Getting Stronger: Discussion Forum

Discussion Topics => Diet => Topic started by: Heidi on April 22, 2010, 04:41:11 AM

Title: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: Heidi on April 22, 2010, 04:41:11 AM
Hi everyone.  I've been doing some dietary deconditioning experiments that have been inspired by Todd's suggestions.  My recent experiment started over here at the Shangri-La Diet forum: (
(My first brief forays into enlightened tasting 2 years ago started at the beginning of that thread: (

Todd suggested to me yesterday:
If it doesn't break the "flow" too much, it might be interesting to take a break from active deconditioning for a few days, just to test whether the deconditioning effect holds strong or starts to weaken. From my reading, there is also some evidence that allowing a slight return of urges, followed by resumed deconditioning, may be more effective than not letting up.  Also, I assume the goal here is not to totally wipe out one's desire for specific foods or create an aversion, but rather only to dampen those urges and bring them "within control".  In this way, deconditioning is quite different than an eating disorder, because it strives toward normalization.
Thanks for bringing this up Todd.  I've been wondering how far to go in deconditioning and how reversible it is.  If it's easy to reverse the deconditioning of a particular food, then perhaps I would prefer to take the deconditioning to a place of mild aversion.  At some point I'll try reversing the deconditioning of a particular food and see how it goes. 

Also your point about normalization is thought provoking because I've been addicted to these foods for so long, and we live in culture that reinforces food addiction everywhere.  To have a "normal" reaction to things like dessert, bread, and chips and thus be able to enjoy them but not crave them, would be an amazing thing! 

Right now the enlightened tasting has been taking away the cravings when I do it, which is an incredible relief.  So it's acting as a new more positive behavioral replacement.  Also, it's fascinating to watch how the taste of a food changes.  I think I need to just stick with it and enjoy it for awhile.  But I will try taking breaks from it whenever it flows to do so.

I've noticed that I've had a lot more freedom around eating in all kinds of ways.  For example it's been easier to wait longer before eating when I'm hungry.  I feel like a big weight has been lifted.  To have tools and options for something that I’ve been under the mercy of for so long is an amazing thing!
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: jared33 on April 22, 2010, 08:29:22 AM
Welcome aboard, Heidi!  I think you'll find this site a good place to share & learn.

I'm interested in your enlightened tasting.  I've been using other ways of deconditioning, mainly looking at and sniffing the aroma of tempting food.  But I haven't tried tasting.  Do you think that really makes a difference over just looking and sniffing?  Just interested to hear your experience.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: Heidi on April 22, 2010, 11:04:59 AM
Hi jared, thanks for the welcome.  I haven't tried looking and sniffing by themselves so I can't offer a comparison.  However, when I was mulling over what to do, I thought that just looking and smelling wasn't going to be powerful enough for me.  The tasting has been much more powerful than I thought it would be in a really positive way.  I'll be curious if you try it.  Let me know how it goes and how it compares to just looking and sniffing.  Do you have a page on this forum?  

I'm really sorting out what is addiction and what is not because I'm only eating food that is non-addictive and healthy.  I eat as much as I want of healthy food whenever I'm legitimately hungry.  However, I have discovered that addiction is sneaky and masquerades as strong hunger.  Today I came home in the afternoon and felt as though I was really hungry.  However, I couldn't come up with anything healthy that I wanted to eat.  The only things I wanted to eat were sweet and junky things.  I didn't sleep enough and am tired today, so that contributed to the wanting something sweet for energy.  Instead of eating I did enlightened tasting.  I felt much better afterwards.  Maybe even better than if I had eaten something.  

This was posted on the SLD forum a year ago: (
It turns out that rinsing and spitting sugar drinks can improve athletic performance.  I've been noticing more well being and better energy after my experiments.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: jared33 on April 22, 2010, 08:22:35 PM
Heidi, thanks for the good suggestions and links.  Looking, sniffing and smelling has worked pretty well for me, but I will try going the next step to chewing and spitting out just to see if it makes a difference, since you say it has been pretty powerful for you. It was great that you were able to turn things around 180 degrees today from having cravings to getting energy. I'm also very interested that it could actually change the way things taste, that's amazing.  I'll try it tomorrow.

In answer to your other question, no I don't have a page here yet.  You can see that I've posted around in different places that I'm interested in. Mainly the diet pages, but I've also found a benefit from the cold showers.  And I had one post on constraint-induced movement therapy, which my brother had some personal experience with.  At this point, I just like the overall vibe and approach of Hormetism for bettering oneself, and for turning what most people consider "stress" into a good and useful thing. I keep thinking of different ways to apply that in my daily life. But if I can think of a real "project" I might start a page at some point.  You are making me start to think about it.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: HungryGuy on April 23, 2010, 12:05:42 PM
Welcome to the forum, Heidi.  Your ideas are very interesting and I may try them.  Looking forward to your continued posts!
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: jared33 on April 25, 2010, 09:57:47 PM
Hey, Heidi, I tried your enlightened tasting this morning and it was very interesting. First I chewed a half piece bread and spit it out.  Then I tried some berries, which gave a very pleasant and intense flavor before I spit them out.  I then rinsed with water to clear my mouth.  At first, I thought, this is almost like eating, with the same nice tastes. After that, I did not notice anything for a while, but about 15 minutes I felt full, just like I would after eating a normal meal!  

I'm not sure I would call this deconditioning, since I don't know that it made me like bread or berries any less.  But it did get rid of any hunger or cravings and left me feeling full.  And I felt a certain lightness about the whole thing.  I was not sure what to expect, and am wondering if you had a similar experience or something different.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: Heidi on April 26, 2010, 03:21:08 AM
HungryGuy, thanks for the welcome.

Jared, thanks for giving this a try.  I frequently get a satisfied or full feeling from enlightened tasting.  The fullness typically lasts a number of hours for me.  

The taste change happens after doing the experiment over a series of days.  If you do the tasting again a day or two later, then you might notice a subtle change.  The taste changes are subtle and gradual and take at least 3-5 days.  I’m not getting much of a taste change from food that is very addictive.  I’m thinking that the deconditioning might take a lot longer with those foods.  Also, you have to be consistent with the same kind of food.  If the next day you taste a different kind of bread, then it might not work.  However I’m hoping that after individually deconditioning a number of kinds of bread, that I’ll lose my cravings for bread in general.  

This is a long term project for me.  I’m currently working with foods that are highly addictive for me.  I haven’t eaten these foods in years because they are so addictive.  Avoiding them didn't change the level of the addiction for me.  

My goal is to completely heal all my addiction to various foods.  Right now I’m learning a lot about the nature of addiction.  It’s a real eye opener for me.  My addiction is much deeper and more extensive than I thought.  The self-knowledge and awareness that I’m gaining from doing this experiment has been incredible.  My body responds like a drug addict to certain foods.  Some of the foods are ones that many people would call healthy.  

You might not have this level of food addiction.  I read about your cooking a delicious meal and not eating any of it.  That was really impressive to me.  Also, that was a very good post about your brother regaining the use of his hands.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: jared33 on April 28, 2010, 07:28:29 PM
My goal is to completely heal all my addiction to various foods.  Right now I’m learning a lot about the nature of addiction.  It’s a real eye opener for me.  My addiction is much deeper and more extensive than I thought.  

Heidi, how do you know a food is addictive as opposed to just being craved?  I guess I'm not sure I understand what you mean by addiction.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: Heidi on April 29, 2010, 11:19:28 AM
Jared, that's an excellent question.  What I've discovered is that cravings are tricky.  Sometimes I have cravings for healthy non-addictive food.  I think that these cravings are clear communication of my body telling me what it needs.  Cravings for addictive food, on the other hand, I think are a breakdown in my body's signaling system.  My body is reacting as though I just gave it a drug, rather than a source of real nourishment.  

I found it easier to first determine which foods I knew weren't addictive for me.  I've had to sort things out by carefully observing.  It's an ongoing process.  When I'm full I only crave addictive food.  Looking at what I'm craving after I've eaten a satisfying meal of non-addictive food has helped me to determine which foods are clearly addictive.  I just posted a long post about this diet on the Shangri-la diet forum.  I think I'll post it here as well.
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: Heidi on May 01, 2010, 05:14:30 AM
Here are the threads about the Non-Addictive Diet that I am developing through this experimentation:,24.0.html (,24.0.html)   (

So far the enlightened tasting is working really well.  Once a week for work I eat a meal at a place where I have no choice as to the food I am served.  It would be awkward to not eat the meal, though I could easily refuse certain items.  Sometimes, the meal is relatively healthy.  Other times it is not.  Yesterday the meal was macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and salad.  Much to my amazement I didn’t like the macaroni and cheese.  It tasted really bland to me.  I ate a small amount, but probably would have skipped it if I’d had other options.  No one else thought that the macaroni and cheese wasn’t good.  I’ve eaten macaroni and cheese at this place before and it’s always tasted good to me (not amazing but good).  The biscuits, on the other hand, were delicious.  I ate two of those and didn’t feel so good afterwards. 

The other day, I sampled a cheese flavored potato chip in a grocery store.  It didn’t taste good and I would have spit it out if I hadn’t been in a public place.  All the other free samples of chips tasted good.  I think that my enlightened tasting of cheese flavored chips and cheddar cheese has worked!  I think that food cravings have categories, and that it’s only necessary to decondition the category as opposed to every individual food within that category.  I’ll have to see if the deconditioning of the cheese flavored category continues to hold.

I also no longer have any desire for the fiber bars that I’d been eating very regularly before I started this experiment.  They were a recent “healthier” addiction.  I know people who think those bars taste terrible. 
Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: SUGARDUDE on August 11, 2010, 09:04:46 PM

I want to try this but I need some clarification.

How long do you keep the food in your mouth?
Do you do the tasting only once a day, or if not, at specific times?
Do you do the tasting with more than one type of food in a given day?
Are the tastings planned or do you wait for a craving?


Title: Re: Enlightened Tasting
Post by: Heidi on August 12, 2010, 05:48:39 AM
Sugardude, this is what works for me.  You might find something that works better for you.  Not many people have explored this method.  

How long do you keep the food in your mouth?
I chew the food until it gets to the point where I would normally swallow it, then I spit it out instead.  I find solid foods to be easier to taste and spit than liquids.  I use to stand at the sink, but now I sit down and spit into a bowl.

Do you do the tasting only once a day, or if not, at specific times?
I generally do the tasting once or twice a day.  Occasionally, I’ve done more or skipped it altogether.

Do you do the tasting with more than one type of food in a given day?
Initially I would recommend starting with one food, simply because at first enlightened tasting will most likely increase your cravings.  It might increase your cravings for 2 or 3 days or sessions.  You have to make it through that initial increase of cravings without actually swallowing the food.  Now that I can handle the increase in cravings (which for me only lasts the one session that I taste a new food) I taste as many kinds of food as I want in a given session.  Maybe I do about 3 food items at a time.  Typically 2 or 3 sweet things and one salty item.  I usually taste and spit until I reach a point of saturation.  I end up with excellent appetite suppression at the end of a session.

Are the tastings planned or do you wait for a craving?
I usually only do the enlightened tasting when I have a craving.  It’s a replacement behavior for the craving.  It takes the craving away while simultaneously deconditioning the craving.  Sometimes I have done enlightened tasting when I was hungry and didn't want to eat.  But cravings often manifest as hunger for me.  So it's not always easy to discern whether I'm having cravings or genuine hunger.

This method is not a quick fix.  It takes time to rewire the brain’s circuitry.  I think it’s good to initially refrain from eating the food item that you are deconditioning.  I have found that each individual flavor or combo of flavors needs to be deconditioned individually.  Some foods decondition much more rapidly than other foods.  Right now, I am not eating any of the food that I’m deconditioning.  I have completely lost my desire for certain foods.  With other foods it is now easy to turn them down.  I actually have a choice.  

Good luck.  I hope this works for you and I hope that you are able to stick with it.