Thursday, February 7, 2013

Season Meals for Taste

Good Morning Cancer Patients and Caregivers;

The treatment process of chemo, radiation, surgery all have effects on your senses. As treatment continued for me I found my senses deteriorated more and more. The sense of smell, touch, taste, as well as my eye sight and hearing all became worse as I clocked 4 months of treatment sitting in an infusion chair five days a week for 4-5 hours every four weeks. In my case most of my senses have not returned to their normal strength since I completed treatment. The sense that took the biggest abuse was my sense of taste.

During treatment your sense of taste deteriorates and changes frequently as treatment progresses. You never know what something is going to taste like because it never has the same taste while you are in treatment. Foods with mild flavors like eggs, rice, mashed potatoes, baked and broiled chicken, and most meat products all had no taste for me. I found smoked meats and anything flavored with bacon I could taste. I added hot sauce to rice so it had flavor I could taste. As treatment progressed, I found myself doctoring my meals with various seasonings to be able to taste them. It was bad enough that I didn't have an appetite and no desire to eat anything, but forcing myself to eat 5-6 small meals a day without any flavor I resorted to bombarding everything I ate with heavy seasonings. Garlic, Italian seasonings, cheyanne pepper, barbeque sause, tabasco sauce, hickory smoke flavoring, salt, pepper.....any seasoning that would raise the level of taste in meals for my weak sense of taste. I flavored popcorn so strong most people couldn't eat it.

My sense of taste never returned and it may be the weakest of my senses after recovering from treatment so I still season foods to a level most people wouldn't eat. Going through the rigors of treatment causes your appetite to disappear, coupled with the loss of your ability to taste anything makes eating during treatment a major undertaking. So season your meals to be able to taste them. Try different seasonings. You can't hurt the meals flavor because you can't taste it anyway. You are just trying to add flavor and taste to a meal you really have no desire to eat but know you must to maintain your strength for treatment and recovery.

 So find the seasonings that work for you. The challenge is to find the seasonings and flavors that you can taste while in treatment. I found hickory smoke flavoring, barbeque sause and tabasco sause worked best for me, along with alot of garlic, salt and pepper.

You have to eat during treatment to keep up your strength but you don't have to suffer through the lack of taste and flavor in your meals. Be creative, get out the seasonings and season your meals to taste them.

Stay strong, keep your sense of humor and never give up.