It's time for another Dose of Pleasure! Last time we talked about using our nose to enhance our health and well-being (and, of course, our pleasure) and this week, I'd like to discuss taste. All of you foodies out there might be surprised, but it's believed that tast is the least refined of all our senses, as humans can perceive only 4 basic tastes (salty, sour, sweet, and bitter).
The sister science of yoga, Ayurveda, approaches the sense of taste a bit differently. According to this ancient Indian science, there are 6 tastes: sour, salty, astringent, pungent, bitter, and sweet. The teachings of Ayurveda urge us to include all 6 tastes in each meal to balance nutritional needs.
Here in the West, the different tastes are often linked to emotions, hence the term “comfort food.” Often we associate different foods with emotions or states of mind. Take chicken soup, for example. Many associate this warm, comforting dish with maternal love (I know many people who delight in eating and/or preparing their mother's or grandmother's chicken soup). Often familial celebrations or social gatherings revolve around food. Unfortunately, the increasingly faster pace of life and the advent of fast food has robbed us of taking our full pleasure in our sense of taste.
How many times have you rushed through a meal only to realize that you don't even remember what it tasted like? Do you chew your food or gobble it down quickly? Do you cook with spices? Do you vary the types of food you eat, or do you tend to eat the same food every day? Becoming more aware of your habits around food can help you enhance your sense of taste and derive more pleasure from it.
Here are some tips and resources to help you expand your capacity for pleasure through taste:
Savor all of the different tastes that you come across this week. Note the ones that you love, crave, and want more of. Indulge your sense of taste and notice the pleasure that it offers. I'll be back in a few weeks to discuss my favorite sense of all – touch.
Have a pleasure-filled day,