*This article is to share my personal experiences and is for entertainment purposes only. I would like to acknowledge that this virus has impacted many lives in ways one cannot imagine and I am grateful that I have not experienced any life-threatening effects due to COVID-19.
Another day in isolation and the symptoms just keep on coming. Long story short, today is my eighth day in isolation. My body has been through a lot as I’ve experienced almost all of the most common symptoms of this virus. What seemed like an obnoxiously stuffy nose turned into the complete loss of smell and taste. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that besides this annoyance, my symptoms have been pretty mild. But let me tell you losing my sense of smell and taste has been the weirdest and most annoying thing I have experienced in quite some time.
The quote “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone” has never felt more true until now. For some, losing your sense of taste might be more of a minor inconvenience, but I am a wholehearted foodie. I thrive off of making yummy savory recipes and satisfying my sweet tooth. I mean, I have a lifestyle Instagram account dedicated to the yummy food I eat, for crying out loud!
So how’d it all start and what is it like losing your sense of smell and taste? I had a bad feeling about it when I started noticing that my Christmas Cookie Yankee Candle (yes, a Christmas scent in March) wasn’t smelling as delicious and I was used to. In denial, I carried on with my night but by the morning I knew something was horribly wrong when I couldn’t taste my everything bagel breakfast sandwich. I had fallen victim to a foodie’s worst nightmare … Loss of taste.
Imagine you are having an amazing dream where you’re in literal food heaven. Think of your most favorite foods and you’ve got it all right in front of you. Gourmet pasta and pizzas and all the dessert you can imagine just waiting for you. Your stomach is gurgling, your mouth is watering and just as you’re about to dive in for that first bite … you wake up.
Yeah. Alarm clock going off at 7a.m.. Not a bit of food in sight. That’s what losing your sense of taste is like. But in all seriousness, as much as it really does suck, it’s just so strange! My first day consisted of me just eating the foods I would usually eat in the day and feeling disappointed that there wasn’t any flavor. Like most people, I would get cravings for something sweet, but I wouldn’t be able to satisfy that craving.
This inability to satisfy my cravings eventually lead to me not having as many cravings. I guess it’s not the worst, but I’ve had to be careful because not only do I not have cravings as much, my entire hunger signals just seem to be off now too. My body still gets hungry, but the other day I didn’t notice I was even hungry until I was suddenly feeling sick from the lack of food I had. Now that I know what to expect, I’ve become much more in tune with other signals from my body that tell me when I need to eat, but it has been a confusing journey. The current struggle is having to spend time in the kitchen making nutritious food knowing that I won’t get to enjoy it the way I usually would.
Although I can’t taste, I’ve come to appreciate the textures and temperatures of food and the sensations they can bring. I never knew how much satisfaction I could get from the crunch of a carrot or a soft toasted bagel. Sometimes I can trick my brain into imagining the flavor with each bite. It’s enough to know that what I’m eating would be delicious if only I could taste it!
The craziest thing about not being able to taste is still being able to feel the physical sensations. Last night I had an Asian noodle stir fry with a sauce that had a bit of a kick to it, and of course, I couldn’t taste it, but I could feel it! I could feel the spiciness on my tongue and in my mouth. Similarly, when I ate my mint M&M’s and brushed my teeth before bed I could feel the minty freshness you get. As I sit here and write this out my tongue is recovering from that uncomfortable raw feeling you get from juicy fresh pineapple, but did I get to enjoy the taste of it? Nope.
You might be asking what’s the point of snacking? I’m struggling with the same question but in the end, I have to consciously remind myself that my body still needs energy to get me through the day, especially if it’s trying to fight off this virus. So yes, I’ll continue to make yummy foods despite feeling like it’s all going to waste, and I’ll appreciate what I can with this experience in hopes that my taste will return soon again.