Many people are currently navigating a loss of taste and smell. For some the cause is COVID-19. For others it may be chemotherapy or a different virus. I experienced such a loss following a virus a few years ago. It took almost a year for my sense of smell to return to mostly normal. I say mostly because I still encounter days when things seem just a little bit off. Although they’re now rare, it is still disconcerting when it happens.
For those of you who are not regaining these senses quickly, there are treatments available and one of those can be done at home. Olfactory training is a treatment used to encourage smell fibers to start working again. You can begin it at any time.
Choose items already in your home and smell them, slowly mastering each smell and then moving to another. I’d probably start with coffee, vinegar, vanilla, and oil of oregano. I might also bury my nose in the autumn scented candle I can’t get enough of. This process stimulates the olfactory nerve and hopefully encourages the body to create new neural pathways.
Don’t be alarmed if some things smell wrong or foul for quite some time. This is the symptom that lingers for me. Certain items sometimes smell spoiled when they’re not. For some people, everything may taste like bananas for a day. There’s really no predicting the exact experience. Just know, you’re not losing your mind.
And if not being able to taste is causing you to lose your appetite, there’s a new cookbook from Life Kitchen called Taste & Flavour. Those with a keen eye may have noticed the u in Flavour and already guessed that the chefs who developed these recipes live in the UK. But don’t worry about converting currency. The book can be downloaded for free.
The chefs consulted with scientists, researchers, and patients to create recipes that add sensory excitement. Part of that formula is to appeal to the eyes by using bright colors. They also use texture and foods like pineapple that stimulate the trigeminal nerve. Other foods like soy sauce and mushrooms are included to stimulate saliva and boost other flavors in a dish.
You may have to alter the way you cook for a while. Or you may find that your preferences have changed. Any changes bring an opportunity to explore a variety of new food combinations you might not have considered before.
For most, the senses of taste and smell will return eventually. Until they do, olfactory training and specialized recipes can help you navigate the twists and turns that come with an altered sense of perception. We may not have normal, but we’re continually gaining new resources and I love that!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”