me. Shoot, I didn't even like salad dressing, cream cheese or whipped cream (I still don't). Pretty sure I mentioned that before on a post somewhere around here (yep, click here to read it). 

My parents, who enjoyed sophisticated dining, attempted to indoctrinate my brother (who was "normal") and I; but constantly despaired at my hopelessly unsophisticated taste buds. I endured all manner of parental displeasure and constant criticism over my food preferences. For some reason growing up, I always assumed that there would be some kind of instantaneous and altogether miraculous change in my taste buds once I achieved adulthood. One where I would suddenly develop the desire to consume all manner of vegetables by the truckload and crave that cup of morning coffee most grownups cannot function without. You know what though? It never happened.

In fact, it wasn't until recently that I stumbled across a fascinating new vocabulary word: Supertaster. I came across it in a post on one of the Paleo forums while doing some research. I was combing the internet, desperately struggling to make the diet work for me as a vegetable hating picky eater (for more about the actual Paleo diet, visit the Health Yerself page). I had just been diagnosed as gluten intolerant and gone gluten free, which knocked out about half of the foods on a [very short] list of things I actually liked to eat. Anyway, a woman was looking for help finding Paleo foods that her "supertaster" boyfriend - who hated vegetables, coffee, yadda yadda - would be willing to eat. Whoa, hold on a minute there. A what? Supertaster? I wonder what that is. After skimming the list of foods she said he hated, I felt like I was on the verge of something huge. Monumental even.

You know what? I was! I learned that there are actually three different kinds of "tasters" (who knew?) There were regular tasters (about 50% of the population), who had varying likes/dislikes among different foods, and there were non-tasters (about 25% of the population); people who had few preferences and would eat just about anything set in front of them (pretty sure DH falls into this group). Then there were the supertasters; people who had [literally] thousands of extra taste buds on their tongues. People who hated certain foods; bitter tasting things like vegetables and coffee, and things with strong flavors. You mean it may not be just me?!? There might be a legitimate and identifiable reason that I am so doggone picky? Duuuuude. The best part? The type of  taster you are could be quickly determined by a simple test using litmus paper.  

Hot footing it down to the science teacher's room, I said a prayer that she would know what I was talking about and could tell me where to find a piece of litmus paper. I just had to know for sure; preferably without coating my tongue with food coloring (ick). Maybe she might even have a piece. Would you believe she had a whole supertaster lab kit for the classroom? Hot dawg! According to the directions on the kit, it said to place the piece of litmus paper on your tongue and count to 20. If you were a supertaster, the paper would develop a bitter taste within 20 seconds (for regular and non-tasters it wouldn't have any taste at all). By the count of three, I was gagging. As soon as school was out, I called my parents and told them what I had discovered. Pretty sure I mentioned something about sending all future therapy bills to them for any lingering vegetative childhood trauma ;o)

Now maybe you think all of this is silly, but this information was nothing short of revolutionary to me. A miraculous discovery, if you like, having spent most of my life wondering why I was so different; why my adult palate never kicked in. Even if I didn't know what to do about it, just knowing was HUGE.

Click here if you'd like to read more in depth information on taste.

Are you a supertaster? There's hope for you! 

This page is still under destruction *cough* er, I mean construction.

check back soon!

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