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Help - this Chowhound has no taste!

I had a nasty bug this week and I've lost 12 pounds... and my appetite is non-existant, and my tastebuds are on the fritz. Everything tastes and smells super-strong to me, so I'm done after one bite, if I can even stomach that. I spent the week living on icepops, gatorade, and flat soda, all of which tasted nasty but are necessary evils of illness. About the only thing I've tried so far that tastes GOOD is Vitamin Water. And I just had part of a tomato and it was delicious, if remarkably strong. What could I maybe eat???

To make things more fun, DH got diagnosed with diabetes yesterday, so we have to totally reshape our eating habits for THAT, and it just seems easier for me not to eat at all...

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  1. First of all WOW, what a mess. I'm sure all our hearts reach out to you. In all probability your taste buds will return, and if they don't I'm sure you will talk to your doctor. I would look at diet recommendations for people on chemotherapy, a common cause of taste deprivation, although that appears to be the opposite of what you are experiencing. Try focusing on texture as much as on flavor, and get your interest and variety from that perspective. Not sure where you are or what is locally available, but here Miso soup is a common prescription for people who are having taste issues. Best of luck to both of you.

    1. plain rice gruel? Cook white rice with plenty of water. Make it thin so you can slurp it like soup. Add a pinch of salt just to get your electrolytes and to keep you hydrated but not enough to season since you are currently hyper-sensitive.

      1. First, I say let DH worry about his diabetes until you are on the mend. Time to deal with that when you are back 100%. Now, you only have to worry about getting your strength back. Your tastebuds should return soon. If you think your stomach can handle it, how about some tomato juice since you say a tomato tasted good. Have you ever tasted the broth after you've cooked some barley? To me it is very hearty and has a good mouth feel. You might want to try that. There's always chicken soup and potato soup. If you're not up to cooking it yourself, maybe buy some ready-made. Fresh Market sells some soups at their deli counter. I know Chick Filet has chicken soup and I think Panera Bread has some soups. I've not tried any of them but have been tempted. The other day I bought some Italian Wedding Soup at Sam's Club. It was quite bland, but not too bad after I added garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley. Hope you feel much better soon!

        3 Replies
        1. re: MrsJonesey

          Thanks! I was a little premature in my desire to eat. I thought I 'should', but my body knew it was still a couple of days too early. I had toast with honey last night, and now I'm back on 'real food'. Homemade chicken and barley soup with carrots and baby peas. Mmmmm it was good for both of us. I'm stuffed now! I was feeling well enough to cook it, and more importantly, well enough for it to be appealing and to taste great.

          Now I have to learn to cook for a diabetic...

          1. re: Kajikit

            Glad to hear you're feeling better. Your soup sounds very good. Good luck in learning to cook for a diabetic.

            1. re: Kajikit

              I had to do the same thing, Kajikit. First though, let me say I'm very glad you're feeling better. That's a long time to be down, for sure.
              The American diabetes ass'n. has a few great free pamphlets/cookbooks that can help you out. There are TONS of cookbooks out there on cooking for a diabetic. What worked for us was kind of formulaic: whole-grain cereal w/ skim milk, scrambled eggs with lots of veggies and a bit of cheese, rolled in a wheat tortilla......that was breakfast, with variations on the theme. Lunches: anything unprocessed, meatwise, again on whole grain or sourdough (the only white bread that's really okay for a diabetic), tuna or egg salad with easy mayo and again, tons of veggies. Keeping a pot of chicken-rice or vegetable soup around was really helpful, and so was keeping a covered container of prechopped veg. for snacks. Other well-received dishes: wheat pasta with garlic, oil and parmesan: sauteed greens w/ poached eggs atop, really ANY pasta dish, again with the wheat pasta. Dinners were anything that was planned, with the substitution of brown rice for white and frequently sweet potatoes instead of white 'taters - I found out how very good a baked sweet potato can be.
              It can be done fairly easily, with a few subs regarding the foods with a high glycemic index. Once you've learned "the rules" it gets a whole lot easier. Best to you and DH.

          2. Oatmeal with fruit and brown sugar mixed in.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Steve

              that's exactly what i was going to suggest... oatmeal with a bit of cinnamon or dried fruit. dried fruit tends to have a little less flavor than fresh, and higher in calories for its volume.

            2. Personally, when I'm that ill, my "favorite food" is Ensure. A couple years back I was incredibly sick and couldn't keep anything down for over a month. I literally lived on Ensure. The chocolate flavor wasn't great, but it was good enough to satisfy. Just don't touch the strawberry stuff. Awful.

              When I started feeling better, I kept up with my nutritional requirements by sipping Ensure, but started making real food in very small portions to re-acclimate myself to eating. Being sick is awful, hope you are feeling better.