Transitioning to a low carb lifestyle does not mean that you need to miss out on some of your favourite taste sensations, in fact the more variety of foods that you are willing to try, the better. Here are some tricks on how to tantalise your taste buds without compromising on your health.
Nicole Avena in her clip “How Sugar Affects the Brain” explains how the brain processes different tastes – check out her clip here. Sugar has a powerful affect on the brain and can become addictive. When you are making a conscious effort to reduce sugar in your diet it can feel like something is “missing”. But how do you stimulate this pleasure centre associated with taste without compromising your health? A trick that I stumbled upon early in my low carb journey was to play with combining different flavours in an unstructured way. I had cooked a batch of low carb, no sugar almond biscuits and I was disheartened to say the least. The joy of eating the humble biscuit was gone and I was lost, it just wasn’t the same. I looked in my fridge and found a few simple things. In desperation, I put a dollop of cream on the plate, a sprig of mint, a shaving of lemon rind and cracked a couple of nuts over the top of my sad little biscuit. It was transformed! I suddenly had an array of different textures and flavours that were combining to make a delightful taste experience and I understood what Nicole Avena was talking about.
The thing that amazed me was that in combining flavours and textures in this way I did not need volume. I didn’t need to go back for a second serving, my brain had registered that something good had just happened and my body was nourished by the choice of foods that I had supplied it.
Think about the array of sugary, processed chocolate flavours out there on the market. One of my favourites is orange. Recently, I was really missing that gooey orange centered chocolate delight but I had no intention of experiencing the sick feeling that for me always accompanies the delightful taste. So, I decided to look to nature to supply what I was looking for. I knew I didn’t need much to give me that taste sensation that I was missing so I went simple. I combined 1 square of 90% dark chocolate with two segments of a tangerine, a teaspoon of almond butter (download the recipe here) and a leaf or two of fresh thyme and I was in heaven. So delicious!!
Apply this to your savoury hankerings. Antipasto dishes are a delicious way to combine different flavours to give you a satisfying array of tastes. So too the humble cheese platter. The possibilities are endless when you start to apply the principle of combining flavours and textures to satisfy your senses.
So don’t be shy when it comes to combining new tastes and flavours. Your brain and your body will thank you!!
Beth and Fran