Recently I told my husband, "I love food more than you."
"You love food more than me?!" He asked incredulously.
"YES!" I said. "Definitely!"
He shook his head and said, "I always suspected. Now I know for sure."
Ha! Of course I meant, "I love food more than you love food."
I've always loved food (who doesn't?), but I'm positive that eating a vegan diet has changed my tastebuds so that I'm able to taste food in ways I never did before. The cheese, butter, and other dairy I put on everything as a vegetarian hid the food's true taste. And because cheese is addictive, I never quite liked food if it wasn't swimming in cheese or other dairy.
Yes, cheese is addictive, as this article in Vegetarian Times says: "[Cheese] is an addiction, says Neal Barnard, MD, VT's 'Ask the Doc' columnist, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and author of Breaking the Food Seduction. Actually, it's more accurate to say I'm hooked on casomorphins, the tiny, biologically active compounds produced when my body breaks down milk proteins. 'Casomorphins attach to the brain's opiate receptors to cause a calming effect in much the same way heroin and morphine do,' Barnard explains. 'In fact, since cheese is processed to express out all the liquid, it's an incredibly concentrated source of casomorphins—you might call it dairy crack.'"
In the same article, vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz (whose many cookbooks I own and love), says that in order to kick the cheese addiction, you have to give it up completely. "You need to give yourself a couple of months without cheese, some time to let your taste buds catch up with your ethics," she says. "It might sound like deprivation at first, but your body will adjust. I started loving Brussels sprouts and butternut squash; I could taste the subtle difference between a raw and a toasted pumpkin seed. Once you figure out that you don't have to cover everything in cheese, you start to become almost like a supertaster."
I totally agree. After I eliminated dairy and my tastebuds got adjusted from being dairy-crack-free, I started to really love food--real, good-for-you, nutritious food like collard greens (my new current favorite), kale, and freshly cooked chickpeas.
My husband laughs when I bite into something and exclaim, "This is the best thing I've ever tasted!" I do that a lot. I just love food!
Have your tastebuds changed since eating vegan? I suspect this is common for all vegans. Please leave a comment and let me know!